Gaming laptops are getting bigger this year. Case in point: The Asus ROG Strix G18 has a huge 18-inch screen that's great for gaming. But despite the intimidating size, the G18 is actually not as powerful as some of the high-end gaming notebooks I have tested this year. For one, the G18 has a relatively modest GeForce RTX 4070 graphics chip. But it also means that you won't get sticker shock — my review set is just under S$4,000.
- 18-inch 2,560 x 1,600-pixel IPS display (60Hz, 240Hz)
- Intel Core i9-13980HX chip with Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop graphics
- 2x USB Type-A, USB-C, Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, Ethernet port, combo audio jack
- 90 watt-hour battery
As mentioned, the G18 has a GeForce RTX 4070 graphics chip. Which is fine by itself, though it feels like a mismatch with the laptop's 24-core Intel Core i9-13980HX processor. A GeForce RTX 4080 or even better, a RTX 4090 would have been more appropriate. After all, the Core i9-13980HX is Intel's latest flagship mobile CPU. It scored 2,895 for single-core performance in Geekbench 6. The Lenovo Legion Pro 7i, which has an Intel Core i9-13900HX CPU managed only 2,589. While you could argue that the G18 is held back by its graphics chip, its gaming performance is still pretty good. It produced 92fps at Ultra setting at 1080p in Watch Dogs: Legion. But that's lower than the 117fps by the RTX 4080-powered Lenovo. Increasing the G18's resolution to its native 2,560 x 1,600 pixels saw the frame rates dip to a still-smooth 62fps.
However, the G18 appears to fare better than similar gaming laptops when it comes to thermals. Thanks to having three cooling fans instead of the usual dual-fan setup, the G18 ran significantly cooler, albeit a tad louder than the Legion Pro 7i. The G18's graphics chip peaked at 69 degrees Celsius compared with 86 degrees for the Legion while running the demanding 3DMark Time Spy Extreme stress test. Note that both laptops are using different graphics chips. The keyboard felt relatively cool to touch during long gaming sessions, which is a big plus point. Speaking of which, I like the dedicated keyboard shortcuts for the fan modes (Silent, Performance, Turbo), volume adjustment, and mic mute. There's also a shortcut for Asus' Armoury Crate app to monitor and control the laptop settings.
Design-wise, there's no mistaking the G18 for anything but a gaming laptop. For starters, it's massive, and heavy (around 3kg). And there's a prominent RGB light bar at its front edge and a backlit ROG logo on the lid. But I was slightly surprised that the laptop ports are at the sides, and not the rear. Instead, the back of the laptop is all for ventilation. This design probably helps with the cooling, though it also means that the sides can get cluttered. The laptop could also do with a couple more USB-A (there's just two) ports. The 18-inch 16:10 IPS display, though, is about as good as it gets on a 2023 model. It's bright (up to 500 nits), and supports G-Sync (with a 240Hz refresh rate), as well as Dolby Vision HDR. The anti-glare coating works pretty well, too.
At S$3,848, the Asus ROG Strix G18 is fairly competitive for a gaming notebook from a major PC brand. I think the Aftershock Nova 16X is a better deal if performance is your priority, and it runs just as cool — with the optional water-cooling module — as the G18. But the Asus looks more flashy, and a larger screen, of course. The G18 is available now from Lazada, Shopee, and Amazon SG.
Note: Review unit provided by Asus.
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