The Asus ROG Strix Scar and Hero edition gaming laptops are customised for specific game genres.
The Scar edition - featured in this review - is optimised for first-person shooter (FPS) games such as Overwatch, while the Hero edition is built for multiplayer online battle arena (Moba) games such as League Of Legends.
Both editions have an identical chassis design weighing around 2.5kg and sport a 15.6-inch screen. However, their internal components and design elements are customised for their proposed usage. It is akin to how automotive firms reuse the same car platform for different models.
It must be said that both laptops will run both FPS and Moba games well. But the differentiation is useful for less tech-savvy gamers who may not know the ideal configuration for their preferred genres.
For one, they could save some money by not overpaying for unnecessary graphical horsepower. The Hero edition's Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics chip is more than adequate for its intended audience of Moba players. Meanwhile, those who prefer FPS games - typically more graphically demanding - are best served by the higher-end GTX 1070 chip in the Scar edition.
The Scar edition also has an Nvidia G-Sync display that tops out at a high refresh rate of 144Hz for smooth, tear-free gaming, which is arguably more impactful in FPS than Moba games. The Hero edition has only a 120Hz display and lacks G-Sync support.
The other differences between the two editions are not as significant. For instance, the WASD keys used in FPS games are highlighted in the Scar edition while the Hero edition emphasises the QWER keys used in Moba games. The more expensive Scar laptop ($3,498) also has a larger 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) compared to 128GB on the Hero ($2,698).
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.8GHz)
GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5
RAM: 16GB DDR4
SCREEN SIZE: 15.6 inches,
1,920 x 1,080 pixels
CONNECTIVITY: 1 x Thunderbolt 3, 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, HDMI, mini-DisplayPort, Ethernet port, SD card reader, audio jack
BATTERY: 62 watt-hour
BATTERY LIFE: 2/5
The latter also lacks the former's Thunderbolt 3 port, though to be fair, both models already come with plenty of useful connectors, including four USB ports and an Ethernet port.
Both models are equipped with a RGB backlit keyboard that can be configured using the ROG Aura software. The keyboard is divided into four lighting zones - the user can pick a colour for each zone, but not for the individual keys one could on some gaming laptops. But more importantly for gamers, the keys support N-key rollover, which ensures that all your key presses, including those pressed simultaneously, will be registered by the laptop.
Above the keyboard are four handy shortcut keys to adjust the volume, mute the microphone and start the ROG Gaming Center, a software control panel for the laptop's gaming features.
This app lets users carry out tasks such as disable the Windows key and touchpad - to avoid accidental touches or key presses that may disrupt a gaming session. It also reports key hardware information such as current clock speeds and temperatures.
Use this app to adjust the speed of the laptop's fan which, at its default setting, is definitely audible and the fan will automatically ramp up its intensity when running a game. The laptop itself draws cool air from its surroundings via air vents at its base, while warm air exits via the exhaust at the rear.
While I have handled both the Scar and Hero edition laptops, I tested and benchmarked only the higher-end Scar with its Intel Core i7 processor and GTX 1070 graphics chip thoroughly.
It scored a solid 90 frames per second (fps) in Crysis 3 at the Very High setting of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. In Doom, the laptop managed around 118fps at the Ultra setting. In other words, the Scar is indeed very capable of running the latest games.
•Verdict: Astutely customised for FPS games, the Scar laptop lets users jump straight into the action.