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Asus ROG Mothership GZ700 hands-on review: A supercharged 2-in-1 for gamers

Not happy with the power of your Surface Pro? Asus has the answer with its big, beefy Mothership GZ700

With CES 2019 underway, there’s already a whole host of interesting laptop and PC related announcements beginning to flood out but the one that stands out the most so far is Asus’ jaw-dropping ROG Mothership.

Technically it’s a gaming laptop but this is a gaming laptop like no other. It resembles a weirdly beefy Microsoft Surface Pro, complete with a hinged kickstand at the rear and a detachable keyboard. Except instead of mobile components, the Mothership houses a desktop class CPU and graphics chip behind the display.

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Asus ROG Mothership GZ700 review: Key specifications, price and release date

  • 17.3in, 1,920 x 1,080, 144Hz IPS display
  • Intel Core i9-8950HK (up to 4.80GHz) CPU
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics
  • Up to 2TB PCIe storage
  • Up to 64GB DDR4 RAM
  • Intel 802.11ax (2×2) Gigabit Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Dimensions: 29.9 x 410 x 320mm (HWD)
  • Weight: 4.7kg
  • 4 x 4W speakers
  • Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro
  • UK price: TBC
  • UK release: April 2019

Asus ROG Mothership GZ700 review: Design, key features and first impressions

The ROG Mothership is a totally reimagined gaming laptop with a design I don’t think anybody was expecting to see this year. Imagine a massive Microsoft Surface Pro that weighs nearly 5kg, has a 17.3in display and near-desktop level specs, and you’re not far off the ROG Mothership.

In truth, it isn’t particularly portable, but the design is at least pretty elegant. As the laptop unfolds, the kickstand pops back automatically so, in theory, you can open it with one hand, although it is somewhat unwieldy. Meanwhile, the keyboard snaps on and off magnetically and can be used either attached to the tablet part laptop or set back if you prefer to place the screen further away from your eyes.

According to Asus, standard clamshell gaming laptops have always been limited by the lack of space between the base and the surface below, which is not optimal for cooling. The idea is that the upright chassis allows the system’s dual fans to take in more air, while warm air can be blown away from the user more efficiently.

And if you were worried about heat from the CPU and GPU damaging the display, Asus has thought of that, too, placing a heat shield between the screen and internal components that keeps the display working perfectly, no matter how hard the laptop is working.

So far, only one configuration of the Asus ROG Mothership has been announced. That model, presumably the highest specification, includes a hexa-core 8th-Gen Intel Core i9-8950HK overclocked to 4.80GHz. It also has a powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (8GB GDDR6) discrete graphics chip, 64GB of RAM and 2TB of PCIe SSD storage.

That’s a heck of a lot of power inside what is a semi-portable package. With a Full HD 144Hz IPS display, customisable RGB lighting and quad speakers, which sit directly below the display, this is sure to be one impressive gaming hub.

The ROG Mothership doesn’t skimp on ports, either, with two USB Type-C ports (one of which supports Thunderbolt 3), four USB Type-A 3.1 ports, one HDMI 2.0 output, an SD card reader, Gigabit Ethernet plus 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks.

Asus ROG Mothership GZ700 review: Early verdict

Is it crazy? Probably. But the ROG Mothership is also totally new, completely different and a breath of fresh, but presumably quite toasty, air.

Whether or not gamers will go for the unconventional 2-in-1 design, however, is debatable. I’m dubious about the cooling system and fear that the placement of a heavy-duty GPU and CPU mere millimetres behind the display could cause problems. But nothing is certain until I get one in for review and put it through its paces. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until at least April of 2019 for that.

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