ASUS showed off a refreshed line of ROG gaming laptops earlier this year at CES 2019, which included updated models of their ROG Strix line of laptops that now feature NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX graphics technology. One of those new models is the ROG Strix Scar II GL704, which still features the same design as last year’s model but now comes with either a GeForce RTX 2070 or an RTX 2060. For our review, we had the latter variant.
As previously mentioned, the refreshed GL704 comes with the same design as last year’s model, with its two-texture metal cover and plastic body, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering how recent last year’s model was and how well it was designed. Its sharp edges and angles coupled with its slightly rounded corners and metal cover make it look eye-catchingly sleek.
Much like its metal cover, the GL704’s palm rest also also looks pretty sharp with its two-texture checkerboard and camouflage design. The GL704’s looks are augmented even further by its RGB ROG logo on the top cover and its quad-zone RGB LED light bar on the front of the laptop chassis, both of which are compatible with the company’s AURA technology for customizable lighting effects.
Even with its 17-inch display, the GL704 comes in a chassis that’s closer to what you’d expect from a 15-inch laptop, which is mostly due to its minimal display bezels. Measuring only 39.98 x 27.35 x 2.49~2.64 cm, the GL704 is incredibly compact and easily transportable. Your mileage may vary when it comes to the bags you can place it in though as it was just short of being able to fit in our laptop bag designed for 15-inch laptops.
In spite of its compact design, relatively lighter weight, and plastic body, the GL704 still feels impressively rigid and sturdy. And while there is still some twist on the top cover and flex around the keyboard, they aren’t very alarming or hindering. The weight distribution of the GL704 is also pretty impressive as we were easily able to open up the laptop with just one hand without the front of the laptop lifting off from the table.
The GL704 hosts quite a number of connectivity options, most of which are found on its left-hand side. The charging port, RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port, mini-DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, three USB 3.1 Type-A, and 3.5mm combo audio ports are all placed on the left while the SD card reader, USB Type-C Gen 2, and USB 3.1 Type-A Gen. 2 are on the right. There’s also a Kensington lock on the right-hand side. Both the front and back of the laptop are free from any ports.
With the GL704’s keyboard, ASUS has still stuck with same layout and features as the GL703 from two years ago although most of the keys now feature transparent sides save for the WASD group of keys that are now fully transparent to help them stand out. For the most part, typing on the GL704 was easy to get used to and provided a great typing experience overall. It would have been nice to have wider keys for the arrow keys and numpad though.
The smooth touchpad on the GL704 is relatively smaller than many other current laptops, but that’s because it utilizes physical left and right mouse keys rather than a clickpad. The touchpad is pretty accurate and is compatible with Windows Precision drivers and gestures while the physical keys are responsive and give a satisfying click. Additionally, ASUS has bundled an ROG Strix Impact mouse with the GL704 for those who want to game right away with the laptop.
As previously mentioned, the 17-inch display on the GL704 is surrounded by incredibly thin bezels on its top and sides. The same can’t be said about the laptop’s bottom bezel though, which looks unnecessarily large and features both a similarly large ROG logo and the laptop’s rather offset webcam. The large bottom bezel may have been necessary though for the top cover to match the rest of the chassis.
The display of the GL704 uses a 17.3-inch IPS-level panel with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD) with a refresh rate of 144Hz and a response time of 3ms. The fast display is great for gaming, which is what the GL704 was designed for, and its Full HD resolution makes it easier for the laptop to achieve higher framerates that make better use of its 144Hz refresh rate. Sadly, there’s no G-Sync compatibility here, which is a bit surprising for a laptop at this price range.
Apart from the aforementioned NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, the GL704 is also equipped with an Intel Core i7-8750H processor and 16GB of 2666MHz RAM. It also has a 256GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD and a 1TB of SSHD storage. We ran the GL704’s components through several synthetic benchmarks including PCMark 10, 3DMark, Cinebench R15, and AS SSD to test out the GL704’s performance out of the box.
As we haven’t had the opportunity to review a similarly specced laptop, especially one with RTX graphics, we’re posting our PCMark 10, 3DMark, and Cinebench R15 results as is:
For its SSD, ASUS has opted for the Western Digital PC SN520 M.2 NVMe SSD, which is a model released early last year. Compared to two other M.2 NVMe SSDs we’ve tried out, the PC SN520 in the GL704 is noticeably slower in most aspects including 4K read and write as well as Sequential reads. But surprisingly, it was able to beat out the other two SSDs in Sequential write performance.
We also ran the the GL704 through several video game benchmark tests including Ashes of Singularity, Total War: Warhammer, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, and Final Fantasy XV. The GL704 performed considerably well in most of the tests and could improve further if in-game settings are adjusted. Here are our average framerates for the aforementioned titles:
|Ashes of Singularity (1080p No AA Standard Preset)||54.6|
|Ashes of Singularity (1080p 2x MSAA Crazy Preset )||44.3|
|Total War: Warhammer (1080p MLAA Ultra Preset)||49.7|
|Total War: Warhammer (1080p No AA High Preset)||58.6|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (1080p FXAA High Preset)||71.85|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (1080p FXAA Very High Preset)||62.11|
|Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (1080p 2x MSAA Ultra Preset)||46.3|
|Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (1080p No AA High Preset)||62.5|
|Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey (1080p Ultra High No AA)||39|
|Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey (1080p High No AA)||43|
|Final Fantasy XV (1080p High)||57|
|Final Fantasy XV (1080p Standard)||71|
The two 3.5W speakers on the GL704 were decent, loud enough for casually listening to music and movies but not really suitable for more discerning media consumption and gaming as the lack of a subwoofer made it lack bass and they aren’t loud enough to drown out the whirr of the fans during intense gaming. Regardless, the speakers offered a balance and clear sound but we’d recommend using earphones or headphones for gaming.
The battery performance of the GL704, with its relatively small 66 Wh, 4-cell battery, was as expected. It only lasted about 4 hours with casual use, such as web browsing and word processing, and about an hour when gaming. This isn’t surprising for a gaming laptop with these specifications and because long battery life on laptops is usually reserved for ultrabooks so we’d still recommend plugging it in for intense applications such as content creation and gaming.
The ASUS ROG Strix Scar II is one of the most impressive laptops we’ve used, with its great design and feature set coupled with its excellent performance. While some design aspects could use improvement, such as the keyboard, bottom display bezel, and webcam placement, which ASUS may deal with in their next design iteration, it still offers a greatly enjoyable user experience overall. And while it is rather expensive, with a price tag of PHP 124,995, its design, features, and performance easily make up for its higher barrier to entry.