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Asus ROG Strix 15 gaming laptop review
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Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 (2021) gaming laptop review

The new Strix Scar 15 is as flashy as it is powerful.

(Image: © ROG)

Our Verdict

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 is one of the most powerful 15-inch gaming laptops out there, with a speedy display and cool RGB to boot.

For

  • Powerful performance
  • Speedy display options

Against

  • No webcam

The ROG Strix Scar 15 G533QS shows that Asus is very serious about its line of AMD-powered gaming laptops. In the race to the top of the CPU fight, AMD has closed the gap with Intel, offering some stiff competition in pricing and performance.  

Technical Specs

Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
Memory: 32 GB
Display: 15.6 QHD 165 Hz
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Battery: 90 Wh
Connectivity: 3x USB 3.2, 1x USB 3.2 Type-C, 1 HDMI 2.0b, 1x Mini DisplayPort, 1x ethernet
OS: Windows 10 Home/Professional 64 Bit
Dimensions: 13.94 x 10.2  x 1.07 inches
Weight: 5.07 lbs
Warranty: One year limited
Price: $2,700

The G533QS is the more expensive of the two Scar 15 configs, this one sporting an RTX 3080. Aside from that, there's not much difference between this model and the G533QR, other than that machine is powered by an RTX 3070. Each can be fitted with an AMD Cezanne-H chip (either Ryzen 7 5800H or Ryzen 9 5900HX). Between the memory and display options on offer with the new Scar 15, you're looking at a final price tag of anywhere from $2,000 to $2,700. Only slightly cheaper than its big brother the Scar 17, the Scar 15 manages to fit a lot of power into a smaller chassis. 

One of the first things you'll notice about this 15-inch laptop is the design. The Strix line of laptops is very much geared towards competitive gamers, so the looks skew towards the flashy, designed to let everyone know you're a gamer who plays games with very high frame rates. 

The diagonal slash across the lid with accompanying dot matrix pattern is sleek, although I think the massive ROG eye logo is a bit too large; on the other hand, hey, it has RGB illumination. The RGB LEDs don't end there; the Scar's most impressive design touch is the wraparound light bar that runs along the bottom front part of the laptop, controlled via ASUS Aura Sync, like the rest of the RGB.

This Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 has got a speedy 1440p IPS panel with a 165Hz refresh rate. There are also configs for a 1080p/300Hz display or slotting in an RTX 3070 instead of the RTX 3080 if you are looking to save a little scratch. Going the 1440p/165Hz route will make the most of the RTX 3080 crammed inside the Scar 15, so long as you can afford the $2,700 price point. 

In action, the screen is a thing of beauty—whether that's gaming or watching media. I spent most of last weekend watching hours of superheroes beat the holy hell of each other in Invincible, and the colors just pop.

The super-thin bezels make gaming and movie watching more immersive, although the trade-off is you have no webcam. Paying over $2,000 for a laptop without a webcam (even a crappy one) does sting a bit, but considering everything else the Scar 15 does so well, I'll allow it. So, if you take a lot of video calls for work or chatting with your friends, pick up one of the best webcams for gaming, and maybe a mic while you're at it. The built-in noise-canceling mic is serviceable but sounds a bit too tinny for any serious recording.

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The typing experience on the Scar 15 can easily be overlooked when confronted by all the lights and colors of the system as a whole, but the optical-mechanical keyboard feels good to type on. My words per minute hover around 75 on a good day, with 90 percent accuracy. I hit on average 70 at 80 percent accuracy on the Strix's keyboard, which isn't too bad. 

Since this model has a 1440p display, I ran most of the benchmarks at its native resolution. Since its release, the Ryzen 9 5900HX has proven to be a powerful CPU and has become a seriously desirable component in gaming laptops. It's worth noting that the chip is a far cry from the desktop Ryzen 9 5900X, which has 12 cores instead of the 5900HX's overclocked 8 cores. Performance-wise it hangs on the higher end of CPU-intensive performance than other 15-inchers like the MSI GS66 Stealth, Gigabyte Aorus 15G, and Razer Blade 15. 

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Benchmarks

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It's a powerful mobile chip that easily overtakes Intel's offering. It's no surprise more laptop makers are launching AMD gaming laptops. Couple that with 32GB of RAM, and you have a decent little workstation.

We mentioned earlier that if you're going for the RTX 3080 configuration, going with the higher resolution seems like a no-brainer. The Scar 15 hits well over 70fps on most of our gaming tests, with the notable exception of Metro Exodus hitting around 56fps with all the bells and whistles cranked up from our testing. Of course, if you opted for 1080p gaming, you'll hit some impressive numbers. I'm back to playing the current Apex Legends season and was easily hitting on average 160fps on Ultra at 1440p, which looks great in motion. 

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The touchpad is spacious and made day-to-day use pretty easy. If you're going to game, a wireless mouse or gamepad is still the best option for messing up demons in Doom Eternal. The touch-pad also has a toggle to change it into Numpad, which isn't new, but as someone who types into a spreadsheet every day, I'll take having a ten-keypad somewhere.

The Asus ROG Strix SCAR 15 G533QS much like its bigger (and costlier) Asus Scar 17 sibling, is a hell of a gaming laptop. Its power only matches its flashy unapologetic RGB heavy design. The powerful AMD CPU, beautiful display, and gaming performance make the Scar 15 one of the best 15-inch gaming laptops we've tested this year. 

The Verdict
Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 (2021)

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 is one of the most powerful 15-inch gaming laptops out there, with a speedy display and cool RGB to boot.

Jorge Jimenez is a Hardware Writer from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he's not filling the office with the smell of Pop-Tarts, you can find Jorge streaming bad games with his dog or binge-watching an irresponsible amount of superhero TV shows.