Asus ROG G703GI review

An absolute beast of a gaming laptop

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Benchmarks

Here is how the Asus ROG G703GI fared in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark Sky Diver: 35,889; Fire Strike: 15,335; Time Spy: 4,730
Cinebench CPU: 1070 cb; Graphics: 148.67fps
Geekbench 4 Single-Core: 5,942; Multi-Core: 21,471
PCMark 8 Home: 3,337
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 1 hour 29 minutes
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 1 hour 53 minutes
Middle Earth: Shadow of War: 179 fps; (1080p, Low): 101 fps (1080p, Ultra)
Total War: Warhammer II: 146.9fps; (1080p, Low); 68.3fps (1080p, Ultra)

Considering the price and specifications of the Asus ROG G703GI we were hoping for excellent results in terms of performance, and in both our benchmark testing and day-to-day use we were very impressed with how the laptop performed.

This is thanks to the recent Intel Core i9-8950HK processor, which is combined with the ageing, yet still very competent, Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics card. 

The G703GI recorded some of the best results we’ve seen from a gaming laptop, managing 101 frames per second in Middle Earth: Shadow of War with the graphics settings at ‘Ultra’.

This is a very graphically-intensive game, so for the laptop to be able to achieve such high frame rates is testament to the high-end components Asus has packed into it. It also handily beats the MSI GS65 Stealth, and improves on the previous generation’s Asus ROG G703 in the performance stakes as well.

If you want to play games at full visual fidelity, and even at 4K resolution if you plug it into a TV, then the Asus ROG G703GI is definitely worth looking at. Even if you stick to the built-in 17.3-inch 1080p screen, games look fantastic, especially when you whack all the graphics bells and whistles to the max. The display supports a 144Hz refresh rate and G-Sync, which makes gameplay feel smooth and responsive, with no stuttering or screen tearing.

In the Cinebench benchmarks the ROG G703GL scored 1,070 cb for the CPU, and 148.67fps for the graphics. These are respectable scores, but this laptop also has an "Overboost" mode that can be turned on from the ROG software, and which safely overclocks the hardware for better performance. It seemed to do the trick quite nicely, as in Overboost mode the laptop scored 1,414 cb for the CPU, and 149.25 fps for the GPU, which is a nice increase when it comes to the processor's performance.

When we used the Asus ROG G703GI for tasks other than gaming we found that the performance was good, although not as impressive. The large amount of super-fast NVMe PCIE SSD storage space enables Windows 10 to load quickly, but it sometimes felt a little laggy in use. 

We’d put this down to the large amount of extra software that comes installed with the PC, which makes it feel a little bloated at first. However, once you let the laptop ‘bed in’, and remove the software you don’t want to use, performance is much better. Of course, it’s also worth noting that this is a laptop you’re going to be mainly gaming on, and in that area it excels.

There are prices to pay for this level of performance, however, and whether or not you think they're worth paying will determine if the Asus ROG G703GI is for you. There’s the monetary price of course, and, as well as being large and chunky the Asus ROG G703GI can also get quite loud when gaming, and even occasionally during less intensive tasks, as its fan whirrs in order to keep the powerful components inside cool.

Battery life

Gaming laptops aren’t known for their long battery life – although some of the newer, slimmer, laptops are trying to buck that trend – and with a gaming laptop as big and beastly as the Asus ROG G703GI it’s no surprise that the battery life is pretty slight.

Having said that, it may surprise you to learn just how quickly the battery life depletes. In our own battery life test, playing a 1080p video file on repeat until the battery dies, the Asus ROG G703GI only lasted one hour and 53 minutes, which is less than the running time of many movies. So don’t expect this to be a laptop you can happily match movies on without it being plugged in.

When it comes to the more strenuous task of playing games the battery depletes even more quickly, and in the PCMark 8 battery life benchmark test, which replicates medium-to-heavy use such as making video calls, browsing the internet and word processing, the battery again drained quickly, lasting just an hour and a half.

In short, this is a laptop that needs to be plugged in almost constantly, and as we mentioned earlier it needs two power supplies to properly charge the battery. The good news is that the battery does at least charge quickly.

We liked

The Asus ROG G703GI is one of the most powerful gaming laptops we’ve ever used. The addition of a new Intel Core i9-8950HK processor gives it a noticeable performance boost over its predecessor, and the ability to play the latest games at the very highest graphical settings is mightily impressive.

Build quality is also very good, and there’s an excellent array of connectivity ports.

We disliked

There are two major issues we have with the Asus ROG G703GI, and they're both pretty much unavoidable. First of all, the high price makes this one of the most expensive gaming laptops you can buy. This will instantly rule it out for the majority of people. 

It also means that, even with graphics card prices remaining high thanks to cryptocurrency mining, it's still more affordable to build your own desktop gaming PC which equals, or even surpasses, the power of the ROG G703GI.

Of course, you don’t get the portability of a laptop with a desktop PC, but that brings us to our other issue: the battery life of the Asus ROG G703GI is incredibly short, which means you’ll pretty much always need to be tethered to a power supply (or two).

Final verdict

The Asus ROG G703GI is easily one of the most powerful gaming laptops we’ve reviewed. Gaming performance, even playing some of the latest games at maximum graphical settings, is superb, and you shouldn’t have to worry about upgrading for a very long time. It will also handle virtual reality easily.

It is very expensive, however, which will put many people off. There are a number of configurations that vary in price, so you may find a version of the ROG G703GI that suits your budget, but it'll still cost you quite a bit.

It also needs to be plugged in almost constantly which, along with the size, means it’s not that portable. However, if you need a laptop that can handle the very latest games without breaking much of a sweat, and which can be transported more easily than a desktop PC (for example to gaming events and competitions), then the Asus ROG G703GI could prove well worth the hefty investment.