ASUS ROG Strix GL504 Hero II Review: A no-compromise RGB fiesta
It’s a great time to be alive if you’re a gamer. From crazy desktop rigs to portable gaming phones, there’s a plethora of equipment to choose from. We recently got to check out the ASUS ROG Strix Scar II and we can’t wait to tell you how happy we are about its existence!
Design & Build
The Strix boasts of a beautiful design that is both functional and gorgeous. The lid of the laptop has the RGB ROG logo that mimics the keyboard backlight; a pretty sweet addition IMO. The lid is divided into two patterns by a diagonal line that runs through the entire surface. The lid has a trapezium cutout at the bottom that allows the user to check LED indicators for battery, airplane mode and more without having to open the lid.
The front edge of the laptop has the gleaming RGB LED strip that also works in tandem with the keyboard backlight & the ROG logo. As soon as you open the laptop you get the look at the wonderfully crafted welcoming interior.
The Strix has a full-sized keyboard with a numeric keypad. Above the regular keyboard are 4 additional keys, namely; volume +/-, microphone mute and a shortcut to the ROG gaming centre (very useful additions that too). The top right edge of the keyboard surface has the power button in the shape of a parallelogram and is very satisfying to click. Coming back to the keyboard, the WASD keys are transparent and give us a peek at the keyboard mechanism. The transparency makes them easy to locate and also enhances the brilliant RGB lighting setup. The keyboard buttons were a bit too mushy for my liking. I would’ve loved a clickier keyboard. The trackpad location is another thing I’m not a big fan of. It’s situated a bit too much towards the left and often comes in the way while typing.
All in all, the laptop is very sturdily and thoughtfully built. If you ever decide to use this at Starbucks, rest assure of grabbing ‘kaafi’ eyeballs.
Display & Webcam
The Strix boasts of a 15.6-inch FullHD 144hz display that is simply a pleasure to look at. Be it the surreal graphics on FarCry 5 or MKBHD’s latest crispy video, the display delivers with full force. The display has an anti-glare coating which provides for a long comfortable gaming experience. On the other hand, the display is definitely not the brightest we’ve seen. But being a gaming laptop, prospective buyers shouldn’t be worried about it. What adds to the viewing experience is the slim bezels on three sides, almost making me believe that I’m using a Dell XPS 13.
Talking about Dell XPS 13, there’s another feature that seems to be borrowed from it; the webcam. Due to a slim top bezel, the webcam on the Strix finds a place at the bottom right of the display panel. The quality is very mediocre and the angle, worse. You should definitely buy a webcam for your live streaming needs.
Performance & Gaming
The Strix is powered by an 8th Gen i7-8750H and 16GB DDR4 RAM. For all the gamers there, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 will be powering all your gaming needs. The above two sentences establish the dominance of the gaming laptop on paper, but what about real-life performance? You won’t be disappointed!
The Strix Scar II is a beast and doesn’t shy away from doing justice to the ROG brand name. 20 Chrome tabs with video streaming? Check. 15 Chrome tabs with FarCry 5 open in the background? Check. Torrent + 15 active Chrome tabs + FarCry 5? Still running strong! All in all, there’s probably nothing this laptop can’t handle.
FarCry 5 is one game I majorly tested, at the highest settings, and it ran very smoothly at all given instances. While I couldn’t get FPS numbers, I’m pretty confident they were above 55-60FPS at all given times. The dual side-firing speakers were also pretty good, but if you’re looking to game seriously, investing in a pair of headphones will be the best bet.
At peak performance, the laptop automatically switches up the two fans to overboost mode to keep up consistent performance without overheating the internals. At full speed, the fans do get a bit noisy, but nothing too much to distract you from anything. The only place I felt heat was at the top centre of the bottom panel of the laptop. The keyboard stayed pretty cool and was comfortable for long gaming sessions.
While the laptop rocks solid internals, a bevy of software tricks truly helps unlock the laptop’s full potential. For example, the dedicated ROG Gaming Centre button at the top of the keyboard helps you dive into information that is relevant to you for your gaming needs. Pressing the button instantly pops up a cool panel from where you can adjust gaming profiles, access CPU & GPU speeds, see RAM usage and change fan speed and RGB settings, amongst various other features and settings.
There’s also a ROG Gaming Centre application that you can install on your Android or iOS phone to help you change settings on your laptop without having to quit the game you’re playing! For all streamers, there’s XSplit Gamecaster inbuilt that lets you live-stream and broadcast your gaming sessions directly to internet streaming platforms.
There’s so much more to explore and the variety of settings and features truly lets you make your laptop your own!
Since it’s a gaming laptop, it’s best we don’t talk about battery backup. For starters, don’t even think about playing heavy games without plugging in. But if you ever decide to use the laptop otherwise, without plugging in, the laptop should last you about 2.5-3 hours on medium usage. If you decide to not flaunt the RGB lighting setup, you can probably get an additional 15-20 minutes of usage.
Charging the laptop takes about 1.5-2 hours depending on if you’re using the laptop simultaneously or not.
Come for a gaming laptop, and you won’t be disappointed with the availability of ports. Port selection on the GL504 includes the following: Gigabit RJ-45, mDP 1.2, HDMI 2.0, 3x USB 3.1 Type-A, 3.5 mm combo audio, Kensington Lock, AC Adapter, USB 3.1 Type-C (no Thunderbolt 3 support) and an SD Card slot.
The laptop has Bluetooth and WiFi support as well. ASUS claims that the ROG Strix gaming laptops are the first in the world to feature multi-antenna WiFi for the strongest possible signal. In my testing, I found the laptop to actually catch WiFi signals throughout the length and the breadth of my house without any trouble (which is great).
So, what do I think of the laptop? Is it worth the purchase? The ASUS Strix II GL504 is a wonderful piece of hardware that is powered by the 8th Gen Intel i7 chip, 16GB of RAM and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. Add RGB lighting and great software to the mix and you have a rig that can rip through the heaviest of games at max settings. And although it’s heavy on performance, it doesn’t fail to put up a show. Angular design, stupendous RGB lighting and the slick camo print running through the keyboard, all make it a feast to look at.
If you can swallow the heavy price tag and mediocre battery performance, then the ROG Strix II GL504 is definitely the laptop to go for. If you want to save a few bucks, MSI GF72, HP Omen 17, or Acer Predator Helios 300 are worthy alternatives.