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Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 Special Edition review: Ultimate portable gaming

We reviewed the Asus Strix Scar 17 earlier this year which was a fantastic gaming powerhouse. Now, Asus has a Special Edition version of the laptop, which comes with the promise of delivering peak performance, along with a special aesthetic appeal to set the laptop apart from others in the Strix series. Here’s my full review of the device and whether you should consider the Strix Scar 17 Special Edition to be your next gaming laptop upgrade. Let’s begin with the specifications.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 SE specs: 17.3-inch QHD 240Hz display | Intel Core i9 12950HX | Nvidia RTX 3080Ti | 2TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD storage, 32GB LPDDR5 RAM | 90Wh battery | Windows 11

Design, build

The first thing that’s new with the Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 is its look. While the design is the same as the non-Special Edition variant, we see a new paint job on the aluminum lid, complete with invisible ink. This will glow in a corner to show a unique pattern under UV light. The mini UV flashlight Asus ROG includes in the package does the trick.

You still get the RGB ROG logo on the right half of the lid and yes, the black lid still attracts a lot of finger smudges, so keeping the laptop clean will be a task. You get the replaceable ROG staples below the lid and the brand will include two spare ones, one black, and one gray in the package so you always have one to snap on.

The lid features a special invisible ink design that glows when you shine the special light on it. (Image Source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

Other elements are similar to the vanilla Strix Scar 17, with a metal body, the ports going on the back and plenty of ventilation and RGB, including the strip running below the keyboard which gives the laptop a cool glow when placed on a desk.

Display and performance

I thoroughly enjoyed gaming on the 17.3-inch QHD display. Playing PUBG at high framerates was enjoyable on the laptop and games like Rise of the Tomb Raider and Spider-Man Remastered looked stunning thanks to the display panel and the 3080 Ti under the hood. While I don’t play a lot of other fps titles like Valorant or CS: GO, I’m pretty sure the laptop will not disappoint there either.

asus rog strix scar 17 special edition, The laptop has a gorgeous 17.3-inch display. (Image Source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

The performance of the Intel Core i9 12950HX-powered laptop was also great with pretty much every game I tried. Together with the capable GPU, this is a machine eSports players and casual gamers alike can set up anywhere on the go and enjoy. With Spider-Man Remastered running at 4K with the graphics and ray-tracing maxed out, I was able to get a solid average framerate of about 80fps (90-100fps in the indoor missions). Note that this was with the laptop on Turbo mode (plugged in) and with the MUX switch set to discrete GPU mode.

asus rog strix scar 17 special edition, The laptop can handle intensive games like Rise of the Tomb Raider without any hiccups. (Image Source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

However, there isn’t a lot of immediate difference noticeable in day-to-day performance when the Special Edition is up against the vanilla ROG Strix Scar 17 2022 and only under extreme conditions will you be able to spot the performance perks of the 12950HX over the 12900H that powers the vanilla edition. The GPU difference, on the other hand, is noticeable and the 3080 Ti on the new version is simply a notch above the already capable 3070 Ti.

Keyboard, trackpad

You get the same keyboard and trackpad with the Special Edition and that’s a good thing because the Strix Scar 17 2022 had an excellent keyboard. It comes with very responsive keys with a good amount of travel for you to also somewhat enjoy typing on this keyboard. There’s also per-key RGB lighting that you can customize as per your liking.

asus rog strix scar 17 special edition, The laptop comes with a full-size keyboard and a large trackpad. (Image Source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

The design includes a full-size keyboard, just like with the vanilla Scar 17, and you also get the diagonal separation between the opaque and transparent parts of the keyboard, which gives it a nice look, really setting apart the laptop from other gaming machines when opening on a desk. The trackpad is also the same large trackpad, which comes with seamless buttons, ideal for running mouse-intensive programs, although you’ll still want a dedicated mouse for most games.

Other features, accessories

The laptop still features the signature Armory Crate software which you can use to customize everything from the performance modes to RGB preferences and more. Like the vanilla Strix Scar 17, you still get the ROG Keystone support, which lets you carry your settings to another Keystone-compatible ROG laptop, in addition to carrying a secret drive for storage.

asus rog strix scar 17 special edition, The Strix Scar 17 Special Edition also has support for the ROG Keystone and comes with accessories like the ROG Delta gaming headphones. (Image Source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

For i/o, the laptop comes with the exact same setup as the vanilla model including two USB 3.2 Type-C ports (one of which is Thunderbolt 4), an HDMI 2.1 port, an RJ45 ethernet port and the power port. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone port and two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports. Unfortunately, the laptop sharing its chassis with the vanilla Strix Scar 17 also means you get no inbuilt webcam, although ROG will bundle a USB camera in the package.

The laptop packaging also comes with a few accessories. These include the UV flashlight we mentioned above, two ROG replaceable staples for the hinge, a USB webcam, a ROG gaming headset and a backpack.

BatteryLife

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 Special Edition comes with similar battery life figures to the vanilla Strix Scar 17. I managed to get about 6 hours off the laptop when using it for light gaming or other tasks, but the machine was plugged in for the heavier gaming sessions, which is how I imagine most people will use this machine.

Verdict: Should you buy the Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 SE?

The Strix Scar 17 Special Edition is the ultimate gaming machine. It features the looks that can turn eyes and the performance to run most titles without any hiccups. However, at the price of Rs 3,59,990 (our exact variant costs Rs 3,99,990), the laptop is one costly affair. I recommend this for purists who want the absolute best in terms of specifications and aesthetics. For those looking for something more practical, you can consider the regular Strix Scar 17.

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