Asus is back for Part 3 with the ROG Strix Scar III, and the new version is just as badass as its predecessor. For $1,799, you get a powerful RTX 2060 GPU wrapped in a chassis packing a smooth 15.6-inch, 240-Hz panel; a comfortable keyboard; and a cool ROG Keystone. However, that chassis is a little thick, and there's no webcam in sight. But topping off the Strix Scar III's qualities, you'll find good battery life and a pair of solid speakers, making this one of the best gaming laptops around.
Asus ROG Strix Scar III price and configuration options
The Strix Scar III that I tested costs $1,799 and comes with an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. If you want some extra oomph, you can step it up to the RTX 2070 model, which costs $2,299.
If you want to spring for a cheaper model, look to Amazon, where the Strix Scar III is $1,238 right now. But that's the 17-inch version, which drops you down to a GTX 1660 Ti GPU and a 512GB PCIe SSD comboed with a 1TB HDD.
If that isn't in your price range, take a look at our page for top cheap gaming laptops under $1,000.
Asus ROG Strix Scar III design
The Strix Scar III's gray hood has a faux-aluminum design brushed so that the lines meet near the center, with half of the hood brushed diagonally and the other half rocking a vertical gradient. The lid has an RGB-lit ROG logo, and below that there's an off-center cutout revealing the deck. Beyond that, the hinge protrudes outward with a pair of copper vents surrounding the additional ports.
Before I even opened the machine, I was greeted by an RGB light bar wrapped around the chassis. Popping open the lid reveals a carbon-fiber deck with a similarly futuristic style, but this time in black and gray.
The keyboard is a decent size, with dedicated media keys just above the keyboard, while the touchpad doubles as a numpad. The orange ROG Keystone is also visible on the right side. Its display has supernarrow bezels on the top and sides, although there is no webcam to be found.
At 4.3 pounds and 14.2 x 10.8 x 1 inches, the Strix Scar III is decently light for a 15-inch laptop, but it's a little thick. The Dell G7 15 (5.5 pounds, 14.4 x 10.8 x 0.8 inches) and the Asus ROG Zephyrus M GU502 (4.3 pounds, 14.2 x 9.9 x 0.7 inches) were much thinner.
Asus ROG Strix Scar III ports
While the Strix Scar III has a decent number of ports, it doesn't have a Mini DisplayPort, which makes setting up VR a little difficult.
The left side of the system features three USB 3.1 Type-A ports and a headphone jack, while the backside holds room for the power jack, a USB Type-C DisplayPort 1.4 port, an HDMI 2.0B port and an RJ45 port.
The right side sports the ROG Keystone, which is a magnetic, encrypted key that carries information such as custom lighting effects for the laptop. It can also unlock a piece of storage that's locked on your hard drive. In order to activate this "Shadow Drive," you have to set up an Asus account.
Asus ROG Strix Scar III display
The Strix Scar III's 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 display is decently bright and colorful, but most importantly, it has a smooth 240-Hz refresh rate with a 3-millisecond response time.
In the Morbius trailer, the titular character summoned a ball that glowed a bright red on the Strix Scar III's display. In the cave where Morbius wrangled a bunch of bats, I could see the outline and most of the details of the dark walls. The panel was sharp enough to reveal the pores on Adria Arjona's face.
The brown feathers protruding from Eltariel's shoulder pads were bold and crisp as I walked the dirt roads of Middle-earth: Shadow of War. I stepped into a dimly lit cavern and found my prey, a rat; I followed it up some steps, nailed it with an arrow and took in the picturesque scene of its corpse on the steps (evil laugh). Despite the lack of light, I could see the details in the mossy stone steps.
According to our colorimeter, the Strix Scar III covered 110% of the sRGB color gamut, topping the 109% mainstream gaming laptop average. However, it didn't get past the Dell G7 15's 114% or the Zephyrus M's 152%.
At 275 nits, the Strix Scar III isn't superbright, but it's close to the category average (278 nits). However, it's still slightly dimmer than the Dell G7 15 (303 nits) and the Zephyrus M (280 nits).
Asus ROG Strix Scar III keyboard and touchpad
Each click of the Strix Scar III's keys felt smooth and offered enough bounce for a satisfying sensation. It was super comfortable to use while typing or gaming thanks to the carbon-fiber palm rest.
I nailed 81 words per minute on the 10FastFingers.com typing test, speeding past my 70-wpm average. The key travel seemed OK, but the amount of heft it took to depress the keys was what made typing on them feel great.
The keys are individually RGB-lit, and you can customize the lighting in the Aura Sync tab of the Armoury Crate app. There are presets like Rainbow and Breathing, but if you want to go all out with the lighting, you have to download another app called Aura Creator from the Microsoft Store. Customizing the lighting through that app proved to be overly complicated, however, as Aura Creator functioned more like video-editing software.
The 4.1 x 2.8-inch touchpad is relatively soft, offers two discrete clickers and also doubles as a digital numpad, so it's kind of nice. This pad also responds well to Windows 10 gestures like two-finger scrolling and three-finger tabbing thanks to its Windows precision drivers.
Asus ROG Strix Scar III audio
There are speakers on either side of the Strix Scar III. This machine is not exactly top-firing, but thankfully, it's not bottom-firing either, and the audio was pretty solid.
The bassy instruments that open Low Roar's "I'll Keep Coming" were a bit low, but steady nonetheless. The lead vocals, as well as the backup vocals, sounded full and clear. Some of the percussion toward the middle of the song lacked impact, though. However, I could distinguish between each instrument I heard toward the end of the song as they all came together.
In Shadow of War, I shoved a sword straight into an orc's spine, and the sharp stabbing sound followed by the snap of his bones was pleasantly loud. The speakers provided enough bass to give Celebrimbor's magical abilities the amount of oomph they deserved when I pummeled orcs with my character’s pole arm or hammer. Eltariel's voice was crisp when she grunted or yelled as I rolled in circles around a pack of caragors.
Asus offers the Sonic Studio III audio app, which gives you presets for Music, Movie, Gaming and Communication. Music sounded best for both music and gaming. There are adjustable settings in the presets for Smart Volume, Voice Clarity, Bass Boost, Treble Boost, Reverb and Upmix/Surround. You can also apply different presets to specific apps so that you don't have to adjust your audio when switching among music, gaming and movies.
Asus ROG Strix Scar III gaming, graphics and VR
Underneath the hood of the Strix Scar III lies an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM that barreled through Shadow of War at 77 frames per second on Ultra, 1080p as I beat an orc with Celebrimbor's hammer until the creature was cold on the ground.
On the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark (Highest, 1080p), the Strix Scar III nailed 55 frames per second, beating the 47-fps mainstream gaming laptop average. The Zephyrus M undershot that mark, at 41 fps, while the Dell G7 15 got close, at 49 fps, with the same GPU.
The Strix Scar III averaged 86 fps on the Hitman benchmark (Ultra, 1080p), sliding past the category average (84 fps) as well as the Zephyrus M's score (73 fps). The Dell G7 15 burst into the triple digits, however, hitting 117 fps.
On the Grand Theft Auto V test (Very High, 1080p), the Strix Scar III got 64 fps, beating the mainstream gaming laptop average (58 fps) but falling short of the 66-fps mark from the Dell G7 15 and Zephyrus M.
The Strix Scar III scored a 10.3 out of 11 on the SteamVR Performance Test, sailing past the 9.1 category average. However, the Asus couldn't match the perfect 11 from the Dell G7 15.
Asus ROG Strix Scar III performance
Stacked with an Intel Core i7-9750H processor and 16GB of RAM, the Strix Scar III juggled 40 Google Chrome tabs, five 1080p YouTube videos and Spotify without missing a beat while Shadow of War ran in the background.
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 with 6GB of VRAM
Storage: 1TB SSD
Display: 15.6 inches, 1080p
Size: 14.2 x 10.8 x 1 inches
Weight: 4.3 pounds
On the Geekbench 4.3 overall performance test, the Strix Scar III scored 23,196, sliding past the 20,284 mainstream gaming laptop average. Asus' machine slowed down against the Dell G7 15 (23,863), but it did beat the Zephyrus M (19,428), and they both have the same CPU as the Strix Scar III.
The Strix Scar III transcoded a 4K video to 1080p in 10 minutes and 34 seconds, surpassing the category average (10:51) as well as the Zephyrus M's showing (10:59). However, the Strix was once against outshone by the Dell G7 15, which nailed 8:05.
Asus' 1TB SSD copied 4.97GB of data in just 9.7 seconds, which translates to 525 megabytes per second and beats the mainstream gaming laptop average (467 MBps). The Strix's SSD even crushed the Dell G7 15's 256GB SSD (127 MBps) and the Zephyrus M's 1TB SSD (392 MBps).
Asus ROG Strix Scar III battery life
For a gaming laptop, the Strix Scar III has an awesome battery life. When the laptop continuously surfed the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the Strix Scar III's battery lasted 5 hours and 9 minutes, outlasting the average mainstream gaming laptop (4:04). The Dell G7 15 (3:12) and the Zephyrus M (3:07) didn't even come close.
Asus ROG Strix Scar III webcam
Guess what? No webcam, so I can't trash talk what would've been on the Strix Scar III's bottom bezel. So, if you need a camera, take a look at our page for the best external laptop webcams.
Asus ROG Strix Scar III heat
Thanks to the Strix Scar III's plastic chassis, the heat was pretty manageable.
After I played Shadow of War for 15 minutes, the underside hit 109 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just over our 95-degree comfort threshold. The center of the keyboard and mouse hit 103 and 83 degrees, respectively. The hottest the machine got was 130 degrees on the underside near the vents, but even that didn't feel very hot — just warm.
On our normal heat test, streaming a 15-minute, 1080p video, the underside reached 91 degrees, the keyboard hit 86 degrees and the touchpad got to 78 degrees.
Asus ROG Strix Scar III software and warranty
Like with its Zephyrus laptops, Asus arms Strix notebooks with the Armoury Crate, which you can use to manage the performance of the CPU, GPU and fans. In the same app, you can also customize the key lighting, aggregate games from other launchers, and create profiles for performance and lighting based on what you're playing or doing.
The GameVisual app adjusts the color of your display, and the GameFirst V app monitors and limits your network bandwidth for certain apps. There's also the MyAsus app, which can run system diagnostics and hardware checks on your system.
Windows 10 bloatware includes stuff like Candy Crush Saga, Gardenscapes and Asphalt Street Storm Racing.
The Asus ROG Strix Scar III is quite the impressive gaming laptop, offering strong performance, a 240-Hz panel, long battery life, a clicky keyboard and decent speakers. However, keep in mind that this machine lacks a webcam and the chassis is a bit thick.
If you're put off by the missing webcam and the chassis, check out the Dell G7 15 (2019), which is a similar price and offers a thinner chassis, stronger performance, a brighter display and a webcam in the right spot.
But overall, the Asus ROG Strix Scar III is one of the best gaming laptops you can buy right now.