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ASUS ROG Strix G G531GU Gaming Laptop – Review
Hitting that sweet spot, or striking that G..
Tis the season of the gaming laptop refresh for 2019. And in Malaysia, the refreshes has now only begun.
ASUS ROG continues to shower the market with a big variety of gaming laptop ranges. Now, they are adding an even lower entry point to the ROG lineup with the ROG Strix G. Purely premium no more, as the ROG Strix G line offers brevity of variants for specs that most reasonable people would- and could- pay for.
After weeks of testing it out ahead of its launch in Malaysia, we can say with authority that the ROG Strix G is the new benchmark for great gaming laptops within a reasonable budget.
Note: The particular model we review here is the G531G-UAL078T for Malaysia- a distinction we need to make as features and specs vary for different regions.
The whole ROG lineup this year has a new bold design. Partnering up with BMW Designworks, the laptop looks like a simple, muted grey rectangle from afar, but boy does it have details that only will be appreciated with your hands on it.
There is a series of flowing lines on top that is part sticks to the base of the laptop. Brushes of two asymmetric parallel lines make up the texture of the top of the body and its keyboard surface. Those brushes made it look more premium than its plastic shell suggest. For an even more subtle detail: the bottom piece has this subtle ROG motif, the pattern seen in the default wallpaper.
But more importantly: all the vents are functional. There’s two on the back, and one on the right side located the furthest possible from your hands.
There’s another point of asymmetry that serves both form and function. The oddly-shaped bottom bezel there has a purpose. Close the laptop lid and you can see your usual indicator lights like the AC plugging in and hard drive activity, through that gaping hole.
It’s a neat aesthetic, and from afar it’s not anything tryhard or overtly designed.
That said, ASUS didn’t just forget to put the flashiness here. Around the bottom front and sides of the laptop is a long strip of RGB lighting. Though it’s a one-zone RGB lighting.
Essentially, it’s RGB underglow. Yeah, like those neon lights you can put on cars in a Need For Speed game. You can disable it of course, but putting the laptop to sleep and have menacingly glow and blink in red tempting you to fire it up again is pretty cool.
The keyboard lacks a numpad, but the keys are big, sturdy and also a bit clicky. The touchpad is also surprisingly good too. The mushy-feeling touchpad buttons actually have a good click to it.
As for I/O ports, the ROG Strix G has you covered.
- 1 3.1 Type-C USB
- 1 3.1 USB
- 2 USB
However, I have one gripe: there’s no USB port on the right side. I mean, having a port-less side looks sleek, but it also means if you don’t have a wireless mouse and right-handed then you will have a cable crossing over the laptop. Not a deal-breaker, but definitely annoying. It would be fine if there’s one regular USB port at the back alongside some of the I/O ports there.
There is no built-in webcam either.
The ROG Armoury Crate is a one-stop app for all your unique software features on the ROG Strix G. Monitor CPU/GPU usage and temperature? Check. RGB customisation? Check. Adjust the app settings from an app on your mobile device? Ooh. Install other apps on top of the app? Huh. Install simple games through the app? Wait, it can do that too, for some reason.
Anyway, the main functionalities of the app should be enough for most of your needs. You can set up multiple profiles bounded to specific games, and if you have an Aura Sync-compatible device, then you can have those RGB patterns match up with the ones on the laptop too.
And if you don’t like the huge thump sound effect on boot up and the menacing red glow, you can turn those off too in the app. There’s a lot of options available here, and options are always a good thing.
The only drawback here is how incessant the McAfee Antivirus software pre-installed in the laptop can be, prompting you with huge boxes to subscribe to their services.
The ROG Strix G G531G-UAL078T is the highest spec of the Strix Gs with a 15.6″ display in Malaysia. And here are the main specifications you need to know:
- CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX1660Ti 6GB GDDR6
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 512GB PCIE NVME M.2 SSD
- Display: 15.6″ 1080p IPS panel, 120Hz refresh
- Price: RM5,499
So how good is the GTX 1660Ti? A big bump of power compared to the previous gen’s GTX1060. Paired with the 9th-gen Intel Core i7, this baby can run AAA games at 1080p at Ultra for 30fps with ease. If you prefer 60fps, 1080p at High is also pretty much guaranteed.
The Division 2, a game that was released this April, looks so, so much better than what I saw on the PS4, and it runs so much smoother. All of the usual suspects in our regular games benchmark, ran well, hitting 60fps for the most part. The ones that don’t is mostly due to its RAM capacity.
Even without dedicated ray-tracing hardware, games can still look pretty good- a good thing to know if you cannot afford those laptops with RTX cards. The CPU is blistering fast, waiting for the AI to finish their turns in Civilization VI is so quick you don’t have time to check notifications on the phone.
And I have to say, this thing handles the heat quite well. The hotspot during intense gaming is anything above the keyboard and the ridges on the right. These are where the big copper heatsinks are letting off the heat, and anywhere else on the surface is fine for the touching.
Even in the highest load we could throw, the ROG Strix G sits around not more than 80 degrees Celcius. This is some great thermal management here.
Besides that, the 120Hz screen should be a big plus for esports goers and competitive players, Of course, the power under the hood is still not enough to push AAA games at the 120fps cap, but low-spec requirement games like Warframe or esports games like CS:GO, Overwatch and Dota, which requires lower specs (and usually played on low settings) should reap the benefits of the fast refresh rate. Faster movements, better reactions, better gameplay. As long as you get good, that is.
One bit of concern is the size of storage and RAM. The Strix G comes with a 512GB SSD. Thankfully, the SSD is blazing fast so running Windows 10 is a smooth operation. Loading up a one-million-pop city in Cities: Skylines takes less than a minute. Texture streaming or in-game loading issues rarely happened.
The downside is, 512GB is not enough. Our list of 11 benchmark games easily took up all the space, and if you’re going to use this other than just gaming, that space is too limited.
We don’t see any major bottleneck with the 8GB RAM from our time with the laptop. But there are dips in framerate when running a very populated park in Planet Coaster or a city in Cities: Skylines. So you better gear up for an upgrade when the next generation of consoles, and next-generation games, arrive, which will probably need double the RAM.
On the positive side, you can totally upgrade both storage and RAM. You will have to open the whole back panel, but there are extra screws and a SATA cable included if you need to plug a regular old HDD. And there’s another empty slot of RAM.
However, don’t expect a big battery life. Our usual Le Mans 24 Hour video stress test has the battery run flat at 3 and a half hours, but daily light usage can take you more than that.
Pricing And Value
Now, the pricing. The ROG Strix G G531GU is the second-highest variant available in Malaysia.
Having the GTX 1660Ti rather than an RTX card surely helps it priced under the RM6,000 mark- anything above that should be premium gaming laptops. So this one sits in the sweet spot of a reasonably enough pricing for most people.
But the GTX1660Ti instead of the one-step lower version GTX1650 puts it comfortably above the RM5,000 range. So this is in the upper tier of the mid-range gaming laptops price-wise. We haven’t tested a GTX1650 ourselves to see how big of a difference the two GPUs are. So we can’t tell if the price bump between the two is justified enough with the price hike.
On its own, the ROG Strix G G531GU is well worth the money just for the fact that it can still run new AAA games at relative ease. It’s a good bump of performance compared to the previous generation’s offering of the 8th-gen Intel Core i7 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, which occupies the same price point last year.
Again, we recommend investing in an extra stick of RAM.
Equipped with the newest generation of the tried-and-true Intel CPU and Nvidia GPU, The ROG Strix G is a solid choice for any gamer out there. In particular, the ROG Strix G G531GU is definitely the new benchmark for mid-range gaming laptops capable of AAA gaming.
The sleek design and underbody RGB glow is a striking look without getting too gaudy, though there are a few compromises that stop it from being perfect. But that’s the nature of gaming laptops- there’s always a compromise.
But what ROG didn’t compromise is gaming performance. Want to play AAA games on a laptop, not spend over RM6,000, have it look pretty and run games all smooth? There’s plenty of good choices out there, and the ROG Strix G G531GU is one of the best.
Review unit provided by ASUS Malaysia