With Intel and NVIDIA having dominated the laptop market, it’s about time we had something different for a change. That time is now, and ASUS will be the ones to provide it with their new ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition — a gaming laptop equipped with a full AMD setup.
Having more options is always a good thing, and given the lower cost nature of devices with AMD hardware, the ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition is one gaming laptop that might be of interest for those who have a spending cap. But there’s not to say that it being cheaper makes it a lesser device. In fact, it is an able competitor itself.
Build Quality and Design
From the outset, it is obvious that the ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition isn’t shying away from who exactly the laptop is catered to; this is for the gamers.
Despite the flashy look, the ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition manages to exude a stylish feel to the laptop. It sports the signature ROG (Republic of Gamers) logo right on the front of the laptop. Alongside it, there’s also a triangular dotted pattern design around the left side that is reminiscent of those found on ASUS’ Zephyrus line. However, the pattern itself possesses no additional quirks other than for aesthetics. A subtle AMD symbol at the bottom left corner is the last of the noticeable designs planted by ASUS, but you’ll be able to find more aggressive slogans on the bottom side.
The laptop is decked out in black, save for an area near the hinges. That particular area is a faceplate component that you can remove to do some light customisation. Magnets are used to hold the faceplate in place, so the process of swapping them on and off is tool-less and fairly simple.
Other than the bright red that it comes equipped with, ASUS has also included translucent grey and silver plates for you to switch things up. If these aren’t your fancy, you also have the choice of making your own through 3D printing.
The gamer aesthetic isn’t limited to just the exterior; booting up the laptop will reveal the RGB lighting for it as well. Not only does the keyboard feature this, but there is a lighting strip at the front that lights up with RGB as well, emitting a glow effect onto the surface that the laptop is on — it makes for quite the visual showcase.
Settings for changing the lighting can be tweaked with the laptop’s pre-installed software, and there’s a decent number of options available for you to choose from. There are up to four zones that you can customise your lighting on, and the software also provides several different effects to personalise your device to your liking. The keyboard also features shortcuts to quickly cycle through the lighting effects and tweak the brightness for it.
You’ll be glad to know that the ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition’s build quality is in line with how it looks. The laptop has a good amount of sturdiness, not showing much flex when we’ve applied pressure to the lid and the keyboard deck. However, it comes at some cost as the Strix G15 tops in at slightly over 2.3kg, making this a hefty laptop to bring around.
As with most hardcore gaming laptops, the ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition ports are located at the back end of the device. There, you’ll find most of what you need — a USB A 3.0 port, a Type-C port that supports power delivery, an Ethernet port and an HDMI port alongside the charging port. In addition, there’s two more USB A 3.0 ports to use on the left side if you need to plug in more devices. Overall, it’s a good selection though content creators might lament the lack of an SD card slot to use for their work.
Gaming laptops usually come with sizable displays to aid the gaming and media consumption experience, and the ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition is no exception. This bad boy comes with a 15.6-inch screen that outputs an FHD resolution (1080p).
ASUS has done relatively well in getting the bezels around the laptop to be as slim as possible, but a pronounced chin still remains at the bottom. Unfortunately, the thin bezels cannot hold any space for a webcam, so those who regularly use one for video meetings will have to purchase an external one.
The display for the ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition is a matte-textured one, which is a great help against glare from lights; however, the brightness on the laptop doesn’t lend itself too well for it, especially for outdoors. Simply put, the screen is dimmer than most, affecting what is shown on it, with content not looking as good as other laptops with better brightness. It is still perfectly usable indoors, but it wouldn’t be my first device to consume media. Like me, you’ll also probably want to up the brightness for a better viewing experience, but that will sacrifice battery life.
Given how outside brings a lot of natural light, it also isn’t that enjoyable to use when you bring it outdoors. Content is much harder to make out under such conditions, with darker colours blending into the blacks; a lot of it looks desaturated. It’s undoubtedly bearable, and if you’re not a stickler for visual fidelity, using it outdoors is serviceable at the higher brightness levels, but I wouldn’t recommend it myself.
Hearing the words ‘FHD resolution’ might be a dampener to some people since there are plenty of gaming laptops available now that have a 1440p resolution without costing a bomb. Still, it facilitates the blazing-fast 300Hz refresh rate that the ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition features.
It’s terrific; general web use and especially games, look silky smooth on display with that fast refresh rate. Whether you actually need that high of a refresh rate is another matter, since there are only a smattering of game titles that actually take advantage of it. Unless you are really into competitive gaming, it’s not something you should prioritise as a feature.
As mentioned earlier, the keyboard features RGB capabilities. It very much encapsulates the gamer look for the laptop, particularly with the WASD keys, which use translucent caps that make it stand out more.
Crucially though, the feel of a keyboard is essential for laptops made for gaming, and luckily, the one on the ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition is great. There is a decent amount of key travel with great feedback, which brings a very satisfying experience when gaming or just typing on it.
The keyboard also has some quick keys at the top that allow you to either quickly adjust volume, mute your mic, tweak your fan performance, or bring up ASUS’ Armoury Crate software in an instant — it’s a great time-saver in general, and I’m a big fan.
ASUS has also managed to include a generously sized touchpad for the Strix G15 Advantage Edition, and it is very lovely to use. The touchpad has a smooth surface, and combined with the extra space provided; it makes navigation on the laptop feel very gratifying. It’s not quite as tall as other laptops’ touchpads, but there is plenty of width for your fingers to move around. And lastly, whenever you press down on the touchpad, it gives off good click feedback to it.
All in all, many people will like what ASUS has to offer with the keyboard and touchpad on the ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition.
In this full AMD laptop setup, the ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition comes equipped with a Ryzen 9 5900HX processor for the CPU and a Radeon RX 6800M as its GPU. Our unit also comes with 16GB of memory, but you can configure it up to a whopping 32GB as well if you have the extra cash.
The Ryzen 9 5900HX is among AMD’s top mobile processors, offering 8 CPU cores and 16 threads. As a result, this powerful processor should be a skilful ally for CPU-intensive workloads like video-editing software, which requires it to process videos fast and run responsively. And it should go without saying that productively work should also see no issue when utilising this level of performance.
The GPU is a more intriguing prospect. For the uninitiated, Radeon RX 6800M is meant to compete against NVIDIA’s RTX 3070, and the performance we garnered from testing it suggests that as well.
Running competitive games like Valorant on maxed settings, the ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition achieves frame rates close to the 200s on average. Lowering down the graphics slightly will, of course, grant you higher frame rates to make use of the 300Hz refresh rate. Nonetheless, for more graphically intensive games, it was still able to put up impressive performances. For example, Control was able to run an average of 80fps with the highest graphics settings, which is superb for a game like this.
The only real slight against it is its ray-tracing performance. However, NVIDIA still outperforms AMD in this regard, with the Radeon RX 6800M only being able to muster around 40fps with the standard ray-tracing settings while a laptop with an RTX 3070 almost doubles that performance even with the highest option setting — with the help of DLSS.
AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution might bridge the gap between NVIDIA, and it is already available, but for the moment, only a small selection of titles are supporting the feature. We still don’t know how widely accepted it will be for upcoming games, and as they always say, don’t buy something for the promise of a feature.
Fans on the ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition do get really loud, especially when running really intensive software or games. Even with headphones, they are easily heard. You can tweak the fan speed via the included software if it is too bothersome, with three different profiles and one that you can manually set. In any case, the fans do a good job of ensuring that the laptop doesn’t get too hot for comfort.
But while the performance of the ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition suggests a powerhouse of a laptop, it isn’t without its issues. Namely, it doesn’t have a suitable way to switch between its performance modes when off the power. Most laptops usually try to go to a more efficient mode when on battery, and the Strix G15 Advantage Edition does as well, but if you do suddenly get off, the laptop does not know how to handle it.
This happened several times for us when it was in a high-performance mode, such as when we were opening a project on DaVinci Resolve. If the power was unplugged, the laptop reboots itself without warning. This problem is made more frustrating with the fact that the power port is so sensitive. Even an accidental nudge is enough to trigger the problem. It’s a troublesome issue that ASUS needs to get fixed.
The ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition comes with a massive 90WHr battery inside, and it certainly contributes to the laptop’s excellent battery life. I was able to get it to last around 8 hours before it died on regular web browsing and productivity work — for a gaming laptop, this is really good. But, of course, much of it is due to the Armoury Crate software, which brings down the refresh rate to 60Hz whenever it is on battery (you can also turn this off if you prefer).
When it is used for gaming though, it is perhaps something more expected. The laptop can run for just over an hour and a half before draining flat. Suffice to say, don’t expect much from it when you are playing games on battery.
Like the laptop, the 280W charging brick is a big one. It charges the ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition pretty fast at a couple of hours, but it’s likely something you wouldn’t want to bring around often.
You can also charge the laptop through the Type-C port, which supports up to 100W of power delivery, but you shouldn’t be using it to charge while doing heavier stuff like gaming, as it will eat up more power than it gets.
AMD now has a very compelling device in the laptop gaming landscape with the ASUS Strix G15 Advantage Edition. It is a mighty device that can stand up to the likes of NVIDIA’s similar offerings, and all at a seemingly lower price.
With that said, problems with the screen brightness and performance mode switching prevent it from being a sure-buy. The verdict is still out on whether AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution is enough to compete with NVIDIA’s DLSS as well.
Still, for the performance it offers right now, it is a laptop that presents excellent value to consumers wanting a great gaming experience on a portable device. It’ll be interesting to see what AMD can come up with next.
Photos by Darren Chiong of the DANAMIC Team.