Slim is in for Asus’ ROG Zephyrus S and Strix Scar II gaming laptops

Asus’ Republic of Gamers blows into Gamescom 2018 with two laptops sporting new 144Hz AHVA IPS displays that don’t sacrifice response time for bezel size.

The displays on the 15-inch Asus Zephyrus S (GX531) and 17-inch Strix Scar II (GL704) feature a 3ms gray-to-gray response time, rather than the 7ms of their thin-bezel competitors. The 17-inch Scar is the first gaming system in its size class to get the thin bezel treatment, which lets Asus pack it into a footprint about the size of a standard 15-inch model. The Zephyrus S shaves a couple of millimeters off the profile and the width of earlier iterations — a noticeable 0.7 in (19 mm).

The ROG Strix Scar II GL704 will be available by the end of September, running about $1,700 equipped with 16 GB RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 and 1.3 TB of storage (see details below). The Zephyrus comes in two models, one with a GTX 1070 Max-Q that will be exclusive to Amazon (GX531GS), and a GTX 1060 version that will sell everywhere else (GX531GM). You can preorder the Amazon model starting Aug. 31 for mid-September delivery, while the other model will become available in mid-October.

The ROG Zephyrus line is no stranger to skinny gaming laptops. The original Zephyrus was one of the first to incorporate Nvidia’s Max-Q design, and the more recent release, the Zephyrus M, got a modest redesign to suit more general-purpose needs, with a more traditional keyboard and touchpad layout, for example. But for all their sleekness, those models are relatively heavy, with thick bezels on the display and a tendency to run hot (like many Max-Q laptops).

For the Zephyrus S, Asus prioritizes portability and size over performance. Weighing almost a pound less than the original, the S manages to keep the side-touchpad and front-forward keyboard. But it powers down from the original’s hot-running GTX 1080. While it keeps the distinctive Active Aerodynamic System (AAS) design which lifts the rear to add more ventilation when in use, Asus has also streamlined the cooling systems in both the Zephyrus and the Scar with more efficient fans and better heat sinks. The Zephyrus gains a practical if not terribly sleek front-forward hinge to improve airflow.

Otherwise, the Strix Scar II is pretty much the overgrown sibling of the current 15-inch model, albeit oddly with a less powerful GPU than the 15-incher’s GTX 1070.