Asus ROG Azoth review: The bar has been set for 2023. Asus rog keyboard
Asus ROG Azoth review: “The bar has been set for 2023
The Asus ROG Azoth is a revolution in hot-swappable gaming keyboards, setting the bar extremely high for 2023. Mixing the quality and design of an enthusiast-level custom keyboard with speedy gaming-focused features makes for the best typing experience I’ve ever had. It’s pricey, but if you’re looking to invest this is your top option right now.
- Outstanding typing experience
- Speedy and responsive
- Flexible OLED display and control knob
- Smaller design still offers plenty of functionality
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The Asus ROG Azoth is here, and the bar has officially been set high for 2023. The worlds of the pro typist and pro gamer have collided here, to create a supremely comfortable, endlessly customizable, solidly durable gaming keyboard. With a gasket-mounted design, hot-swappable functionality, and a real premium feel to each and every keystroke, this is a shoo-in for the best gaming keyboard of the year. and we’re only in January.
I was blown away by the feel and performance of the Azoth during my two weeks of testing. From the thoughtful design to the rich feature list, all the way down to the feel of the keycaps and the support of stabilizers underneath them. this is a clear winner for anyone who can stomach its price tag. That’s the only real clincher here. you’re not going to get the feel and quality of a custom keyboard for mainstream prices. However, there are plenty of gaming keyboards knocking on this 249.99 / £269.99 price point. this is the first I’d truly be comfortable spending that kind of cash on.
|Wired / Wireless|
|ROG NX mechanical|
|Dedicated volume clicker|
The Asus ROG Azoth is at once subtle in its gamer aesthetic while also screaming it loudly. It’s a strange line to walk, but without the RGB flares and swirling logo on the OLED display, this could simply be another enthusiast keyboard sitting on your desk. The two-tone keycap array is in keeping with the aesthetic, alongside the slim-bezel, stocky form factor. Peer a little closer at the sides and you’ll spot the sharp angular lines of many a gaming keyboard before it, though, and the legends that reveal themselves when those LEDs to spring to life will immediately reveal this deck’s true intent.
Everything feels so incredibly soft yet satisfying here (and we’re not even talking about the typing experience yet). The doubleshot PBT keycaps are slightly textured underhand to provide that all-important grip, but the slightly shorter height of each key keeps you moving swiftly across the deck all the same.
Of course, the gasket mount design certainly helps that overall experience. You’ll find three layers of foam sandwiched between the top plate and the base, cushioning every press and dampening sound at the same time. The result is that soft, snappy feel, with no reverb even in stabilized keys like the space bar and enter.
The actual keyboard layout feels perfectly balanced as well. A smaller frame usually means making sacrifices in functionality to allow for more mouse-swinging space, but here the Azoth manages to keep a miniature footprint while also offering a row of navigation keys and arrow buttons. 75% keyboards usually offer this layout, but in a block of keys that adds to the overall length, so by keeping things skinny here we’re getting the best of both worlds.
The aluminium frame running along the top of the deck gives way to a plastic underbelly. a design that will separate the Asus ROG Azoth from the enthusiast keyboards it takes inspiration from. However, the plastic material underneath allows this wireless gaming keyboard to offer both 2.4GHz and Bluetooth without getting in the way and still carries a high build quality without having any auditory effect on the sound of each keypress.
You aren’t sacrificing anything from the standard feature list to pick up that excellent enthusiast design here. All the standard anti-ghosting and n-key rollover features are still present and accounted for, unlike many typist-first devices. The full deck is also programmable with on-the-fly macro recording and six profiles to set up as well. That’s far more than you’d usually see in a hot-swappable keyboard of this quality, but for the cash, we wouldn’t expect anything less.
Where the Asus ROG Azoth shines, though, is by tying all those standard features together with some additional quality-of-life enhancements that add that extra premium feel. The first, and most noticeable, is the OLED display sitting in the top right corner. This is a surprisingly high-quality display, with plenty of detail in the rolling animations and plenty of space for system information.
Next to this display, you’ll find a small control knob that can be set to control volume, playback, keyboard brightness, OLED display brightness, or switch the LED lighting effect on your keyboard. You can also set your own custom commands through the Armoury Crate software on top. It would have been nice to control both media playback and volume without having to switch presets, but there’s a surprising amount of flexibility in this one small knob.
Of course, all this extra pizazz would get us nowhere without a solid set of keys to type on. and this is the Azoth‘s not-so-secret weapon. Asus has used its own NX switches under the hood, a 1.8mm actuating red linear number with 40 gram-force (gf) of actuation force and a slick, nippy debounce. Combine that with the aforementioned gasket mount design and luxury keycaps and you’ve got a stunning typing experience. All of that comes with pre-lubed stabilizers and its own lubing kit including Krytox GPL-205-GD0.
I’ll come out and say it: I’ve had my hands on a lot of enthusiast, custom, and gaming keyboards and this is the best typing experience I’ve ever had. An off-the-shelf deck has never offered such a high-quality feel, and to do so with all the gaming features of a specialized rig is a marvel. Each switch clacks with a subtle but still satisfying clack, and bounces back with incredible speed, but on top of that, you’ve got the gasket mount feel and sturdy build quality to set the ROG Azoth apart from the rest of the market.
Who knew fashion could converge with a gaming laptop?
Laptop Mag Verdict
The Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM is a beautifully chaotic convergence of fashion and gaming, but it appeals to a limited audience.
- Awesome clicky keyboard
- Asus Pen 2.0 included
- Wacky, edgy design
- Detachable straps are useful
- Microsoft Surface-esque built-in kickstand
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I never thought I’d be reviewing a laptop that looks like a pair of cargo pants, but here we are. Meet the Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM: the RTX 4070 gaming rig you can technically wear. How did we get to this bizarre convergence of fashion and tech? Blame Errolson Hugh. He’s a popular fashion designer who co-founded Acronym, a slick streetwear brand seen on the likes of Drake, Travis Scott, and John Mayer. And with good reason — you’d need celebrity-tier money to buy anything from Acronym.
Asus tapped Hugh to put his own stank on the ROG Flow Z13 — and well — the end result is a laptop that looks ready for a rock climbing expedition. I can’t help but roast the funky looking laptop, but its out-of-place straps are surprisingly practical. You can transform the 13-inch machine into shoulder bag, crossbody bag, and briefcase modes. Hell, you can even let it lean off your chest, facing you, like you’re holding a weird laptop Baby Bjorn.
Also on the design team for this out-of-this-world gaming laptop is Phil Saunders — a concept artist who designed the iconic Iron Man suit for Marvel.
It may be chaotic on the outside, but the ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM is quite structured on the inside. It’s packed with a 13th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU, and as mentioned at the outset, an Nvidia RTX 4070 GPU. However, after testing this portable laptop, I’ve concluded that this laptop has more limited appeal than I thought. While I’m extremely impressed with its design, I’m blasé about its performance — read on to find out why (and to see if it falls on our best gaming laptops page).
Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM price and configuration
Have you seen the price tags on Hughes’ high-end streetwear clothes? I thought this Acronym jacket was pretty nice — until I nearly fell off my chair when I saw that it’d set me back 2,015! That’s more than my rent!
Naturally, that premium pricing trend continues with Hughes’ collaboration with Asus. The ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM costs a cool 2,500 via Amazon. It comes with a 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, a 1TB SSD, a 13.4-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel display, and Windows 11 Pro.
This is the only configuration available and it’s a limited edition Asus laptop.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM design
The Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM, if it were personified, would be the moody, cargo pants-wearing character hanging out in a dystopian, high-tech metropolis with a grungy, edgy, cyberpunk style.
Form-wise, the ACRNM is like the Microsoft Surface Pro X — featuring a built-in kickstand on a tablet and a detachable keyboard — but make it street fashion! The Asus laptop has a digi-tribal look with a futuristic, metallic-esque, CNC aluminum chassis; the back of the tablet is bespeckled with rectangular black rubber feet and adorned with primitive-esque, light-gray markings. The black rubber feet are eye sores, but they do serve a purpose, especially if you plan on using the ACRNM in tablet mode. They keep the tablet slightly elevated off the surface so the vents can do their job.
The tablet, by the way, is no iPad Air. It’s heavy AF. This is not something you can leisurely hold in one hand, so you’ll likely be using that kickstand 99.9% of the time.
Asus claims that the detachable keyboard, which doubles as a tablet cover, is made of “high-quality leather.” This may be true, but the material doesn’t have that addicting feel that premium fabrics often have — it’s unnoteworthy. Usually only the WASD keys get special love on gaming keyboards, but on the ACRNM, all the keys are black except for 20 caps, including W, A, S, D, E, I, J, K, L, Esc, Backspace, Shift, and CTRL. They’re all decorated with some variation of the khaki-yellow hue. Is it my style? Not really, but the black and khaki combo is very Hughes.
You won’t find the power key on the keyboard — trust me, I looked. It’s located on the right edge of the display; you’ll also find a volume rocker there, too, which is convenient.
The straps that come with the ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM are my favorite part. After attaching them to the laptop, you can actually wear your gaming rig in a number of different postures where you can hang it over your shoulder, cross it over your body, and even hang it over your neck while holding the tablet (as if you’re about to serve hors d’oeuvres).
The Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM measures 11.9 x 8.4 x 0.6~0.79 inches and weighs 2.91 pounds. Its competitors are the MSI Raider GE78 HX (6.5 pounds, 15 x 11.7 x 1.1 inches) and the Origin EON16-S (5.5 pounds, 14.1 x 10.74 x 0.78 inches). They’re 16-inch and 17-inch laptops, respectively, so naturally, they’re larger and heavier.
The Rog Keyboard. A New take on the Keyboard #gadgets #viral
Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM ports
The Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM has a nice mix of legacy and modern ports distributed on both sides of its tablet display.
On the left side, you’ll find a Thunderbolt 4 port, a USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 port, a microSD card reader, and Asus’ proprietary ROG XG Mobile interface (a port that’s also available on the new ROG Ally), which lets you connect an Asus-branded mobile eGPU and docking station to amp up the ACRNM’s graphics horsepower. (The best one you can get is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 ROG XG Mobile eGPU.)
On the left side, you’ll find a USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 port and a headset jack.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM display
The ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM comes with a 13.4-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel, 165Hz touchscreen display with a 16:10 aspect ratio.
Right off the bat, just by looking at the Windows Spotlight picture that popped up on the lock screen (a few horses grazing in a field), I could tell that the ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM has a gorgeous pop of color. I pulled up the Transformers 7: Rise of the Beasts YouTube trailer, and wow, I didn’t know Bumblebee could be so yellow! Fiery red-and-orange hues popped off the screen as fireballs flew through the sky and Optimus Prime’s red-and-blue armor caught my eye as he trudged through a rainy, muddy bus depot.
However, I wasn’t particularly impressed with its sharpness; it could stand to be more detailed. While I could see actor Anthony Ramos’ striking freckles, I couldn’t spot more muted facial features (e.g., pores).
I came across a similar experience while playing Hogwarts Legacy with all settings on Very High. My Hogwarts-bound, custom-created character was surrounded by a striking lush verdant landscape while climbing up a seaside cliff. When my witchy protagonist arrived at her Slytherin-based room, the melange of mint green, emerald, and chartreuse that decorated the gothic-like quarters were pleasing to the eye. However, like my scrutiny of the YouTube trailer, details were middling — they could stand to be more striking.
As it turned out, my anecdotal experience matches the numbers. According to our display testing, the ACRNM is the most colorful compared to its rivals, which also sport 2560 x 1600-pixel displays. It covers 116.1% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, barely surpassing the MSI Raider GE78 HX (115.4%), but it beat the Origin EON16-S (83.5%) by a landslide.
On our Delta-E color accuracy test, the ACRNM delivered middling results with a score of 0.26 (closer to 0 is better). It bested the Origin’s measly 0.32 score, but the MSI claimed the throne as the most color accurate with an excellent score of 0.12. The average premium laptop has a Delta-E color accuracy of 0.24.
During our brightness test, the ACRNM was a shining star, emanating 453 nits of brightness, outluminating the MSI (412 nits), Origin (326 nits) and the average premium gaming laptop (396 nits).
Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM stylus
Yes, the ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM comes with a pen — a black and yellow one that matches the keyboard’s color scheme. However, it’s nothing new. It’s just the Asus Pen 2.0 with a new design.
I appreciate that the Asus Pen 2.0 has a true cylindrical shape while other pens — like the Apple Pencil and the Surface Pen — have flat edges that don’t feel very comfortable between my fingers. I fired up Microsoft Whiteboard where I sketched and scribbled notes. The Asus Pen 2.0 felt smooth and easy as it glided across the touchscreen.
The Asus Pen 2.0 has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, allowing you to create the finest strokes and broadest lines. Asus claims that after just 30 minutes of USB-C charging, you can get up to 140 hours of usage. My only gripe is that I wish there was a magnetic dock for this stylus — there’s a good chance you’ll end up losing it because it doesn’t have a dedicated home on the ACRNM.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM audio
The ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM’s Dolby Atmos-tuned dual speakers can be found on either side of the display.
I fired up the Mega Hit Mix playlist, which launched Doja Cat’s “Woman,” and oof, these speakers don’t sound great. The upbeat tune sounded too tinny for my tastes — as if it was playing from a years-old smartphone. Just one minute in, I had to turn it off because it was too dissonant. I had the same experience when I listened to Lil Nas X’s “MONTERO,” which had a strange metallic sound.
With the Dolby Access app, I played around with the five presets — Dynamic, Game, Movie, Music and Voice — to see if I could improve the audio. None did much to positively affect the sound, unfortunately.
While playing Hogwarts Legacy, on the other hand, the tinny sound wasn’t as obvious. The classical scores that played throughout the game, often filled with sweet-sounding flute melodies, were triumphant, regal and majestic, but one glaring issue is that the audio is too quiet. Even at max volume, the speakers couldn’t fill my medium-sized testing room.
I’d recommend pairing the ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM with one of the best wireless headphones.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM keyboard and touchpad
I thought the keyboard was going to be a stinker — cramped, mushy, and spongy. However, to my surprise, the detachable keyboard on the ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM is so clicky I’m gonna die! Hell, it’s got springier feedback than recent built-in keyboards I’ve used that are larger and sturdier — and truly have no excuse for their squishiness.
What adds to the keyboard’s comfort is that it doesn’t lie completely flat on the surface — it has a comfortable slope that makes the keyboard feel extra ergonomic.
ROG Azoth Gaming Keyboard Unboxing
To demonstrate how good the ACRNM’s keyboard feels on my fingers, let me show you the results I got on the 10FastFingers.com test. I typically type at an average of 87 to 89 words per minute, but on the ACRNM, my rate jumped to 94 words per minute. Nice!
The only thing I don’t like about the ACRNM’s island-style keyboard is the weird characters and symbols placed on the keys.You’ll see your typical QWERTY letters, but opposite of those letters is what Asus calls a “new alphabet,” giving the keyboard a bizarre tribal-futuristic vibe. There’s no rhyme or reason for this funky “new alphabet” — it’s just a quirky design decision.
I also don’t understand what the hell is going on with the function row keys — it’s filled with unintelligible symbols, too. However, if you read the subtle red text above the white characters, it all makes sense (e.g., Sleep, Mic Off, Fan, Silence). I struggled to figure out which keyboard shortcut takes screenshots, but after some experimentation, the F12 key did the trick.
The 4.1 x 2.4-inch touchpad sits below the spacebar, and there’s not much to rave about. It does the job, responding to Windows 11 touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom, two-fingered scrolling, and three-fingered downward swipes to show the desktop.
No, the ACRNM doesn’t have any fancy stuff like per-key RGB lighting — this is a single-zone white LED keyboard. And I’m OK with that; I don’t need a gaudy disco ball party on my gaming laptop to enjoy it.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM gaming and graphics
The Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM comes with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU with 8GB of VRAM. How does it hold up against its MSI (RTX 4080) and Origin (RTX 4070) rivals?
Let’s start with the Far Cry 6 (1080p, Very High) benchmark. The ACRNM delivered 69 frames per second, but the MSI and Origin crushed it with scores of 121 and 99 fps, respectively. (The average premium laptop delivered a score of 91 fps on the Far Cry 6 benchmark).
Now, let’s take a look at how the ACRNM performed on the Borderlands 3 benchmark (1080p, Badass). It delivered 74 fps, but the MSI crushed it with a score of 153 fps. The Origin sat in second place with a middle-of-the-road score of 102 fps. The ACRNM failed to catch up with the average premium laptop (114 fps).
The ACRNM continued to drop to third place on the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark (1080p, Highest) with a score of 82 frames per second, lagging behind the MSI (177 fps) and the Origin (114 fps).
Anecdotally, I played Cyberpunk 2077 on the ACRNM. With everything turned up to the max (e.g., High or Ultra), all settings turned on (e.g., DLSS, ray-tracing, path tracing), and the resolution set to 1600p, the game delivered about 40 fps. However, when I dropped the resolution to 1080p and turned off ray tracing, I could squeeze out 20 more frames at a rate of 65 fps. With this setting, Cyberpunk 2077 played smoothly, rendering the gold parachute pants of a street thug superbly. As his MC Hammer-esque pants glimmered under the neon lights that decorated the city, how could I be intimidated? My character shoved him out the way and showed him who’s boss.
However, things took a turn when I visited a flashy, dingy club in Cyberpunk 2077 with tons of characters dancing to trance-like music. I noticed a significant framerate drop where gameplay felt sluggish.
It’s worth noting that the ACRNM comes equipped with a MUX Switch. What does this do? While firing up a game via Steam, it automatically switches to Nvidia GPU only mode, which ensures that all rendered graphics are passed through the discrete GPU directly (as opposed to passing through the integrated components first).
Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM performance
Priced at 2,500, this laptop better handle everything I throw at it — and then some! The ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM, outfitted an Intel Core i9-13900H CPU with 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage, giggled when I tried to suffocate it with a random assortment of 55 Google Chrome tabs — 10 were playing videos from various streaming sites simultaneously. After firing up a fresh Google Doc to test its responsiveness, the ACRNM carried on without any slowdowns despite the chaos running in the background.
Unfortunately for the ACRNM, it is up against some stiff competition. On the Geekbench 6 overall performance benchmark, the Asus laptop reached a multi-core score of 13,611, surpassing the premium gaming laptop average (11,168). However, it could not compete with the Raider GE78 HX (Intel Core i9-13950H CPU) nor the Origin EON16-S (Intel Core i9-13900H CPU), which delivered scores of 15,916 and 14,068, respectively.
The ACRNM was the slowest on our Handbrake test, which involves transcoding a 4K video to 1080p. The Asus gaming laptop took 4 minutes and 48 seconds to complete the task, which trails behind the average premium gaming laptop (4:28). It’s also slower than the MSI Raider GE78 HX (4:08) and the Origin EON16-S (3:46).
On the file-transfer test, the 1TB SSD inside the ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM took 22 seconds to duplicate 25GB of mixed-media files, which translates to a file transfer rate of 1,241 megabytes per second. This is slower than the category average (1,513 MBps). It also couldn’t keep up with the 2TB SSD inside the Raider GE78 HX (1,715 MBps), and the pair of SSDs — 1TB of system and 2TB of storage — inside the EON16-S (1,818 MBps).
Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM battery life
We ran two battery life tests on the ACRNM. Let’s start with the Laptop Mag battery test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. The ACRNM lasted 6 hours and 45 minutes, which isn’t half bad for a gaming rig. This beats the average premium gaming laptop (5:29), the Raider GE78 HX (2:33) and the Origin EON16-S (5:06).
However, when we ran the PCMark 10 test, which runs a continuous script to simulate a gaming experience, the ACRNM lasted only 1 hour and 16 minutes. This is better than the EON16-S (1:14), but worse than the MSI Raider GE78 HX (2:33).
Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM heat
Asus boasts that the ACRNM is packed with the ROG Intelligent Cooling System, which features a vapor chamber that takes up 50% of the motherboard. Packed with liquid metal and arc-flow fans, Asus says the ACRNM should offer ambient cooling at 0 dB. So far, this is true. While gaming on the ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM, I’ve found it to be surprisingly quiet.
We performed two heat tests. One involved running a 15-minute fullscreen video, which made the underside climb to 77.5 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other test, which involved playing Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition for 15 minutes, the underside hit 81.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Both backsides managed to stay below our comfort threshold of 95 degrees, so you don’t have to worry about the ACRNM scalding your thighs.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM webcam
The Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM has a 5MP front-facing, IR camera, which is a step up from the 720p and 1080p webcams that are flooding the market. However, I can’t get myself to gush about it. There’s still some visible noise on the shooter, but it renders color accurately, capturing my hot pink robe and the colorful classical painting hanging behind me.
But imagine my surprise when I saw that the ACRNM has a world-facing camera, too — a 13MP one. Sweet! If I’m taking a video call with a long-distance friend or family member, I can simply flip the camera with one press of a button to show them what’s in front of me (instead of turning the whole laptop around). The 13MP is as color accurate as the 5MP camera, but as expected, it is slightly more detailed and sharper, perfectly capturing the messy contents of my disorganized desk.
If you don’t like either of these cameras, take advantage of the MyAsus app, which lets you use your phone’s camera as your PC’s webcam. Another option is to snag one of the best webcams.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM software and warranty
The Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM runs on Windows 11 Pro. You’ll likely find the Armoury Crate app to be the most useful. It has information regarding your system’s CPU and GPU usage, memory and storage, and fan speed. You can also switch the GPU mode to the following presets: Ultimate, Standard, Eco and Optimized.
There are display presets there, too, which are pretty self explanatory, including Default, Racing, Scenery, RTS/RPG, FPS, Cinema, Eyecare and Vivid. There are also News and Shopping tabs in the Armoury Crate app that I will likely never use.
You’ll also find your standard fare of Microsoft apps, including Edge, Photos, Store, Teams, and People.
There’s also the MyAsus app, which lets you transfer files to its Cloud service. Under the Remote Access tab, you can use your phone to remotely access your PC anywhere. You can manage the ACRNM’s battery and bandwidth prioritization there, too.
The Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM ships with a one-year limited warranty and a two-year battery warranty. See how Asus fared during Tech Support Showdown, our annual special feature.
The Asus ROG Flow Z13 ACRNM is not for practical-minded consumers — buyers who want to get the most bang for their buck. Why? Because the Origin EON16-S has the same exact specs — an Intel Core i9-13900H CPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU — and it performed significantly better on our performance and gaming benchmarks. (On top of that, it’s less than 2,000 via Origin’s official website.)
As such, no one in their right minds would purchase this bizarre-o Asus laptop over the Origin. But that’s exactly it, right? Asus didn’t design this for people with “right minds.” This laptop is for the wacky, edgy technophile who wants to give off an, “I’m an eccentric hipster with deep s vibe.” The ACRNM is for those who want to wear a conversation piece around their bodies while still emanating an air of experimental, cutting-edge fashion.
I’d also argue that the ACRNM is perfect for frequent travelers who are tired of holding their laptop in their hands, but still want easy access to it. (TSA makes you take your laptop out of your bag at security checkpoints, so having it hanging over your shoulder is convenient while keeping your hands free.) However, this would have to be a strong selling point for you to consider shelling out nearly 2,500.
To sum it all up, the ACRNM is a fascinating, wacky, bizarre gaming laptop with an innovative, unforgettable design. It has an excellent keyboard, a sweet variety of ports, a colorful display, and satisfactory front-and-world-facing cameras. However, its performance and gaming scores are too middling for my tastes.
Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 (2023) Review: A Gaming Notebook Made To Be The Best
Asus kicked off 2023 with an aggressively fresh line-up of gaming laptops packing the latest silicon from Intel, AMD, and Nvidia across its ROG family. This review covers the recently launched ROG Strix Scar 17, an iterative upgrade that combines the 16-core AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX processor with the might of Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4080 mobile graphics. Asus paired those beefy innards with a 240Hz QHD screen, which is not the fastest out there, but still among the best you can get if a top-class refresh rate for high-FPS gaming is your primary concern.
Priced at 2,899, this machine is not exactly cheap, but it still firmly retains its position as the best value you can get from a mobile battle station that has AMD’s flagship CPU ticking inside. It also marks the entry of AMD in a segment where a majority of gaming laptops are rocking 13th gen Intel silicon at a rather steep price. Asus is keeping things modest in the design department and has cut a few corners too, but the overall result is a fiercely competent gaming laptop that can stand its own against the best out there. Asus provided a ROG Strix Scar 17 (2023) for the purpose of this review.
A familiar design
Asus is serving a familiar design package as last year’s ROG Strix Scar 17, with a few small modifications. It’s still a slick, all-black affair with matte finish all across, and eagerness to get smudged. The machine needed some wiping after every usage session, especially on the deck area, and worse if you got sweaty palms. The only aspect breaking the monotony is the ROG-branded plate cap in the top-right corner and the dotted pattern on the remaining area resting behind the display lid.
Toying with the looks of the hinge rib offers a neat contrasting effect to the otherwise plain looks of the top lid, which only has the backlit ROG logo outlined in white and a thin line matching the corner plate’s angular aesthetics. To justify its gaming laptop credentials, you will find a glass-like transparent RGB light strip running underneath the front deck edge, which also extends to the sides.
There is a little bit of flex to the lid, which is noticeable when you lift open the screen, but the hinge mechanism holds things tight without any concerning sideway movements or creaking. The arched hinge is tighter and offers a more reassuring experience compared to the damage-prone hinge engineering on some ROG Zephyrus laptops that we’ve tested in the past. Overall, the ROG Strix Scar 17 is serving a design that won’t turn many heads, but the conservatively familiar looks are still pleasing to the eyes.
An uncharacteristically good keyboard
This ROG Strix Scar 17 review was initiated with a performance-first approach — and it came out swinging with a keyboard that was surprisingly robust and fine-tuned. It’s not a low-profile mechanical keyboard, but the membrane engineering underneath is one of the finest implementations I’ve ever used on a laptop, and almost in the same league as the venerable Lenovo ThinkPad keyboard.
The keycaps have a subtle inward-curved profile and flaunt a matte surface. Of course, you can also customize the backlight underneath with per-key RGB controls using Asus’ pre-installed Aura Sync software. The typing experience on this keyboard is fantastic. The keys offer just the right amount of resistance, around 2mm worth of vertical travel, acceptable upward feedback, and balanced spacing. Right from the start, it was almost natural to punch articles at the usual typing pace.
While gaming, any mushy character to the keys wasn’t felt. A few colleagues that gave this keyboard a try also liked the execution. The dedicated num pad is a bonus, and five additional function keys at the top are also of great convenience. These can also be customized as macro keys or to launch specific apps. The only downside is the deck material, which feels good to touch, but has a bit of flex to it. The keyboard deck, especially the area right above the trackpad, also pushes down a little. It’s not exactly flimsy, but you will certainly notice it.
A fast display that gets the job done
The ROG Strix Scar 17 configuration tested for review serves a 17.3-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) panel with a traditional 16:9 aspect ratio. But the real gem here is the 240Hz refresh rate, complemented by 3ms response time and Dolby Vision HDR support. It’s a decent screen that delivers contrasty content with acceptable color saturation, but you’ll notice the perks of a pixel-dense, high refresh rate screen from the get-go.
The viewing angles aren’t the best, but since you’ll mostly spend time staring head-on at the on-screen content, you likely won’t notice any color shifts. The mini-LED QHD panel on the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 served was noticeably better, but it was also a heck load more expensive. The ROG Strix Scar 17’s IPS screen works with G-Sync support and color control with 100% DCI-P3 and 100% sRGB gamut coverage.
Even outdoors under daylight, there was barely any urgent need to re-adjust the screen angle, because the brightness output is good enough for work and play, but colors tend to look a tad muted in this scenario. Asus has better screens to offer under the Zephyrus line-up of gaming laptops, but the ROG Strix Scar 17’s panel isn’t bad on its own, especially considering the premium you pay for rival machines with similar CPU GPU configurations.
Heating and tuning
At the center of all your aesthetic customization and system tuning needs is the pre-installed Armory Crate app. Depending on your usage preferences, you can switch between silent, performance, and turbo profiles, each with a pre-configured level of CPU / GPU frequency and variable fan speed, to offer the desired amount of power. By default, the Turbo profile gives you access to 230W (55W CPU 175W GPU) power, but turning to the Manual preset gives you an extra 10W juice from the CPU side.
In practical life, that won’t create any tangible difference during your gameplay sessions. The Armory Crate app already offers multiple performance presets, but if you want to get the maximum juice out of the machine without having to tinker with aspects like fan speed, the Turbo preset is what you need to enable. However, the laptop needs to be plugged into the charging outlet to deliver the amount of power draw needed to sustain peak performance for gaming sessions. The ROG Strix Scar 17 keeps cool using a four-vent system that pumps hot air outside, while a vapor chamber cooling system, liquid metal layer over the CPU and GPU, and dual arc flow fans keep things from getting toasty inside.
The whole system actually works. In a room with the sustained ambient temperature set at 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celcius) and playing games at the peak performance presets the laptop kept surprisingly cool. After a 40-minute gaming session with all the ray-tracing and DLSS pizzazz in full show, the deck never got uncomfortably hot, which is something that is rarely seen on laptops of this performance caliber. The internal CPU temperature reading, however, touched the 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celcius) mark.
The MUX conundrum
Asus has made the task of enabling the MUX switch easier with a one-click approach in its Armory Crate app. All you need to do is select the Ultimate preset from the GPU settings section. MUX switch, short for multiplexer, essentially connects the display output with the discrete GPU, instead of having a routed connection via the CPU and the integrated graphics. Enabling the MUX switch theoretically paves the way for a higher frame rate output and reduced latency, although it’s hard to notice the difference in a majority of games.
Tests were run, both in terms of benchmarks and games, to see the difference it makes. The test mules were the Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 and another laptop with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 series GPU. To describe it in the simplest terms, the more powerful the GPU inside, the higher the gain in performance. So, if your machine has a high-end GPU like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080, the gain will easily be in the 10-15% range. But on the lower end of the GPU power scale, the benefit is barely noticeable.
For example, the difference in net output between running a 3DMark benchmark test with the Turbo preset, and then enabling the MUX switch, was barely 1% for a machine powered by the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 series GPU. But it looks like every PC brand wants to sing the praise of a MUX Switch these days, touting generous performance gains. But as the saying goes, don’t trust every performance graph you see on the marketing slide. There’s always a caveat, and in the case of a MUX switch luxury, you must spend handsomely on a powerful configuration to reap the benefits.
High-end gaming performance
The gaming performance of this machine turned out as good as you would expect. “Cyberpunk 2077” comfortably delivered 50-60fps at Ultra graphics preset with ray-tracing and DLSS enabled, shadow and texture cranked to their peak, all of it coming to life at the native QHD resolution. Scaling down the screen resolution to 1080p and disabling DLSS, the frame rate output jumps into the 90-100fps territory with some graphics quality tuning. There weren’t any deal-breaking stutters, even though the fans were whirring loudly to cool the innards that were being pushed to their limits.
After a healthy few hours of playing “Metal: Hellsinger” with the graphics setting set to max, this machine delivered a steady 120fps output. Not many laptops out there can offer that kind of gaming experience, especially for a game released in 2022. “Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty,” which was released earlier this year, also delivered a top-tier 120fps experience. There were a few jitters, but that was likely due to the poor quality of the game’s PC port.
“Scorn,” which was released late in 2022, offered a consistent 60fps frame rate output at the best possible graphics settings without any performance dips, delivering the best horror game experience I’ve ever had on a laptop. The Asus laptop launched “Doom Eternal” with the performance settings cranked up to the Ultra Nightmare preset and ray-tracing enabled and delivered a buttery-smooth 240fps experience. The FPS count dipped slightly during the intense melee, but those aren’t too frequent to ruin the whole experience.
A few predictable pitfalls
The game “Forza Horizon 5” consistently ran around the 85-90fp mark with all the settings set to extreme. Even at the Performance system preset, which sits below Turbo and Manual in terms of power draw, the acclaimed racing game dipped between 25 and 30fps at peak graphics and visual settings without the charging cable plugged in. The gaming experience was once again consistently good in “Halo Infinite,” “Naraka Bladepoint,” and “Ghostwire: Tokyo.”
A rather annoying issue is that enabling or disabling the MUX Switch — or in this case, turning the GPU Mode to Ultimate profile — requires a system restart. Plus, once you enable the MUX switch, you need to disable it manually. If you miss that chore in the Armory Crate, be prepared for some battery drain woes. To give you an idea of how quickly that happens, while starting a gaming session at 50% battery level with the MUX switch enabled, the battery crashed to 6% in roughly about 35 minutes. To put it simply, you have to carry around the massive in-box charging brick or spend extra on a smaller 100W brick for USB Type-C charging.
Overall, the ROG Strix Scar 17 delivers a thumping performance at AAA games. But this is a gaming laptop at the end of the day, and that comes with three core compromises. You can’t reliably use it as your workstation on the go, especially not for demanding tasks like editing or graphics rendering without a power outlet nearby. Fan noise is still very much an issue, and tipping the scales at 6.6 pounds (without considering the massive power brick), this beefy battlestation is not exactly a treat for your shoulders (if you’re carrying it around in a backpack).
Fast charging, lots of ports, and one hassle
Asus armed the ROG Strix Scar 17 with a 4-cell 90-watt-hours battery, which comes bundled with a 330W power brick. Asus claims a charging pace of 0-50% in just 30 minutes, but that is assuming the laptop isn’t engaged in any system activity. With the machine powered on, a few apps running in the background, and the Silent profile enabled from Armory Crate, the tank filled halfway through in 42 minutes. But if you don’t want to lug that huge brick around, the Asus machine also offers the convenience of 100W charging via one of the Type-C ports.
This machine has extremely powerful innards, which doesn’t come as a surprise that it runs through battery at high speed. With the screen refresh rate set to 240Hz at QHD resolution and working with the Performance mode enabled, the battery only lasted around 4.5 hours at browser-intensive tasks interspersed with some image editing on GIMP. Top-shelf gaming without the barrel-shaped charging pin plugged in won’t last you more than 2 hours, but the mileage might vary depending on the game you are playing.
The I/O situation, on the other hand, is expectedly satisfactory. There’s an HDMI 2.1 port (48 Gbps output), a 2.5G RJ45 ethernet port, two USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports with Display Port 1.4 and G-Sync support, a pair of USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, and a headphone jack. Most of the I/O outlets are positioned behind the lid, while the right edge is questionably devoid of any ports.
Don’t choose wrong, or overpay
Asus is asking approximately 2,900 for the ROG Strix Scar 17 variant with Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 graphics. If you seek a cheaper alternative, the Gigabyte Aorus 17H is a good option at 2,600, but you will have to live with a less pixel-dense FHD screen. The only other competitive laptop from a mainstream brand that undercuts the Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 is the Dell Alienware M16, which offers a combination of 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900HX CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 GPU at 2,700.
Asus also offers the machine in a higher-end configuration with the faster Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 GPU, however, it is currently listed at a steep 3,499. But that’s still a bargain compared to other laptops with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 GPU. The Razer Blade 18, for comparison, costs a whopping 4,499, while the MSI Stealth 17 Studio will have you spending at least 3,800 at the moment.
However, if you want this exact GPU in a laptop, you can buy the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16, which swaps the AMD processor in favor of the 13th gen Intel Core i9 processor. But if the Asus ROG Strix Scar is the one that has caught your fancy and gaming is your primary objective, the jump from an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 to the RTX 4090 variant won’t create much of a difference in your raw experience for the current generation of games. Plus, it will save you a few hundred dollars, so there’s that.
Verdict: Leaving proud gaming scars
The ROG Strix Scar 17 is a value-first machine that delivers top-tier performance. It’s AMD at its best on the mobile platform, thanks to the 16-core Ryzen 9 7945HX processor, which delivers blistering performance. Paired with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 inside the machine, the 2023 iteration of Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 is good enough for any game you throw at it, with ease. Plus, the performance status quo will remain intact for at least the next few years.
The design is not exactly new, but it’s nothing to scoff at. Asus is apparently too fond of its tried-and-tested aesthetics and wants to serve it for another generation. I’m glad that Asus didn’t try to cut on the thickness because the slim ROG Zephyrus series gaming laptops from Asus tend to struggle with heat dissipation. The slim Asus ROG Zephyrus G (GA502), for comparison, got extremely mercurial even at non-gaming tasks.
On the bright side, the keyboard is fantastic on the ROG Strix Scar 17, and the port selection is also good. Thermals on the machine are handled fairly well, but just like a majority of gaming laptops out there, the fans are loud. The 240Hz QHD screen leaves a good impression and made even web-based tasks feel smoother than usual. At 2,900 (from Asus through Amazon), the Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 is a great value, and should definitely be on your shopping list if you plan to splurge luxuriously on a beefy gaming kit.
Asus ROG Strix Scope RX Review: an Opto-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Water Protection
Asus ROG Strix Scope RX is an excellent gaming keyboard and if you evaluate it solely in terms of games, then there are no complaints at all. It is equipped with very fast, responsive and durable ROG RX Red opto-mechanical switches developed in-house. The design is very solid and reliable, there is nothing superfluous, and the layout is as close as possible to the standard one, which eliminates the need to relearn.
Important! – it is protected from dust and water according to the IP56 standard. It has fully customizable RGB lighting, profile support, on-board memory, a user-friendly app, and the ability to quickly set up with keyboard shortcuts. And as a useful bonus, there is a pass-through USB port to connect accessories. If we consider Asus ROG Strix Scope RX as a universal option for both games and work, the option is rather controversial. Due to the very fast response, little effort and stroke required to activate ROG RX Red, you may face regular false presses while fast typing.
Full-size gaming keyboard with ROG RX Red optical-mechanical switches, customizable RGB backlighting, internal memory, adjustable profiles, and IP56 dust and water resistance.
- Very fast, responsive and durable ROG RX Red opto-mechanical switches
- Reliable and practical design, nice appearance
- Functional, convenient software, the ability to configure without it and built-in memory
- Fully customizable RGB lighting
- Protection against dust and water according to the IP56 standard.
What’s in the Box?
The package is rather standard. Asus ROG Strix Scope RX is packed in a black and red box with an abundance of beautiful printing. Everything in the familiar style of ROG devices. The kit includes the keyboard itself, manual and a set of stickers. That’s all.
|Switches||Optical-mechanical, ROG RX Red|
|Life time||100 million clicks|
|Travel to trigger point||1.5 mm|
|Actuation force||40 g|
|Dimensions (edit)||440x137x39 mm|
Asus ROG Strix Scope RX Design
Appearance and structure of Asus ROG Strix Scope RX is very similar to other models in the range. And in this case it is rather an advantage: nothing superfluous. Asus ROG Strix Scope RX is a full-size skeleton keyboard. At the base there is a thick, durable metal plate where the switches are located. And the keycaps seem to float above the surface. The keyboard is very compact (as for a full-size one): no unnecessary elements or protruding parts: minimalism and usability. The front face is beveled, with cut corners. On the left there is Republic of Gamers inscription. Keycaps are standard: trapezoidal, slightly curved. Made of matte black plastic.
Dark gray metal plate with minimal bluish tint and matte finish. No additional polishing or other decorative elements. At the same time, the surface is very practical, there are no fingerprints on it. It has no wrist rest and, apparently, you won’t be able to buy it separately either.
In the upper right corner there is a black “window” with three standard indicators, to which Fn Lock and an indication of locking the Windows button have been added. To the right there is backlit ROG logo.
On the back of the keyboard you will find a pass-through USB port in addition to the entry point for the non-removable cable. You can connect a USB flash drive, mouse, or headset to it. A very useful little thing.
The bottom of the keyboard is made of matte plastic, with the ROG logo and decorative diagonal stripes across the entire surface. For stability, there are four familiar rubberized feet in the corners, as well as an additional platform in the middle of the front edge of the keyboard:
The rear legs are hinged to allow the keyboard to be positioned at two angles optimally. In any position, the keyboard is very stable and does not slip on the surface thanks both to the rubberized legs, and impressive weight of just over 2.2 pounds (1 kg):
The cable is quite thick, with two connectors. The second connector is for USB pass-through. Instead of the familiar to gaming keyboards fabric insulation, a silicone one is used. The cable is a little less flexible, but in this case it does not matter. It’s hard to think of a scenario where the keyboard has to be constantly dragged across the table.
As for the assembly, there are no complaints at all: Asus ROG Strix Scope RX is made gorgeous. Everything fits perfectly, the design is very rigid, does not bend or “crunches”. Let’s add to all this dust and water protection according to the IP56 standard. The specification states that a certain amount of dust can penetrate into the structure, but will not interfere with the operation of the device. And also the keyboard is not afraid of direct strong splashes of water. So Asus ROG Strix Scope RX won’t die if you accidentally pour tea on it.
The Keyboard in Operation
The keyboard layout is absolutely standard. All buttons are in their places, F1 is located clearly above the number 2. Both keys Shift are long, Enter is a single-deck one. The only peculiarity of the layout, and Asus focuses on it, is the elongated left Ctrl. According to Asus, this is convenient while playing, especially in first-person shooters. It’s hard to say how much it helps: I never had a problem with the usual Ctrl. In any case, the layout without any surprises, which means that you will not have to get used to it.
Another thing worth mentioning is that the multimedia keys are combined with the F row and the modes are switched by the FnIns combination. Like in the other Asus gaming keyboards, there is a Stealth button, which is combined with F12. It closes all open Windows and mutes the sound. Pressing it again turns everything back.
The main feature of Asus ROG Strix Scope RX is new optical-mechanical switches ROG RX Red, which were developed by Asus itself. The main difference from the usual mechanical switches is that the activation does not require the physical contact shorting, but the interruption of the infrared beam. This reduces delay, eliminates indirect vibration, and increases switch life. The ROG RX Red has a claimed lifespan of 100 million keystrokes.
As for the design of the ROG RX Red itself, the driving part (which interrupts the beam) has a square shape, with LED inside, and a return spring around. And below it there is a scissor mechanism. Thanks to this design, the buttons don’t rattle and the illumination of all characters is even. This is how it all looks like:
These are linear switches without touch response (there are also touch ROG RX Blue switches). The full stroke is 4mm and the actuation point is 1.5mm away. Pressing force is 40 grams, 45 grams before actuation, and total force is 55 grams. Moving from theory to practice, the switches are really lightning fast and very easy to actuate. And this has both pros and cons. In games the keyboard shows itself just great, especially with fast-paced first-person shooters and action games. Asus ROG Strix Scope RX is very responsive, and reacts to all your actions instantly.
Another advantage of ROG RX Red switches is that they are pretty quiet: much quieter than usual mechanics. A disadvantage of this solution appears only if you type a lot of text on such a keyboard. In fact, the keys are triggered simply by touch. When you type fast, if you accidentally hit the neighboring button it goes off and you make a typo. Even after using Cherry MX Red linear for a long time to work on a regular basis, I had regular false presses when typing on the ROG RX Red. This is worth keeping in mind.
To put it all together in a nutshell, for gaming the ROG RX Red is great. For texting, not so much, it will take time to get used to.
It is worth noting that there are additional stabilizers under the long buttons that do an excellent job. The caps do not wobble and are always horizontal.
The keyboard is equipped with RGB lighting with a bunch of different effects, there is support for AURA functions (synchronizing multiple devices and creating your own effects). Customization can be done either through the Armory Crate app or on the fly using keyboard shortcuts. Fn left / right arrows. switching of effects. Down and Up. brightness adjustment. The backlighting is uniform thanks to the design of the switches. The margin of brightness is very impressive, at maximum brightness it may not even be very comfortable.
One of the nice features of all current Asus gaming keyboards, or at least those tested by us lately, is that you don’t have to use an application to configure the keyboard. You can set up just about everything with a combination of buttons, up to and including writing macros. And it all gets saved in the keyboard’s internal memory. As for the application, it features Armoury Crate, a universal tool for all Asus gaming peripherals. The application allows you to adjust backlighting, set up different keys, upgrade firmware, link a profile to a specific application, set up backlight sync AURA and so on.
And here is a set of combinations to make quick settings without app:
- Fn F5-F11. Volume control and playback
- Fn F12. Stealth button
- Fn Win. Disable Windows Button
- Fn Right Alt. Start and stop recording a macro, after which you need to press the desired button to assign it
- Fn 1-5. Switch profiles
- Fn Left and right arrows. switch backlight modes, up and down. brightness
- Fn Del. Color customization, increase of Red, 10 gradations
- Fn End. Increase of Blue
- Fn PageDown. Increase of Green
- Fn Esc. Reset to factory settings (long hold)
In Conclusion: 3 Things to Know about Asus ROG Strix Scope RX:
Full-size gaming keyboard with ROG RX Red optical-mechanical switches, customizable RGB backlighting, internal memory, adjustable profiles, and IP56 dust and water resistance.
Set the Asus ROG Strix laptop keyboard key colors one-by-one
For certain games it is very useful to set the keyboard background colors based on their function in the game. You can group keys by color to find them easier during game play.
Create the effect
The effect contains the color of each key or key group.
- Open the ARMOURY CRATE preinstalled application
- On the Aura Sync page select the Aura effects tab, and click the Aura Creator button
- Click the Device button, hold the CTRL key and select the keys to cerate a group, and click the Set as layer button
- Right-click the name of the layer and select Rename
- Enter the new name and hit Enter
- Drag down the Static effect to the timeline
- Make sure all layers have the same length, and start at the beginning of the timeline, otherwise a lightshow is created.
- In the upper right corner click the color indicator
- Select the color and click OK
- Drag the layers to order them, the top layer will cover the lower layers. This way you can create a base layer with a single color for all keys (press CTRL-A to select all keys) and build the rest on top of it
- When all layers have been created click the Save apply button in the upper right corner
- Enter the name of the effect and click the Save button
Assign the effect to the application
- Return to the Armoury Crate application
- Select the Game Library page
- Select Create Scenario Profile
- To select another, or add more application to the scenario, click the See Options button
- Scroll down for more selections, or click the Cannot find app link to browse for the application
Update the effect
- While playing the game, you can switch back to the Aura Creator and update the effect
- Click the Save apply button to update the effect. The change will apply immediately.