It’s become clear that gaming laptops have a very specific audience that they cater to. Traditionally, gaming laptops have been bulky, and come with a fast charger, a high refresh rate display (sans the ability to use it as a touchscreen), and a GPU to support all the modern titles out there.
These laptops are meant to be plugged in for the most part and not carried around on a daily basis. As of late, Lenovo and Razr and a few others are trying to blur the lines between a gaming laptop and portability. Asus’ ROG line is one that isn’t adapting to this new trend.
The Republic of Gamers (ROG) name has become quite synonymous with gamers and the gaming landscape across India. Asus created ROG back in 2006 and now it has spread its wings to smartphones as well as bringing out new laptops and PCs each and every year.
The ROG Strix has always been popular amongst hardcore gamers and the 2022 edition is no different. While I really admire the Zephyrus gaming laptops from Asus for many reasons, the ROG Strix G15 has proven more than capable in the time I’ve had it. I’ve been playing a number of games on it for over a week and while I appreciate its gaming prowess, the heftiness and poor key travel along average battery life have left me slightly disappointed.
Let me explain.
There’s a lot to like about the ROG Strix G15. During my unboxing of the ROG Strix G15, I was super excited to see that it had AMD’s Ryzen 9 6900HX chipset. Laptops with this particular chipset have been getting rave reviews across the world. There’s also a Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti 8GB (RTX 3080 is also available if one wants to spend more), 1TB SSD + 16GB DDR5 RAM, a 90Whr battery and, the icing on the cake, the 15.6-inch QHD 165Hz display.
Reading out the specification list and your jaw drops. Asus hasn’t spared anything. They’ve gone all out. Best of all, the laptop is built like a tank. The subtle touches like the glowing ROG logo on the lid, RGB lighting on the keys add to the premium feel of the laptop.
A gaming beast
You’re probably here wondering whether you can play the latest installment in the Halo franchise without losing that all-important ‘edge’ to your opponents. I started out by playing Forza Horizon 5, one of my favorite games of late. Driving around Mexico, on the 15.6-inch QHD (2K) IPS LCD screen was a treat from the moment I accelerated at a breathtaking pace. The display has some great viewing angles, and a QHD 2K display is a good compromise. Gamers much rather have a display with a higher refresh rate than an OLED, which is much preferred by binge-watchers. I routinely got over 85 fps while playing Forza Horizon 5. Lower the resolution to 1080p, and you can eke out a higher fps.
Asus has cleverly added a MUX switch (something that is new) that allows the user to “manually engage or disengage the integrated graphics”. This lets the users get the most out of the 3070 Ti.
Other than Forza Horizon 5, I played some Halo, Mortal Kombat, and old school games like TrackMania Nations Forever and FIFA 22 and I didn’t even realize where the time went. The keyboard was comfortable, and yes, I had an external mouse with me. The laptop did get hot, but it was never at any uncomfortable levels. There are dedicated hotkeys - volume, mic mute controls, operating modes, and Armoury Craft - on the top left of the keyboard. To my surprise, these hotkeys are programmable. So the user can decide what function to be assigned to which key.
There’s a dedicated media and quick controls row at the top of the keyboard, with play, stop, previous and next keys among others.
There’s a nice mix of I/O ports. There are two USB 3.2 Type-C ports, an HDMI port, an RJ45 port, and the power port all at the back. ON the left there is a 3.5mm headphone jack and two USB 2.0 ports.
Last but not least, the laptop comes with a huge 280W charging adapter. It’s bulky but does the job. It charges the laptop in about two hours. USB-C charging is supported but limited at 100W.
Where the laptop wavers
The ROG Strix G15 isn’t meant to be used while on battery. Nonetheless, I headed over to a neighbourhood cafe and fired up the gaming beast. Predictably, I got a ton of errors about “graphics card not found” and “please lower the settings for a smoother gaming experience”. These aren’t exclusive to the ROG Strix G15, mind you. It’s the same as most gaming laptops out there.
Yes, I needn’t say this again, but here I go. Do not game whilst on battery. Maybe a casual game or two, but definitely nothing on the level of Halo or Battlefield. Firstly, you’ll be doing yourself an injustice, and starting at a disadvantage as compared to your opponent as the laptop will stutter along at certain points. Secondly, the laptop will hardly last you 80-90 minutes before shutting down.
The thing that disappointed me though was that even with casual, non-gaming tasks, I was able to kill the laptop in under four hours. That pretty much means that the laptop cannot be taken anywhere that doesn’t have a plug point. In an era where work and play have blended into each other, it’s disappointing that one can’t use this laptop for both.
Gamers will be thrilled but creators will most definitely not be. The travel on the keys are shallow and my typing speed suffered. The rectangular arrow keys are hard to get to for people with big/fat fingers.
There’s also no in-built webcam. There’s an FHD external webcam bundled in the box, but that in turn, takes up one of the USB ports.
Verdict: Is the ROG Strix G15 the laptop for you?
If you’re a hardcore gamer, then the ROG Strix G15 is a no-brainer, even at ₹1,94,990. It’s got the Ryzen 6000 chipset, top-of-the-line GPU, and much more. If you aren’t dedicated to the gaming scene, then one can look elsewhere, because laptops like the Dell XPS 13 and HP Spectre x360 are sleek, portable, and powerful ultrabooks that are available for much less.
The Asus ROG Strix G15 is a gaming laptop made for gamers and for gamers only. I’ve had a fantastic experience gaming on it for over a week, and in that respect, I can’t at all complain.
As a content creator and a huge binge-watcher, I just can’t justify the exorbitant entry price but neither can I for many other laptops out there. That’s all there is to it.
For gamers, the ROG Strix G15, like the previous iterations, will be an absolute delight. It’ll provide the necessary edge in gaming and the high refresh rate display is one of the best out there. For everyone else, just look around a little bit and you’ll see plenty of other options out there.