The ROG Strix GL702ZC is a pretty well-built laptop. The speakers are excellent, and the display doesn’t annoy you with poor viewing angles or washed out colors. The keyboard also feels good to type on, so the overall user experience is quite positive.
The only problem is what lies under the hood. This is a laptop for the most ardent of AMD fans. The Ryzen 7 1700 and Radeon RX 580 4GB provide decent gaming performance, but a laptop with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB is capable of matching it in most cases, and even surpasses it at times.
Such a laptop is also a lot cheaper. For instance, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming costs S$2,199 with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB. The Aftershock PRIME-15 with the same card that we tested is a bit more expensive at S$2,347, but that’s because it comes with a 120Hz display.
In other words, if you’re looking for a laptop that’s only going to be used for gaming, you could get equivalent or slightly better performance at less than the ROG Strix’s S$2,698 price tag.
However, while ASUS’ laptop doesn’t shine as a gaming machine, that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause. It offers good multi-threaded performance, posting a Cinebench R15 score of 1404 to the Aftershock PRIME-15 and the Core i7-7700HQ’s 740, an impressive 89 per cent jump.
It’s just a little unfortunate that it’s also positioned as a gaming laptop, which isn’t where its strongest competitive advantage lies.
Ultimately, this AMD-powered notebook is an interesting proposition if you’re looking for a laptop that can handle heavily-threaded applications and serve up decent gaming performance. At the time of writing, no other laptops offer this level of multi-threaded heft at this price point, so it’s difficult to pass it up if you want that sort of performance in a laptop.
But outside that specific subset of users, the laptop may struggle to find mass appeal in a market where gaming laptops are still dominated by Intel and NVIDIA.
It also falls prey to the usual hazards of stuffing desktop-class components into a laptop, putting out considerable heat and noise and terrible battery life.
But for all its flaws, it faintly echoes the original launch of the Ryzen desktop processors, both in its potential to disrupt and serve as an intriguing alternative. It’s a pity that it isn’t quite as compelling as it could have been.