We review this incredible gaming slate
ASUS isn’t one to shy away from making insanely powerful and wildly impractical gaming PCs and notebooks for its customers. The 4K version of their insane notebook-desktop hybrid the Mothership has been keeping us busy the past few weeks, and after binge-gaming on this monster, we can say that there’s really nothing quite like it.
- Incredibly unique
- Top-tier hardware
- One of the most powerful pre-built devices we’ve come across
- Extremely expensive and wildly impractical
- 4K display can’t be fully utilized in gaming
High-end gaming slate
It’s difficult to describe the Mothership because there’s really no way to compare it to existing products in the market today. You can probably think of it as a notebook that has its display fused to most of its working bits, with the keyboard being the skinny part of the package.
Opening the mothership up is easy enough, just prop it up on a table and an automatic kickstand deploys, propping the entire thing at an angle. It’s just the matter of lowering the keyboard that protects the 4K, 17.3-inch display.
ASUS knows how to pander to its key demographic, and the design of the ROG Mothership reflects that. RGB lights deck the bottom of the device where the speaker sits, as well as where the kickstand is located on the rear. The keyboard also has RGB lighting. All of the RGB elements use ASUS’ Aura Sync lighting system and are fully customizable depending on your preference.
Because of the size of the mothership, there’s plenty of plugs and ports scattered on the sides. There’s even an SDCard slot as well.
The sides and top of the chassis have plenty of vent holes to dissipate heat which is important since quite a number of components on this monstrosity have been overclocked from the factory.
4K display looks great, but we’d rather have full HD
The particular ROG Mothership we’re reviewing is the 4K variant, equipped with a 60Hz display with NVIDIA’s G-Sync tech and 100% Adobe RGB compatibility.
This version is aimed at gamers and content creators, since that 4K display looks absolutely stunning, making it perfect for editing photos/videos. Unfortunately, current hardware still isn’t up to snuff when it comes to 4K gaming, which means you’ll probably won’t be getting 60FPS with 4K in ultra quality, as you’ll see in our benchmarks later on.
Lots of neat tricks with the keyboard, but it’s not the best to type on
Like we said earlier the ROG Mothership has a detachable keyboard that uses Bluetooth tech when it’s not attached to the slate.
Using the keyboard while it is attached to the chassis is a mixed bag. While the 2.5mm of key travel make tapping on the keyboard easier, the lack of natural wrist rest made us move the notebook farther away from us than we were comfortable with, for the sake of typing comfort.
Detaching the keyboard from the chassis means you’ll have to fold it in half, which also makes it harder to type on since the keyboard now sits flat on whatever surface you have it on.
There’s also a trackpad on the side of the keyboard that transforms into a number pad, but like most trackpads on gaming devices, it felt slow and difficult to use. You’d be better off with an external mouse attached to this thing.
4K gaming is possible, just don’t expect ultra levels of detail
So, how does the ROG Mothership do in gaming?
Pretty well, though realistically speaking you won’t be able to game on 4K with ultra settings above 60 FPS. That’s not a knock against the ROG Mothership’s capabilities, as achieving silky-smooth 4K gaming is still phenomenally difficult, at least for non-desktop builds.
Games in full HD run fine on the ROG Mothership though, with most games we tested running well above 60 FPS with ultra graphics – even Rockstar Games’ horse-riding simulator, Red Dead Redemption 2.
You can quickly overclock the Intel Core i9-9980HK CPU and the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 in a click of a button via ASUS Armory Crate as well, though fan noise is considerable in this mode.
Thanks to the beefy hardware in the ROG Mothership, it can be the perfect platform for a hard-hitting (expensive) workstation.
The ROG Mothership has a battery inside of it and will keep on chugging even if the power suddenly cuts out at your location.
You wouldn’t want to use it as a notebook though, as that battery is there for formality’s sake. It barely lasted three hours with regular use, WITHOUT any kind of gaming.
That’s not entirely surprising considering the ROG Mothership requires not one, but two gigantic power bricks to work normally. There’s also the matter of its gargantuan 4.8-kilo weight.
Verdict: Incredible feat of engineering with an equally impressive price tag
Like it or not the ASUS ROG Mothership is a feat of technical engineering, packed to the brim with top-tier components and tech.
It’s also wildly impractical, considering that the 4K display isn’t fully utilized in gaming applications as was shown in our gaming benchmarks.
You could argue that the 4K version of the ROG Mothership would be better suited to workstation duties, though there’s plenty of other options that are more suited to that task that are more corporate-looking.
If you’re really hot for the ASUS ROG Mothership, we’d suggest you pick up the full HD variant instead, since its innards will be able to fully take advantage of its 144Hz refresh rate.
The ROG Mothership is priced at Php 379,995.