Asus has been offering a wide range of products for gamers under its affordable TUF range and the more premium ROG (Republic of Gamers) range. Now if you are particularly looking for a gaming laptop that brings you the ROG experience at a slightly affordable range, the company has the ROG Strix G. Launched in the second half of 2019 this is more of an entry-level ROG product. Available at a budget of under Rs 1 lakh, the Strix G is available 15-inch (G531) and 17-inch (G731) screen sizes and we took the larger model through its paces.
Now the notebook clearly takes inspiration and sits right below the Strix III range. It has a very similar design including that distinctive RGB LED strip at the bottom. The lid and the keyboard deck come with this faux brushed metal finish too. But there are clearly some cost cuttings, for instance, the entire casing is made out of plastic. Also, Asus has taken away the Keystone security feature on the laptop that was seen on the Strix III series.
The hinge does raise a bit of concern as the large exhaust grilles at the rear restricts the angle to only about 120 degrees. Also, it isn’t as rigid as I was expecting. Having said that, the notebook doesn’t look shabby at all. From a distance, it is unmistakably a gaming laptop. There is minimal flex, and overall the machine feels sturdy. It is a bit on the heavy side, but that is something that once expects from a gaming machine, especially a 17-inch one.
The top and side bezels around the display are slim to cut down the overall size, but somehow the machine is not the slimmest one out there. But on the other hand, the large grills at the back help in cooling the hardware better.
Connectivity and Ports
You get all basic ports including three standard USB ports utilizing the USB3.2 (Gen1) standard, an HDMI port, an ethernet port and a headphone and mic combo. Surprisingly there is no USB Type-C which is weird in this time and age. Notably, higher configurations do offer this port. Also, there is no SD card slot or a webcam, which is disappointing for casual streamers. Apart from that, the Intel Wireless-AC 9560 offering 1.73Gbps of maximum speeds along with Bluetooth 5.0.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The chiclet keyboard does offer RGB backlighting and I found the overall experience to be pretty decent. It offers good key-travel although they do feel a bit mushy. Also, the RGB backlight is a single zone and not per-key RGB since it is comparatively a cheaper product. The NumPad and Arrow keys are notably smaller than the rest of the keys, which makes no sense, especially on a 17.3-inch form factor.
The touchpad comes with dedicated left and right mouse buttons which were nice to see, and the overall touch and gesture response felt on point to me.
The display panel on the Strix G makes use of an IPS panel with 1080p resolution. Asus’ official website doesn’t mention this, but you can get it in 60Hz, 120Hz and even 144Hz. The one I got offered 120Hz which is advisable if you are planning to play esports titles.
It is a matte display and offers decent looking colours and brightness while the response rate is pretty much on point. It isn’t as high-end as some of the more expensive notebooks and considering the high refresh rate, the colour gamut isn’t suited for studio work. Other than that, I think the display is perfectly good for casual gaming.
I was sent the basic configuration courtesy Intel to test here which included the 9th-gen Intel Core i5-9300H quad-core processor. It is a very capable chipset clocked at 2.4GHz with boost speeds going up to 4.1GHz. There is also Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 GPU offering 4GB of video memory and 8GB of DDR4 RAM clocked at 2666MHz which is expandable to 32GB. For storage, you get a 512GB NVMe SSD with a 1TB hybrid HDD. The notebook can also be configured with Intel’s more powerful Core i7 9750H six-core processor, 16GB of RAM, Nvidia RTX 2070 and dual-storage option. At the time of writing, Asus India’s website only mentions the option of either the Nividia GTX 1650 or the GTX 1050. However, a couple of months back there were certain variants with Nvidia’s RTX 2060 and 2070 GPUs on Amazon.
The notebook, particularly the model I reviewed, is made for an entry-level gamer or someone who likes to indulge in esports titles. So expect close to 80fps on games like PUBG and Apex Legends at medium settings and up to 100fps if you further dial down the graphics settings. The high-refresh-rate display is definitely recommended from my side although there is no Nvidia G-Sync. I was satisfied with the gaming performance while thermals were pretty much in check with the center of the keyboard and the rear getting warm under heavy loads.
There is a dedicated key to switch between fan speed profiles while you can also use the dedicated ROG Armory crate software for enhanced control of the system as well as the lighting at the bottom and the keyboard. For regular tasks like surfing the web and watching videos, this is a mighty powerful machine. One thing that disappointed me was that the RGB strip at the bottom and the RGB lighting on the keyboard are tied together, which means you cannot have separate colours on the two.
The battery is rated at 66Whr which is pretty average for a 17-inch notebook. It lasts about 2-3 hours depending on the brightness and refresh rate you are set on. The company offers a fairly compact 150W charger to juice up the machine.
There is a lot to like about the ROG Strix G. The performance of the hardware is reliable while the overall design looks good despite the use of plastic. For an entry-level ROG gaming laptop, Asus has tried its best to provide the best experience at the asking price. There are a few shortcomings but I don’t believe that they are big enough to bother the customer. The range is made for someone who wants to jump on to some popular games, especially in the esports segment. High-end gaming titles should be supported, but don't expect a lot. Also, the high-refresh display is highly recommended.Disclaimer: The review unit was sourced and sent to us by Intel India.