This improved model may look and sound similar, but it is also better where it counts.
Let's not beat around the bush. I have essentially already reviewed this laptop. Back at the start of June, I published a text about the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17, and I talked about how monstrously powerful and capable that system was. From top-of-the-line hardware under the hood to a cooling solution that was near the best I have ever come across, that laptop was the embodiment of a gaming laptop, as it also had a lot of the 'gamery' aesthetics that pushed it out of the general consumer product range. Well... that and the breath-taking price tag that will require you to remortgage your house to grab one. But, the point is, the Strix Scar 17 is a remarkable computer, so it should come as no surprise that the Strix Scar 17 SE is even better.
But not much better might I add. A lot of the bells and whistles here are either the same or very similar. The display offering is the same, the GPU options also, it's mainly in the Intel i9-12950HX CPU and the slightly more powerful overclocking options that we find the differences. And this in particular allows the Strix Scar 17 SE to push its GeForce RTX 3080Ti to its limits, allowing for a great balance of crisp resolutions and fluid frame rates in the most demanding of games, which works even better considering this device has a very capable QHD (1440p) display that runs at a max of 240Hz. Essentially, you can get great visual fidelity and stable frame rates all the time, or can lose some beauty in the graphics in favour of a far smoother gameplay experience - the option is yours as the SE can handle both sides of the spectrum.
Otherwise, this laptop still excels in the same places that the Scar 17 did. The noise levels are remarkably low, even under stress, and the excellent speaker system allows you to play without headphones and not feel overcome by the humming of fan blades. The body is also well-balanced, with very little space feeling like it isn't being used, unlike some gaming laptops, which offer small keyboards or tiny trackpads - the MSI Katana GF76 and the ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 are two brilliant examples of this.
Those somewhat aggressive gamer elements are still there however, and have been expanded upon as the lid of the laptop now comes embroidered with an invisible ink message that refers to ROG's Scar Runner game. Of course, an arguably overwhelming amount of RGB can also be found across the device, be it on its lid, its base, the keyboard, and so forth. It is without a doubt, a device built for the dedicated gamer.
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And as you might expect, to purchase such an item as this, with all the top-of-the-line hardware powering it, you will need to fork out more cash than you would for the base Scar 17. If you have that cash to splash, then you won't find many gaming laptops on the market better than this one.
But all in all, price aside, this is genuinely one of the best gaming laptops I have ever used. You can't really knock its performance in any sense, and while it is quite a hefty system both in dimensions and weight, I haven't found a title that the Scar 17 SE can't handle. This seems to be the peak of what ASUS ROG has to offer in the gaming laptop space at the moment and that's very clear, which begs the question on how they plan to improve on an already very capable device in the future.