Tuesday , 15 October 2019

ASUS ROG Strix Scar III (G531GW) Hands-On, Quick Review: New Design, Same RTX Power

We check out the third-generation Scar gaming laptop!

ASUS ROG has made its third-generation Strix Scar series of gaming laptops available in the Philippines months after the brand launched its RTX-equipped Scar II series. The third generation Scar introduces not just newer 9th-generation Intel Processors, but also a new, subtler design that’s supposed to keep the notebook’s beefy components cooler under sustained load.

Before we dive into our full review in the next few days, let’s take a quick look at what exactly has changed in the new ROG Strix Scar III:

New, updated design cues

Instead of being greeted by a ROG logo on the bottom center part of the bezel, you get a subtle ROG Strix branding on the bottom left part of the bezel. The new design makes the Scar III visually less loud compared to its predecessor, especially if you choose to tone down its plethora of RGB-lit areas.

The Scar III gets a new cooling-centric hinge design, where you have more space at the back for thermal management. Speaking of cooling, the Scar III comes with a large dedicated heatsink, an extended heat spreader, and two 12V fans to keep temperatures stable even at heavy loads.

Instead of specially-marked WASD keys, ASUS changed the overall signature design of the Scar III by utilizing a carbon fiber print on the laptop’s top case. Like its predecessors, you have a programmable RGB keyboard lighting via ASUS’ Aura Sync software. Our unit comes with a per-key RGB lighting option, letting you individually choose the colors of your keys via ASUS’ Aura Creator.

The flashy (and quite unnecessary) lightbar now wraps around the chassis of the Scar III, giving you more RGB lighting options depending on your mood.

To maintain its compact footprint, the 15-inch variant of the Strix Scar III inherits the ZenBook’s touchpad that doubles as a numeric keypad with the press of a button. While the trackpad is decent for daily tasks, you would want to use the supplied Gladius gaming mouse for serious gaming sessions.

ASUS made changes to the Scar III’s port layout, which is simplified compared to its predecessor. On the left side, you have three USB 3.0 ports and a combo headphone jack, while you have an AC port, USB-C, HDMI port, and an Ethernet port at the back. Notably absent on the Scar III is the SD card slot—while some may be dismayed at this omission, most gamers won’t mind its absence at all.

Webcam, where art thou?

Instead of placing the webcam awkwardly at the bottom of the display like in the Scar II, ASUS decided to go to an external webcam via the ROG Eye webcam. The external webcam connects via MicroUSB and is optional for most Scar III variants save for the top-end variant, which we have in this quick review.

The decision to go the external webcam route makes more sense: most gamers who stream their games would like to have the freedom to place their webcam wherever they want instead of being stuck at one position.

Extra boost for the display panel

ASUS upgraded the Scar III’s display panel by making it support a 240hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. It still retains its predecessor’s 100% sRGB coverage, so colors are accurate on this panel.

While there are only a few games that can take advantage of the Scar III’s 240hz refresh rate, you would notice the difference even on daily tasks. Scrolling, typing, and watching videos on this beast is buttery smooth thanks to its high refresh rate.

The key to (almost) everything

One of the key (pun not intended) new features of the Scar III is the Keystone accessory. These removable physical keys contain saved system preferences for the Scar III, along with being an access key to the encrypted Shadow Drive hidden inside the Scar III’s drive. The Keystone is removable and comes with a keychain for you to flaunt it and to prevent others from messing with your Scar III when you are not around.

The best internals on board

The Scar III is equipped with the latest 9th-generation Intel Core processors and NVIDIA RTX graphics. Our review unit is the top-end variant and comes with a Core i9-9880H 8-core processor, a full-sized RTX 2070 GPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and 1TB NVMe SSD. Check out the benchmarks we obtained:

 

While the figures we got are promising for an 8-core i9 laptop with a full-sized RTX 2070 GPU, we will have to do our usual battery of gaming-related tests to see if the Scar III’s new, cooling-centric design makes a difference with its overall performance.

That’s it for our quick review of the ROG Strix Scar III. The variant we have for this quick review is priced at Php 169,995 and is available in ROG SM Mall of Asia and ROG Concept Stores Nationwide.

ASUS ROG Strix Scar III (G531GW) Specs

  • Intel Core i9-9880H processor
  • 16GB DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM
  • NVIDIA RTX 2070 Discrete GPU with 8GB GDDR6 VRAM, Intel UHD630 Integrated GPU
  • 15.6-inch (16:9) LED-backlit FHD (1920×1080) with 240hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, and 100% sRGB coverage
  • 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • 4-cell 66Wh battery

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