Professional esports players may benefit from sponsors that outfit them with the latest and greatest hardware, but it’s a mistake to think you need thousands of dollars’ worth of gear to play competitively or build yourself up as a streamer. All that’s required is a gaming laptop capable of running your favorite titles, with enough extra power for streaming and video editing, and a stylish aesthetic that helps you stand out.
Two new gaming notebooks in the ROG Strix family fit the bill: the 15.6” GL503VD and 17.3” GL703VD. Focused on balancing price and performance with extra enhancements for gaming, both ship with a desktop-class Core i7 CPU and GeForce 1050 GPU as standard equipment. They include an upgraded keyboard laced with RGB lighting, and they’re packed into portable chassis that are just as comfortable on the road as they are at home or in school.
The standard models will soon be joined by special ROG Strix Hero and SCAR editions with beefier GTX 1060 graphics, faster 120Hz displays, and unique designs that cater to different game genres. Since the whole family shares a lot of the same traits, let’s take a look at how the traditional versions lay the foundation for what’s to come.
Over the years, gaming laptops have garnered a reputation for being bulky behemoths that are technically portable but realistically too big and heavy to accompany you on an everyday basis. An industry-wide pursuit of thinness and the resulting push for smaller components has enabled premium gaming laptops like the ROG Zephyrus, which rivals ultrabooks in size, but portability shouldn’t be reserved for gamers with deep pockets. The GL503 and GL703 measure less than an inch thick and are light enough to throw in your backpack. The larger GL703 has a 16.3″ x 11″ footprint and weighs in at 6.4 lbs, while its smaller sibling squeezes into 15.1″ x 10.3″ dimensions and tips the scales at 5.1 lbs.
Our Duo Thermal technology keeps everything cool no matter the workload. PC cooling used to keep temperatures within a specified range to avoid software crashes and prevent damage to the components. Today, staying in the thermal sweet spot can also influence performance by allowing the CPU and GPU to maintain higher Turbo and Boost frequencies. Duo Thermal gives each chip its own heatsink and powerful 12V fan to ensure optimal cooling even when the system is fully loaded.
A smart baseline with room to grow
Every member of the family comes with 16GB of DDR4-2400 RAM, which is more than most desktops and plenty for gaming, content creation, and surfing across an obscene number of browser tabs. You also get at least 1TB of storage to handle game libraries that seem to be growing bigger by the day (Gears of War, DOOM, and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare all clock in at over 60GB each). The entry-level configs feature a solid-state hybrid drive (SSHD) that uses a small amount of NAND cache memory to accelerate access to a conventional hard drive. Invisible to the user, this seamless caching mechanism reduces the time required to boot the system and load your most frequently used games, apps, and other files. Pricier configs combine an M.2 SSD and 2.5″ hard drive to give you the fast load times and improved responsiveness of solid-state storage alongside the copious capacity of a mechanical sidekick.
A little upgradability can go a long way toward extending the life of your laptop, so the GL503 and GL703 feature a new D-door that makes accessing vital internals as simple as removing a single screw. Behind the removable panel, you’ll find an empty SO-DIMM slot that lets you easily double the 16GB of RAM that’s already installed. The M.2 slot is within reach for SSD upgrades and will happily accept SATA or NVMe drives, while the accessible 2.5″ bay can take a different hard drive, SSHD, or even another SSD. Upgrades won’t void the warranty as long as they don’t damage the system and you roll back to the factory config before sending in the laptop for service.
Go your own way
Great performance means nothing if your keyboard prevents you from playing your best. When designing the GL503 and GL703, we asked gamers what makes a great laptop keyboard and used their answers to improve the looks, feel, and usability. Immediately apparent is the desktop-like spacing around the function keys and greater isolation for the arrow keys. A new cluster of dedicated hotkeys offers quick access to volume, mute, and our ROG Gaming Center utility. Users also asked for more prominent modifier keys, so we fattened up Shift, Alt, and Ctrl along with the spacebar.
The keyboard changes aren’t limited to spacing and layout. Each key has 1.8 mm of travel complemented by our Overstroke technology, which moves the actuation point closer to help you keep up with the rapid, repeated action required by fast-paced gameplay. Support for n-key rollover allows precise recognition of many simultaneous keystrokes, a perfect addition for games like Prey 2017, World of Warcraft, and Fallout 4. Aura RGB backlighting is the cherry on top, bringing customizable backlighting that lets you set different colors and effects across four distinct zones using our intuitive Aura Core software.
External peripherals like thumb drives, game controllers, and mice can choose between five USB ports, including one reversible Type-C. They’re joined by a Gigabit Ethernet port for when your multiplayer gaming requires a reliable wired connection. A Mini DisplayPort 1.2 output lets you connect a monitor when you’re playing at home, while HDMI 1.4 makes it easy to hook up a big-screen TV for Netflix or gaming from the couch. There’s even a 2-in-1 SD card reader for quickly grabbing files from digital cameras.
Voice communication is critical for streaming and team-focused games, so the 3.5-mm audio combo jack is a given for headsets and microphones. If you want to avoid headgear, dual speakers fire out the sides of the chassis. They’re powered by our smart amplifier technology, which produces more volume with less distortion while protecting the speakers from damage.
Keeping with tradition
While the upcoming SCAR and Hero editions feature distinctive aesthetics to match FPS and MOBA genres, the traditional versions of the GL503 and GL703 sport subtler styling. Their sleek, brushed metal exterior has a hairline finish that adds texture without calling too much attention. The matte black shell is accented by bright red heatsinks that add a pop of color that’s visible through the exhaust vents at the back.
Under the hood, you’ll find NVIDIA’s GeForce 1050 GPU alongside 4GB of dedicated VRAM. Thanks to the chip’s power-efficient Pascal architecture, you’re basically getting a desktop GPU inside a laptop. The GTX 1050 is built for 1080p gaming and ready to pump out smooth frame rates in competitive titles like CS:GO, Overwatch, Dota 2, and Rocket League. Check out our hands-on look at the similarly equipped ROG Strix GL553 and GL753 laptops to get an idea of the sort of performance you can expect.
Whether you choose the 15.6” GL503 or the 17.3” GL703, you’ll be gaming on an IPS-type panel with vivid colors. Complete coverage of the sRGB gamut ensures the full spectrum of hues is available for both gaming and content creation. Wide viewing angles keep those colors consistent if your posture shifts as you play, and matte coatings prevent reflections from disrupting your view. The Full HD resolution translates to a higher 141 PPI on the smaller 15.6” panel, though the 127 PPI on the 17.3” version still offers sharp visuals for gaming, productivity, and everyday use.
|Strix GL503VD-DB71||Strix GL703VD-WB71||Strix GL503VD-DB74||Strix GL703VD-DB74|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-7700HQ|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5|
|Display||15.6” IPS-type 60Hz||17.3” IPS-type 60Hz||15.6” IPS-type 60Hz||17.3” IPS-type 60Hz|
|Resolution||Full HD 1920 x 1080|
|Storage||1TB SATA 2.5" SSHD||256GB SATA M.2 SSD
1TB 5400-RPM HDD
Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi
|Connectivity||HDMI 1.4, mini-DP 1.2, Type-C USB 3.1 Gen1, 3 x USB 3.1 Gen1, 1 x USB 2.0, 3.5-mm audio, 2-in-1 card reader|
|Dimensions||15.1" x 10.3" x 0.9"||16.3" x 11" x 0.9"||15.1" x 10.3" x 0.9"||16.3" x 11" x 0.9"|
|Weight||5.1 lbs.||6.4 lbs.||5.1 lbs.||6.4 lbs.|
Regardless of the display size, the standard Strix models ship with a roomy 1TB SSHD and are priced at $1099 USD and $1499 CAD. You have the flexibility to choose the size that’s right for you without worrying about added cost from supersizing the screen or shrinking the footprint. For $1299 USD and $1799 CAD, you can opt for the GL503VD-DB74 or GL703VD-DB74, which swap the SSHD for a speedier 256GB M.2 SSD running alongside a standard 1TB HDD. Check the table above for retailers selling the GL503VD and GL703VD.