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ASUS ROG Strix G531 Review: A creative’s perspective

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It’s obvious that Apple has ruined its latest MacBooks. The line of laptops that have always been the go-to of creatives like me might not be the same anymore.

From what it looks like, we have no choice but to look outside the fence and check out what Microsoft and its notebook OEMs have in store for us. Thankfully, there are tons of available options out there. Some of them are found in the gaming category. Devices that should be powerful enough to handle all your Adobe apps.

With that, ASUS Philippines reached out to us to check out their latest ASUS ROG Strix G531 gaming laptop. As you all know, the ROG line is one of the most popular names in gaming.

But since what we do most of the time here at NoypiGeeks is creative work — from writing articles to video editing — we will be focusing on how this machine handles hours of editing sessions and writing articles.

But don’t worry, we’ll also give you an idea of how it handles the most popular games. Because, as you know, creatives also like to casually play games to rest and keep the creative juice flowing. Let’s start.

ASUS ROG Strix G531 G531GT-AL001T Specs

  • Windows 10 Home
  • 15.3-inch FHD IPS display, 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, ~143ppi
  • 120Hz refresh rate, 100% sRGB
  • 9th-Gen Intel Core i7-9750H processor
  • 8GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM
  • Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti GPU, 6GB GDDR5
  • 256GB  M.2 NVMe SSD
  • 1TB HDD
  • Backlit chicklet keyboard, N-key rollover
  • 4-zone RGB lighting, Hotkeys, Aura Sync
  • 2x 4W speakers, Array microphone
  • 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type-C), 3x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type-A)
  • 1x HDMI 2.0b, 3.5mm headphone hack, Mic-in, RJ45 Lan
  • WiFi 802.11ac, 2×3, Gigabit WiFi (Rangeboost)
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Dimensions: 360 x 275 x 26mm
  • Weight: 2.4kg
  • 230W/150W power

Design and Build Quality

Almost every gaming product out there comes with an aggressive design, and the ASUS ROG Strix G531 is no exemption. Despite being built in plastic, it has a stylish brushed aluminum look on the front. It also feels sturdy enough and well-made.

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You can open the lid in one hand, and the keyboard area shows minimum flex.

Speaking of which, this is a 15.3-inch laptop. It has an ultra-thin bezel, which is nice. It’s compact for a gaming machine, but not the lightest laptop around.

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The main design feature of this laptop is, of course, the RGB lights. The keyboard lights up, as well as the strip on the bottom that surrounds the machine, which provides a cool lighting effect.

You can use the AuraSync software to play with the lights, and have it synced with any compatible accessories you plug in. You can even set it to music mode, so the light reacts to whatever music or video you’re playing.

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On the right, we have the roomy exhaust vent. This is also where your hands usually rest for the mouse, so you can feel the heat coming out of it.

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While on the other side there are three USB Type-A ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Placing the USB ports on the side is a smart idea for easier access. There are speakers on each side that provides stereo sound with loud volume and audible bass.

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But that’s not it, we also have the other ports on the back. We have the standard HDMI port, ethernet, USB Type-C, and the charging port. We also have two intake vents back here.

Probably its biggest downside is the lack of an SD card reader, which can be a huge dealbreaker for creatives out there.

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The ASUS ROG Strix G531 sports an 80% keyboard layout, with dedicated keys for volume adjustment, mute microphone, and access to the Armoury Crate software. If you’re coming from a MacBook’s butterfly keyboard, this will feel softer with longer key travel.

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Since it’s a gaming keyboard, the WASD keys were highlighted with its distinctive transparent design. We also have unique design lines on the sides for additional aesthetics.

Of course, we have the trackpad on the bottom. They feel comfortable to use, but if you’re used to using MacBooks and their large trackpads, this one will feel a bit cramped. But as a bonus, it doubles as a Numpad for those who need it.

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To sum it up, the design of the ASUS ROG Strix G531 surely compliments its for-gamers persona. It may not be the lightest and most compact laptop out there, but it sure is one of the most portable gaming machines that we’ve tested. You can comfortably bring this in outdoor shoots, or coffee shop meetings with prospective clients.

Display Quality

As stated earlier, we’re primarily focused on its performance for creative tasks. And if you’re a photo or video editor who requires a color-accurate screen for their work, then the ASUS ROG Strix G531 will serve you well.

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This one features a 15.3-inch FHD IPS panel with 100% sRGB support. It may not be the most accurate screen around, but it should suffice unless your work is really heavy in color grading.

It also has a fast 120Hz refresh rate. When coupled with the right graphics setting in games, reaching 120fps looks incredibly smooth and life-like. Albeit non-pro gamers like us will notice the difference between this and the standard 60fps that most monitors have.

Performance

The unit that we have here is the ASUS ROG Strix G531 G531GT-AL001T. It’s powered by a 9th-Gen Intel Core i7-9750H processor, with 8GB of RAM, 256GB of M.2 NVMe SSD and 1TB of HDD of storage, and a new NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti with 6GB GDDR5 memory.

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Let’s get the gaming performance out of the way first. Which this thing performed unsurprisingly well. You can easily achieve above 60fps of gameplay in most titles like GTA V, DOTA 2, and PUBG. But if you really want to utilize its 120Hz screen, you might want to dial down the graphics settings a little.

We also tried photo and video editing on the ASUS ROG Strix G531. The Adobe Premiere Pro ran with no noticeable hitch. Scrubbing in the timeline line is smooth, and playing 4K files is fine.

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And if you’re a photo editor, you’d be glad to know that Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop ran seamlessly on this thing. And since the ASUS ROG Strix G531 has a fast SSD and powerful processor, expect fast rendering times on this one.

However, the 8GB of RAM might be lackluster, especially if you’re planning on running multiple Adobe apps at once. If you need extra room, there’s a single RAM slot available that you can put an aftermarket RAM stick on.

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The ROG Strix G531 has two 12V fans, with two intake vents on the back, and one exhaust on the side. The design of the lid was also optimized for better airflow. The device did increase in temperature during our testing, but not too exaggerated that it can irritate your fingers while typing.

The ASUS ROG Strix G531 was made for both work and play. No matter what you’re working on, or playing.

Software and User Interface

The hype instantly starts the moment you press the power button. A custom ROG boot-up animation with a loud “Zing!” sound will play to hype you up.

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This one runs on Windows 10 Home edition and comes with ROG-dedicated apps and usual inclusions like McAfee anti-virus software and Windows Office.

Its biggest software feature is the Armoury Crate software, which has its dedicated button on the top of the keyboard.

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This app lets you set different performance modes from Silent to Turbo. You can also configure the AuraSync lighting on this one — from the lights on the actual laptop, to the compatible RGB accessories you plug in.

You can then set different Scenario Profiles, which will apply your configured performance and lighting settings when playing a specific game.

But other than that, it’s still the same restriction-free Windows 10 OS that we come to miss in the Mac camp.

Battery life

The ASUS ROG Strix G531 has a decent battery life. To test it, I set the brightness to 50%, and used the device while writing an article with music playing in the background, and randomly doing YouTube-watching breaks at 50%-70% volume. While doing these real-world tasks, it took 3 hours and 49 minutes before the battery reached 19%.

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That sure is enough if you’re planning on working for a while in a coffee shop or editing a few photos on-site. But if you’re planning on gaming or video editing outdoors, then you might want to bring the relatively compact power adaptor.

See also: 16-inch MacBook Pro price in the Philippines revealed

Verdict

As stated earlier, we wanted to know how the ASUS ROG Strix G531 will fit creatives out there who are also planning on gaming on the side. And from what we just learned, this device can perform in that regard.

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The device’s great colors, fast processor and storage can easily handle demanding Adobe apps like Premier Pro and Lightroom.

That same capable performance, partnered with its fast 120Hz display, powerful GPU, and aggressive design will surely please those who are planning on gaming on the side or use it as a primary gaming machine.

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However, it’s not the perfect machine. For one, I hope that ASUS didn’t omit the SD card slot on this thing, which could be a real dealbreaker for photographers and video creators.

Also, they should have moved (if technically possible) the exhaust vent on the other side, where your hand doesn’t usually rest when using the mouse.

Still, for the price, the ASUS ROG Strix G531 is one of the best value-oriented laptops in the market today.

ASUS ROG Strix G531 price in the Philippines

The ASUS ROG Strix G531G531GU has an official price of Php89,995 in Villman. This config has an i7-9750H processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of NVMe M.2 SSD, and a GTX 1660 Ti graphics.

It also comes with a free ASUS ROG Bag and an ASUS ROG Strix Impact Mouse valued at Php3,995.

Pros

  • Fast 120Hz display with decent colors
  • Great performance in games and Adobe apps
  • Attractive lighting effects
  • Intuitive Armoury Crate software
  • Decent battery life

Cons

  • No SD card slot
  • Irritating exhaust vent
  • Slightly bulky for a work/editing laptop

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