Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 Review: A Top-Notch Gaming Laptop For The Professional Gaming Crowd

Gaming laptops are bulky devices that are meant to be tethered to a power source at all times and provide the best possible frame rates a gamer demands

I’ve had a long enough time to truly think as to how I feel about Asus’ ROG Strix Scar 16 gaming laptop. With a starting price of Rs 2,89,990 (with a Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 GPU) and a top-of-the-line variant at Rs 3,29,990 (with a Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 GPU), the ROG Strix Scar 16 is squarely in the ‘professional gamers’ category of gaming laptops. There is also a ROG Strix Scar 18, in case you’re interested.

Gaming laptops are bulky devices that are meant to be tethered to a power source at all times and provide the best possible frame rates a gamer demands. The ROG Strix Scar 16 comes in at 2.65kg and is 23mm thick. The chassis is made out of sturdy plastic.

Since the laptop isn’t meant to be taken out for a spin and shown off, there is one question one everyone’s mind; does design and weight really matter and is it all about performance only?

Let me tackle that for you.

For me, if it is a device I’d be using daily, then I’d want it to look good and perform well. On the other hand, there may be a few occasions where I’d be taking the laptop to another desk, somewhere outside of my house, and therefore I wouldn’t want it to weigh me down on my travels. If I was a professional gamer, I’d be going from competition to competition carrying this device, along with my mouse and headphones.

A Great-Looking Gaming Laptop

I’m going to get to the design language first. Since, during my review period, it was mostly on my desk, except for the two times I travelled with it to a coffee shop to test the non-gaming battery life.

I’m happy to report that Asus has done a great job concerning the design language of the ROG Strix Scar 16. There’s the familiar RGB backlit ROG logo (with the slash pattern and ‘Republic of Gamers’) on the lid. The lid is made from aluminium and is premium thanks, in part, to the matte finish. As I said above, the chassis is made out of durable plastic.

It’s a good-looking laptop with a solid build. I was keenly looking forward to my gaming sessions on most evenings when I wasn’t out of the house.

But yes, the device did weigh me down on my travels to the cafe. I carried it in my backpack but I could feel the heaviness. It wasn’t the laptop itself that was the problem. It was the 330W charging adaptor, that comes included in the box. The 330W charging adaptor weighed more than a lot of thin-and-light laptops out there. That’s saying a lot.

Overall, I was happy with the design language of the laptop, but since I wasn’t a professional gamer, I would have preferred a little less weight and would happily have traded some performance in exchange.

Onto the ports. On the left-hand side, you get a Thunderbolt 4 port, a USB Type-C 3.2 Gen2 port (with 100W PD support), an HDMI 2.1 port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a power input port. The right-hand side of the laptop features dual USB Type-A 3.2 Gen2 ports. There’s no card slot on this laptop, which may disappoint creators.

Does the performance live up to the claims?

Yes, the performance is quite good on the ROG Strix Scar 16. But let me talk about the display first. You get a 16-inch mini LED panel (with double the dimming zones as compared to the predecessors’ display). There’s a QHD+ resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio, and 240Hz refresh rate. The screen, like all other Asus laptops, covers 100 percent of the DCI-PE colour gamut. The brightness is rated at 500 nits. The display features deep blacks and excellent and vivid colours. At night, while consuming YouTube videos and movies on Amazon Prime, I had no problem with the brightness levels.

With a great display and a good design language, I was happy to be gaming daily. I downloaded my usual slate of games - Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5 and the latest edition of FIFA - and for the most part, I was a happy camper. The ROG Strix Scar 16 offers top-notch gaming performance.

While gaming on the highest graphic settings and at QHD+ resolution, I got consistent frame rates on the higher end. Forza Horizon 5 constantly gave me over 120 frames per second, while Valorent was above 500 frames per second!

The problem was that the fans - that kick in as soon as you start gaming - were loud and noisy. The flip side of that is that it helps keep the laptop cool (along with the cooling system). The exhaust vents are located on the sides, with the heatsink on the back.

The 14th-generation Intel Core i9 14900HX exceeded my expectations. Gaming on this laptop was an immense pleasure. It was a gaming beast. It’s one of the best in the business, and no wonder Asus and its exorbitant asking price.

The laptop can also be used for video editing as the hardware easily supports it.

Is the touchpad and keyboard any good? Are the speakers worth it? Why an outdated webcam?

The four speakers on the laptop are low in volume and lack bass. The speakers support Dolby Atmos, but even with that enabled, I wouldn’t be waxing eloquently about the speakers here. The 720p webcam is outdated and frankly not any good. With a laptop that has a starting price of just under Rs 3,00,000, I expected at least a 1080p webcam.

The touchpad works fine, and supports multi-touch gestures, but isn’t something you’d be using. All gamers, and those who do photo/video editing, have a mouse of their choice that they’ve been using for months on end and become accustomed to. Nonetheless, if you have to use the touchpad, then it’ll get the job done.

The keyboard is the better of the lot. There’s 20mm key travel, good spacing between the keys, and plenty of tactile feedback. There are five macro keys on the top left, which perform functions using the Armoury Crate app.

Battery life: Poor by even gaming standards

Gaming laptops never have great battery life. That’s a given. But even with the 90Wh battery including in the ROG Strix Scar 16, the laptop barely lasted 2 hours during my non-gaming usage. If you do choose to game while it's in battery mode, then you can expect 30-45 minutes at the max.

Thanks to the 330W adapter, the laptop can charge up to 50 per cent in just 30 minutes. Again, the downside is that this adapter needs to be plugged into a power socket and can’t be plugged into those multi-plug sockets you have lying around.

Is this your next gaming laptop?

These kinds of laptops will only appeal to professional gamers who need a high-end gaming machine. If you fit that description then you should have the ROG Strix Scar 16 from ASUS at the top of your list. If you are someone who travels with their gaming laptops a lot, then you may need to look elsewhere.

Tethered to your desk, you’d have a laptop that looks great, has a vivid OLED display, plays any of the latest AAA games you’d like without breaking a sweat, and is also adept at video editing. Yes, this laptop has it all, but you’ve got to know what you’re getting into before purchasing the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 16.

With all that said, the ROG Strix Scar 16 is one of the best gaming laptops out there with a sky-high asking price to boot. Personally, though, I’d like something a little more portable, and with better battery life.

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