Asus Rog Strix GL503 Scar Edition Laptop
A gaming laptop that stands out from the crowd
We’ve seen our fair share of gaming laptops over the years. Some are better than others, but with a few exceptions one of the traditional weaknesses of gaming laptops are the screens. If you’re dropping a few grand on a laptop, a generic 1080p screen just makes the whole experience poorer. Asus knows this and has introduced something every serious laptop gamer must have: a genuine IPS 1080p 120Hz screen with G-Sync, powered by a GTX 1070. Hurrah!
The Asus GL503 Scar is a serious laptop. Its design is somewhat understated in an era where RGB lighting and brash styling is the norm. The lid is metallic, but the shell is plastic which lacks the premium feel of the likes of the MSI GS series. It still feels solid enough though. The unit weighs in at 2.5Kg, which is not too bad given the specification.
The keyboard is okay, but nothing special. It has RGB functionality which can be controlled via the Asus Aura app. There’s a 256Gb NVMe SSD and a secondary 2Tb 5400 RPM HDD to take care of the storage needs. There are plenty of ports. With five USB, Ethernet, HDMI and Mini-DP plus a card reader.
Getting back to the introduction, as mentioned, the real strength of the Asus GL503 Scar is the gorgeous screen. A variable refresh rate monitor is simply a standard requirement for any serious gamer. It cannot replace a dedicated wide gamut screen for colour accuracy, but as a gaming screen, it’s as good as it gets for a laptop. If you’re into games that scale well with modern high end components, then you’re in for a real treat.
Performance is very good as you’d expect with a GTX 1070 and i7-7700HQ powering the unit. Rise of the Tomb Raider returned a solid 109.68 fps while the demanding Ghost Recon Wildlands gave us 64.11 fps (and looked great). 3DMark is also strong with a score of 12685 in the Firestrike test. Now imagine the kind of frames you’ll get with something less demanding like Overwatch or CS: GO. 120Hz G-Sync goodness!
Battery life is a weak point of the GL503 Scar. The PCMark 8 battery test is admittedly a difficult test, but a result of 1hr and 17 minutes is not great. This is a direct result of the inclusion of G-Sync which forces the GTX 1070 to handle all the display work, as opposed to most gaming laptops that make use of the Nvidia Optimus GPU switching technology. None of that matters if you plug it into the wall though.
the real strength is the gorgeous screen... it’s as good as it gets for a laptop
Powerful gaming laptops don’t come cheap, and the GL503 Scar is no exception. At $2999 you’re dropping some serious cash. The GL503 isn’t perfect. Ideally we’d like to see a better secondary hard drive, an all metal design and the battery life isn’t stellar. Though these are mere niggles when weighed up against the gorgeous screen. If you’re into fast paced FPS games, then the GL503 Scar is as good as it gets. CHRIS SZEWCZYK