Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023)

I’m a big fan of the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023). It has everything you could want in a gaming laptop: a high-end 13th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU, the latest RTX 4080 GPU, a 16-inch QHD+ display with a 240hz refresh rate and a boatload of RGB lighting.

These are dream-like specs, and Asus has done a phenomenal job fitting this kind of power into a 16-inch gaming laptop (with style). If you’re the type who enjoys pushing graphics and performance to their limit, the ROG Strix Scar 16 lets you do that without breaking a metaphorical sweat. Be prepared; this laptop will put a literal dent in your wallet.

Its specs make it pricey, bulky and short on battery life. However, as with all of Asus’ ROG Strix lineup, this is a heavy-duty rig made for demanding triple-A gaming and multimedia tasks, and the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 doesn’t try to deny being anything else.

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 prefers to call its home on your desk rather than your backpack, and if that’s what you’re looking for (and have a lot of extra cash lying around), then you’ll be more than satisfied with what this 16-inch beast has to offer.

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) is one of the best gaming laptops, and you can find out why below.

Pros

  • Outstanding performance
  • Dazzling 16-inch display
  • Stylish chassis
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Excellent keyboard

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Thick design
  • Short battery life

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) Price

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 is available from $2,899.99 / £3,199 / NZ$5,289 through various retailers. That’s an eye-watering price tag, even if it comes with all the bells and whistles of a modern gaming laptop.

Our review model comes with an Intel Core i9-13980HX CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 GPU, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB + 1TB SSD. Other configurations have different options, including an RTX 4090 GPU and 16GB of RAM. Either way, this laptop is costly.

Even at this price, you’ll find other gaming laptops with similar specs costing more, such as the Razer Blade 16 with an RTX 4080 that costs $3,599 / £3,599. There are cheaper options out there, including the NZ$2,799 HP Victus 15 with an AMD Radeon RX 6500M GPU. But these lower-end laptops can’t scratch the performance of the ROG Strix Scar 16.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) Design

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 screams “gaming machine,” but it’s a mighty stylish one at that. Even without all the rainbow-lit RGB effects splashed across its keyboard and lightbar at the edges of the frame, this slick, sturdy laptop makes for quite the sight on any desk – albeit a tad on the chunky side.

The 16-inch gaming laptop comes will little flourishes dotted around its matte-black chassis that matches its gamer aesthetic. This includes a diagonally-shaped imprint of tiny ROG logos slicing through the lid and from the laptop, a reflective ROG logo laced with RGB lighting on the lid and a bar right under the lid with grills that act as power indicators. These subtle touches give it character, but if no one knew “you game” before, they will now.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023)

Just in case you want to add a bit of a personal touch, the ROG Strix Scar 16 also comes with swappable caps that come in Translucent Black or Rubber Grey. It doesn’t add much, but it’s a nice touch.

Open the lid, and you’ll be treated with a beautiful display with thin bezels and that signature RGB-lit keyboard with keycaps prints with a slight edge. Asus adds a little transparency to the deck, giving it a subtle industrial effect. I’m a fan of it, and many tech enthusiasts are sure to admire its design, too.

The bigger the specs, the thicker the deck. This is one thick slab, and the deep rubberised feet for venting add to the laptop’s overall hefty frame. It measures 35.4 x 26.4 x 2.26 ~ 3.04 cm (13.94 x 10.39 x 0.89 ~ 1.20 inches) and weighs 2.6kg (5.73 pounds). To put that into perspective, the 15-inch MacBook Air M2 comes in at 34.04 x 23.76 x 1.15 cm and weighs 1.5kg. The ROG Strix Scar 16 shouldn’t be your go-to laptop for travelling, but it wasn’t made to be.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023)

In terms of ports, the gaming laptop is stuffed with the essentials and then some. It comes with two USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, one USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 with DisplayPort / Power Delivery / G-SYNC support, one Thunderbolt 4 with DisplayPort / G-SYNC support, an HDMI 2.1, 2.5G LAN port and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Look, not everyone wants to show off an RGB-riddled gaming laptop wherever they go. However, as a laptop that sits sturdily on a desk, it’s a beautifully designed piece of tech.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) Display and Audio

Boasting a 16-inch QHD+ (2560 x 1600) display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, 240Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time and Dolby Vision HDR support, the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16’s vibrant screen is stunning to look at.

Playing on this display is wicked, both in terms of gorgeous graphics and fast-paced gameplay. Playing games such as Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing cranked up to max is incredible, especially as the sun peaks over the horizon to shine on an illuminating Night City. Jumping into competitive play in games like Valiant is also a treat, as the 3ms response time the panel boasts was built with high-level competitive gaming in mind, and the 240hz refresh rate made visuals as smooth as butter.

It also shines as a display for entertainment when watching shows on Netflix or Disney Plus. To put it to the test, I watched the trailer for Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and couldn’t get enough of the bright pink colours splashing across the display, along with the visual details of the creatively designed, life-sized plastic world.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) display

The ROG Strix Scar 16’s audio compliments the visuals, which features a four-speaker system with support for Smart Amp, Hi-Res, Dolby Atmos and AI noise cancellation. It’s loud in all the right areas without the music sounding tinny or the dialogue being outdone by a beefy bass. The volume cranks up, too, as I can hear the direction of footsteps from enemies in competitive games like Call of Duty and Valorant.

Throw in the claimed 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage and Nvidia’s G-Sync technology that synchronizes the screen’s refresh rate with the laptop’s graphics card, and it’s hard to fault Asus ROG Strix Scar 16’s display.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) Keyboard

The keyboard is comfortable to type on, and keycaps have a satisfying punchy click – without the “clickety-clack” you might get from many mechanical gaming keyboards.

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 16’s backlit chiclet keyboard with per-key RGB offers a full range of function keys and a short row of media controls, which Asus has stuck with in its run of Strix gaming laptops. It’s a full-sized keyboard that works, even if the tactile feel of pushing down on keycaps can sometimes feel a tad stiff. That’s something you get used to, however, as I came to appreciate how silent the keys are.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) keyboard

Instead of trying to cram a number pad onto the 16-inch chassis, Asus put the number pad in the touchpad instead. It’s a light-up grid with numbers on the suitably sized touchpad. Although I never needed to use it, it’s an excellent option for those who prefer a number pad.

While the keyboard isn’t anything special, it does a fine job at being a comfortable laptop to write and play games on.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) Gaming

Gaming is an absolute treat on the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16. As it should be, considering the beefy RTX 4080 with 12GB of video RAM and the impressive display it packs. Hardly surprising, right?

No matter what game I played, it would automatically set graphics settings to max. No tinkering with texture or shadow quality needed. But what kind of frames per second can you expect in such a rig?

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) gaming

I threw several games at the ROG Strix Scar 16 that are known as good benchmarks, including Cyberpunk 2077, Grand Theft Auto V and Forza Horizon 5. These are played at QHD+ (2560 x 1600) resolution and were at max settings.

Jumping into Cyberpunk 2077, which places you in a neon-lit open world, the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 managed an average of 76fps. That’s with ray tracing turned on and settings set to Ultra. You bet I was staring at key locations for far too long, and the gameplay was super smooth.

As for Forza 5, with its high-speed racing and sleek sports cars whizzing past as light hits their metallic frames, the laptop pulled off a 79fps average.

Finally, I was raising hell in GTA V and consistently hit over 100fps, averaging 115fps.

Note that this was done without heading into Asus’ Armoury Crate and switching on Turbo mode, pushing the laptop to the limit by reaching 175W TGP. Overall, this added a few more frames to the gameplay, which isn’t noticeable. Still, it shows how smooth everything runs, even with graphics cranked up to the max.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) Cyberpunk 2077 benchmarking

Games that aren’t as demanding, such as Rocket League or Valorant, can surpass the 120fps benchmark, especially when played at 1080p. However, with a powerful system that can reach the potential triple-A games have to offer, you’ll likely stick with QHD+ resolution and not have to worry about the Asus ROG Strix Scar ever lagging behind.

While the gaming laptop generally runs silent when performing light tasks, fans can get quite loud when playing demanding games. At least this helps the computer stay cool under pressure.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) Performance

Under the hood, the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 is equipped with an Intel Core i9-13980HX CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 GPU, 32GB of RAM and 1TB + 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 Performance SSD. As you might expect, this gaming laptop packs a wallop, and it’s hard for it to break a sweat.

It blazes through everyday work tasks and juggles multitasking various apps, including high-demanding ones, with ease. I could easily switch between playing Cyberpunk 2077 and the 50 Google Chrome tabs I had open, which included five YouTube videos playing at once (not something I usually do, of course). From photo and video editing to playing triple-A titles, this laptop easily fits the bill as a content creator machine and a high-performance gaming laptop.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) Chrome tabs

It isn’t just real-time performance that shows the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 excels, as the numbers back it up. I put this beast through the ringer by running a series of tests, starting with the Geekbench 6 benchmark. It scored a multi-core score of 16,465, thanks to the Intel Core i9 processor it has on board. It scoffs are previous-gen laptops, including the Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 (2021) with an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU (8,225) and the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (2022) equipped with an Intel Core i9-12900H (11,231).

In the PCMark 10 benchmark, it scored an outstanding 8,299. It’s well ahead compared to the ROG Strix Scar 17 (6,017).

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) PCMark benchmark

As for the handbrake test, which transcodes a 4K video file to 1080p, the ROG Strix Scar 16 only took 2 minutes and 56 seconds. That’s notably fast. Compared to the ROG Strix Scar 17, it is leaps and bounds ahead; it took 6 minutes and 19 seconds. It also crushed the Zephyrus M16 (2022), which took just over 7 minutes.

With its 2TB SSD, the ROG Strix Scar 16 clocked an impressive transfer rate of 3,964 megabytes per second. The Strix Scar 17 (1,449 MBps) and Zephyrus M16 (1,871) didn’t stand a chance.

Sure, it isn’t fair to put a 2023 gaming laptop with high-end specs up against models from previous years, but it shows just how far the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 pulls ahead in raw power.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) Battery

As with most gaming laptops, the battery isn’t the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16’s strong suit, even with its 90WHrs battery. No one expects it to be given the specs it boasts, but be warned: you’ll definitely need to bring along its chunky power brick when travelling.

During my daily work activities, which consist of light-to-moderate tasks such as scrolling through websites on Google Chrome, writing documents, listening to music on Spotify and watching YouTube videos, the Asus laptop lasted just 2 hours and 40 minutes. This was also on “power efficiency” mode to preserve the battery. You could hardly call that a fair amount of time, but can you blame it on the array of RGB lights coming out of its keyboard and the lightbar from the bottom?

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) battery

When playing demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077, this time dipped even further. I could eke out 40 minutes from the ROG Strix Scar 16, which isn’t ideal for a gamer on the go. If you’re considering bringing this chunk of tech anywhere, remember to pack its 330W AC adapter.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) Software

The ROG Strix Scar 16 comes with Asus’ signature app: Armoury Crate. Here, you’ll get a detailed look at the numbers the gaming laptop dishes out and get to manage different resources.

The app gives you the option to configure the laptop’s settings to your heart’s content. You can switch performance modes to manage power, such as Silent, Performance and Turbo. There’s also heat monitoring, fan speed control, key configuration and customisable RGB lighting for the keyboard and lightbar.

There’s also the MyAsus app, which gives you access to your warranty information, updates for components and various battery options. Besides this, there’s the usual bloatware like the McAfee antivirus software.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) Verdict

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) is a premium gaming laptop that doesn’t disappoint. Outstanding performance and gaming? Check. Beautiful display that shows off bright, vivid images? You bet. Impressive design with a comfortable keyboard and configurable settings? We have a winner.

Yes, its price keeps it from being a cost-effective option for most gamers or anyone who wants a powerful laptop, and its size and poor battery life make it more of a permanent piece of furniture on your desk. That said, those who can happily ignore these aspects and know precisely what they want from a gaming laptop will be thrilled with what the ROG Strix Scar 16 offers.

If you’re after one of the best gaming laptops on the market right now, you can’t go wrong with the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023) – if you have the cash to spare.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Price
Performance
Display
Design
Battery
Darragh Murphy
Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from the mischievous world of online security to washing machines designed for earbuds. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for laptops into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. When he's not checking out the latest devices and all things tech, he can be found swimming laps, watching terrible shark movies, and trying to find time to game.  Previous Editor at Laptop Mag and News Editor at Time Out Dubai, specialising in food culture, nightlife events, gaming, tech and entertainment.
asus-rog-strix-scar-16-2023-review I'm a big fan of the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023). It has everything you could want in a gaming laptop: a high-end 13th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU, the latest RTX 4080 GPU, a 16-inch QHD+ display with a 240hz refresh rate...

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