Asus ROG Strix GL703V review

1080p gaming from a well known brand

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Our Verdict

Asus’s ROG Strix GL703V gaming laptop offers great 1080p gaming without too much bulk.

For

  • Vivid screen
  • Good 1080p gaming performance

Against

  • Poor battery life
  • Keyboard gets warm during gaming

The Asus ROG Strix GL703V is a great laptop for 1080p gaming. It’s not cheap,  but is a good choice if, like us, the thought of spending £3000/$3000/AU$4000 on a rig makes you want a week long meditation retreat just to get over the stress of it all.

Let’s get the bad part out of the way quick, though. The Asus ROG Strix GL703V’s battery life is bad. It will barely last a train trip from London to Paris, let alone a long haul flight.

But who’s taking a 17-inch laptop on a plane anyway? This is a gaming laptop for the home, even if it is substantially thinner and somewhat lighter than some of Asus’s models designed to house top-end GeForce graphics cards.

Spec sheet

Here is the Asus ROG Strix GL703V configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.8GHz)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5X VRAM); Intel HD Graphics 630
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Screen: 17.3-inch, Full HD (1,920x1,080) anti-glare, 120Hz refresh rate
Storage: 256B M.2 PCIe SSD, 1TB SSHD
Ports: 1 x USB Type-C, 4 x USB 3.0, 1 x HDMI 2.0, headset jack, LAN, 1 x mini Display Port, SD, MMC card reader
Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Camera: HD webcam
Weight: 6 pounds (2.7kg)
Size: 16.5 x 11 x 0.9 inches (41.9 x 27.9 x 2.28cm; W x D x H)

Price and availability

The Asus ROG Strix GL703V costs $1499/£1499 in the spec reviewed. This is the GL703VM.

It has a GeForce GTX 1060, one of the best options for 1080p resolution gaming, 16GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. There’s a 1TB hard drive too for all your media files, miscellaneous junk and less performance-critical games.

There’s also a GL703VD model. This starts at $1099 but has a GTX 1050 graphics card, which will leave you juggling settings more than the spec reviewed. The base model also snips out the SSD. And if you’re spending this sort of money on a laptop we always advise getting one with an SSD.

While frame rates in games can still seem fine with a hard drive, load speeds will be much slower and Windows 10 just doesn’t run that well off slow storage.

Obvious rivals at the price include the MSI GE73VR 7RE and HP Omen 17.

Design

The Asus ROG Strix GL703V’s design is typical of a mid-range, unashamed gaming laptop. Its lid is brushed aluminium but the rest of the shell is plastic.

However, there’s a soft-touch carbon fibre effect finish on the keyboard surround. This helps mitigate the possibility of the GL703 being seen only as a budget-conscious laptop.

Like other ROG models, you do need to be willing to go “all-in” on the gamer look, though. The keyboard font and big, brash logo on the lid mean this isn’t a design for those quietly ashamed that they like to unwind with a game or two.

The stiffness of the shell’s panels aren’t quite up to those of an Alienware 17, though. Push down on the area below the keyboard and you can get it flex a couple of millimetres, but during general use we’re largely happy with how it feels.

This is a home-bound laptop, however, as the 17.3-inch screen gives it a large footprint. And while significantly thinner than some, this isn’t part of the new breed of gaming laptop that secretly dreams of being the sort of ultra-slim computer a start-up’s marketing director might buy.

It’s 24mm thick and weighs just under 3kg. Carrying it between rooms is no major chore, but we’ll stick with a MacBook Pro for working in coffee shops, thanks.

The Asus ROG Strix GL703V has no optical drive, but does have a solid array of connectors. About its sides are four USB 3.0 ports and one USB-C. The USB-C is not a Thunderbolt 3.0 connector, just the slower USB 3.1 Gen 1 kind.

For video there’s a full-size HDMI and a mini Display Port. An RJ45 Ethernet port that lets you plug into your router to avoid any potential Wi-Fi issues.

Half-hidden on the Asus ROG Strix GL703V’s right edge there’s also an SD slot, now routinely left out of most expensive non-gaming laptops.

Screen and speakers

Ours has the 120Hz display, letting you use V-sync at frame rates higher than 60fps

The Asus ROG Strix GL703V’s screen is one of its strongest parts. It’s a 17.3-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS LCD with a matt finish. At this size you can quite easily notice pixellation in Windows 10’s icons, but this is above all else a laptop made for 1080p gaming.

Color saturation is excellent. It completely covers the sRGB standard, and even exceeds it, and there’s even 92.8 per cent coverage of the DCI P3 used by the film industry.

Games and movies look rich and bold. Contrast has a hand in this too. At 1238:1 the Asus ROG Strix GL703V has better contrast than most IPS LCD laptops.

Top brightness of 262cd/m isn’t going to make the screen look so good if you take the laptop out to the beach. But it’s just another reminder the GL703V is really a homebody.

Not every spec of this laptop may have quite the same performance, though. There are variants of the Asus ROG Strix GL703V with a 120Hz panel, and those with a 60Hz one.

 

Keyboard and trackpad

As you can tell from a quick glance, the buttons are built into the pad rather than sitting below, unlike a top-end model such as the Alienware 17. If we were to sit down for a proper gaming session, we’d use a laptop. But for general laptop duties, the trackpad is fine

Other than its GeForce graphics card, the Asus ROG Strix GL703V’s keyboard is the element that screams “gamer” the loudest. It has a highly customizable rainbow backlight, and the WSAD keys have translucent sides, letting the light outline them more clearly than the others.

There are four LED zones, so you choose any breed of rainbow effect you like. 'Breath' and 'color cycle' modes effectively animate the backlight too (it’s a little distracting) and the 'all keyboard' mode just lets you pick a single color for the entire backlight. Some colors look a little off, and white looks blue, but plain red, green or blue tones look spot-on.

The keys have 1.8mm of travel but feel mostly like those of a standard laptop. They have some resistance, but it’s light and deliberately soft. These keys are comfortable and relatively quiet, but nothing too special.

The trackpad is of the same grade. As the keyboard has a NUM pad it’s shifted to the left of the Asus ROG Strix GL703V, and its surface is plastic, rather than textured glass.