With the ROG Strix Hero II and ROG Strix Scar II, Asus delivers a range of particularly attractive gaming notebooks. Neither has real weaknesses, while the quality offered is high almost across the board. Build quality, used parts and connections are all in good order. Our test results also show that both are among the top of their class.
So we do not have anything really to complain about. What are we missing? RGB lighting per key, some more luxurious audio features (more expensive DAC, headphone amplifier, more connections), perhaps a more luxurious Intel or Killer network controller. A Thunderbolt 3 connection. All of these are not crucial to your gaming experience however.
Aspects that crucial are, the screen, keyboard, processor and video card, and all of them are simply good. To start with, the Hero II and Scar II's 144 Hz IPs display is top-of-the-range. Both in terms of colour reproduction and response times they set a new standard, which as far as we are concerned one that every gaming notebook must meet. After all, we are talking about devices of 1500 dollars or more, and so far the displays have been mainly disappointing. Asus deserves all credit for finally bringing mobile displays to the same level as we are used to on the desktop.
The keyboards of both models are fine. One might wonder whether larger keys at the expense the numpad would have been better, but conversely there will also be enough supporters of this choice. The available processors are all more than fast enough, the i7's in our samples are even blood fast. As far as the video card is concerned, a GTX 1060 is certainly at Full HD (the native resolution) just enough, if you want to play at higher resolutions and the highest quality settings, then the GTX 1070 offers some extra processing power.
Our final conslusion is that both laptops are excellent choices when you're looking for a rugged new gaming notebook, but perhaps also when you just need a powerful mobile machine. Which of the two you have to choose will mainly be determined by your graphic requirements, especially in the Netherlands, where the GTX 1060 version of the Scar II will not be available. The Scar II with GTX 1070 costs 300 dollars more compared to the otherwise identically specified Hero II; with that model the 16 GB version costs 100 dollars more than the 8 GB version. Our advice: buy the cheaper version and upgrade it yourself. With 8GB you can play it for a while and an equally large module will certainly not cost you that much.
Of the two, we therefore prefer the Hero II, assuming that the screen is identical to what we have tested here. The price of the basic version of the Hero II is solid - but you'll have a 6-core cpu and a 6GB version of the GTX 1060. Also the Scar II is quite expensive compared to its older competition featuring a GTX 1070 - but the performance is good. As far as we are concerned, an Excellent Choice award for both machines is therefore appropriate.