Their names may sound like characters from the Lion King, but two new mid-range Asus gaming laptops are designed to help you vanquish virtual enemies in ways that aren't suitable for all audiences. Due out in Q3 for an undisclosed price, the 17-inch ROG Strix Scar and 15.6-inch ROG Strix Hero target first-person shooter and multiplayer online battle arena fans with their responsive keyboards and colorful, low-latency screens.
Both the Scar and the Hero have "desktop-style" keyboards with key caps that are curved more like a standalone keyboard. To avoid getting your gun jammed while an enemy is coming right at you, the keyboard has N key rollover. The keys offer snappy feedback and fairly deep travel -- an Asus rep said it's 1.8mm deep -- but they don't have mechanical switches like you'll find on the highest-end gaming laptops.
The RGB keys looked bright and colorful when we got a brief demo at Asus's Computex booth. The WASD keys are specifically marked so they're easy to identify and you can customize the lighting in four different zones.
The black, 15.6-inch ROG Strix Hero has a subtle, but attractive diagonal pattern on its matte plastic deck. At 15.1 x 10.3 x 0.9 inches and 4.85 pounds, it's rather light for a mid-range gaming laptop, but not particularly thin. The laptop's 1920 x 1080 display runs at 120 Hz to avoid motion blur and promises to reproduce 72 percent of the NTSC color gamut.
The dark-gray ROG Strix Scar has a deck pattern that looks a lot like the checkered surface on Dell's XPS laptops. However, Asus's laptop is made from matte plastic, not the luxurious carbon fiber that adorns the XPS 13 and 15. The 5.95-pound laptop isn't exactly light weight or, at 16.3 x 11 x 0.94 inches, compact but it is more portable than many other 17-inch laptops.
The Scar's 17-inch screen also runs at a modest 1920 x 1080 resolution, but in a step up from the hero, it's made to reproduce 94 percent of the NTSC color gamut. It's also a 120 Hz panel and has a brisk 5ms response time.
On the inside, both laptops have quad-core Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs, up to 32GB RAM and a variety of hard drive and SSD storage options. The Hero will be available with either Nvidia GTX 1050 or 1060 graphics while the Scar will come with up to an Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU.
Asus hasn't announced pricing or a price release date for the ROG Strix Hero and ROG Strix Scar, but both should be available by the end of Q3.