Review Asus ROG Strix Hero II Gaming Laptop: Clever Design, Great Sound

Gaming laptops don't just have to be strong. For serious games, you also need amazing visuals and powerful audio, which the Asus ROG Strix Hero II (starting at $ 1,699, $ 1915 as tested) provides. With the Gen Core i7 8 processor and GTX 1060 graphics, VR-ready and you will find it hard to find something this can't work properly. This 15.6-inch notebook feels like a 13-inch in your lap because of a smart design. With a killer voice and a beautiful look, this rig is very, very tempting. But it is not without problems: the webcam that is placed awkwardly and the very hot bottom box and a loud fan might get in your way (but maybe that won't deter me).


As far as gaming notebooks go, Strix is striking. The black color, which is combed back very cold and is intended to represent the division of the MOBA diagonal game map like Dota 2. This is an elegant, if somewhat mysterious, reference to what ROG expects most customers to use this.

 Review Asus ROG Strix Hero II Gaming Laptop: Clever Design, Great Sound

What I really like about Strix is how thin the bezel is. There is almost nothing at all and provides a futuristic look on the laptop. This also helps reduce the ratio of screen size to the rig. It feels small for a 15.6-inch laptop.

Like all things that are beautiful, amazing thin frames come at a certain price. Toll the Strix demands you to a steep thin frame, and comes in the form of a webcam placed very awkwardly. It's in the lower right corner, which is very, very far from optimal

The keyboard lights up in standard gaming laptop mode, with adjustable rainbow backlights. What distinguishes Strix Hero II is the transparent QWER button, which is usually a hotkeys for abilities and spells in the MOBA game.

Strix has a fairly standard port configuration with a USB-C port and two USB 3.1 ports, HDMI output, Ethernet, headphone jack and Mini DisplayPort on the left side, and a USB 3.1 port and headphone jack on the right side.

Review Asus ROG Strix Hero II Gaming Laptop: Clever Design, Great Sound

Weighing 5.1 pounds and 14.2 x 10.3 x 1 inches, the ROG Strix Hero II is thinner and lighter than some other laptops in its class. Acer Predator Helios 300 is the most girthiest, measuring 1.5 inches while the Lenovo Legion Y720 is by far the biggest at 6.8 pounds.


  • Display 15.6-inch IPS  1920x1080
  • CPU 2.2-GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
  • Graphics Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5
  • Memory 32GB DDR4 2666Mhz
  • SSD 256 GB NVMe
  • HDD 1 TB 5400 RPM
  • Optical
  • Networking Gigabit Ethernet, Dual Band Wi-Fi-AC
  • Video Ports (1) HDMI 2.0, (2) Mini DisplayPort 1.3
  • USB Ports (1) USB 3.1 Type C, (2) USB 3.1 Gen 1, (1) USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • Audio (2) 3.5W Speakers, (1) Headset/Optical-out
  • Power Adapter 180W
  • Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit)
  • Dimensions (WxDxH) 14.2 x 10.3 x 1 inches
  • Weight 5.1 pounds
  • Other Backlit Keyboard, Numpad, SD Card Reader, Webcam

Gaming, Graphics and VR

Strix is built from the base for the MOBA game, so as expected, it can play these games very well. Dota 2, which is a little more difficult than League of Legends competitors ran at 60 fps with all the maximum settings.

But you can do more than just play MOBA on this. We managed to run Grand Theft Auto V at very high at 52 respectable fps at 1080p, which connects the average of mainstream games. But it's worse than 60 fps PowerSpec1510 with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070, but above the Y720 Legion and Predator. These last two competitors come with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPUs like Strix.

Strix is not as strong as competition in the Rise of the Tomb Raider, averaging 38 fps at very high versus 56 fps PowerSpec, and only slightly creeping on the Lenovo Legion. Strix is still above average, however, from 32 fps.

Asus notebook surpassed Hitman (1920 x 1080, Ultra), running the game at 72 fps. That's higher than the average (65 fps) PowerSpec, Legion, and Predator.

Strix got a score of 7.4 on the SteamVR performance test, above the average of 5.6 and the other GTX 1060 systems, but PowerSpec's GTX 1070 gives it a perfect 11.


With a powerful 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7-8750H and 3266MHz 32GB DDR4 RAM, you have to do computing that is aggressive enough to slow down this bad boy. I have several Twitch streams that open in 720p, about a dozen tabs in two different Chrome examples, and many other programs that run when I write this review and I don't see slowing or freezing.

 Review Asus ROG Strix Hero II Gaming Laptop: Clever Design, Great Sound

In the overall performance test of Geekbench 4, the Strix scored 20,690 with the Intel Core i7-8750H, completely blowing the PowerSpec 14,223 and 12129Hunster Lenovo out of the water. Both machines, by the way, walked around with the latest generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU. It also beat the Acer Predator Helios 300 score of 13,587, which uses the same i7 as Powerspec and Legion. The average category in this test is 14,840.


The 1920 x 1080, 144Hz display of the Strix is bright and beautiful, especially against the incredibly thin bezel, which makes media is just that much more immersive.

 Review Asus ROG Strix Hero II Gaming Laptop: Clever Design, Great Sound

Now, I'm the type of guy who likes watching footage of 4K giraffes fighting each other regularly, and the look on Strix Hero is ideal for that. I felt like I was there in a meadow, making every strand of grass windy. I can see every place in the giraffe. The tape looks so detailed that the only limit is my own vision. For a moment there, I experienced true xanadu.

Dota 2 and League of Legends both actually appeared on Strix. Both cartoon style, low-poly League art style and Dota 2 that look nicer look great.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The full keyboard on the Strix Hero II is responsive with a very reasonable 1.4 millimeters of key travel (though we prefer key travel between 1.5 and 2mm) and requires 63 grams of actuation force. It did slow me down from my average typing speed a little bit. I clocked 127 words per minute on fivefastfingers.com with a 1.6 percent error rate, which is a bit shy of the 150ish wpm average that I pride myself on.

 Review Asus ROG Strix Hero II Gaming Laptop: Clever Design, Great Sound

At 4.2 x 2.3-inches, the touchpad is big enough without getting in the way. It has a left and right click button that are separate from the touchpad, which I very much prefer to integrated buttons. But this is a gaming laptop, so you’re probably going to have a mouse plugged in most of the time anyway.


These bad boys are loud. Like, really, really loud. I put on The Necromancer’s Servants of the Salem Girl, lied down on the floor and stared at my ceiling fan for about an hour and had a great time doing it. I usually rely on my Bose Soundlink speaker for that but honestly, the audio on the Strix Hero II was more than enough to drown out all external stimuli and become one with the floor.

All jokes aside, these are some pretty serious speakers for a laptop. Dota 2 and League of Legends, both of which are pretty sound-dependent games sounded just fine on the Strix’s speakers.

There’s an app called Sonic Studio III that comes preloaded on the machine that permits finer control over the speakers, but I honestly didn’t notice too much of a difference after messing with the settings for a few minutes.


 Review Asus ROG Strix Hero II Gaming Laptop: Clever Design, Great Sound

Unlike its predecessor, Strix Hero, which has a single screw compartment to increase RAM, Strix Hero II is difficult to open without a lure. After removing all 12 screws (yes, 12) from behind. It was tightly closed, but with a little elbow oil, we removed the bottom case. PCIe SSD and RAM are immediately accessible (SSD requires one screw), while the hard drive requires you to remove the shield to exchange it.


Okay here’s the bad news—the thing gets hot, especially on the bottom. The underside got up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit after a 15 minute video stress test. Generally we look for heat under 95 degrees. It is not comfortable to game with this thing in your lap because of this, and the fans are massively loud.


The webcam on the Strix is even worse than most, because it’s located in the bottom right corner. If you want to make digital eye contact with somebody you’re Skyping with, you can’t even look at the screen. If you do look at the screen, you’re going to look like you’re looking off in the distance—which is not optimal for a Skype interview or Twitch stream.

Software and Warranty

The ROG Gaming Center shows CPU and GPU usage information and allows you to change the fan speed, so during light use, you can keep it from sounding like you’re indoor skydiving. This app can actually be access via a key on the top-left part of the keyboard, which is nice.

GameFirst V also comes preloaded on the Strix, which is useful for streamer and network-sharers alike. It lets you prioritize apps that use adjust which apps use get network priority.

SonicRadar III is an interesting accessibility app that puts a colored overlay over your games. The colors and locations of the colors change based on what sounds the game is putting out.

There is a bunch of bloatware on the Strix, including McAfee antivirus software. All the standard Windows junk, like Candy Crush is also present.

The ROG Strix Hero II comes with a one-year limited warranty.

 Review Asus ROG Strix Hero II Gaming Laptop: Clever Design, Great Sound


The $1,915 ROG Strix Hero II we reviewed came with an Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 256GB NVMe SSD, 1TB 5,400 RPM HDD, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB of VRAM and 32GB of RAM instead of the standard 16GB.

The base model costs $1,699 and comes loaded with an Intel Core i7-8750H processor; 16GB of RAM; a 256GB NVMe SSD; a 1TB, 5,400-rpm HDD; and an Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB graphics card.

Bottom Line

With a brilliant display, very slick design and powerful graphics and sound, you’ll be sitting pretty for a couple of years with the Strix Hero II. If you keep your laptop at home most of the time this is a great choice, with the one exception that it generates a lot of heat.

It’s more compact and significantly lighter than the PowerSpec 1510, Lenovo Legion Y720 and Acer Predator Helios 300. However, you’re paying a premium for size here, so if you aren’t worried about bulk, consider the cheaper Powerspec 1510, which can be had for a cool $1,399.

But the Strix isn’t just a looker, but a strong performer with a brilliant display. It’s a jack of all trades as long as you can stand the heat.

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