There are a handful of laptop manufacturers that cater to the niche gaming segment, including Asus, MSI, Dell and HP. You can buy a gaming laptop for as little as Rs 80,000 and go all the way up to Rs 200,000 or more. Earlier this year, Asus launched four new laptops under the Republic of Gamers (ROG) series with prices starting at Rs 94,990. I had a chance to review the top end model – Strix GL553V – which is priced at Rs 1,36,990. After using the laptop for about two weeks, here s my review. Also Read - Asus ZenBook 13 OLED UM325U review: Premium design, snappy performance
Asus ROG Strix GL553V Design and BuildAlso Read - Everything Xbox and Bethesda showcased during E3 2021: Age of Empires IV, Xbox mini-fridge and more
Right from the moment I first saw the laptop when unboxing, that wow factor was visible right way. The very first thing I noticed was the display lid, which is metal-plated and has a brushed finish to it. The display lid also has the neon ROG logo that glows when the laptop display is on. Also Read - E3 2021: What is it, entire schedule, how to watch livestream for free, what to expect
On the inside, you have the backlit keyboard (with RGB backlighting). There are four zones, each having individual color. Asus has added customization options here too – you can adjust the backlight brightness from low to high and also turn it off. What s more, you can also change the color of keyboard back-light from ROG Aura Core settings (at the bottom right corner) in the ROG Gaming Center.
Asus has given a quick shortcut key to access the ROG Gaming Center, placed just besides the Num lock, and for easy identification it has the ROG logo on it. Talking about the keyboard, it has a very good 2.5mm travel distance that makes typing comfortable, even for long hours.
The area around the keyboard is made from plastic, but the brushed finish gives it a distinct look and feel. Below the keyboard is a trackpad with a soft, rubberized finish and the edges having an orange border, making it stand out. The touch is smooth, highly accurate and responsive too. ALSO READ: Asus ROG launches VR-ready gaming graphics cards in India
Talking about the connectivity ports, the left edge has a charging input port, an RJ-45 LAN connector, an HDMI output port, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port and a 3.5mm audio jack. ALSO READ: Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Review
On the right edge, you have a USB 2.0 port and a DVD-RW drive. The laptop also has a card reader placed below the front lip, along with speakers on the either sides. Again, one of the distinct characteristics of the speaker is that the grills have the orange accent, in line with the laptop s overall look.
Asus ROG Strix GL553V Hardware
The ROG Strix GL553V flaunts a 15.6-inch full-HD display with brightness that can go up to 300nits. The display is bright, has good viewing angles and color reproduction is punchy too. Asus has also included modes where you can choose between normal, manual and vivid color modes, based on your preferences. There is also an eye-care mode with bluelight filter that adds yellow tint to the display, making it comfortable for your eyes, especially at night. ALSO READ: ASUS ROG Strix GL553 gaming laptop launched in India, priced at Rs 94,990
Under the hood is Intel s seventh generation Core i7 7700HQ Kaby Lake processor paired with 16GB of RAM. The gaming laptop also packs in Nvidia s GTX 1050Ti 4GB discrete graphics for smooth gaming and video performance. In terms of storage, the laptop features 256GB SSD, which is used for quick booting and it is also the drive where the Windows 10 OS is installed. The SSD is supplemented with a 1TB hard disk drive for all other storage needs, such as files, documents, movies, music and much more. On the connectivity front, the laptop supports Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth, and USB ports. For video calls, the Strix GL553VE also features an HD web camera. ALSO READ: CES 2017: Asus showcases ROG gaming laptops, desktops and more
Asus ROG Strix GL553V Performance
The ROG Strix GL553V runs on Windows 10 OS and while I was reviewing the device, it had already received the Creators Update which brings features like Paint 3D, gaming mode, game broadcast, and more. The combination of the i7 processor and 16GB of RAM works well to offer the laptop with the sheer power it needs. It roughly takes about eight seconds to boot, and then on, you re good to go. Having more than enough RAM helps to load programs in a snap. I was easily able to run Chrome browser with about 12 tabs open, one streaming full HD video on YouTube while also downloading a file with the download manager. The only hiccup I ran into initially was that the display would just go off blank all of a sudden. However, it turned out to be a graphics driver issue and after updating it, everything was alright.
There is one more issue I noticed – the fan for heat vents on the left side behave abnormally at times. Such an issue is expected when you are playing graphics-hungry games or running software such as Photoshop and other demanding video editing tools. However, even when watching videos on YouTube or while working on Google Docs, the fan speed up excessively, running high RPM, and creating a distracting noise. It also threw out a lot of hot air in the process. Talking about audio, the front firing speakers are loud enough and offer clear output, be it while listening to music or playing games. However, when watching movies or TV shows in an environment with more ambient noise, you will have to sit closer to the laptop to hear what s going on. But when you are in your bedroom or may be in a conference room, the audio is loud enough, even for video calling over Skype, Google Hangouts and other such services. ALSO READ: Asus ROG GX800 gaming laptop launched, priced at Rs 7,97,990 in India: Specifications, features
To test the gaming performance, I ran a number of games on Steam, right from causal ones such as Dota 2, Microsoft Flight Simulator X and Left 4 Dead 2, to the ones with demanding graphics. The casual games ran without a hiccup, even with graphics settings (resolution, shadows, details and more) kept on max. While the fan still behaved abnormally while venting out heat, it was still considerable. However, it could not easily take load of graphics-hungry games such as The Crew and Train Simulator among others.
With graphics settings at max, stuttering in frame rates was clearly visible, with the fan running at extremely high speeds, to the extent that I had to exit the game after about 10 minutes of continuous gaming. After changing the graphics settings to medium, it was a little better. But when you re paying close to Rs 140,000 for a gaming laptop, this is not something that you would expect. Asus clearly needs to address this problem. But I wonder if it is something throughout the ROG Strix series or was it that my review device was faulty.
The battery life on the ROG Strix GL553V is decent. When performing lightweight tasks such as web browsing or working on Google Docs, PowerPoint Presentations or playing music, the laptop offers a battery life of about three-and-a-half hours. However, with intense tasks, especially gaming, the battery struggles to go far beyond one hour. The bundled charger charges the laptop to full in about two hours.
For the asking price of Rs 136,990, Asus ROG Strix GL553V has a lot going in its favor such as the design with neon logo on the display lid, the brushed finish on the lid and on the area around the keyboard. The powerful hardware ensures quick booting time and snappy performance for everyday computing tasks. However, the abnormal CPU fan behavior and the struggle when playing slightly graphics-intensive games is a bit of a bummer. ALSO READ: HP Omen 17 Review: The laptop for gaming on-the-go
The Omen series from HP 15-ax250tx is equipped with a similar hardware and priced less at Rs 1,09,990, with the only difference being that it comes with a 1TB SSD. The other model, HP 17-w249tx, offers better proposition in terms of specifications it packs for Rs 1,39,990. It comes with similar hardware as the one on Asus ROG Strix GL553V, with the differences being a better Nvidia GeForce 1060TX Graphics (6GB) and a 17-inch full HD display.