Review unit on loan from ASUS Singapore
The ASUS ROG Strix G series gaming laptops have been updated with the 13th gen Intel processors and NVIDIA Geforce RTX 40 series graphics card.
This review is from the perspective of a visual content creator and will include the experience of using graphic design, photo and video editing apps.
Positive: This is a good looking laptop with solid build quality. The display is bright, sharp (QHD+) and vibrant (550 nits). The huge display is great for productivity and extremely satisfying to game on. Overall performance is fantastic but the improvement in graphics performance with the NVIDIA Geforce RTX 40 series is just amazing. Frame rates for Red Dead Redemption 2 at 2560 x 1600 is around 65 to 70 FPS. With the RTX 30 series from 2022, it was 50 to 60FPS at 1080P resolution for RDR2. The pricing is quite competitive with other brands.
The large display and resolution is also ideal for visual content creation.
Negative:: Battery life is just 3-4 hours with non-gaming usage. Keyboard layout will take some time to get used to. Speakers are downward facing. There's no biometic unlock. Battery will still drain with USB-C charging when playing with graphics intensive games -- 280W charger is included.
These are the specs for the review unit:
- OS: Windows 11 Home
- Processor: 13th Gen Intel® Core™ i9-13980HX Processor 2.2 GHz (36M Cache, up to 5.6 GHz, 24 cores: 8 P-cores and 16 E-cores)
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 8GB
- Display: 18-inch ROG Nebula Display IPS LCD, matte, 240Hz. 3ms response time, 500 nits brightness, G-sync, Dolby Vision HDR support, 100% DCI-P3, 2560 x 1600 pixels, 16:10 aspect ratio
- RAM: 32GB DDR5-4800
- Storage: 1TB gen 4 NVMe SSD
- Ports: 3.5mm audio jack, HDMI 2.1, 2x USB 3.2 type A, 1x USB 3.2 type C, 2.5G LAN, 1x Thunderbolt 4
- Camera: 720P
- Speaker: 2x Dolby Atmos with Smart Amp tech
- Wifi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
- Battery capacity: 90WHr
- Power supply: 280W
- Weight: 3kg
- Dimensions: 39.9 x 29.4 x 2.31 ~ 3.08 cm
- Price: SGD 3848 with 2 years warranty
Other models available:
- G18, RTX 4070, 2560 x 1600px 240Hz display, 32GB RAM, 1TBSSD, SGD 3848
- G17, RTX 4070, 2560 x 1440px 240Hz display, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, SGD 3698
- G16 Scar, RTX 4090, 2560 x 1600px 240Hz display, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, SGD 5498
- G16 Scar, RTX 4080, 2560 x 1600px 240Hz display, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, SGD 4598
- G16, RTX 4070, 1920 x 1200px 165Hz display, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, SGD 3498
- G16, RTX 4060, 1920 x 1200px 165Hz display, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, SGD 2998
- G16, RTX 4050, 1920 x 1200px 165Hz display, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, SGD 2798
Note that some models are using FHD+ display with 165Hz. The 17-inch model is using 16:9 aspect ratio.
RAM and NVMe SSDs are user upgradeable.
Compared to other brands
Below's a table comparing other 18-inch gaming laptops. I've tried to match the specs as closely as possible but it's not possible. I've bolded the main difference, whether good or bad.
|ASUS ROG Strix G18||Razer Blade 18||Alienware M18||Acer Predator Helios 18|
|Display||18-inch, 2560 x 1600, 240Hz||18-inch, 2560 x 1600, 240Hz||18-inch, 2560 x 1600, 165Hz||18-inch, 2560 x 1600, 240Hz|
|Processor||Intel Core i9-13980HX (8P, 16E)||Intel Core i9-13950HX (8P, 16E)||Intel Core i7-13700HX (8P, 8E)||Intel Core i9-13900HX (8P, 16E)|
|RAM||32GB DDR5-4800||32GB DDR5-5600||32GB DDR5-4800||16GB DDR5-5600|
|Storage||1TB NVMe PCI 4||1TB NVMe PCI 4||1TB NVMe PCI 4||1TB NVMe PCI 4|
|Graphics||Geforce RTX 4070||Geforce RTX 4070||Geforce RTX 4060||Geforce RTX 4080|
|Warranty||2 years||1 year||2 years||3 years|
|Price||SGD 3848, USD 2499||SGD 5299, USD 3199||SGD 4295, USD 2499||SGD 4499*, ~USD 3388|
*SGD 3998 launch promo.
If you're just comparing the specs, the ASUS ROG Strix G18 and Acer Predator Helios 18 provide the best value for money.
This is a massive laptop that weighs 3kg. The build quality is solid and the design looks stylish. This can definitely be a desktop replacement given the 18-inch display and fantastic performance.
The cover has a latch for opening the display. There's the ASUS logo on the back that lights up read.
The bottom is equally stylish. The back plate can be opened easily with the exposed screws and it's possible to add another NVMe SSD to the free slot.
The laptop is raised by the feet and there's a bigger gap near the bottom firing speakers where your finger can go in to light the laptop up easily.
The speakers are loud and clear but it's just a stereo sound stage. Overall audio quality from the two Dolby Atmos-powered speakers is alright but voice don't sound good since the speakers face down.
The right side has two USB 3.2 type A ports. Nearer at the top is the hot air exhaust which can hit your hand and mouse if nearby.
On the left are ports for power, ethernet, HDMI, Thunderbolt 4 USB-C, USB 3.2 gen 2 USB-C (supports DisplayPort and PD charger).
The whole row on the back has vents for air intake for the huge heat sink within. Three fans pull in the air and exhaust out from both sides.
Fans are not audible with normal load and light gaming. The performance and cooling system is so good that the fans don't really rev up with light gaming.
The RGB lightng at the edge and sides, and below the keys look beautiful. The colours for the lights and pattern can be customised.
This is the 18-inch Nebula Display with 2560 x 1600 resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 240Hz, matte texture.
The colours look terrific out of the box. I measured colour support for 100% sRGB, 89% AdobeRGB, 96% DCI-P3, 86% NTSC and a maximum brightness of 301 nits. The display is colour accurate enough for visual content creation, photo and video editing, digital art and 3D modeling.
This display is larger than an A4-sized paper with space left over for a column of palettes on the side.
I'm very impressed by the size, colours, sharpness and just how good everything looks on this display.
I have the UI set to 125% and all the UI elements still look big enough to me. At 125% scaling, there's sufficient desktop space to show more palettes and controls for apps. Video editing apps benefit especially from such big displays due to the need to have palettes on screen all the time -- hiding palettes is not productive.
With Adobe Illustrator, all the tools from the contextual toolbar are visible.
With Illustrator and Indesign, it's possible to have two columns of palettes by the side and still have enough canvas space to work with.
I wrote this review by having two windows side by side, one for writing and one for reference.
There's noticeable backlight bleed at several areas near the edge of the display on the review unit. Photo above has been enhanced to show the backlight bleed more clearly.
I don't notice the backlight bleed with normal use, but it may be noticeable when watching movies (with black bars at top and bottom) in a dark room.
The keyboard is full-sized and comes with a numpad by the side. The keys have good travel and feedback. Typing experience is good.
Layout for the keys will take some time to adjust.
The Function button cannot be locked, and there's no way to do so through MyASUS or Armory Crate. The function buttons are always F1 to F12. Even installing the ASUS Keyboard Hotkeys did not work.
The F12 instead of Delete button is above the Backspace. I always hit F12 when I want to hit Delete (above NumLock button).
The arrow keys are full height and extends up beside the Shift, and right into the numpad, making the Zero half width. I hit the Up button occasionally when I want to hit shift, and hit the Right button when I want to hit Zero.
There are three PrintScreen buttons, at F6, above the numpad and between the Alt and Ctrl buttons.
The 13th gen Intel i9-13980HX is so powerful that it's difficult to make this system lag.
You can have a 4K H265 video in the exporting in the background and still go about editing photos with no lag. That's the level of performance you can get with this laptop.
The improvement in gaming performance over the NVIDIA Geforce RTX 30 series is significant.
The game I tested was Red Dead Redemption 2 and these are the frame rates I could get:
- Zenbook Pro Duo 14 (2022) with NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3050 Ti - 45 FPS at 1080P
- Zenbook Pro 16X OLED (2022) with NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3060 - 50 to 60FPS at 1080P
- ROG Strix G18 with NVIDIA Geforce RTX 4070 - 65 to 70 FPS at 2560 x 1600
I was able to play RDR2 at higher resolution of 2560 x 1600 at higher frame rates. At 1080P, frame rates go up to 80 FPS.
With Forza Horizon 5 at 2560 x 1600 at high visual settings, it's 115 to 120 FPS.
With God of War (2018) at 2560 x 1600, it's 90FPS.
Depending on how demanding the game is, sometimes you may not even hear the fans.
The gaming experience on such a huge display is so immersive and so satisfying.
To get optimal performance, the laptop has to be connected to power source, either with the 280W charger or 100W USB-C charger.
The gaming performance is so good because the graphics card is allowed to draw up 175W of power. The CPU can draw from 55W to 65W. And because the laptop can draw over 220W++ while gaming, when gaming with 100W USB-C charging, battery can still drain.
When battery drains to ~10%, FPS can drop significantly, e.g. by 50%.
This laptop has a 90 Wh battery capacity.
Battery life is 3 to 4 hours with non-gaming usage at 25% brightness (still quite bright by the way).
Battery drains about 40% in half hour with intensive gaming.
Charging speed with the 280W charger is 50% in half and hour. 100W USB-C charging speed is 1% per minute.
There is coil whine when gaming especially in the first few minutes but after the fans start revving up, the coil whine just blends into the ambient noise. Dave2D also reported the same coil whine with RTX 4080 and 4090.
The battery life for a gaming laptop is expected to be short. Anyway, the laptop will be connected to power while gaming anyway.
The keyboard layout can definitely be improved.
I actually wanted to list the weight as a downside but it's actually quite impressive to get an 18-inch laptop at just 3kg when you compare this to the competition.
There's no biometric unlock. No fingerprint scanner and no face unlock.
This is an impressive gaming laptop if you have the budget for it and don't mind the weight.
The huge gorgeous matte textured display works great for visual content creation as well.
This is a great laptop for work and play. The pricing is quite competitive with other brands.
Pros and cons and a glance
+ Excellent build quality
+ Stylish design
+ Huge display is extremely satisfying to work with
+ Display has 100% DCI-P3, 500 nits brightness
+ Matte display has no good anti-glare
+ 2560 x 1600 resolution is sharp
+ 240Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time
+ At least 60FPS gaming with AAA titles at 1440P resolution
+ Keyboard lighting and glow are customisable
+ Supports 100W USB-C charging
+ Keyboard nice to type on
+ Competitive pricing
- Coil whine audible until fans rev up
- Hot air hits left and right hand
- Display blacks out when power is connected and disconnected
- No biometic unlock
- Numpad 0 key is half-width
- Extra buttons for performance mode, print screen
- USB-C charging is not able to keep up with intensive gaming
- Speakers are loud and clear but voice don't sound good due to downward facing design
- Low battery life despite 90W battery capacity, expected
- NumLk button does not have light indicator
- Power source needed for high frame rate gaming
- Backlight bleeding