When it comes to gaming laptops, Asus always impresses. Its laptops deliver great power and in recent years, have also been aggressively priced. Kicking off 2021, we have the Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 G733. The machine is a powerhouse both from its external and internal hardware. But should you buy it as a desktop replacement for upwards of Dh10,000?
Design and build quality
With the Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 G733, you see the company’s typical design language. The laptop features clean cuts and has an e-sports inspired them to it. The lid is minimal with a dot matrix design and has a coating that resists fingerprints. It is also capped with aluminium for an extra premium feel and has an element of customisation. With Asus’ ‘Armour Caps’, you can add a pop of colour to the exterior of the machine. These can be replaced, either with two options bundled with the laptop or a custom 3D printed version of your own.
For a gaming laptop, customisation is of utmost importance. It is nice that Asus has gone for hardware changes to customise the experience here. However, you can do much more with the laptop’s RGB-lighting. There is a wraparound light bar at the base of the chassis, which illuminates the front and sides of the machine. In practice, this gives off a nice levitating effect which is best observed in a dark environment. There is also a hint of LED on the ROG logo found on the laptop’s lid as well as beneath the display. This gives off a diffused look reflecting on the machine’s keyboard deck, which is sure to turn some heads.
There is next to no screen or keyboard flex on the Strix Scar 17 G733. However, all of this premium build quality comes at a cost. And in this case, it is not just from your wallet but also when it comes to portability. The laptop weighs a hefty 2.7 kg and has a thickness of roughly 260 mm. Coupled with the machine’s 17.3-inch display, the overall form factor becomes difficult lug around. But if you must, you can carry it in backpack with it doubling as an extra gym session for the day.
On the Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 G733, you find up a 1,920 x 1,080 FHD 17.3-inch IPS LCD panel. This is the world’s fastest laptop display, with both a 300 Hz refresh rate and a 3 ms response time. Throughout our usage, we found elements on screen to be extremely smooth. The higher display specifications mean that the overall user interface also ends up looking extremely smooth.
Usually, we see sacrifices in display quality and colours on typical gaming machines. However, with this laptop, there are no obvious ones. You find Adaptive-Sync technology, 100 per-cent sRGB coverage and an 85 per-cent screen to body ratio. This helps to make content look immersive, whether it is your favourite AAA title or movie. But moreover, colours on the display look vivid and saturated. Viewing angles are great and most importantly, you find an anti-glare coating on the display when working outside or in harsh light.
The large panel also means the display becomes an ideal canvas for creators. For instance, you can rely on programmes such as Adobe Photoshop or Premiere Pro to get your work done, even with colour sensitive projects. An omission to the display experience though is the lack of a web-camera. You do not find one in-built which means no facial Windows Hello authentication. You can however enable this by connecting Asus’ external 1080p web-camera to the machine, which it bundles with the packaging. On the topic of Windows Hello, it would have been nice to see at least a fingerprint scanner included with the machine.
Pairing well with the display though are the laptop’s speakers. The quad-speaker setup is powered by Dolby Atmos offering some unrivalled sound quality. Right from the laptop’s striking start-up sound to any multimedia, the setup has you covered. Even for gaming sessions, we often found ourselves using the speaker setup because of convenience. There is a level of richness to its sound quality and personally, it worked well when listening out for audio ques in games.
Connectivity and I/O
Given that the Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 G733 is meant to be used as desktop-replacement, Asus has placed the ports on it accordingly. For easier cable management, the majority of its ports are found on its rear. You find an HDMI 2.0b port, a Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2 port with DisplayPort, power delivery and G-SYNC support, an Ethernet port, a Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 1 port and the power input here. The right edge of the machine remains bare whereas the left edge houses two Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports and a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
As for wireless connectivity features, you are covered too. The laptop supports WiFi 6 (802.11ax) alongside dual-band Bluetooth 5.1. Of course, like much of Asus’ lineup, you also find support for RangeBoost which improves your wireless connectivity experience based on antenna reception. Unique to the Strix Scar 17 G733, there is also a Keystone II function available. While we did not use it, NFC-enabled keys can dock into the chassis for you to access personalised settings, games, applications or reveal hidden storage information.
Keyboard and trackpad
Before addressing the laptop’s keyboard, it is worth mentioning its design. The left side of the keyboard offers a translucent appearance, echoing a cyberpunk theme. This goes well with the Strix Scar 17 G733’s look especially when the RGB-lighting is turned on. On the machine, you find a well spaced out keyboard with a familiar layout. One slight drawback we found was that the small tabs you typically find on the ‘F’ and ‘J’ keys are too recessed. For touch typists, this should take more time than usual to adjust to.
Fortunately, the typing experience makes up for this. On the laptop, you find Optical Mechanical switches which emulate the feel of a typical mechanical keyboard. These do a good job of doing so, especially with the 1.9 mm travel distance. For extended typing sessions too, the slight curve on the key caps helps with long-term comfort. You also find a full-size number pad on the right which sits above the arrow keys. Each key on the laptop can also be individually customised via Asus’ proprietary Aura Sync software. While this is your typical suite of keys, there are five others found at the top of the deck. These give you easy volume and microphone controls alongside access to quickly toggle between fan profiles or change individual settings in Asus’ Armoury Crate. Here, you can also monitor your CPU, GPU, fan and memory statistics with ease.
Underneath the keyboard, you find access to the trackpad. The trackpad is large enough for your gestures and for navigation. Moreover, its glass surface exudes a touch of premium and consistency throughout. However, we thought the trackpad was placed a bit too much towards to left, which also led to us clicking it accidentally when typing. This may have to do with the machine’s internals and is a small quirk that is worth mentioning. The lack of dedicated keys on the trackpad is also a miss but we think you will be better off using an external mouse for gaming anyway.
Gaming performance and benchmarks
Inside the the Asus Strix Scar 17 G733, you find unrivalled specifications. There is an AMD Ryzen 5900HX processor clocked at 3.3GHz alongside an NVIDIA RTX 3080 GPU. Both of these in tandem give you enough power for practically anything you throw at the machine. Using Armoury Crate, adjusting between ‘Silent’, ‘Performance’ and ‘Turbo’ mode is possible via a simple click, each delivering different levels of power. We ran a few Cinebench R15 tests here, under each setting respectively which you can find below.
Coupled with this processing power, there is also 32GB of DDR4 memory clocked at 3,200MHz as well as a 1TB + 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD storage configuration that can be set to RAID 0. You are able to expand the RAM capacity to 64GB if required. We were able to test the laptop’s storage speeds with the results below.
Draping this entire hardware experience is Windows 10 Pro, a staple of any gaming machine. This gives you access to a suite of games from various services. We tested a bunch of games that were accessible to us at maximum settings with the results posted below. For the best gaming performance, we also recommend using the laptop in its ‘Turbo’ configuration, which is what we used.
As mentioned earlier, content creators will also not feel any drawbacks with the power available on the machine. Editing 4K footage on Adobe Premiere Pro is extremely smooth and so is using After Effects to render animations. There was never a time when the laptop felt sluggish, which is great if you are a productivity driven person.
Cooling and acoustics
A lot of the good performance from the Asus Strix Scar 17 G733 is attributed towards attention to detail in engineering. All around the laptop, you find vents for airflow. But both from a hardware and software perspective, a lot of enhancements have gone into making the experience ideal. In terms of hardware, the laptop comes with liquid metal cooling and better fans. You also find Asus’ self-cleaning technology here for long term usage. But more impressive than anything is the machine’s cool-zone keyboard design.
Asus has made sure that its thermal module is positioned in a manner that keeps the front end of the laptop below 30 degrees Celsius at all times. This means the area under your trackpad, arrow keys and where your palms rest naturally remains cool even during extended gaming sessions. We were impressed by how well the laptop behaved in this case, and this is surely a design trait that other gaming laptop manufacturers should look to replicate.
As far as sound is concerned, the fans on the laptop do ramp up when using the ‘Performance’ mode. However, they are not noticeable if you have a pair of headphones on. Plus, this is also where Asus’ 0dB technology comes into play if you switch to ‘Silent’ mode. With this, all fans are turned off and heat is dissipated passively for a much quieter experience. Of course, if you were to perform demanding tasks like gaming, they turn on automatically.
Inside the Strix Scar 17 G733, Asus has gone for a 90Wh battery. This is a hefty cell that offers varying power based on how you use your machine. With all power related enhancements turned off, the laptop should give you a 3 hour battery life with the discrete GPU turned on. This usage includes sparsely using Adobe Photoshop, browsing the web, video watching and a bit of text editing.
This is great for your occasional burst of productivity on the go, however may not be enough for everyone. In this case, reverting to a Asus’ Armoury Crate is your best solution. Here, you can toggle between an iGPU mode that helps you extend battery life further. With iGPU, the laptop effectively turns off access to its discrete GPU which helps you save more power. Typically, with this enabled, you should get up to 7 hours of moderate usage. The proprietary Asus charger that comes with the laptop is a bit on the bulky side. However, the laptop also supports up to 100W charging via its Type-C USB port. You can use any Type-C charger to recharge the machine on the go, which is great for when you are travelling.
A lot of good can be said about the Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 G733. It is an all encompassing machine that gets everything spot on. For anybody wanting true desktop-grade performance in a mobile form factor, this is your answer. We can easily see the power on the laptop lasting for well over five years, which makes this a viable investment. One could argue that you can get a better PC at a lower price tag with better upgradability but that boils down to personal preference. For someone looking for the cream of the crop and the best of both worlds, it does not get better than this especially at its Dh10,999 starting price.