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Asus ROG Mothership first-look review: the craziest gaming laptop around?

Asus ROG Mothership review

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The Asus ROG Mothership is as certifiably crazy as its name suggests. This gaming 2-in-1 laptop is what would happen if a Microsoft Surface Pro and gaming PC met on Tinder and really hit it off. Find out if it tickles your fancy in our Asus ROG Mothership first-look review.

Brief Tech Questions: Asus ROG Mothership

Is this thing real?Yep. You’ll be able to buy it some time between April and June 2019
How much will it cost?Asus is keeping schtum on that for now, but we expect it to be above £2,000
So it’s packed with the latest, fastest components?It surely will be. The version we saw included a six-core Core i9-8950HK chip and GeForce GTX 2080 graphics, and Asus says the Mothership can support up to 64GB of memory and three drives… including two SSDs that can be set up in a RAID0 array
Is the design as crazy as it looks?When you see it in the flesh, the kickstand and detachable keyboard actually make sense. It’s stable too
What does ROG stand for?Republic of Gamers, Asus’ gaming brand. But you can make up your own acronym if you prefer

Asus ROG Mothership review: unique design

This is a seriously big machine. Asus estimates that it weighs 4.7kg, and it’s a stonking 41cm wide. Wallflower this ain’t.

Some of that girth and weight is due to the 17.3in screen. Naturally, it’s a 144Hz affair, but Asus promises minimal smearing thanks to a 3ms response time. It’s only Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) though.

Asus ROG Mothership review: what's inside
No wonder it weighs 4.7kg…

But the real reason this machine is so large is because Asus crams in top-end components that demand serious cooling. We know from previous tests that the Core i9-8950HK is a heavyweight processor, and that GeForce RTX 2080 processor is arguably overkill for a Full HD screen. It’s better suited to 1440p or even 4K screens, such is its power.

Asus ROG Mothership review: gaming acumen

While the ROG Mothership’s party trick is the detachable keyboard, don’t think this means your latency will suffer. If you do find that it isn’t quite responsive enough for your needs, you can attach it via USB instead of Bluetooth.

Also note there’s an RJ-45 jack if the 2×2 802.11ax Wi-Fi isn’t good enough for you, but if you have an 802.11ax router (also known as Intel Wi-Fi 6) then latency and speed shouldn’t be issues.

Each key has its own RGB backlight so you can make it look pretty, but of more interest to serious gamers will be its N-key rollover and 2.5mm travel distance. Asus doesn’t quote actuation points, though.

While we couldn’t put the quad 4W speakers through their paces in the crowded demo room, you can expect some serious volume levels during games.

Asus ROG Mothership review: early verdict

The ROG Mothership is an insane piece of equipment, but I can’t help but like it. Sometimes you need insanity, and I suspect that keen gamers will embrace the sit-up-and-beg arrangement of screen with a separate keyboard and mouse.

We don’t have any word on price yet, but Asus says this will go on sale at some point between April and June so we don’t have too long to wait. One thing’s for sure: it will have power to match its heavy-duty looks.

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About the author

Tim Danton

Tim Danton is editor-in-chief of PC Pro magazine and has written about technology since 1999. He enjoys playing with gadgets, playing with words and playing tennis. Email tim@bigtechquestion.com

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