Asus’ ROG Strix laptops are some of the most gregarious machines around, and that’s not changed for 2022 – this rig is still littered with RGB LEDs and big logos, with translucent plastic on the wrist rest and a trio of interchangeable panels that add some customization to the area behind the display.
It shouts about its gaming ambitions, but this machine also offers substance alongside style. Build quality is good, with only a little movement in its panels, and its 2.3kg weight is comparatively light for a powerful 15.6in machine. The only minor physical issue is the 27mm-thick body, which makes the Asus feel chunky.
On the left-hand edge, you’ll find two USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports and a headphone jack, while the rest of the connections lurk around the back – there’s a Thunderbolt 4 connector, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port with power delivery, and an HDMI 2.1 output. You also get 2.5Gbps Ethernet, dual-band 802.11ax Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 5.2.
Faster full-sized USB ports would have been welcome though – there’s one fewer here than on last year’s model. The Scar also has no webcam, card reader or biometrics either, and the right-hand side still retains the notch for the gimmicky Asus Keystone – a slot that holds RFID devices that can be customized with settings or encrypted storage.
On the plus side, there’s lots to like about the Scar’s keyboard. The keys have 2mm of travel, which is more than most laptop keyboards, and their action is crisp and responsive – they’re not a million miles away from opto-mechanical hardware and they’re excellent for gameplay. Beyond the satisfying typing, the keyboard has per-key RGB lighting and extra media buttons, but no numberpad. The Scar 15’s large and snappy trackpad can function as a numperpad too, although in practice, it doesn’t work anywhere near as well as physical buttons.
On the inside, Asus deploys an RTX 3070 Ti mobile GPU with 5,888 CUDA cores, 8GB of memory and a peak TDP of 125W that can hit 150W with Dynamic Boost – figures that are right at the chip’s upper limit. Meanwhile, its Core i9-12900H CPU is similarly muscular, containing six Hyper-Threaded P-Cores with a 5GHz turbo speed, underpinned by eight 3.8GHz E-Cores. The 1TB Samsung SSD is fast too, delivering quick read and write scores of 6,961MB/sec and 5,074MB/sec, and you get 16GB of 4800MHz DDR5 memory as well.
That’s a lot of fast hardware for $2000, but when it comes to value, the Scar’s biggest threat comes from within the Asus stable. The 17.3in version of this machine costs $2300 for the same core components, but with 32GB of memory, a 2TB SSD and a larger display. If you won’t move the laptop much, that’s an affordable upgrade for added performance and immersion.
In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at 1,920 x 1,080, the Scar 15 delivered a great average of 81fps, and only dropped to a 99th percentile of 52fps, with a similarly smooth result in Cyberpunk 2077. It fared less well in these tests at the screen’s native 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, but our tests are run at demanding settings – a little tweaking in the settings will make these games playable at this resolution. This machine is also well suited to running less demanding games at high frame rates on the 240Hz screen too – the Scar 15 averaged 202fps in Doom Eternal at 2,560 x 1,440, which improved to 266fps at 1080p.
Meanwhile, the Core i9-12900H produced a system score of 291,826 in our RealBench application benchmarks, which is a great result for a portable machine. Its Handbrake H.264 video encoding score of 809,617 is particularly potent, thanks to all those cores, making the Scar 15 a formidable machine for heavily multi-threaded content creation tasks. The Asus is a good thermal performer too. During gameplay, the noise levels are noticeable but quieter than most 15.6in gaming machines, and there are no internal or external heat issues, with that extra thickness providing a bit of thermal headroom. The noise was quieter during processing tests, and CPU speeds were reasonable – the P-Cores hit 3.6GHz in a heavily multi-threaded test and 4.9GHz in single-threaded workloads.
The Scar has a Turbo mode as well, but we don’t recommend using it – the huge noise increase isn’t worth the extra 3fps in games and a 5 per cent application benchmark improvement. Conversely, the Silent mode is worthwhile – it runs mainstream games at still playable frame rates, while keeping down the noise, and the machine still has enough power for everyday computing.
There are no surprises in battery tests. The Scar lasted for one hour, 47 minutes in a gaming benchmark, which is a decent result, albeit with reduced graphical power, and five hours during work and media runs. As with all gaming laptops, you’ll get the most out of the Scar if you keep it plugged into the mains.
The Scar’s display is excellent too. Along with its 240Hz refresh rate, its 1,157:1 contrast ratio supplies ample vibrancy, the delta E of 2.4 ensures solid color accuracy and the display rendered 99.6 per cent of the sRGB gamut and 97.2 per cent of the DCI-P3 color space – this screen produces every shade needed by games with accuracy and punch. Finally, the speakers are bassy and loud, so they provide a booming (if a bit unbalanced) experience.
CPU 2.5GHz Intel Core i9-12900H Memory 16GB 4800MHz DDR5 Graphics Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Laptop 8GB Screen 15.6in 2,560 x 1,440 IPS 240Hz Storage 1TB Samsung PM9A1 M.2 SSD Networking 2.5Gbps Ethernet, dual-band 802.11ax Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5 Weight 2.3kg Ports 1 x Thunderbolt 4/USB Type-C/DisplayPort, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 1 x audio, 1 x HDMI 2.1 Dimensions (mm) 354 x 259 x 23 (W x D x H) Operating system Windows 10 Home 64-bit Warranty One year parts and labour return to base
The Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 is a great gaming laptop. It’s fast, the keyboard is satisfying, the display is rock-solid, and the exterior isn’t hot or loud. Not everyone will be keen on the chunky body or gaming style, and connection options could be better, but the Scar is sturdy, well-built and easy to use.
+Pros + Consistently superb performance + Accurate and fast 240Hz screen + Satisfying keyboard + Robust, eye catching exterior - Cons - Thicker than rivals - Connection options could be better - Mediocre battery life