Gaming laptops today come in a variety of configurations and sizes, ranging from thin and light portable laptops that make use of Nvidia’s 10-series Max-Q graphics cards to beefy desktop replacements that pack in the top of the line specifications that companies can possibly cram in a laptop. Here, we’ll be taking a look at one such behemoth from Asus – the ROG Chimera G703 – which packs in an 8th Gen Intel Core i9 processor coupled with a desktop grade Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU. The massive laptop, which comes with an equally massive price tag of Rs. 4,99,990, offers the absolute best that you can expect from a laptop in 2018. So, let’s jump right into the review and find out what exactly does the Asus ROG Chimera G703 bring to the table.
Asus ROG Chimera G703 Specifications
Before we proceed with the Asus ROG Chimera G703’s features, lets take a quick look at its hardware specifications:
|Dimensions||42.5 x 31.9 x 5.1 cm|
|Processor||Intel Core i9-8950HK|
|Memory||64GB DDR4 @2666MHz|
|Storage||512GB x3 M.2 PCIe SSD + 2TB SSHD|
|Display||17.3-inch FHD IPS, 144Hz, 3ms|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5X VRAM|
|I/O||1x USB 3.1 Type-C Thunderbolt 3 port, 3x USB 3.1Type-A ports, 1x mini DisplayPort port, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x SD card reader, 1x 3.5mm headphone microphone combo jack, 1x 3.5mm microphone jack, 1x Kensington lock|
Design and Build Quality
Design wise, the Asus ROG Chimera G703 looks and feels like a very premium gaming notebook. Unlike most other gaming laptops, however, the G703 sports a different color scheme. The brushed aluminum lid is colored silver with a large illuminated ROG logo and a copper accent between the hinges.
Opening up with laptop, you’ll be greeted with a large 17.3-inch display with thick bezels on each side and two speakers on the bottom bezel. The palm rest has a rubberized plastic finish which is very prone to fingerprints and oil stains, but it feels really comfortable while typing.
The laptop has a full-sized keyboard with well spaced out keys and RGB illumination, along with additional shortcut and multimedia keys on the top right corner. The keyboard is flanked by an angular brushed aluminum element to the right which gives the laptop a very aggressive look. The laptop has a great selection of ports on the rear, left and right sides, which are enough to meet the requirements of any gamer. The ROG G703 has a massive air intake on the bottom with substantial vents on either sides and the back.
Build quality is top notch, with the chassis feeling quite sturdy and well made. Even the hinges connecting the display to the base feel premium and there’s absolutely no screen wobble to speak of. All in all, the Asus ROG Chimera G703 justifies its price in the build quality department, using premium materials and a stunning design which sets it apart from other top-of-the-line gaming laptops in the market today.
Ports and Connectivity
As mentioned earlier, the Asus ROG Chimera G703 features every port that a gamer would ever require. The ports are well spaced out and are located on the left, right and rear of the device, so you won’t face any issues plugging in accessories with an unusually large connector. On the right edge of the device lie two full-sized USB 3.1 Type-A ports along with an SDcard reader.
The two power input ports (yes you read that right) lie on the back of the device along with the mini DisplayPort port and the full-sized HDMI 2.0 port, flanked by the massive vents on either side.
The remaining USB Type-A port, along with the USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 port, the RJ45 Ethernet port and the audio in/out jacks are placed on the left edge of the device. Connectivity options are also plentiful, with the laptop boasting of 802.11 ac 2×2 Wave 2 WiFi and Bluetooth version 5.0 to keep users connected.
Once again, the port selection on the ROG G703 is pretty great and possibly the only thing that can improve the port selection is another USB Type-C port.
The Asus ROG Chimera G703 packs in an impressive 17.3-inch full HD display with a 144Hz refresh rate and a 3ms response time. While it may seem like Asus has made use of the same display that was included with the previous generation of the G703, the newer laptop packs a better display with a higher contrast ratio and better color reproduction. Asus claims that the display on the ROG Chimera G703 covers 72 percent of the NTSC color gamut and in our testing we found that there is definitely some truth to those claims.
Games look absolutely stunning on the G-Sync enabled panel, with the laptop’s hardware providing enough juice prevent any tearing or frame drops. Asus’ Game Visual software, which is part of the Gaming Center suite further enhances the color temperature with a bunch of presets, including Racing, RTS/RPG, Scenery, FPS and Cinema, helping users easily select the perfect color calibration for the current workload. The 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time ensure that all visuals look buttery smooth at all times. I couldn’t find any shortcomings with the display itself, but it would’ve been even better if the display had thinner bezels to give it a more modern look.
Large gaming laptops like the Asus ROG Chimera G703 are known for their great keyboards and the G703 is no different. While the laptop doesn’t include a mechanical keyboard, it’s membrane keyboard is an absolute pleasure to type on as it has a substantial 2.5mm key travel. The keys have a 0.3mm keycap curve which gives the keys a very ergonomic feel, further improving the typing experience.
The keyboard layout is also quite satisfactory with standard sized keys and a decent amount of space in between each key. The full-sized arrow keys are placed right next to the number pad, with the up arrow looking like it’s a part of the number pad. The placement of the arrow keys in close proximity to the number pad might cause some problems for users who use the number pad quite frequently and are used to an elongated zero key. I would’ve preferred if the arrow keys were a bit offset towards the bottom, but I got used to the placement within a couple of hours so no harm done.
The illuminated keyboard supports per key customizations using the Asus Aura software, which allows users to make virtually infinite combinations using 16 million colors. It also includes three levels of backlight brightness which can either be controlled from within the software or by pressing the function and up/down arrow keys. The only major drawback of the ROG Chimera G703’s keyboard is the lack of customizable macro keys, which should be a given in a gaming laptop at this price range.
The trackpad on the Asus ROG Chimera G703 is quite satisfactory to say the least. It’s quite large, complementing the size of the laptop itself and it tracks quite well, registering inputs without any issues whatsoever. I also like the fact that Asus has included dedicated left and right click buttons, which I personally prefer over the in-built buttons that don’t quite have the same tactile feel.
The trackpad makes use of Windows Precision Drivers and therefore handles gestures quite well, however, I would’ve preferred it if it had a more premium glass surface. Other than that, I have absolutely no other complains with the trackpad. Since it’s a gaming laptop and more of a desktop replacement than a thin and light portable unit, it’s quite likely that most users will make use of a mouse while using the device, and I have to give props to Asus for including one (albeit a very basic one) in the box.
The Asus ROG Chimera G703 packs in a total of four speakers giving it one of the best audio outputs as far as premium gaming laptops are concerned. The laptop has two 2 Watt speakers placed on the bottom bezel along with two 4.5 Watt speakers which are faced on the front edge of the laptop. Since all of the speakers fire audio directly at the user, it really improves the overall audio quality, compared to other laptops that feature bottom firing speakers.
The speakers can get relatively loud, but they’re not as bass heavy as other premium gaming laptops that I’ve reviewed earlier. The mids and highs are quite balanced, however, it surely isn’t the best sounding audio system that I’ve come across so far. Compared to other devices in the same category, the ROG Chimera G703 ranks way up there among the best, but something like the MSI GT75 Raider that we reviewed recently gets way louder than this unit, giving it a slight edge in the audio department.
Asus has packed in a whole bunch of bundled software with the ROG Chimera G703. There’s the usual Asus ROG Gaming Center, which not only displays real-time system information including CPU and GPU clock speeds and temperatures, but also serves as the command center for other Asus software, including ROG Aura, Fan Overboost, ROG GameVisual, ROG Game First, XSplit Gamecaster, Sonic Studio III and Sonic Radar.
I really like the fact that Asus has included XSplit Gamecaster on the device, considering the fact that with its Core i9 processor, GTX 1080 GPU and 64GB of RAM the Asus ROG Chimera G703 can easily be used as a streaming rig. The laptop even has enough ports to support a quadruple monitor setup (including the laptop’s own display, of course), which could further benefit streamers who can lay out certain sections of their stream in their own dedicated displays.
While almost all of the aforementioned software can come in handy for gamers, there are still a few more software shipped with the ROG Chimera G703 which one might consider bloatware. The laptop ships with a bunch of other Asus software, including Asus Battery Health Charging and Asus Giftbox, which may or may not be intrusive, but it also includes a bunch of crap games from the Windows store which I’d definitely call bloatware. Also, including both Microsoft Office and WPS Office seems kind of redundant, especially when WPS Office pushes non-responsive ads as soon as it is opened for the first time.
Coming to the most important section of the ROG Chimera G703 review, its performance. As mentioned earlier, the laptop is powered by the top-of-the-line hardware, including an Intel Core i9-8950HK processor, coupled with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU and 64GB of RAM, which ensure the laptop breezes through everything that you can throw at it. Starting off with the synthetic benchmarks, the laptop manages to score 4917 and 6562 in PCMark 10 and PCMark 10 Extended, which is slightly lower than the scores obtained by the Acer Predator Helios 500.
In 3DMark Time Spy it scores a decent 7222, while in 3DMark Fire Strike it scores an impressive 18,616, however, once again the scores are slightly lower than the Acer Predator Helios 500. The trend continues in Cinebench R15 as well, in which the ROG Chimera G703 is able to muster 139.74 fps in the OpenGL test, whereas the Acer Predator Helios 500 scores 145.72 fps. Considering the fact that the Asus ROG Chimera G703 costs twice as much as the Acer Predator Helios 500, it’s quite disappointing to see that it posts lower benchmark results.
Moving on to the gaming performance. The Asus ROG Chimera G703 faced absolutely no issues running modern AAA titles at ultra settings, thanks to the GTX 1080 GPU. The laptop easily managed to breach the 100 fps mark while playing demanding titles like Far Cry 5 at ultra settings, sitting comfortably at an average 103 fps in my gaming session. In PUBG as well, the laptop managed to push over a hundred frames, occasionally dropping down to 92 fps, marking an average score of 98 fps.
Assassin’s Creed Origins also ran wonderfully on the ROG Chimera G703, easily pushing the 80 fps barrier on an average while playing at ultra settings. I faced absolutely no issues while playing the game, with not even the slightest hints of frame drops or stutters. Fortnite, which is one of the most popular FPS games these days, posed no significant threat to the ROG Chimera G703, as it managed easily push over 160 frames at ultra settings, dropping down to 120 fps when things got a bit heated up. All in all, gaming on the ROG Chimera G703 was an absolute pleasure, not only because the machine managed to push triple digit frames, but also because the 144Hz display did justice to the stunning visuals offered by the aforementioned games.
The ROG Chimera G703 packs in two large fans and eight heat pipes in total, which play a major role in keeping the components cool even under immense load. The laptop remains pretty cool around the palm rest, so you won’t have absolutely any issues playing games for hours at a stretch, however, the side-facing vents will blow warm air directly onto your mouse, which might be an issue during the summers.
The chassis itself never crosses 50 degrees and that too only around the vents, while the CPU and GPU rest comfortably around 70 degrees while gaming.Only during stress testing was I able to push the CPU to around 98 degrees, but the laptop quickly lowered its clock frequency from 4.8 to 3.0GHz to reduce temperatures. Even though the laptop reduced the clock frequency quite significantly, there wasn’t any major performance hit, which is definitely a plus.
Battery life offered by the ROG Chimera G703 is exactly what you’d expect from a high-end gaming laptop – abysmal. At minimum display brightness and just a light workload, the 71Wh battery dies just shy of two hours, which doesn’t come as a surprise because of the powerful components included in the package. Even though gaming on the laptop while you’re unplugged is highly unadvisable, we still gave it a shot and the laptop was barely able to make it to 60 minutes on a single charge.
The presence of two 280W power bricks solidifies the ROG Chimera G703’s desktop replacement status, as they add on a significant amount of weight to the already heavy laptop. Even with two power bricks, the laptop takes quite some time to charge and in my testing it took about two hours to charge to a hundred percent while under a minimal load. Battery life is definitely not one of the ROG Chimera G703’s strong suits and I didn’t expect the laptop to perform any better to begin with.
- Great build quality
- Stunning display
- Top notch performance
- Decent keyboard
- Barely portable
- Gets very loud under load
- Doesn’t offer the best value for money
Asus ROG Chimera G703 Review: Powerful But Too Pricey
Priced at Rs. 4,99,990, the Asus ROG Chimera G703 isn’t for everyone. The laptop offers solid build quality, plenty of ports, amazing performance and a decent keyboard. It’s sheer size also allows it to keep its powerful components quite cool under immense load and its beautiful 17.3-inch 144Hz display contributes a whole lot to the gaming experience. On the downside, however, the laptop itself is very bulky and it ships with two large power bricks that add on to the total weight. It makes a whole lot of noise under load and it definitely doesn’t offer the best value for your money.
So who exactly is this laptop for? Well, if you’re looking for an over the top desktop replacement which is just a bit more portable than a new desktop and you have a ton of money to spare, then you can opt for the Asus ROG Chimera G703. In all other cases, you’d be better off with a different laptop with a similar hardware configuration or perhaps a new desktop if you can deal with the lack of portability. We’d suggest that you also take a look at the MSI GT75 Titan 8RG (Rs. 3,35,000) or the Alienware 17 R5 (Rs. 3,36,000), which offer better value for money, without skimping out on the performance.