ASUS has seemingly never been one to back down from a challenge. Whether it is making one of the slimmest and sleekest gaming laptops to date, or chucking the most ridiculous current-generation flagship hardware into a package the size of two silver serving trays; the manufacturer has done it all with aplomb (their latest enthusiast gaming option notwithstanding). The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 18 (a mouthful to be sure) is a culmination of many of these aspects, and it packs a wallop no other gaming laptop with a similar profile has ever seen. 

According to ASUS, the ROG Strix Scar 18, and its ilk, are considered ‘gaming laptops’. Yet this might be one of the biggest misnomers to date. While it is most assuredly a laptop, and while it is as mobile as your granny’s oxygen machine, keeping it plugged in and on a desk is most likely how it was ultimately designed. Consequently, ASUS have packed the Strix Scar 18 chock full of tech and hardware most gamers can only dream of including on a full desktop setup. 

There is no mistaking the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 18 for a workstation computer. It is a big boy with a mass requiring working muscles to use. Weighing in at just over 3kg (~6.7 pounds), and with a massive 18-inch screen, one will quickly find how tossing it onto the top of their lap, with any kind of ease, is actually quite a challenge. An aspect enforcing its value as a desktop replacement even more. It must be noted how the overall design of the Scar 18 remains unchanged from the same offering reviewed in 2022. Apart from a larger display, the laptop features the same overall aesthetic and design choices. Where it does outshine its older counterpart, however, is in just how far ASUS have come in terms of compacting the overall design. 

The chassis consists of an aluminium lid with an anodised finish and some kind of hard plastic with a see-through finish near its back. The lid still comes with that fancy ROG logo hole punch-like design, running diagonally across its length, while the mostly bezel-less display features a small lip dedicated for the webcam. The rest of its chassis is predominantly plastic as well, however it should be noted how there is almost zero flex to it – even with the weight of the laptop’s hardware pushing it down. The complete package comes in at 23.1 mm (1.21-inch) by 294 mm (11.57-inch), by 399 mm (15.71-inch). 

Once open, the keyboard feels soft to the touch and surprisingly clicky. Its base seems to be some kind of a soft-touch plastic as well, with its design changing hues from front leg to back hinge. Around the sides, users can expect to see a Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) port, as well as two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports, a USB 3.2 Type-A port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a single HDMI 2.1 port, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. Even with the above in mind, the external input/output featured in the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 18 is perhaps its most disappointing feature. With the bare minimum of ports, it becomes clear what kind of shortcuts the manufacturer must have taken in order to keep the overall laptop design as sleek as it currently is.

The laptop includes a traditional power connector (complete with massive power brick), but it also features USB-C charging up to 100W as well, meaning gamers who have the means can easily charge the laptop up to 50% in less than 30 minutes time, if the need ever arises. 

The large screen comes alive in a beautiful display of colour and brightness. Officially trademarked as a “Nebula” display, it features a refresh rate of 240 Hz, a crisp and clear 2560 x 1600, and a 16:10 resolution and aspect ratio. The display comes with Nvidia G-Sync baked in, and is rated for DCI-P3 colour grading. It must be said how the display only maxes out at 500 nits of brightness, but even so it is quite bright for most viewing angles and workspace scenarios. 

On the inside, the laptop features both an Intel Core i9 with eight performance cores, 16 efficiency cores and a 5.6 GHz boost, as well as a Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop Variant with 16 GB GDDR6 memory, 175W graphical power, and a boost clock of 1,040 MHz. The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 18 is also equipped with 32 GB of DDR5-4800 random access memory (RAM), and two 1 TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe drives set to RAID0. The laptop has a strip of RGB lighting inside the base too.

In terms of connectivity, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 18 features dual-band Wi-Fi 6E capability, and Bluetooth 5.2. Hidden deep behind all of the internal components is a “Tri-Fan” cooling system, complete with 7 heatpipes and full-surround vents. Most use-case scenarios will not see the fans become louder than a soft pur. However, the occasional long gaming session, or pushing constant 4K resolutions, will result in fan noises that do sometimes get quite loud. 

Thankfuly, ASUS have loaded the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 18 with yet another cutting-edge feature: two tweeters and two downward firing woofers; four audio drivers working together to create a Dolby Atmos-supported sound stage around the user. The drivers are rated for Hi-Res Audio playback, and it even comes with a fancy new Two Way AI Noise Cancellation feature; filtering out errant background noise such as the constant whirring of a fan or unnecessary noises from kids playing outside. It needs to be said how the downward-firing woofers are very challenging to get right. In this sense, ASUS have hit it out of the ballpark with this one. Everything from music, through to movie playback, and even video gaming packs a punch that does not skimp on audio quality and clarity. 

In terms of performance, gamers can expect a proper workhorse capable of running many tasks related to workloads and raw performance. Productivity workloads, such as rendering video, will see timing windows worthy of its current-gen moniker and hardware (a ten-minute 4K video takes ten minutes to render and five minutes to export), while on battery still serves as an enjoyable experience. The battery will last most light workloads a good five to six hours before it brings up a warning, but gaming simply does not cut it. Playing any newer games on medium settings, results in dramatic battery level drops. One would be lucky to get three full hours of Horizon Zero Dawn before a warning pops up. Needless to say, it is when the laptop is plugged into a power source where it truly shines. 

The same render and export mentioned above takes just over five minutes to render, and a further five minutes to export when plugged in. Gaming performance, on the other hand, is genuinely out of this world. Cranking the system up to its “Ultimate” performance mode saw Monster Hunter World cap out at 150 frames per second, with all settings on max, while both Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Spider-Man: Miles Morales saw average scores of 80 frames per second with ray tracing enabled. Horizon: Zero Dawn performed exceptionally well with a 120 frame rate average, while Forza Horizon 5 reached around 110 frames per second on average, no matter how hard the game was pushed. 

As a little tongue-in-cheek test, Ray Tracing Overdrive (+Nvidia DLSS) was enabled in Cyberpunk 2077, and the game still averaged around 70 frames per second, with a singular dip into the 50s when shooting a rocket into some water. Needless to say, this is absolutely stellar and will easily allow for smooth transitioning into more demanding games coming later into the current console generation. 

ASUS hardware rarely disappoints, and the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 18 is no exception. It is a workhorse of a gaming laptop, featuring enthusiast-tier hardware, a beautiful display, and grade-A features all in one sleek (albeit hefty) package. While the laptop could have done with an additional HDMI port or two, its offerings of inputs and outputs still affords some connectivity freedom. As per usual, the laptop’s battery may not be its strongest selling point, but when looking at every other selling point, this is not a laptop purchased for mobility. Surely for R79,000 (or your local equivalent), steady workloads at home are what is expected?! Regardless, and whatever the reasoning, it needs to be said how the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 18 is an exceptional laptop; while it may be better suited as a desktop replacement, it offers all the features one might be looking for, and more, in a convenient, albeit quite expensive, ‘mobile’ package. 



Beautiful 18-inch displayBattery performance is wanting
Slim and sleek, yet it still has all the RGBNot enough inputs and outputs to warrant its price tag
Performance is truly “current gen” throughout all aspects

Device temporarily provided for review by ASUS.

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Junior Editor at Vamers. From Superman to Ironman; Bill Rizer to Sam Fisher and everything in-between, Edward loves it all. He is a Bachelor of Arts student and English Major specialising in Language and Literature. He is an avid writer and casual social networker with a flare for all things tech related.