Reviewing new gaming laptops is both the best and worst ever. It’s for the best because for two weeks I’m on the verge of what’s possible in the gaming space with a heavy-duty rig that I can haul around any hour of the day. It’s also the worst because I have to give the damn thing back. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t have a pile of lightly used gaming laptops collecting dust in a corner of my room.
Do you have any idea how painful it is to regularly be superior for a handful of weeks in a row and then give up? It’s literally this scene from the Naruto anime:
Regardless, the latest gadget to induce feelings of pure technolust in the black void I call my soul is another powerhouse from Asus and its Republic of Gamers. The year has only just begun and Asus has come out swinging with its latest flagship, the ROG Strix Scar 17 G733. Which I’m going to refer to from this point on as the G733 so my sanity can avoid further splintering.
Blue steel looks
Unlike last year’s model, the G733 has a look that wouldn’t look out of place in a science fiction movie. It’s also slightly slimmer, having performed well recently in its holiday turns, shaving a few inches off its waist in the process. That slimmer physique packs what Asus says an 85% screen-to-body ratio, as well as some pretty thin bezels.
That trim comes at a sacrifice, as the G733 doesn’t have a webcam that can be used to have awkward Skype conversations with your family when they keep cutting you off. One of the more idiosyncratic design decisions on the notebook is the option to swap out customizable armor covers, of which you have access to three: a rubber gray, a silver piece of style, and a military translucent black extension. It’s not exactly a game changer, but as an added customization, it’s a nice touch to a good-looking laptop.
You also don’t have to worry about tripping over the cat when Eskom’s final bout of shutdown begins, as RGB lighting surrounds the entire laptop, gently pulsing a multicolored glow of brightness that can light the way in the dark ahead of you. The chassis itself also feels reassuringly solid, and I’m still a fan of Asus’ decision to put several USB, HDMI and power ports on the back so that the wiring isn’t too messy. Two 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports USB ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack are on the left.
Oddly enough, there is no SD card reader on the G733, the right side of that laptop is instead reserved for the Keystone accessory that allows you to take certain profiles to another Asus latop, if it also has that capability. For now it’s still a very limited gimmick, but as Asus starts rolling out the feature to an expanded line of laptops, it will certainly come in handy in the future.
For the model I received, I was greeted by a large 17.3-inch screen. On paper, it has all the right numbers: a 300Hz / 3ms panel, IPS-level FHD, and adaptive sync. It’s an amazing display that makes everything look beautifully clear, and thanks to the 300-nit screen, I have to make an appointment with my optometrist to discuss the new laptop backgrounds burned into my retina.
As for the keyboard, this is going to be the Marmite feature of this laptop. A series of optical mechanical switches are present here, which theoretically allows you to finger press any key as if you were Rocky solving anger management issues on a nearby slice of beef. For gaming, I think it’s great stuff with a satisfying click level, but for other tasks, I just didn’t feel good hitting those keys.
Due to the nature of a laptop, those keys couldn’t be placed too high, and I think this basically robs them of any tactile feedback for more mundane tasks. That’s not too bad if you’re already shaking an external keyboard so you can keep the G733’s technology, but overall, admittedly, the short actuation distance and resistance of a more shallow input will feel strange the first time you try it out.
For the audio department you have two virtual 5.1.2 channel surround sound speakers that are excellent loud and deliver perfectly usable sound during the day. I know this because the G733 boots by default with a pretty loud noise and my cat almost had a heart attack when this happened the first time. However, for gaming and those with recluse ears, it’s best to use a regular headset.
There’s enough high-tech hardware under the hood here to make Jeremy Clarkson realize he wasted his life talking about cars, given that the G733 is no slouch. The model I got was packed with technology that laughs at benchmark tests:
- GeForce RTX 3080 laptop GPU
- AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX with Radeon graphics card
- 32 GB DDR4-3200 MHz RAM (expandable up to 64 GB)
- 1 TB of powerful SSD storage
It’s worth noting that the RTX 3080 is a lower model so it can be accommodated in the slim frame, but that’s like saying your Ferrari is a little slower than this year’s latest model. In action, the G733 can handle just about anything you throw at it and then some. For testing, I usually grab the most demanding games that I have access to, so at that point thank the gods for my Xbox Ultimate Game Pass subscription.
The G733 easily blew through Gears 5, Forza Horizon 4, Gears Tactics, Far Cry 5, and a lot more in my testing. Benchmarking some of those games generally yielded incredibly positive results, with all of them being able to render easily at high and ultra settings without losing a step. As next-generation console games have arrived, it’s amazing how fantastically countless titles can watch in Full HD with all the bells and whistles enabled via a stunning display, in comparison.
Of course, you’ll want to keep this laptop plugged in when you’re using it. Regular tasks don’t drain the battery too much and you can easily play for 6-8 hours when the lights go out. However, when you’re gaming, all that power makes for a thirsty beast, and it’ll drain that battery in under an hour. That’s normal, at least until someone makes a laptop that runs on cold fusion and happy feelings.
If there’s one downside to the G733 it’s that it can be a bit of a loud beast. Even in an optimal environment with enough space for the air cooler to work, you will hear it in action when all its gears are grinding. If you’re wearing a headset, that’s not a problem, but it’s something to be aware of. Turbo mode also cuts this down significantly so it’s worth digging into that software when you first set up.
The G733 is smaller and lighter than any Asus flagship before it, looks dead sexy, and has a screen that’s sharper than the best Japanese knife. Some concessions had to be made to get to this point, such as a lack of biometric security features or card reader, and the keyboard will be very divisive, but there’s no denying that it’s perfect for those folks and professionals with a singular focus in their laptop requirements.
Last updated: March 1, 2021