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Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 review: Powerful and cool

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 review: Powerful and cool

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 is stuffed to its gills with the latest high-end gaming hardware. That's hardly a surprise seeing as it's the Taiwanese PC maker's flagship gaming laptop for the year. Besides offering excellent gaming performance, it also runs relatively cool. But you'll have to fork out a considerable amount for this powerhouse — my souped-up review set is S$5,699.

Quick specs

  • 16-inch 2,560 x 1,600-pixel IPS display (60Hz, 240Hz)
  • Intel Core i9-14900HX chip with Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 graphics
  • 2x USB Type-A, USB-C, Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, Ethernet port, combo audio jack
  • 90 watt-hour battery

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 is anything but subtle. There are LEDs at the front and back edges, as well as a backlit ROG logo on the lid. Part of the lid sticks out slightly to accommodate the webcam, and makes it easy to open the laptop. Unfortunately, Asus missed the opportunity to add an infrared camera here, and there's no fingerprint sensor, either. The 16-inch screen, dubbed Nebula Display, is not the Mini-LED version — that's the Nebula HDR Display. But it has the same crisp 2,560 x 1,600-pixel resolution, and 240Hz refresh rate as the Mini-LED variant. The matte finish is very effective at reducing reflections. Meanwhile, the display's 500 nits brightness, and Dolby Vision support mean that this laptop is great for Netflix when you're taking a break from gaming.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

Like last year's Asus ROG Strix G18, the ports are all at the sides — no rear ports. Due to the massive side vents, these ports are also pushed forward, which means things can get a bit cramped. The USB-A ports, for example, are located on the right, which could mean getting in the way of your mouse. But Asus is rightly prioritising ventilation and cooling here. The keyboard, which offers good key travel, remains cool during gaming. Even the bottom of the laptop, while warm, is tolerable to the touch. The side vents emit fairly warm air, but they don't blow directly over my mouse hand. And while I could constantly hear the fan, it's far from annoying. There's no high-pitched whine, for one. The CPU temperature topped out at 86 degrees Celsius during a 3DMark stress test.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

The touchpad doubles up as a numeric keypad with a long-press. There are five convenient shortcut keys for functions like volume control, and microphone mute — you can change these functions using the Asus Armoury Crate app. With the latest Intel's 14th-gen Core i9 processor, and Nvidia's flagship GeForce RTX 4090 graphics onboard, the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (set to Performance mode) breezes through our benchmarks. It produced 128fps in Watch Dogs: Legion at Ultra setting at 1080p compared with 117fps for the RTX 4090-equipped Razer Blade 18. In Metro Exodus, it managed 129fps at 1080p Ultra setting with ray tracing. Unsurprisingly, this laptop's Geekbench 6 score of 3,011 is higher than the Blade 18 (2,895), which uses the older Intel Core i9-13980HX chip. The Asus also excelled in PCMark 10 — its 8915 score is the highest among the notebooks I have tested.

In short, the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 delivers the performance you'd expect from a flagship gaming laptop. But equally impressive is its cooling system, which despite the audible fan noise, keeps the heat away from the user. My only grouse is that the Singapore version doesn't come with Asus' highest-end Nebula HDR display, which uses Mini-LED technology. But then again, the Nebula HDR display would probably increase the price even more. As it is, the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 is fairly expensive at S$5,699. Asus also sells a similarly-specced 18-inch version (Asus ROG Strix Scar 18) for S$5,999. Get this gaming powerhouse from Asus, or from Shopee, and Lazada.

See Also
Xiaomi Mijia Air Pump 1S

Note: Review unit provided by Asus.

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Cool, powerful, but pricey

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