The era of relying on desktop PCs for serious gaming is long gone. Laptops have evolved to the point where they can cater to the demands of even the most dedicated gaming enthusiasts, and ASUS is a brand that understands that segment well. This year’s ROG lineup introduces a colossal gaming machine that can challenge even the most powerful custom-built desktops. I have the privilege of testing the ASUS ROG Strix G18, a laptop that combines the raw performance of Intel’s 13th-gen CPUs with the cutting-edge NVIDIA RTX 4000 series discrete GPU. Having previously reviewed the Scar 16 (review), a laptop very similar to the G18 except for screen and chassis size, I have a good idea of what to expect. The version I have for review is priced at Rs 2,19,990, which is quite impressive considering the specifications it offers. Now, let’s delve into the details and determine if this mighty computing machine is the perfect choice for your gaming needs.
Table of Contents
Build, design, and display
The Strix G18 is a humungous machine and clearly meant to be propped on a table as a desktop replacement. Talking about the physical build, the laptop has a plastic construction with a matte finish across the keyboard and palm rest. The lid is made from metallic material with the ROG logo embossed on the top left. Sadly, even with an extraordinary array of RGB lighting across the laptop, the logo itself is not backlit. The hinge functionality allows the display to move 120 degrees and is rigid enough to negate any wobbling. The G18 is a powerful laptop no doubt, but with great power comes great size and weight. Tipping the scales at exactly 3kg and coming with a thickness of over 3cm, my bag is not nearly big enough to fit the laptop. That’s not even counting its massive power brick, without which the device’s capabilities are highly limited. However, the G18 does have a highly robust build quality all around and from a durability standpoint, the device will not disappoint.
In terms of ports, the laptop has a plethora of options at its disposal, which gamers will appreciate a lot. There are two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A slots on the right, just below the exhaust vents. The left has a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C slot with DisplayPort, power delivery, and G-sync capabilities and another Type-C slot with Thunderbolt 4 and DisplayPort functionality. Finally, there is the HDMI 2.1 port, an RJ45 ethernet slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
As for the viewing experience, you get a ROG Nebula display in all its 18-inch glory. Its big size can easily accommodate QHD+ resolution and it refreshes at a whopping 240Hz. Of course, the display is G-sync enabled to reduce any kind of frame tearing during gameplay and there’s 3ms response time, standard across ROG’s premium gaming laptops. For the purposes of media consumption, the screen is capable of displaying content in Dolby Vision that definitely adds a lot of colour depth and dynamic range on OTT platforms that support it. The Armoury Crate app has a GameVisual tab which is highly customisable to suit your gaming needs. You can also do a full-colour calibration on the same tab for advanced colour correction and photo editing tasks. The screen is also Pantone-validated giving you a great creative experience and the brightness levels are around 500nits. All-in-all, a splendid display that matches the price tag and makes any visual activity an absolute treat for your eyes.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard is spacious and in typical ROG fashion, highly responsive with a very short learning curve. Even while incorporating a full NUM pad on the side, there is still enough breathing room on both sides of the keyboard. There are the regular hotkeys up top for volume control, fan speeds, and opening the Armoury Crate. However, what I don’t like is that even after so much room, the arrow keys are placed very close to the Numpad making it difficult to operate during intense gaming. The keys themselves are chiclet-style with scissor switches implemented that give a good tactile response. I personally didn’t mind the shallower key travel and it didn’t affect my typing experience one bit. Finally, each key can get customised RGB lighting which can be adjusted to three levels. The trackpad is something I rarely used since I always had my mouse attached. However, on the occasions, I did use it, its large surface area and glass surface made for satisfactory movement. You won’t be able to drag and drop too much and certainly gaming would not be ideal using it, but I feel that for any normal workload, the trackpad won’t pose an issue.
Performance and battery
The meat of the matter with the Strix G18 is the performance and gaming experience. In terms of synthetic benchmark testing, the laptop’s Intel Core i9-13980HX processor delivers an impressive performance. It achieved an outstanding score of 29,117 on Cinebench R23, and that’s one of the highest scores in the market currently. It is bested only by the ROG Scar 16 but that too by an infinitesimal margin. With Manual mode in the Armoury crate, you can basically max out the CPU’s TDP to 140W but you will also have to contend with loud fan speeds. The ASUS ROG Strix is not just a high-end gaming laptop, it also excels in handling various productivity tasks. Whether it’s managing multiple Chrome tabs or streaming videos, this laptop performs admirably. Additionally, it effortlessly loads Windows 11 apps with remarkable speed and no glitches. On the PCMark 10 benchmark, the device gets a very good score of 6,257. Apart from that all variants of the Strix G18 come standard with 2TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD and 16GB DDR5-4800 SO-DIMM RAM that has dual-channel support.
For GPU usage, the RTX 4070 facilitates the graphical output while using up nearly 140W when Dynamic Boost is enabled. While slightly below the league of RTX 4080, the 4070 holds its own pretty well. On the likes of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the device delivers 114fps at 1080p resolution and 84fps at full QHD. God of War with DLSS and V-Sync enabled put out about 100fps at High settings and about 70-80fps at Ultra. On CyberPunk 2077, 80-85fps was normal with ray-tracing at maximum and full resolution. Impressive figures, to say the least, helped in part by a very robust thermal setup and ASUS’ trusty MUX switch. In short, the laptop’s main USP is fulfilled and hardcore gamers will have a great time using this machine.
Other features include a webcam which is none too impressive and a dual-speaker setup with Dolby Atmos which is definitely quite impressive. I guess when you have a lot of space inside the chassis, a decent audio system is a given. I just wished the speakers were outward firing instead of the bottom. The battery life on the laptop isn’t great, and without its charging adapter, it will last a meagre two hours. It has a 90Whr capacity though and with extremely stripped-down functionality, you can push it to about four hours… but that’s about it. The 280W charging brick is essential to the Strix G18 and my guess is that it will always be attached to the laptop at your home.
I was surprised at the ROG Strix G18’s pricing of Rs 2,19,900 for my unit. Honestly, I had expected a bit more seeing the specs that are on offer. The target audience of hardcore gaming enthusiasts will benefit from this as will consumers who are into more creative tasks. The laptop’s large dimensions, however, will not help those looking for portability. There are no complaints from my side in terms of its graphical output and performance levels though. Overall, the ROG Strix G18 is a very well-rounded machine that is meant to stay put in your house and on which you can game away to your heart’s content. A definite recommendation in the premium gaming market.
Editor’s rating: 4 / 5
- Great performance
- A proper gaming display
- Good speakers
- Effective thermal management
- Lacks RGB lighting on the lid
- Webcam could be better
- Extremely heavy