I’ve always been apprehensive when it comes to “gaming” laptops. Ever since I’ve been able to build my own desktop, I always figured that it was the best way to go, especially if on a budget. The convenience of being able to move my machine anywhere was always outweighed by the premium price you pay for a machine powerful enough to run modern games at a decent framerate. We recently got the opportunity to review an Asus ROG Strix gaming notebook provided to us by the good people over at Asus ROG, and they tried their damnedest to make me change my mind.
Build and Weight
The premise was simple: I was going to be on the road for a few days, so the timing was perfect for me to test out the machine. First, I was pleasantly surprised by its size and weight. Way back when I had bought an old Dell gaming notebook, and that thing weighed enough to rival any chubby toddlers out there. Clearly not the case for the Strix, which is smart considering you’re supposed to haul it around. The screen size is decent for a laptop in this range, as 15.6 inches is plenty enough to keep any gamer satisfied. Although I was bit disappointed that the native resolution was only 720p and not 1080p. After doing a bit of research, it seems that the most recent model of the Strix has a native 1080p display, but sadly this is not the model I received. In my opinion, they probably had to compromise to keep a steady 60 fps. It comes with all the ports you’d expect to see on any decent laptop and a cleverly placed RJ45 (network) port that closes or opens depending on it’s usage.
Gaming with the Beast
I honestly have no complaints about it, which is surprising! I played Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Deus EX: Mankind Divided, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, all at close to max settings, and I was kept at mostly over 30 frames per second. Again, this is nothing scientific, but I feel like it would be powerful enough to play any modern games comfortably. The video card that came with this model is actually the same video card that I have on my home computer, albeit the mobile version. Therefore, I already knew what to expect from a GTX970. The non-mobile version is, to this day, one of the best video card I’ve owned so I was excited to see that they went with it as well for the laptop.
Like any other gaming laptop that has to dish out gaming power, this thing runs HOT. Even with the fans running at full speed, which were quite loud, it was still incredibly hot. Some areas of the keyboard where the video card is were almost boiling, and I’m convinced I could’ve fried an egg on it (No, I didn’t try it. Yes, I should’ve). It doesn’t impair the laptop’s gaming ability nor does it make it uncomfortable to game with, but those temperatures can’t be good for long-term usage.
Which brings me to my next point: it’s close to impossible to replace laptop parts now. Save for memory or the hard drive, upgrading it or replacing a faulty video card/motherboard is quite the challenge, which most people won’t even bother to do. Even if it’s under warranty, wrapping it, shipping it, getting it fixed, receiving it back, all of that is honestly quite the hassle… Especially if it’s your only gaming machine.
Great Performance and Portability but at What Price?
I was pleasantly surprised with the laptop. It ran most modern games at a good framerate and I didn’t notice any slowdowns or anything wrong with it. But one question remains for me: who is this for exactly? For the price of the Strix, you can build a more than decent small form factor computer that will not only last you longer, but also allow you to replace parts and easily upgrade it. I don’t travel or attend LAN events enough to justify buying a mobile gaming machine, and I believe that a majority of people are in the same boat. Most of my friends that have gaming laptops literally just plug in a monitor, keyboard, mouse and the thing never leaves their desks. However, if you’re in the market for a gaming laptop, the Asus ROG Strix series will be a great buy and can rival any other gaming notebooks out there.
DISCLAIMER: Asus ROG Strix GL502 review laptop provided by Asus. The opinions expressed in the article above have not be affected by, dictated or edited in any way by the provider. For more information please see Girls on Games’ Code of Journalistic Ethics.
All photos in this article were taken by Girls on Games.