Asus ROG goes all out with 2019 gaming laptop updates
When confronted by so many, the one with the prettiest lighting wins.
Lori GruninSenior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
ExpertisePhotography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
In addition to the usual revving of its gaming notebooks, the company introduced some new designs in conjunction with a new affordable G series, added some
Ryzen-based options and even busted out a concept model in conjunction with BMW Designworks.
Asus didn't provide much in the way of pricing detail or availability for the new systems, but there were a couple of exceptions: The updated ROG Strix G Hero III and Scar III start at $999 and the new ROG Zephyrus G GA502 will start at $1,199. (International pricing isn't yet available and configurations usually vary in other regions, which will affect prices.) Those are all available as of today. The rest have mystery pricing and are slated to ship before the end of June.
This is the concept system Asus worked on with BMW Designworks Group. Asus says that a lot of what it learned during the exercise made its way into the new products. The inoperative model I saw didn't look like much. Based on the renderings provided by Asus, the lighting design and transparent window to view the internals turns it from a black-and-silver laptop with an Art Deco-ish look into a cool gaming system.
ROG Strix G, Hero III and Scar III
This is Asus' new meat-and-potatoes gaming system, with the Hero and Scar esports variations. Though there are some configuration and design differences, they all share the same DNA. And they're much sleeker looking than the models they replace, with the Hero III and Scar III physically differentiated from each other by color and pattern. The Hero is black with a brushed-metal texture, while the Scar is dark gray with a carbon-fiber pattern. And they all look much better than the models they replace.
Watch this: Asus updates every gaming laptop it can think of
One of the enhancements for the Hero and Scar is the Keystone, a small key that plugs into the side of the system and uses NFC to provide access to profiles and an encrypted cloud drive. On the plain old Strix G, the Keystone slot is covered by a name plate.
The Strix G models use the airflow-visualizing design, which are integral to the Face Off concept. The new underglow lighting, which makes the laptop seem like it's floating a little off the desk, was the coolest thing I saw at Asus' press event. Unfortunately, it doesn't translate well in photos.
ROG Zephyrus S, M and G
Asus' ultraportable gaming line grows from two classes -- the top-end S and mainstream M -- to three, adding the thin-but-affordable G series. Its relatively inexpensive price comes from its components. It opts for a Ryzen 7 3750H, AMD's third-gen Zen 8-core mobile processor, and the new GTX 1660Ti as well as a 120Hz display. The Zephyrus S and G received generational updates.
Asus unleashes a barrage of ROG gaming laptops for spring
The Mothership made a splash when it debuted at
2019 with its detachable-like design that lets you stand the 17.3-inch display section with a kickstand and pull off the keyboard to essentially turn it into a desktop system. Packed with the top-end components and available with one the new 100% Adobe RGB 4K displays that's recently entered production (as we saw with Acer's Concept D launch), it seemed great in theory.
In reality, it seems a little too awkward for gaming and a little too cumbersome for creative work. And like its bulky clamshell alter ego, the G703, it uses dual-power connections as seen on the Area-51m, making it impractical at best.
TUF Gaming FX505 and 705
Finally, we get to Asus' true budget gaming laptops. Asus launched AMD CPU/AMD GPU versions at CES, but now it's offering models with second-gen AMD Ryzen 7 processors and the new Nvidia GPUs to keep their svelte prices. They've had a bit of a facelift, with thinner bezels and support for Asus' Aura RGB lighting, but nothing dramatic.
Update, April 24: Corrected error about the AMD Ryzen processors -- they are second-generation Zen architecture (Zen+), not third-.