Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 Review | Has no equal

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 ups the ante to deliver desktop level performance and gaming experience in a laptop form factor. It keeps up with the Scar legacy by packing the most powerful hardware combination possible into a premium chassis with a show stopping display

February 14, 2024 12:00 pm | Updated 12:11 pm IST

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 Review | Has no equal

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 Review | Has no equal | Photo Credit: Haider Ali Khan

The Asus ROG series has long been shipping out powerful, cutting-edge gaming laptops. The latest addition to its line is the ROG Strix Scar 16, which upholds the series’ tradition with its menacing design and uncompromising performance. Touted as a “mini gaming PC”, the Strix Scar 16 packs top-of-the-line components into a heavy-duty 16-inch chassis.

Make no mistake, this is not a laptop trying to strike a balance between portability and power. The Scar 16 is a true desktop replacement targeting gamers who want no compromises when it comes to gaming capabilities. It may not be very portable weighing almost at 3 kg, but it promises unbridled power that can handle the most demanding game titles.

With specs like the 14th Gen Intel Core i9 processor and Nvidia RTX 4090 GPU, the Scar 16 is a force to reckon with. This review takes an in-depth look at exactly what gamers can expect from Asus’s newest war machine.

Design

The ROG Strix Scar 16 is a stocky device that looks aggressive and imposing. Asus has retained the tried and tested 16-inch display in a new Nebula HDR variant. The highlight is a 90% screen to body ratio enabled by slim bezels on three sides.

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Made of aluminum and plastic, the device is sturdy with no flex. Textured lid and keyboard deck prevent fingerprints and smudges. RGB LED strips surround the rear and side vents, lighting up the Scar in striking colours using Aura Sync software.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 | Photo Credit: Haider Ali Khan

Gamers will appreciate the customizable and user-replaceable armour caps included in the package. The new design also ensures the LED ribbons remain intact when opening up the rear panel. Overall, while not very portable, the Scar 16 bleeds gaming pedigree through its design.

The laptop comes with two USB-A ports (USB 3.2 Gen 2) and two USB-C ports (1x Thunderbolt 4, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2). Both USB-C ports can transmit a DisplayPort signal, and the USB 3.2 Gen 2 port also supports Power Delivery. Additionally, it features an HDMI port, an audio port, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. However, it does not include a storage card reader.

Display

The display sports a 16-inch Quad HD+ (2560x1600) ROG Nebula HDR panel with a blistering 240Hz refresh rate. With mini LED backlighting bleed at 1,024 zones, it boasts brightness of up to 1,100 nits and a contrast ratio of 100,000:1.

This display checks all the boxes for an immersive gaming experience with vibrant colours, inky blacks, and buttery smooth visuals.  The mini LEDs also allow for much better local dimming across the screen. Gamers can enjoy true HDR content thanks to 100% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage and Dolby Vision compliance.

Nvidia G-Sync support further sweetens the deal by eliminating screen tearing and minimizing stuttering. The ROG Nebula display also comes with Pantone validation for superb colour accuracy. In a nutshell, this is one of the very best gaming displays packed into a laptop.

Performance

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 is an absolute beast when it comes to raw gaming performance. It packs the latest and greatest hardware that obliterates anything you throw at it. It features 14th Gen Intel Core i9-13900HX and comes with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 with 175W Max-Q Design. The variant which we got to review came with 32GB RAM and 2TB of internal storage. This combination provides truly desktop-class performance in a gaming laptop. The laptop supports manual RAID 0 SSD configuration to enable blistering fast storage speeds of up to 12 Gbps.

Real-world gaming performance is simply mind-blowing. You can expect butter smooth visuals with all settings maxed out at native QHD+ resolution and frame rates exceeding 200fps.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 | Photo Credit: Haider Ali Khan

Thermals are equally impressive thanks to Asus’s Intelligent Cooling technology. Liquid metal applied on both CPU and GPU, quad exhaust vents, 84-blade fans with anti-dust technology allow the Core i9 and RTX 4090 to sustain peak clocks indefinitely. Both components are housed in a full-width vapour chamber heatsink for optimal cooling. Bottom line - no thermal throttling even during the longest gaming marathons.

Adding to the longevity is future-proof upgradeability. Two SoDIMM slots to upgrade RAM up to 64GB and two PCIe Gen 4 SSD slots for storage expansion up to 4TB cater to evolving gaming requirements. The generous upgradability provides tremendous value and flexibility to start small now and max out components later.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 review

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 review | Photo Credit: Haider Ali Khan

In a nutshell, the ROG Scar 16 combines the highest tier laptop hardware in existence today with exceptional cooling and upgradability. This unmatched gaming powerhouse is built to deliver desktop-class performance for years to come.

Sound

The Scar 16 features an upgraded audio system with quad speakers that support Dolby Atmos technology for multidimensional cinematic sound. Games come alive with rich detail and clarity across the audio spectrum from the bass to the mids and highs. The speakers deliver Hi-Res audio covering a wide range of frequencies up to 192kHz for lossless fidelity.

Dolby Access app further bolsters the audio experience via intelligent equalizer sound modes and custom profiles based on usage. This software is included free for the laptop’s lifetime. For clear voice and in-game chat, the SCAR also bakes in two-way AI noise cancellation for filtering background distractions.

Camera

The laptop comes equipped with a 720p HD webcam integrated seamlessly into the slim bezels above the display. The webcam allows for good and detailed video chatting and streaming. For clear audio input, the laptop features a built-in microphone array that supports AI noise-cancellation. This filtering helps eliminate background chatter and disturbances during voice or video calls.

Keypad and Touchpad

The Strix Scar 16 features a satisfying keyboard offering a crisp, tactile bottoming action after each key press. It omits mechanical switches found in some rival gaming laptops, which may disappoint keyboard purists looking for that extra clicky feedback. Nonetheless, the keyboard offers quick, comfortable typing ideal for gameplay thanks to ergonomically designed keycaps.

Complementing the keyboard is a modest touchpad. It is very spacious, and the smooth surface provides a responsive tracking experience, reliably executing multi-touch Windows gestures. Gamers will no doubt connect a dedicated gaming mouse, but the touchpad proves suitable for general productivity work on the go.

Battery

The new Strix Scar 16 packs a beefy 90WHr battery, but battery life is unlikely to be a strong suit given the power-hungry components. Under normal workflow including web browsing, media consumption and other sundry tasks users can expect 2 to 3 hours on a full charge.

Gaming will drain the battery much faster in under an hour. That said, Asus does allow for Type-C charging. There is also support for fast charging - a 30-minute charge can deliver up to 50% battery. Given its desktop replacement credentials, most gamers will use the Scar 16 plugged in, so the battery is just a supplemental bonus.

Verdict

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 ups the ante to deliver desktop level performance and gaming experience in a laptop form factor. It keeps up with the Scar legacy by packing the most powerful hardware combination possible into a premium chassis with a show stopping display. Gamers will get stunning visuals from the 16-inch Nebula display, powered seamlessly by 14th Gen Intel processor and RTX 4090 graphics. All of this works in perfect harmony thanks to Asus’s thermal design that prevents any sort of performance throttling.

However, this elite level gaming prowess comes at the cost of severely limited portability. For gamers who frequently travel, something more portable like the ROG Zephyrus may be a better fit. Power users can also consider a desktop config with similar specs for better thermals and upgradability. As a pure desktop replacement, the Strix Scar 16 simply has no equal. It sets a new bar for gaming laptops. The Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 range starts at ₹ 2,89,990.

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