The ROG Strix GL702VI may be ASUS’ current top-tier gaming notebook with the most powerful GPU on a laptop from NVIDIA but it fails to impress in almost every other aspect while carrying a price tag similar, or even higher in some regions, to its direct competitors – Acer’s Predator 17 X and Alienware 17 R4. Both notebooks have been on the market for quite some time and offer top-notch premium experience so it’s not going to be an easy task for the ROG Strix GL702VI to overtake its rivals.
Even though the laptop sports the latest of what Intel and NVIDIA have to offer, the demanding PC enthusiasts will be disappointed to see that configurations exclude the overclockable Core i7-7820HK from specs list, which is a big surprise since the ASUS ROG G701VI runs on it while Acer’s and Alienware’s alternatives also offer the Core i7-7820HK option. However, we expect ASUS’ variant to offer overall better Full HD IPS display with 120 Hz refresh rate compared to the 120 Hz VA panel on the Alienware 17 R4 and the 75 Hz IPS screen on the Predator 17 X (GX-792). But what about cooling and overall gaming experience? We find out in the thorough review below.
- Retail package
- Design and construction
- Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options
- Display quality
- PWM (Screen flickering)
- Buy our display profiles
- Specs sheet
- ASUS ROG Strix GL702VI configurations
- CPU – Intel Core i7-7700HQ
- GPU – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X)
- Gaming tests
The notebook comes in a big box containing the huge power brick, power cord and some promotional extras like a gaming headset, carrying bag and a gaming mouse all of which are ROG-branded. We are unsure, however, if these accessories are available worldwide or just in selected regions.
Design and construction
Unfortunately, the GL702VI isn’t anything special in terms of design. In fact, it looks a lot like the mid-range ASUS ROG Strix Gl753VE so we would have been a good idea for ASUS to distinguish its high-end laptop from its low-end configurations a bit better. But the design isn’t the only thing all GL notebooks share – the choice of materials is largely the same as well. Just like the rest of them, the GL702VI features a brushed aluminum lid and all-plastic base. Normally, this isn’t an issue when you are paying around $1 000 for a gaming laptop but becomes on when you are charging a price premium while aiming at customers demanding high-end gaming experience.
On contrary, the Predator 17 X and the Alienware 17 R4 boast more sophisticated build that includes matte plastic finish that feels great to touch and metal inner layer that adds rigidity. In any case, the build quality of the GL702VI isn’t bad by any means. We didn’t find any inconsistencies and protruding or sharp edges. The flex was virtually non-existent around the keyboard area or the palm rest. The lid stood strong during our twisting and bending attempts as well but we just couldn’t get past that prominent “cheap” notion – the bottom of the laptop is made of hard, slightly roughened plastic while the interior features plastic that imitates brushed aluminum. However, fingerprints stick on the surface just as easily as on the matte finish.
In terms of portability, however, the GL702VI impresses with relatively low weight. Tipping the scale at just 3.24 kg, the GL702VI easily becomes the lightest GTX 1080-powered we’ve tested and actually seen. It beats MSI’s TITAN PRO, Acer’s Predator 17 X and Alienware’s 17 R4 by more than a 1 kg. Thickness, however, isn’t exactly its strongest suit but stays within normal range for a notebook like this – 41.5 mm. The Alienware keeps its top spot in this regard.
Input devices and I/O
The input devices on this thing fit well with the overall design – they are not special by any means. The keyboard’s design is more or less familiar and can be found across all GL-branded ROG Strix laptops but ironically, the low-end GL553 and GL753 configurations received the best version with longer key travel. The one presented here has nice and clicky tactile feedback and just enough travel for typing but we doubt all gamers will appreciate the shallow nature of the keys. Also, the arrow keys are a slightly narrower than they should and aren’t well-separated. The 4-zone RGB LED backlight, on the other hand, is discreet and doesn’t distract you.
Once again, the keyboard isn’t bad by any means it’s just that it’s not entirely gaming-centric. Luckily, the touchpad compensates… to some extent. It’s responsive, accurate with a tad stiffer mouse clicks and it does the job pretty well on the go. Nevertheless, it’s a bit wobbly at times – feels like it has two-level click mechanism and also a tad sluggish. In any case, we prefer the dedicated mouse buttons design that’s been around for quite some time on the high-end ROG laptops and its rivals.
When it comes to I/O, the laptop has plenty and checks all the boxes except one – Thunderbolt 3 appears to be missing. It might be a small pitfall for most users but literally, all of the direct rivals offer come with it and it’s not even a USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 – it’s a standard USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps). Anyway, the rest of the connectors are there and are well-distributed – most of them are on the left. The DC charging port, however, is placed at the back along with the huge exhaust vents
Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options
Even though the bottom piece doesn’t feature service lids for easy access to some of the internals, the plate comes off easily and you can upgrade, clean or repair with virtually no hassle.
Storage upgrades – 2.5-inch HDD/SSD, M.2 SSD
Of course, the laptop comes with an M.2 PCIe NVMe-enabled SSD slot and a standard 2.5-inch drive bay. The former is taken by a Samsung PM961 PCIe NVMe SSD with 512GB capacity while the 2.5-inch HDD is HGST 1TB spinning at 7200 rpm. Of course, depending on your configuration and region, the storage devices may be different.
|M.2 SSD 2280 slot 1||Samsung PM961 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD||Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)|
|2.5-inch HDD/SSD slot||1TB HGST HDD @7200 rpm||Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)|
The unit we’ve tested came with the maximum allowed memory – 32GB of DDR4-2400 RAM using both of the available slots. The chips we found were Samsung 16GB DDR4-2400.
|Slot 1||16GB Samsung DDR4-2400||Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)|
|Slot 2||16GB Samsung DDR4-2400||Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)|
The Wi-Fi is located near the cooling fan and it’s Intel 8265NGW.
The battery unit is located under the wrist rest area and it’s rated the whopping 88Wh, although we doubt this will be enough to reach some significant web browsing and video playback runtimes.
At first glance, the notebook’s cooling solution appears to be pretty solid – two dedicated heatpipes and a huge heatsink take care of the GTX 1080 while the CPU relies on just one but thick enough heatpipe and a relatively big heatsink. There’s also an additional heatpipe coming from the right cooling fan (with the bottom of the notebook facing upwards) that takes some of the heat away from the GPU.
Probably the strongest selling points of the GL702VI is the display. Featuring a Full HD (1920×1080) IPS panel supporting G-Sync and 120 Hz refresh rate, the AUO B173HAN01.1 is not only suitable for gaming but for multimedia as well. And as usual, due to the 17.3-inch diagonal, the screen has 127 ppi, 0.1995 x 0.1995 mm pixel pitch and can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from at least 69 cm.
Viewing angles are excellent.
We’ve recorded a peak brightness 316 cd/m2 in the center of the screen and 309 cd/m2 as average across the surface with just 10% maximum deviation. The correlated color temperature at maximum brightness is a bit colder than it should be – 6890K and gets closer to the optimal 6500K when going along the grayscale. You can see how these values change at 140 cd/m2 (36% brightness) in the image below.
The maximum color deviation dE2000 compared to the center of the screen should be no more than 4.0 and if you are planning to do color-sensitive work, it should be lower than 2.0. But in this case, since the laptop is going to be used mostly for gaming and multimedia, a deviation of 3.3 in the lower left corner isn’t going to be an issue. The contrast ratio is exceptionally high – 1400:1 before calibration and 1380:1 after calibration.
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.
In this case, the display covers 90% of the sRGB color gamut making it ideal for multimedia and gaming. Colors will appear vibrant and mostly accurate.
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.
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.
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 23 ms.
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.
As expected, just like 99% of the G-Sync-enabled displays, this one doesn’t use PWM for regulating brightness as well.
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.
One of the best displays we’ve tested on a gaming notebook. It checks all the boxes – wide sRGB coverage, high contrast, high maximum brightness, no PWM, supports G-Sync and has fast 120Hz refresh rate. On top of that, the display is pretty well calibrated but if you still want the best possible experience, our profiles will fit perfectly.
Buy our display profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for ASUS ROG Strix GL702VI configurations with 17.3″ AUO B173HAN01.1 (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS screen and the laptop can be found at Amazon: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)
*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 [email protected]
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.
The stereo loudspeakers provide good sound quality with clear low, mid and high frequencies.
The current specs sheet is for this particular model and configurations may differ depending on your region
ASUS ROG GL702VI technical specifications table
ASUS ROG Strix GL702VI configurations
We used the pre-installed Windows 10 for the writing of this review but if you wish to perform a clean install of the OS, we suggest downloading all of the latest drivers from ASUS’ official support page.
Obviously, battery life isn’t one of its strongest suits for apparent reasons. Like all high-end gaming laptops, the ASUS ROG GL702VI doesn’t use the integrated graphics for light tasks such as video playback and browsing because NVIDIA’s G-Sync feature still doesn’t support switchable graphics so the GTX 1080 has to do the heavy lifting along with the undemanding tasks. And as you can see from the results below, huge 88Wh battery just isn’t enough to deliver good runtimes.
Of course, all tests were run using the same settings as always – Wi-Fi turned on, screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2 and Windows battery saving feature switched on.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
CPU – Intel Core i7-7700HQ
The Core i7-7700HQ is Kaby Lake’s top-shelf direct successor of the Skylake Core i7-6700HQ offering slightly higher clock speeds on the almost identical architecture and TDP. While Intel markets Kaby Lake’s architecture as “14nm+”, the Core i7-7700HQ is still on the same 14nm node with the only significant update being in the iGPU department. That’s why the slightly altered clock speeds (2.8 – 3.8 GHz vs 2.6 – 3.5 GHz) bring not more than 10% increase in performance compared to the Core i7-6700HQ. We still have the supported Hyper-Threading technology with 4/8 – core/thread design, the same 45W TDP and 6MB cache.
However, the Kaby Lake generation boasts an updated video engine for the iGPU, although, its performance is just about the same. Branded as Intel HD Graphics 630, the GPU offers slightly higher clock speeds (350 – 1100 MHz vs 350 – 1050 MHz) compared to the Intel HD Graphics 530 and support for H265/HEVC Main10 profile at 10-bit color depth and the VP9 codec for full hardware acceleration. In addition, the HDCP 2.2 is also supported allowing Netflix’s 4K video streaming.
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-core-i7-7700hq/
Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i7-7700HQ scored 13.637 million moves per second. In comparison, one of the most powerful chess computers, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.
GPU – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X)
The GeForce GTX 1080 is the top-shelf GPU from NVIDIA’s Pascal generation (except for the Titan X Pascal, of course) built upon 16nm TSMC process, which is a huge leap over the last generation (Maxwell), which featured a 28nm node. Anyway, the new architecture allows better thermals, efficiency and considerably higher clock speeds than its direct predecessor the GTX 980. Also, for the first time, NVIDIA has made the difference between the desktop and the mobile variants of the Pascal GPUs mostly unnoticeable in real-life use, although there’s a slight difference according to synthetic benchmarks.
CUDA cores (2560), ROPs (64) and TMUs (213) are identical to the desktop variant of the GTX 1080 since they are based on the same GP108 chip including the memory controller, which is the highlight of the new graphics card because it features the next generation of GDDR5X memory developed by Micron allowing higher memory bandwidth on a 256-bit interface clocked at 10 000 MHz. However, there’s a small difference in the base clock speeds – 1566 – 1733 MHz for the laptop version and 1607 – 1733 MHz for the desktop variant. Both frequencies can be altered depending on the manufacturer and the cooling system’s performance.
The GPU’s power consumption is rumored to be around 165W making it suitable only for large 17 or 15-inch machines with high-performance cooling system. In addition, the graphics card delivers new and exciting features like DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, HDR, Simultaneous Multi-Projection, refined H.265 video encoding, etc.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook with this GPU that we’ve tested: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/nvidia-geforce-gtx-1080-8gb-gddr5x/
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)
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||104 fps||76 fps||65 fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||148 fps||92 fps||62 fps|
|Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||97 fps||86 fps||60 fps|
We recently changed the way we run the stress tests in order to simulate more realistic workloads. First, we start with about 15 minutes of 100% CPU workload then we leave the notebook to rest a few minutes and return to its normal temperatures. Then we run a combined CPU and GPU stress test that consists of 50-60% CPU load and 100% GPU load – a typical usage scenario during a heavy gaming session. Most of the modern games require less processing power and more GPU utilization so we think this is a more practical approach.
We rant the CPU stress test and didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary – the Core i7-7700HQ ran at its maximum frequency for four active cores (3.4 GHz) and temperatures were pretty stable as you can see from the screenshot below. However, the cooling fans were pretty loud even though we still haven’t started the GPU torture test.
As expected, the combined stress test raised the CPU temperatures a little while the GPU remained at around 76 °C during the whole test – an impressive result. The Core i7-7700HQ utilized the maximum clock speeds of around 3.4 GHz while the GTX 1080 ran at stable 1500 MHz – just a tad lower than its base operating frequency of 1566 MHz. Also, keep in mind that the cooling fans got even louder once we ran the combined stress test.
Temperatures on the surface remained pretty stable and surprisingly cool. The only warm spot was the center of the keyboard but still pretty negligible. This is due to the cooling design – the system draws cool air beneath the keyboard so it doesn’t allow the surface around it to heat up and compensates for the lack of bottom grill.
Top-notch gaming performance but not the best possible user experience overall for sure. That’s our summarized opinion of the GL702VI and we will try to break it down a bit.
Playing in the same ballpark as the Alienware 17 R4 and the Acer Predator 17 X in terms of pricing and performance, there’s a lot to be expected from the GL702VI. And ironically, ASUS has made some rookie mistakes with the current GTX 1080-powered laptop while not so long ago, ASUS was releasing one of the most renown high-end ROG laptops. So what happened?
By the looks of it, the OEM tried to cut on some of the corners to get a better margin while still focusing on some of the key aspects that make a gaming laptop good. This way it can still offer some good selling points compared to its competitors but we still think it’s not the best possible choice overall. So here’s why.
Build materials are definitely sub-optimal giving you that cheap feeling and kind of outdated looks with plastic covering 90% of the whole chassis but we do have to praise it for its quite sturdy build and relatively low weight (it beats the Alienware 17, MSI’s TITAN PRO and Acer’s Predator 17 X by at least 1 kg). Unfortunately, the touchpad constantly reminds you of that cheap feeling we talked about. The keyboard doesn’t make it look better either – it’s comfortable for typing with clicky and pleasant tactile feedback but the rather short travel, the lack of macro keys and unisolated arrow keys don’t fit the high-end gaming profile of the machine.
And even if we sound harsh at times, it’s because the price tag of the laptop allows us to be – charging more than $2 000 for a laptop will definitely draw some nitpicking criticism. Fortunately, not all is bad. In fact, the most important features of a gaming laptop are preserved. The cooling system is excellent – provides good enough airflow for the massive hardware, although at the price of noise emissions, and keeps the interior cool. The display is also one of the best we’ve seen – with the Predator 17 X coming only with 1080p @ 75Hz or 4K @ 60Hz (because the notebook hasn’t received a refresh for a while now) and the Alienware 17 R4 running a QHD VA panel at 120 Hz, it’s easy to say that the ASUS ROG Strix GL702VI has one of the best gaming-oriented screens out there. Not only it’s an IPS but also supports G-Sync and runs at buttery-smooth 120 Hz. We only wished the notebook cost just a little less than the current GTX 1080-powered competitors.
So is it worth your hard-earned money? As always – it depends. If you are looking for solid cooling performance, excellent image quality and portability, the GL702VI will probably be your best shot. However, the Predator 17 X can still offer an excellent UHD or FHD panel but won’t be able to drive all those pixels at 120 Hz. It also does a great job of cooling down the hardware, feels more premium, offers better upgradability in terms of storage and RAM, and offers overclockable CPU for the enthusiasts. And as for the Alienware, it’s more in between but fails to really beat any of the above mentioned in any aspect, except build quality.
- Generally sturdy build
- Ligther than the competition by at least 1 kg
- Excellent IPS display with great properties like wide sRGB, high contrast, 120Hz refresh rate, G-Sync support, etc.
- The screen doesn’t use PWM for regulating brightness
- Good cooling performance
- Keyboard with tactile and clicky feedback (only good for typing, though)
- Suboptimal choice of materials, cheap feel
- Shallow keyboard with no macro keys and unisolated arrow keys (not the best for gaming) and unsatisfactory touchpad
- Loud cooling fans
- Only one M.2 SSD slot while the competition comes with two
- Lacks USB-C Thunderbolt 3
- Short battery life