Design, build quality and connectivity
As mentioned above, the Asus ROG Strix Scar II and Hero II are very similar. In fact, they use the same chassis, with the same connections. The differences you see on the outside are purely cosmetic. The Hero II is partly solid black on the lid, the Scar II has a pattern in the metal on the same part - both feature the same pattern of brushed aluminium, containing an ROG logo that can light up in all the colours of the rainbow. The lid is also quite sensitive to fingerprints.
If you open them up, you can see a camouflage pattern in the Scar II's plastic interior in the upper right half of the surface around the keyboard and touchpad, while in the Hero II it is partly black and partly equipped with an Asus 'cyberpunk pattern'.
Again we see a different pattern in the lower left corner than in the upper right corner, this time different: carbon for the Scar II and a brushed metal look for the Hero II. According to Asus, a process of four different layers has been used for the Hero II, for the Scar II even eight layers have been applied to get the desired texture. The plastic underside of both machines is identical.
The size of the notebooks is modest: 36x26 cm wide and high, and 2.6 cm thick. In both cases the weight is just under 2.5 kilos. While not super-light for 15.6-inch notebooks, they are certainly not heavyweights due to the impressive specifications of both - their processors and graphics cards require rugged and therefore heavy-duty cooling solutions.
Narrow bezel display
Something remarkable about the displays of both models are the thin edges - narrow bezel in jargon - of about 8 mm from screen to the edge of the notebook cover. As a result, both notebooks are 2cm narrower than older 15.6-inch models with standard edges around the screen: about 36cm instead of 38cm. Asus did make an inscrutable decision to follow the example of Dells XPS notebooks and place the webcam under the screen in a relatively high lower edge, to the right of the middle.
In the middle, this high lower edge apparently had to be used for a large, glossy ROG logo in which the keyboard lighting can reflect. This way the ROG logo is on the hood, under the screen and at the bottom: you will not lose sight of what kind of notebook you have under your fingers.
Of course, they are and will always be gaming notebooks - and so they are equipped with RGB lighting. Both Hero II and Scar II have a RGB-lit keyboard (in four zones, not per key), a strip on the front that can light up and an illuminated logo in the hood. As they are Asus products, of course they are also Aura Sync-compatible: you can synchronize all kinds of Asus peripherals with RGB lighting (and more), so that all the lights around you also have the right colors. The RGB lighting looks better in real life than it does in the pictures. Due to the lack of software installed on our samples, we could not determine if it could be turned off, but we do assume that it is possible.
So we already mentioned it a bit previously: these gaming notebooks use a mix of materials. The cover behind the screen is made of brushed, anodized aluminium, the material around the keyboard and touchpad is made of plastic, but it is a special type: built up of layers and not sensitive to fingerprints. Finally, the underside is of relatively standard plastic, although it must be said that Asus has also paid attention to this, the underside looks neat and does not seem to bend. Five rubber feet hold the notebook in place.
This sturdiness extends to the entire device. The chassis is very rigid and looks very solid, and also the screen cover is nice and sturdy - it is possible to twist the screen, but as often reported, that is more for reasons of flexibility protection than a sign of weakness. The screen is also protected all-around by a slightly raised edge.
The screen has a large open space at the bottom - the hinges are on the left and right, you can also look underneath it. When you close the notebook, you'll see the recess even better. The reason is a technical design: according to Asus, this design makes the dissipation of warm air from the rear much more efficient, which means fans have to work less hard to keep the inside cool.
With a gaming notebook you expect many connections, and the Asus ROG Strix Scar II and Hero II are certainly not disappointing in this respect. Most connections are on the left side, from left to right: power supply, Ethernet, mini-display port, HDMI, one USB 3.0 with Type A, two times USB 3.1 (gen2) with one Type A and one Type C, and a 3.5 mm jack for a headset.
On the right we find another USB 3.0 Type A connection and a standard SD memory card reader. Also here is the connection for a Kensington lock.
Are we missing something? Thunderbolt 3 would have been fun, also for a possible future upgrade with an external video card. Video via USB-C and/or a charging option via that route was nice, but given the ceilings for power delivery, that is not very realistic to wish for in this class. More video outputs are nice, but in practice rarely necessary. In this class, the range of connections is excellent.