Ever since the advent of esports, ASUS has been keeping up with gaming trends through its current releases and the ASUS ROG Strix Hero II is a testament to its constant innovation. Boasting mobility and processing power, the Strix Hero II is designed for MOBA and DOTA players. Here at Pinoy Tech Blog, we put this new laptop to the test.
Design & Construction
They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t apply to the Strix Hero II. Based on its exterior alone, the Strix Hero II definitely has that “oomph” factor enough to turn heads when you carry it around. The screen’s backing carries the signature ROG logo that lights up when you turn the laptop on. Under the display, you will also find another metallic ROG logo, along with its camera. Its keys are all backlit (featuring customizable lighting effects), with important function keys highlighted to ease location while playing. I find it impressive how slim the screen bezels are: the reduction in size compared to other standard 15″ laptops is quite noticeable. There’s also a sort of rubber buffer coating the edges of the screen, protecting the display when you close the lid after use. Its exterior is also engraved with a texture that makes it smudge-proof so you don’t leave any unsightly fingerprint marks behind.
The Hero II‘s construction has a bunch of ergonomic features. The fans are placed on the side away from the user, so you wouldn’t feel the hot air blowing on you while using the laptop. The Keyboard is also well-constructed, as it has separate function keys and a numerical pad. Even the shape of the keys itself is designed to make pressing button more comfortable and adapted to accurately determine pressure. The ports are all conveniently placed on the left, including a slot dedicated to an SD card on the right. The speakers are also able to create a 3D sound effect as there is one placed on the left and on the right.
Design-wise, the Strix Hero II is the kind that will earn you street cred because of how cool it looks. There’s no mistaking that this is a gaming laptop. The customizable lights definitely add flair to the laptop itself. I’m also delighted at how considerate the design was towards its target audience. While most gaming laptops highlight “W,A,S,D” for its directional keys, the Strix Hero II has the “Q,W,E,R” keys standing out. This is because unlike other PC games, most MOBA games (and specifically, DOTA) use the mouse for moving characters around and has the “Q,W,E,R” keys assigned for character skills and other important functions.
On the keyboard, you will also find a hotkey directing you to the ROG Gaming Center which contains all necessary system information such as the CPU and GPU speed, temperature and memory status for easy monitoring. In this menu, you can also customize settings for the lights, cooling system and network optimizer.
The peripherals, though, is another story. The Strix Hero II has a large and heavy charger that almost cancels out the laptop’s strides in mobility, even though this has already been reduced in comparison with its predecessors. You might’ve saved some weight and space with the laptop’s size, but it would be pointless since you need to bring the charger with you. I also found it inconvenient that the charger’s plug isn’t the usual two-pronged plug, meaning you might need to get an adapter for this in case you can’t find any compatible sockets around.
One of the Strix Hero II‘s highlights is its display: featuring a 144Hz refresh rate and a 15.6-inch IPS screen surrounded by an ultra-slim 0.77cm screen frame. Most MOBA games don’t have high graphics requirements but the Strix Hero II goes above and beyond that by sporting the latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX-10 series graphics card. This works well with the high-resolution display in order to deliver an unparalleled and immersive gaming experience.
Under the ROG Gaming Center menu, you will find custom settings for the GameVisual feature. This allows you to switch between preset modes fit for your gaming needs such as Racing, Cinema, or First-Person Shooter mode. Each preset comes with its own color settings and visual enhancements.
Hardware & Performance
The ROG Strix Hero II is powered by an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor ensuring amazing performance. Partner this with the ROG’s RangeBoost Technology which optimizes the laptop’s network connection strength to make sure you stay in the game with no lags. The laptop can also switch between main and aux antennas according to signal strength. This makes the Strix Hero II perfect for esports, as it also offers variation when it comes to connectivity via a plethora of ports you can use to plug your laptop into a local network. We only tested an engineering unit, so we didn’t run benchmarks.
The Strix Hero II also carries the innovative Anti-Dust Cooling System present in other latest ROG releases. This unique cooling system has the patented Anti-Dust Tunnels that expel dirt that tends to collect within the laptop’s hardware, prolonging its superb performance. In comparison to traditional 5V fans, the cooling system present in the Strix Hero II is 20% faster and generates 92% higher air pressure, making it a much more effective solution in heat dissipation. What’s more is that you can also customize the settings for the fans’ speed by pressing Fn+F5 to access the menu for temperature control. You can choose between modes with different priorities such as the Silent Mode or leave it at Balance Mode.
In terms of storage, the latest ROG and Scar series, including the Strix Hero II, all incorporate an SSHD as a secondary storage device. Other laptop models only use either an SSD or an HDD for storage. It has a FireCuda SSHD with an HDD that uses NAND Flash as an accelerator to improve data I/O speeds to ensure that the games installed on your SSHD will load quickly upon command.
We tested the ROG Strix Hero II with a quick gameplay of Tekken 7. Performance-wise, it did not disappoint as we are able to enjoy the game without any lags. Even with the Offline VS Mode with two players, we didn’t notice any signs of slowing down and the loading time between matches were very short. We also tried installing two Bluetooth controllers to see how it will perform with such peripherals, and aside from basic key-binding problems, there weren’t any technical issues encountered.
To add to this, we also tried jacking up the graphics settings into maximum. Considering that the Strix Hero II wasn’t focused on graphics-heavy games, its display performance was still very impressive reaching 30fps. There was a noticeable delay in loading time, but it was able to display the game’s graphics in full detail: from the textures of the characters’ outfits down to the props in the background, even the smallest features of the game can be fully appreciated with the laptop’s stunning display. Fair warning though, setting the graphics on max can drain the battery faster as what we have experienced during our gameplay.
I also tried playing a quick multiplayer round of SAS4. It’s no question that this laptop can deliver amazing performance with MOBA games, so I wanted to test it using another game that also relies on connectivity. SAS4 is pretty notorious for lagging despite having a stable connection so I loaded it up on the Strix Hero II and found no issues even while playing the Last Man Standing event.
In conclusion, the Strix Hero II is a gaming powerhouse just as it was advertised. While most gaming laptops try to oversell themselves, the Hero II exceeds expectations by being able to accommodate games it’s not directly designed to run. Given the high price point for this model, the return in terms of value is worth every cent. If you consider yourself a professional player with a penchant for joining MOBA esports leagues, you might want to invest on the Strix Hero II. But even for casual gamers like me, this laptop is definitely worth gunning for. The ASUS ROG Strix Hero II is now available nationwide for a suggested retail price of Php 104,995.