ASUS ROG GL504 (SCAR II / Hero II) review – a huge leap forward
You will now spend several truly pleasant minutes because the new Republic of Gamers member comes with many innovations and extras that aim at contributing to it being among the best gaming laptops for 2018 – the GL504 (SCAR II / Hero II) is here!
In the lines to follow, we shall shed light on the new HyperCool Pro and HyperStrike Pro technologies by ASUS, and we shall see how these actually benefit the user. Additionally, we will pay due attention to the “first in the world 144Hz screen with ultrathin bezels”. What’s more, ROG GL504 is the first laptop with four Wi-Fi antennas. OK, without further ado, we can start the review…
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: http://laptopmedia.com/series/asus-rog-gl504/
ASUS ROG GL504 technical specifications table
What’s in the box?
Irrespective of the retailer, you will certainly receive a neatly packaged ROG GL504 + a 180W power adapter for the GTX 1060 configurations, or a 230W one for the GTX 1070 options. Some stores offer this machine with interesting accessories such as a ROG mouse, bag, etc.
Design and construction
We are happy that ASUS has joined the “bezel-less” design trend – GL504 is the first ROG which is distinguished for its small sizes. It is obvious that the designers have had some difficulty with the positioning of the webcam. Above the screen, there is little place for it, and below the display, there’s the huge ROG logo. That’s why the camera has been placed on the right, not following any symmetry, except for the one as regards its two mics.
The exact model of the reviewed unit is ROG Strix SCAR II GL504GM – the difference between SCAR and HERO is purely in terms of design, as SCAR models are meant for FPS gaming, and HERO – for MOBA games. You can easily tell one from the other by looking at their keyboards – the SCAR version has highlighted WASD keys, and the HERO – QWER.
Left: ROG Strix SCAR II / Right: ROG Strix Hero II
With the exception of the appearance peculiarities, SCAR II and Hero II are identical in terms of sizes, weight, and ports. With the GL503 variants, this was not so – the more powerful versions used to be bigger. Even though GL504GS operates with the considerably more powerful GTX 1070 GPU (which needs considerably more serious cooling) the construction size is the same as with the other configs.
ASUS ROG GL504 weighs only 2.4 kg and is just 26.1 mm thin. Thanks to the thin bezels you get a width of only 361 mm. These are pretty decent measurements for a GTX 1060/GTX 1070 notebook. Here is a quick comparison to one of its competitors – Alienware 15 R4:
|ASUS ROG GL504||361/14.21″||262/10.31″||26.1 mm/1.03″||2.40 kg/5.29 lbs|
|Alienware 15 R4||389/15.31″ (+8%)||305/12″ (+16%)||25.4 mm/1″ (-3%)||3.49 kg/7.69 lbs (+45%)|
ROG GL504’s keyboard is one of the components that ASUS is really proud of. Its construction is referred to as HyperStrike Pro, which consists of several technologies – each key has a 0.25mm concavity and a 1.8mm travel when typing. According to ASUS’ tests, the keys should endure 20 million strokes. “N-key rollover” means that you can press many keys at the same time, and a more pleasant appearance is ensured by the Aura Sync RGB backlight that has four zones.
Our subjective opinion is that the keyboard is truly pleasant and convenient, although we can’t say the same thing about the NumPad which may seem a bit too tight for the people with bigger fingers.
Plastic and aluminum have been used for the construction – the lid being the only metal part. We have no remarks as to the build quality.
Most of the ports are on the left which is better for us as an external mouse may be used on the right and no cables will interfere. Nonetheless, there is one USB 3.1 (Gen 2) port, SD card reader, and a Kensington lock slot.
On the left, we find a DC jack, LAN port, Dual-Mode Mini DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C and a combo audio jack.
If you are still looking for a Thunderbolt 3 port in the pictures, we will have to interrupt. The laptop does not have one, hence you can’t use it with an external GPU. This is not a big issue but we expect a device from this range to have Thunderbolt support.
Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance
A pleasant surprise – ASUS ROG GL504 is much easier to disassemble than its predecessor GL503. Remove all the screws and use a plastic tool to pry the bottom panel. That’s it – you now have access to all that you may need.
You’ll find two RAM slots, an M.2 slot with PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe support (M-key) and 2.5″ HDD/SSD slot.
ASUS ROG GL504 (SCAR II / Hero II) has a Full HD panel with a model number AUO B156HAN08.2 (AUO82ED). Its diagonal is 15.6-inch (39.62 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1080 p. Also, the screen ratio is 16:9, its pixel density – 142 ppi, and pixel pitch – 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 24″ (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).
The viewing angles are comfortable. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.
The measured maximum brightness of 338 nits in the middle of the screen and 330 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 5%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 7690 K – very close to the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K. The average color temperature through the grey scale before profiling is 7540K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from uniformity perspective. In other words the leakage of light from the light source.
The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 73% Brightness (White level = 141 cd/m2, Black level = 0.11 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color sensitive work. The contrast ratio is okay – 1260:1 (1060:1 after profiling).
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
The yellow dotted line shows ROG GL504’s color gamut coverage.
Its display covers 96% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976 – a prerequisite for a saturated and attractive image.
Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.
Below you can compare the scores of ROG GL504 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.
Response time (Gaming capabilities)
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 9 ms. This is one of the fastest panels we’ve ever tested.
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
ASUS ROG GL504 does not use PWM to control monitor brightness which makes it safe to use in the viewed aspect.
Blue light emissions
Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SPD) graph.
ASUS ROG GL504 has Full HD display with comfortable viewing angles, high brightness, and good contrast. Additionally, it boasts high color gamut coverage, and it does not use PWM. As regards response time, the panel is one of the fastest out there – great for hardcore gamers.
Buy our profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for ASUS ROG GL504 configurations with 15.6″ FHD 144 Hz IPS B156HAN08.2 (AUO82ED).
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about the profiles HERE.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.
Design and Gaming
This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.
Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.
Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount
If you decide to install an OS anew, you can find all required drivers here:
ROG GL504 has a 66Wh battery which is 3% larger than the unit in last year’s GL503. We expected no miracles, considering the hardware and the fact that gaming notebooks generally have modest battery lives.
As always, the battery tests were run with Windows power saving setting turned and Wi-Fi turned on, and the screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits.
Our configuration of ROG GL504 was equipped with Toshiba THNSN5256GPU7 PCIe NVMe SSD. This unit impresses with high read and write speeds, as you can see in the table below.
|SSD model (240-256GB variants)||Max.Seq.Read (GB/s)||Max.Seq.Write (GB/s)||IOPS 4K Read||IOPS 4K Write||Latency Read (ms)||Latency Write (ms)|
|Toshiba THNSN5256GPU7 TO (NVMe)||2.58||1.21||9521||27646||0.050||0.037|
|Intel SSD 760p / PEKKW256G8L (NVMe)||2.35||1.03||13340||24671||0.047||0.048|
|Samsung SM951 (NVMe)||2.24||1.29||11320||28450||0.057||0.034|
|Samsung PM951 MZVLV2560 (NVMe)||1.58||0.31||0.121||0.035|
|SK Hynix SC300 (NVMe)||3.19||0.91||11000||26180||0.060||0.053|
CrystalDiskMark – Max.Seq.Read/Write; AS SSD – IOPS 4K Read/Write, Latency Read/Write
For now, ASUS ROG GL504 is sold only in configurations with Intel Core i5-8300H (4-core, up to 4.0 GHz) or Core i7-8750H (6-core, up to 4.10 GHz) CPUs. Both are part of the Coffee Lake Intel gen. These are the most popular gaming models, and their performance is more than enough for them to not turn into a bottleneck to the other components, depending on the game.
Their power consumption is the same – 45W – the more powerful processor will not cause problems to the cooling system so just choose what is right for your needs. If you’d be using the machine for heavy computing tasks such as 3D rendering or video editing – go for the more powerful option, if not – i5-8300H (and invest in a GTX 1070, if possible).
GM = GTX 1060, GS = GTX 1070. These are the options you could choose from when buying an ASUS ROG GL504. The first one has 6GB of GDDR5 memory, and the other – 8GB GDDR5. The synthetic tests display 50% lead of GTX 1070 and a 10% price increase, so the more powerful version sounds like the better deal.
|Series||GL504GM SCAR II||GL504GS SCAR II||GL504GM Hero II|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5)||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5)||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5)|
More important, however, are the real gaming tests below.
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
For these tests, we used the 398.36 version of GeForce drivers. And so, the GTX 1070 is better than GTX 1060 with 40% on average.
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|GeForce GTX 1060||112 fps||62 fps||39 fps|
|GeForce GTX 1070 (~)||130 fps (+16%)||78 fps (+26%)||53 fps (+36%)|
|Far Cry 5||Full HD, Normal (Check settings)||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)|
|GeForce GTX 1060||73 fps||68 fps||63 fps|
|GeForce GTX 1070 (~)||98 fps (+34%)||91 fps (+34%)||87 fps (+38%)|
|Far Cry Primal||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|GeForce GTX 1060||77 fps||64 fps||58 fps|
|GeForce GTX 1070 (~)||100 fps (+30%)||92 fps (+44%)||87 fps (+50%)|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|GeForce GTX 1060||102 fps||51 fps||34 fps|
|GeForce GTX 1070 (~)||122 fps (+20%)||76 fps (+49%)||52 fps (+53%)|
|Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)|
|GeForce GTX 1060||61 fps||53 fps||35 fps|
|GeForce GTX 1070 (~)||88 fps (+44%)||76 fps (+43%)||50 fps (+43%)|
Temperatures and comfort
Like we said above, it’s interesting that all configurations of GL504 have the same construction size, whether they come with a GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 GPU. In this line of thought, bear in mind that the tests conducted here were with the GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, so if you’re looking to get the more powerful version, it won’t be a bad idea to wait for us to test it and see how it copes.
We have a new way of torturing laptops, and for gaming machines, it comprises of 100% CPU load plus real gameplay test (Rise of the Tomb Raider).
GL504 has two 12V fans for pushing the hot air out of the chassis, each of which boasts 71 liquid crystal polymer propellers. Additionally, the radiator ribs are 0.1 mm thin, and their trapezoid structure facilitates the cooling and is 27% more efficient, according to ASUS.
Max CPU load
In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.
Average core temperature (base frequency + X); CPU temp.
|0:02 – 0:10 sec||0:15 – 0:30 sec||10:00 – 15:00 min|
|ASUS ROG GL504||3.29 GHz (B+50%) @ 95°C||3.12 GHz (B+42%) @ 95°C||2.56 GHz (B+16%) @ 80°C|
|Lenovo Legion Y530 [Sample]||3.24 GHz (B+47%) @ 94°C||3.20 GHz (B+45%) @ 94°C||2.97 GHz (B+35%) @ 94°C|
|Acer Nitro 5||2.89 GHz (B+31%) @ 72°C||2.71 GHz (B+23%) @ 78°C||2.52 GHz (B+15%) @ 74°C|
|ASUS TUF FX504||2.59 GHz (B+18%) @ 71°C||2.64 GHz (B+20%) @ 82°C||2.46 GHz (B+12%) @ 74°C|
|Alienware 15 R4||2.86 GHz (B+30%) @ 93°C||2.32 GHz (B+5%) @ 74°C||2.31 GHz (B+5%) @ 66°C|
|ASUS ROG GL503GE||2.89 GHz (B+31%) @ 66°C||2.89 GHz (B+31%) @ 69°C||2.53 GHz (B+15%) @ 71°C|
In the first 5-10 minutes ROG GL504 did not have any pity, preserving a chip temp of 95°C. The positive thing here is taht its performance is quite high in this way, and the frequency reaches 3.29 GHz at the beginning of the test – with 50% above the base speed of 2.2 GHz. In this respect, ROG GL504 is above its competitors at the expense of high internal temperatures.
The test here is longer. The GPU is engaged at its max performance, trying to process as many frames per second as possible.
|GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)||GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)|
|ASUS ROG GL504||1580 MHz @ 82°C||1557 MHz @ 88°C|
Bearing in mind that gamers play long hours, ASUS can’t afford high temperatures here as it was in the previous test. During continuous gaming, the GPU reaches 88 degrees C, and its frequency drops by 1-2% compared to the beginning of the test.
There is no room for worries even after continuous gaming. The hottest point along the surface is 55.8°C, next to the Enter key.
Considering that this is a gaming laptop, we will begin with its performance. ASUS ROG GL504 impresses with extremely high computing performance, which comes at a price – 95°C when loaded to the max which is not a very good sign in the long term. As for the GPU temp of 88 degrees in extended gaming – it is not impressive either, but it seems that ASUS has prioritized performance over temperatures.
Also, the smaller chassis seems to have hindered, rather than improved, the efficient cooling, but the laptop looks great, on the other hand. A GTX 1070 laptop with super thin bezels? Cool.
We were truly impressed by the screen – a 144Hz IPS display with 96% sRGB coverage, lack of PWM, and DeltaE=1.7 (with a “Design and Gaming” profile installed) – the best gaming screen we’ve ever tested!
Traditionally, the keyboard is quite comfortable. A 66Wh battery proved enough for more than 6 hours of work on a single charge. The battery life together with the impressive weight of 2.4 kg make ROG GL504 the perfect gaming laptop on the go.
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: http://laptopmedia.com/series/asus-rog-gl504/
- Small size and super think screen bezels
- Incredibly low weight for a GTX 1070 laptop
- 4-zone AuraSync keyboard with ergonomic design and N-key rollover
- Many pots with good distribution
- Long battery life (6 hours)
- High computing performance
- Reasonable surface temperatures when gaming
- Easy to disassemble
- Great screen, no PWM
- The CPU reaches 95°C at max load
- No Thunderbolt 3 port