Gaming

ASUS ROG Strix Scar II (GL704) Review: Feels smaller, performs better

Now with RTX graphics

Published

on

This is not the same laptop we reviewed before from ASUS. They do look alike and even have identical names, but this one is the bigger brother. This is the GL704 model of the ROG Strix Scar II with a 17-inch display.

It’s not every day that we get to play with 17-inch laptops, because they are simply cumbersome to bring around. They’re heavy and bulky, plus they don’t easily fit inside laptop bags. This one is different though; it’s like a 15-inch notebook thanks to its ultra-slim bezels.

Not only that, but it also has the latest discrete graphics available for laptops — the GeForce RTX series from NVIDIA.

What is it like to bring around a 17-inch gaming laptop? Here’s my review.

It’s got a high-gloss metal lid

The ROG logo still lights up, too

There are plenty of ports on the left

(L-R) Power, Ethernet, mini-DisplayPort, HDMI, 3x USB-A, 3.5mm audio 

With a few more on the right

(L-R) SD card slot, USB-C, USB-A, Kensington lock 

The back is where the heat comes out

Away from the user 

The keyboard is FPS-friendly

You won’t miss the WASD keys for sure 

There’s another ROG logo inside

To remind you that it’s a gaming laptop 

The ultra-narrow bezels are to die for

Kinda reminds me of the Dell XPS 13 

It looks very familiar

The GL704 is essentially an enlarged version of the previous 15-inch variant. Right off the bat, you can tell that this is an ROG laptop. It has the aesthetics of a gaming notebook complete with a camouflage pattern and RGB lights.

The chiclet keys which ASUS calls HyperStrike Pro are not mechanical, but they are clicky and well-spaced. Since the Scar II is designed for FPS games, it has transparent WASD keycaps. If you’re more into MOBA, you should look into the Strix Hero II.

What makes this keyboard game-friendly are the little adjustments that make a world of difference. There are gaps between the function keys for easier identification, the spacebar is slightly extended and reshaped for fewer misses, and the arrow keys are not cramped.

As for the trackpad, it has a smooth surface and it uses Windows Precision drivers. It has support for all the Windows 10 gestures and two separate buttons for left and right click. While the trackpad is a good one, ASUS also bundles the Strix Scar II with a gaming mouse.

Inside the box, you get a free ROG Impact mouse which I find responsive. The mouse has an RGB ROG logo which is customizable via ASUS Aura Sync, as well. It also has a DPI switch smack in the middle that’s handy in combat games. You’ll just have to get a nice mousepad to match the peripheral.

The overall construction of the Strix Scar II is near premium. By mixing metal and hard plastic, you get the best of both worlds. The aluminum cover lid defines the craftsmanship of the laptop, while the majority of the chassis is understandably made out of polycarbonate to help with the thermals.

Speaking of, ASUS is proud of their new HyperCool Pro thermal system which doesn’t only keep the laptop’s temperature in check, but it also expels dust particles and dirt that may get trapped inside the fans.

Specs make the difference

The main reason why you should get the GL704 is its graphics card. It’s one of the first in the market to have the latest GeForce RTX graphics from NVIDIA. The particular model I have for review sports the RTX 2060 with 6GB GDDR6, although it also comes with the more capable RTX 2070.

The full specs of the laptop include an Intel Core i7-8750H processor and 16GB DDR4 memory. For storage, it has a main 256GB PCIe SSD and secondary 1TB SSHD for the large chunk of files like your AAA games.

On the software side, there are a lot of pre-installed apps to complete the ROG experience like the ROG Armoury Crate which acts as a hub to check the laptop’s condition. There’s also GameFirst V for network optimization, ROG GameVisual for tweaking the display, Sonic Studio III for adjusting the audio, and Sonic Radar III for optimizing the surround sound effect on supported games.

There aren’t many titles out there that take advantage of ray tracing, which is the main selling point of the new RTX graphics. Good thing Battlefield V got updated to support ray tracing for improved reflections. However, Battlefield V is such an action-packed game that you might not fully notice the improvements during combat.

Here’s a comparison with ray tracing turned on and off. The game’s settings panel doesn’t allow for complete shutdown of ray tracing, so the closest to off is low. The preset graphics has to be set to low as well, which drastically changes the whole environment.

Anyhow, ray tracing is all about realistic and real-time reflections. You can see the water puddles nicely show the capabilities of RTX. Everything is shinier with ray tracing. In ultra settings, Battlefield V on the Strix Scar II averages around 55fps and spikes above 60fps when there’s not much going on in the scene.

Outside ray tracing, the Strix Scar II can easily handle other popular titles. I was able to enjoy Apex Legends on its highest-possible settings at around 110fps, while Fortnite averages 100fps

Is ray tracing worth the upgrade? That depends on where you’re coming from. Those on GTX-series graphics might not find RTX on mobile to be lucrative enough, and they can skip this for now because the previous generation’s graphics cards are still some of the best out there. Also, the number of titles supporting ray tracing won’t excite the whole gaming population.

It’s not an Ultrabook

Nobody should expect long battery life from a gaming laptop, at least for now. When playing games on the Strix Scar II, you should have it plugged in to ensure that the graphics card is not working with limited power.

When you do need to unplug and use the laptop remotely, you have three hours before the laptop puts itself to sleep and wait for its charger. Charging the Strix Scar II will take about an hour and a half using the included 230W power adapter.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The ROG Strix Scar II is ASUS’ special machine for those who are competitive in FPS gaming. It’s also a treat to AAA-title gamers thanks to its upgraded RTX graphics. It’s the smallest 17-inch gaming notebook with next-generation performance, so what more could you ask for? Aside from a better webcam placement and battery, of course.

A machine this good comes at a price. It starts at PhP 124,995 (US$ 2,400) which gives you RTX 2060 graphics. If you want to have a more powerful 17-inch gaming laptop, you could get the RTX 2070 variant for PhP 149,995 (US$ 2,885). Both variants are available in ROG SM Megamall and ROG Concept Stores in the Philippines.

A piece of advice: If you’re getting a gaming notebook and have the money for it, you should go for the high-end model because you won’t be able the upgrade the graphics chip after purchase.

SEE ALSO: The ASUS ZenBook S13 does the job while looking good

Apps

AdorableHome: What’s got everyone hooked?

Send help

Published

on

By

I have to preface this article with the fact that I struggled a bit to write it because I was mainly obsessing over the tiny details of my home in AdorableHome. I can’t stop and I need help. Being assigned this article was a bit of a mistake considering I have a tendency of fixating over details with games like these. I want everything nice to fill the void that is the impossibility of all this being ever real in my lifetime.

What is AdorableHome?

It’s everything I need to escape my miserable life. Jokes aside, AdorableHome is a cute simulation mobile game developed by HyperBeard. The game seems to be a tip of the hat to Neko Atsume by Hit-Point Co., Ltd. with cats being the surrounding theme.

The game starts off with you picking out your character and your partner. It’s lovely to see that the developers didn’t pre-select your partner to be exclusively the opposite sex. You begin with just having moved into a new flat with your partner with your charming cat.

What is love?

“Baby, don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me, no more.” Back to the game. It’s interesting. It doesn’t really stop at having cats dominate your home. AdorableHome lives up to its name quite literally. The currency of the game is “Love” which you can obtain by tending to your cat: feeding, petting, and grooming. And, it doesn’t stop there.

The game has you prep a bento box for your partner and you earn “Love” from that too. Similarly, cute elements give collectable love: the weather, lucky TV shows, and visitors.

Cats aren’t the only catch

I think the thing that got me hook, line, and sinker into this game is the fact that you get to furnish and design the home you moved into. There’s just so much decorating and styling on top of taking care of the cats and it just incentivizes making sure the cats are taken care of.

I mean, I spent almost half an hour making sure the garden looked great. But, there’s more reason to switch out and jazz up every room you have access to: visitors.

Silly memories and cute visitors

Once you expand to the garden, you quickly encounter other adorable animals. Which brings me to another thing that makes you check the game every now and again: the silly animals that show up and the memories.

When you sometimes launch the game, it asks you to take a photo which then is transferred to a photo album that shows every sweet or silly interaction. On top of that, there’s just a quirky bunch of animals that visit your home. They appear and disappear at random but, it’s fun to spot unlikely creatures hanging around your home.

There is a polar bear on my desk chair. A POLAR BEAR. Okay, game, okay.

Not as easy?

AdorableHome is a twinge deceptive with its simplicity. The game doesn’t just highlight the collection of cats in your household. It strangely brings to light the responsibilities that having a pet entail. The game goes into lengths to have you feed, pet, cut their nails, and bathe them.

Granted the game does lend an unrealistic number of times to which you tend to their needs, it does try. A detail that I love and hate about bathing the cats in the game is maintaining the temperature at warm, not scorching nor cool.

Cheats and ways to get the good good

Syke! Don’t cheat boys, girls, unicorns, and dragons. Unless you want to take away all the fun of the game then, go ahead. Anyways, playing this game sort of came at a serendipitous time. I’ve been thinking of adopting a pet for a while. I love animals, reptiles included.

I did, at some point, even saved up to get a bearded dragon but, you get the point. It’s been a point of contention to get a pet. I haven’t been sure if I had stable finances to care for a kitten or a pup. But recently, I’ve managed to save up after getting off my antidepressants.

Long story short, I’m looking to adopt a cat soon. Where I live, security has been chucking cats and kittens into sacks for disposal so, I figured it was high time I took a cat safely home.

From this process, I’d come to realize the value in adopting over shopping. I grew up surrounded by a good bunch of both adopted and bought pets. Taking care of both was equally fulfilling but I think that shifts when you realized the attention and affection you give to an adopted pet.

Adopt don’t shop, responsibly

Most pets set for adoption have gone through some form of mistreatment. And, that’s not to say, all of them have. I know some pets up for adoption are well cared for and that’s what the caretaker or owner ultimately wants: a loving home. So, establishing boundaries and hurdling through some trauma, I think it’s safe to say adopting can be a bit more challenging yet, even more fulfilling.

If you’d like to give this game a go, AdorableHome is available only on GooglePlay for Android (for now).

Continue Reading

Gaming

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is now available

The first laptop with a whopping 300Hz refresh rate

Published

on

ASUS ROG continues to roll out more premium gaming devices, with the latest one coming from the Zephyrus lineup. The two new Zephyrus laptops now come with the highest refresh rate on any device along with powerful hardware.

Starting today, you can get your hands on the new ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701. The new  Zephyrus S comes with a 17.3-inch IPS FHD display with a whopping 300Hz refresh rate. To complement this high of a refresh rate, ASUS ROG even slapped in either an NVIDIA RTX 2070 or NVIDIA RTX 2080 inside. Along with the latest Intel Core i7 processor inside, the ROG Zephyrus S GX701 looks to be the ideal gaming laptop for the pros.

Depending on the unit you get, you also get up to 32 GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage. All of these contribute to unparalleled performance for any task you throw at it, or any game you throw at it. Both units also come with Gigabit WiFi adapters for better wireless connectivity and Bluetooth 5.0. When you purchase the whole package, you also get a free ROG Backpack, Cerberus Gaming Headset, teh ROG Gladius II, and an ROG Eye webcam.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is available in all ASUS and ASUS ROG Concept Stores. The 32GB RAM, RTX 2080 unit is priced at PhP 209,995, while the 16GB RAM, RTX 2070 unit comes in at PhP 169,995.

Continue Reading

Gaming

FFVII remake teasers now comes with behind the scenes footage

A look into the iconic theme song and squad

Published

on

A delay in release did not stop Square Enix from teasing Final Fantasy fans even more. This time, however, the company is  just giving us two things to prepare our minds and hearts for the remake.

The first one, as you’ve seen from the header image, an HD recreation of Cloud Strife and his trusty motorcycle. An entire cast literally joins him in the picture, including Aerith, Tifa, Barret, and even Red XIII. Looks like this is just feeding more details on character art, more than anything else.

The second one is actually a behind-the-scenes look into the end theme of the whole remake. Nobuo Uematsu guides us through the creative process behind the end theme, including the recording sessions for it. To see more of it, here’s the entire behind-the-scenes footage:

Square Enix’ remake of Final Fantasy VII will be released on April 10, 2020. It will only be available for the PlayStation 4, and pre-orders are still being accepted.

Continue Reading

Trending