Asus ROG Strix G15 (2021) full review

It’s no secret that Asus has an extensive range of gaming laptops – and that they’re usually pretty good. The firm’s latest 2021 release is the Asus ROG Strix G15 G513, and it combines Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 graphics with a top-tier AMD Ryzen processor.

You’d think that such hardware would be pricey, but that’s not the case. In the UK, the G15 costs a surprising £1,699, and it also includes a 1080p display with a 300Hz refresh rate.

That exact model hasn’t made its way to the US at the time of writing, but you can select a machine with a 1440p panel that runs at 165Hz for US$2,199 – or a variant with the 300Hz display and an improved AMD processor for an impressive US$1,799.

Design & Build

There are no surprises when it comes to the G15’s design. This machine combines grey plastic with some more extravagant touches: vast sections are covered with a pattern made from the ROG letters, and the per-key RGB LED lighting on the keyboard is paired with lighting around the base.

The hinge has a black ROG logo, and different versions of the G15 use grey or red panels instead.

Build quality is reasonable, too: this machine will withstand daily use and frequent transport, even if the plastic at the display's base and below the keyboard flexes a little too much.

In some other areas, though, the more affordable G15 is a little ordinary. Its body weighs 2.3kg and is 23mm thick – lighter and slimmer laptops are easy to find. And, while it does have three USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, their top speed of 5Gbps is slow in today’s marketplace.

Elsewhere, the G15 has USB-C that runs at 10Gbps and supports DisplayPort and power delivery, but no Thunderbolt. This laptop has an HDMI output, but no card reader and no webcam so is unlikely to be suitable for work as well as play for many.

Buyers can rectify these issues with more cash, but they’re also not issues that will hinder this machine in mainstream gaming - its primary purpose.

If you do want to solve some of those problems, a machine like the Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 has better connectivity, but you’ll have to pay £1,799 or US$1,899 for an equivalent specification with the RTX 3070 and Ryzen 7 5800H.

Keyboard & Trackpad

The keyboard is more impressive. The layout is great: there are extra buttons to handle media, fan and software, plus the G15 also has isolated cursor keys and large keys elsewhere. Most other 15.6in gaming machines aren’t this generous.

Quality levels are impressive, too. The keys are fast, with good travel, and they have great balance: they’re firm and crisp, but they have a little extra softness.

That makes them comfortable, and it makes it easy to use this keyboard for hours. The only way to make a significant improvement is to spend more on a laptop with an opto-mechanical keyboard – like the Alienware’s CherryMX upgrade.

The trackpad is large and precise, and its buttons are decent – good enough for casual gaming. But, as ever, a USB gaming mouse provides a far better experience.

Screen & Speakers

The ROG Strix G15 has a 15.6in IPS display with a 300Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. T

hat’s a superb specification, and the absence of Nvidia G-Sync doesn’t slow things down – this panel offers butter-smooth motion in the fastest games, so it’s ideal for single-player titles and frantic eSports games.

It’s a step ahead of the Alienware m15, too, which has a 1080p display with 165Hz refresh rate or 1,440p options that peak at 240Hz.

The backlight level of 312 nits is only good enough for indoor use, and the black point of 0.27 nits is good, but could be better. The resulting contrast ratio of 1,155:1 is solid, and makes for realistic imagery, but plenty of IPS displays are punchier in this regard, including the panel in the Alienware.

The delta E of 1.09 is superb, the colour temperature of 6,799K is solid, and the panel exhibits great uniformity, so you’re going to get even, accurate colours. The screen also rendered a decent 96.7% of the sRGB gamut.

The G15 has ample quality for mainstream gaming then and will be fine as long as you don't require it for accurate Adobe RGB work, too - with just 67.5% coverage.

The speakers, too, are good rather than great. They’re loud enough to fill a room and they’ve got a clear, bright mid-range and a crisp high-end output, but there’s not enough bass. A headset would be better, but these can handle casual gaming.

Specs & Performance

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 in the Asus has the usual 8GB of memory and 5,120 stream processors, and its peak power level of 130W is right at the top limit of this GPU’s specification.

The rest of the Strix G15’s components are impressive: the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H is an eight-core CPU with solid speeds of 3.2GHz and 4.4GHz, and there’s 16GB of memory, a 1TB SSD, dual-band Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit Ethernet.

In Far Cry New Dawn with the game at 1080p and Ultra settings the Asus averaged 81fps, and it returned similar speeds in top-tier games like Horizon Zero Dawn and Borderlands 3. It’s impressive pace and it means that you’ll be able to play any modern, big-name game at top quality levels and framerates beyond the crucial 60fps barrier.

This graphics core will handle all of today’s top eSports titles, too, and plenty of them will get beyond 200fps, so you’ll see incredible performance on the 300Hz display. The G15 also has a Turbo mode, too, and that option saw benchmark results improve slightly.

The AMD Ryzen 7 processor is top-notch. Its Geekbench multi-core result of 7,086 is almost 1,000 points beyond the Intel Core i7-10750H used in plenty of laptops like the Dell G5 15 Gaming (5500), and it’s on par with the i7-10875H that’s used in more expensive machines such as the Dell XPS 17 9700.

You won’t have any gaming bottlenecks here, and the Ryzen 7 chip will easily handle photo-editing, video work and other content-creation applications as well as tough multi-tasking workloads. Although it must be noted that the same chip inside the Alienware was marginally faster.

When gaming in its normal and Turbo mode the G15 did produce fan noise, but it was consistently quieter than most notebooks with this level of hardware – and it made less noise than the RTX 3060-based Alienware too. That’s impressive, and the exterior never became too hot, either; this is a rare gaming laptop that you could use on your lap.

The G15 was a little quieter in work tests, and the CPU always hit its proper turbo speeds, with no signs of throttling. This machine may be a little heavy and thick, but it can certainly cope with the thermal demands of modern games.

It’s even got reasonable battery life. The 90-minute lifespan when gaming is on par with other gaming notebooks, and gaming on the battery also reduces GPU power – so stay connected to the mains to play the latest titles.

More impressively, the G15 lasted for seven and a half hours in a mainstream work benchmark. That’s two hours beyond the Alienware, and it means that you’ll be able to use the G15 for most of the workday if you don’t push your components.

In our normal battery loop test, it lasted an impressively above average nine hours and 38 minutes.

Price & Availability 

In the UK, the rig I’ve reviewed is the priciest option. Drop £100 and you can buy a version with a quicker AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor but weaker RTX 3060 graphics.

The two other UK options cost £999 and £929. Both include mid-range Ryzen 5 5600H processors and 144Hz displays, with RTX 3050 Ti graphics in the former and an RTX 3050 GPU in the latter.

In the US, the exact model we’ve reviewed isn’t yet available. If you’d like this machine with an RTX 3070, then you can opt for a US$2,099 rig with a 1440p panel at 165Hz or a US$1,799 laptop with the 300Hz display and AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU.

There’s also a version with the RTX 3060 and 300Hz display for US$1,499 and a US$1,199 notebook that combines the 300Hz panel with the RTX 3050 Ti GPU.

Check out our chart of the best gaming laptops to see what other options you have.

Verdict

The ROG Strix G15 is an excellent addition to Asus’ roster of gaming laptops. The RTX 3070 is a fast, capable GPU for mainstream gaming and eSports, and the AMD Ryzen 7 is a great chip for content-creation and better than anything Intel offers at this price.

Elsewhere, the G15 has a good screen, impressive thermal performance, a great keyboard and it even manages to offer decent battery life - a rare thing for a gaming laptop.

The relatively affordable price does mean that this rig doesn’t have the best range of features, and it’s a little thicker and heavier than many other machines. Build quality could be a little better, too.

None of those issues are dealbreakers, though, especially when it comes to mainstream gaming and eSports play – and in those key departments, the G15 impresses.

It’s a great mid-range gaming laptop.

Specs

Asus ROG Strix G15 (2021): Specs

  • Screen: 15.6in 1,920 x 1,080 300Hz IPS
  • Processor: 3.2GHz AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop 8GB
  • Memory: 16GB 3,200MHz DDR4
  • Storage: 1TB SK Hynix SSD
  • Ports: 3x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C/DisplayPort, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x audio jack
  • Connectivity: Dual-band 802.11ax WiFi, Bluetooth 5.1, Gigabit Ethernet
  • Dimensions: 354 x 259 x 23mm (WxDxH)
  • Weight: 2.2kg
  • Warranty: 1yr RTB

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