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Asus TUF A15 Review: Budget Gaming Laptop To Lookout For
Gaming is a massive $134.9 billion industry and every year the number keeps growing. Most of the gaming enthusiasts get into the ecosystem probably with a smartphone and when they want to step up, they will be under a lot of confusion, especially on the laptop side.
- Efficient And Powerful CPU
- Dual Storage Solution With SSD And HDD
- 144Hz Refresh Rate Display
- Mediocre Build Quality
- Does Not Support Windows Hello
Gaming laptops have evolved a lot over the last few years. They not only pack a flashy design but also comes with gaming-optimized hardware such as CPU and GPU at almost every price point.
Asus is one of the brands that has been in the gaming laptop industry and the company makes gaming laptops of various classes. The brand recently announced the Asus TUF series of gaming laptops with the AMD 4000 series GPU and Nvidia GPU. And we have been testing the TUF A15 from the last few weeks, which retails for Rs. 94,990.
Do note that, the price of the TUF A15 starts at Rs. 60,990, making it an excellent laptop for those who are switching from smartphones to laptops for gaming. Is the TUF A15 which costs almost a lakh rupees, worth the money? Here is our full review.
Asus TUF A15: Specifications
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti, with 6GB GDDR6
- Display: 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080p with 144Hz Refresh Rate
- RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
- Storage: 512GB PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD + 1TB 5200RPM HDD
- Audio: DTS:X Ultra
- Battery: 48Whr (20V DC, 7.5A, 150W / 9A, 180W)
- Weight: 2.3KG
Asus TUF A15 Design: Not The Best Looking Machine
Though the design of the Asus TUF A15 indicates that it is indeed a gaming laptop, the build quality is something that definitely needs improvement. Don't get me wrong, it is not a weak or flimsy laptop but it does look like one due to the plastic polycarbonate patterned finish.
I have seen other gaming laptops which are also made using plastic that looks a lot better than the TUF A15. One advantage that this laptop has due to the plastic build quality is the weight. Even though it is a full-sized gaming laptop, it just weighs 2.3KG, making it easy to carry around and it can be easily carried in a regular laptop bag.
When compared to the overall build, the display lid does look a little refreshing and it is made using metal. Do note that, it still has a little bit of display flex but it does pass our one finger display lift test with flying colors.
As per the I/O, the laptop offers three USB-A ports, an HDMI port, an RJ45 port, and a USB Type-C port with DisplayPort 1.4 support. It comes with a barrel-style charging pin and also has a 3.5mm audio jack. One feature that I missed on the TUF A15 is that it doesn't have an SD card slot, which could be an important feature for photographers who constantly transfer data.
If you are ready to overlook the build quality and only care about the performance, the Asus TUF A15 is an excellent mid-range gaming laptop for sure. However, if you need someone who gives an at most priority to looks, then the Asus TUF A15 is not for you.
Asus TUF A15 Display: A Mixed Bag
The Asus TUF A15 has a 15.6-inch display and it offers a peak refresh rate of 144Hz. Do note that, you can toggle down the refresh rate to 60Hz to get a slightly better battery life. However, if you are a gamer, then it is best to use this machine at the highest possible refresh rate.
Having a higher refresh rate is just one chapter of the book. The screen on the Asus TUF A15 is a little dull when it comes to saturation and dynamic range. This might not affect that much if you are purely using this machine for gaming. However, if you are like me who watches a lot of web series and movies on platforms like Netflix and Prime Video, you might not get the best possible experience.
Prior to using the TUF A15, I was using the ROG Zephyrus G14 and that laptop has one of the best displays in the business. So, if you are coming from a laptop that's a few years old, this laptop should be able to offer a decent experience even for watching movies.
The same goes for the brightness as well as the panel doesn't get too bright. As long as you are using this laptop in indoor conditions, this doesn't bother you much. The company has made a few compromises to reduce the BOM (bill of material) and it is reflecting in the display department.
If you are into battle royale style games or even play first-person shooter titles like Counter-Strike this is an excellent laptop and at lower graphics settings, the GPU can easily offer 144fps on select titles.
Asus TUF A15 Camera: It Has One
The Asus TUF A15 has a 720p CMOS camera, capable of recording HD videos. Like almost every other laptop, this web camera does an average job in a well-lit environment and it doesn't support Windows Hello.
The Zephyrus G14 didn't have a camera at all, whereas the TUF A15 has one. So, it is best to have something rather than nothing and you can easily attend your routine office meetings and online classes without any issue.
If you are into live streaming, then it is best to get an external camera, probably with a higher resolution as this camera might not do justice for the same. Lastly, there is a tiny white LED that glows if the camera is being used by any app or service.
Asus TUF A15 Camera Mouse And Keyboard: Surprisingly Good
The trackpad on the Asus TUF A15 Camera is a regular one with two buttons and you have to have an external mouse even for casual gaming. However, for basic tasks, the built-in trackpad should get the job done without any issue.
What really surprised me is the built-in keyboard. Considering the design and build quality, I wasn't expecting much from this keyboard and I was actually overwhelmed by the overall experience. And it has transparent WASD keys that showcase the key mechanism and also gives a character to this keyboard.
Though the key travel is not as great as the Zephyrus G14 (which is obviously a more expensive laptop) I was very impressed with the key feedback on how firm the keys were. So, gaming on this laptop offers a great experience and even I enjoyed while using this laptop for my office work which includes a lot of typewriting.
It also has a dedicated numerical keypad, making it an excellent laptop for number punchers (who works a lot on excel sheets). With this laptop, you almost get a premium laptop-like typing experience and the RGB lighting can also be controlled from the Armoury Crate software to one's liking.
Asus TUF A15 Audio: Good Sounding Speakers But Not That Loud
The Asus TUF A15 supports DTS:X for headphones and offers 7.1-channel virtual surround sound experience. Do note that, to enjoy this you also need a pair of headphones that actually support this feature.
The dual speaker setup offers a balanced sound output. However, these speakers aren't that loud when compared to some of the gaming laptops available in the market. I have been using the laptop with the Alexa Echo Studio connected via Bluetooth and I didn't have any issue with the sound quality over wireless network whatsoever.
So, built-in speakers aren't the best in business but they do get the job done. When paired with a premium gaming headphone, you can get true surround sound effects for sure and I experienced the same using the Logitech G Pro.
Asus TUF A15 CPU Performance
The Asus TUF A15 is powered by the Ryzen 7 4800H, which is the second most powerful mobile processor from AMD with a TDP of 45W. This processor is based on 7nm fabrication, so you get higher performance per watt when compared to other notebook CPUs based on either 10nm or 14nm fabrication.
The Ryzen 7 4800H is an octa-core processor with 16 threads. It has a base CPU clock speed of 2.9GHz and a boost CPU clock speed of 4.2GHz. It uses PCIe 3.0 lanes with a 4MB L2 cache.
Coming the single-core performance, the processor posts 1152 points whereas, on multi-core the CPU posts 6811 points. The single-core performance of this laptop is almost similar to the high-end variant of the ROG Zephyrus G14, which costs almost double. Even on the multi-core performance is just 10 percent less than the G14, which further speaks about the processing capabilities of this laptop.
These numbers prove that the TUF A15 is not just good for gaming but it is also an excellent machine for content creators who might want a laptop with great multi-core performance for video editing and rendering.
To further test the rendering capability of this laptop, we ran the Cinebench R20 CPU benchmark and the device posted 3733 points, which is again almost similar to the Ryzen 9 4900HS that powers the Zephyrus G14. So, this machine can be used to edit and render high-resolution videos on software like Adobe After Effects without any issue.
Asus TUF A15 GPU Performance
The graphics on the TUF A15 is handled by the NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 6GB of GDDR6 RAM. This is a mid-range mobile graphics card with a base clock speed of 1140MHz and uses a 192bit bus.
We ran Superposition benchmark at 1080p resolution with highest graphics settings and the device scored 7887 points with an average FPS of 58.99. This indicated that the laptop can easily handle most of the modern games (based on DirectX 12 and DirectX 11) offering at least 60fps of performance.
I also played long sessions of GAT: V on the Asus TUF A15 with the highest graphics settings and the laptop could easily offer an average of 90fps even during the most tasking graphics scenes. This should explain the real-life gaming performance of this laptop.
One thing that impressed me is that the laptop didn't heat up at all, especially the top and the keyboard part. Some of the recent gaming laptops that we tested would heat up around WASD keys a lot, where in some cases it would become very uncomfortable even to touch.
The Asus TUF A15, on the other hand, stayed cool thought the gaming session, which explains a lot about the thermal engineering that has gone into this laptop. However, do note that the fans did get loud at some points which actually helped the laptop to sustain peak CPU and GPU performance.
Asus TUF A15: 3DMark And PCMark 10
3DMark is a tool that is used to gauge the graphical capabilities of a device. Similarly, PCMark 10 is used to rate the overall capability of a device and we ran these benchmarks on the TUF A15 to get some more insight on the performance of this machine.
The laptop scored 5798 points on the Time Spy 3DMark test with an average FPS of 35.87fps. Do note that, this module is based on the DirectX 12 and the laptop has even outperformed the Zephyrus G14.
On the PCMark 10, the laptop scores 4985 points with 4.3GHz with an average CPU temperature of 85 degrees centigrade. So, even under heavy load, the laptop has maintained a low CPU temperature. However, do note that the temperatures have gone up to 99 degrees centigrade while running a certain part of the benchmark.
Asus TUF A15 Battery Life: Average Battery Life
The TUF A15 comes with a 48Whr battery, which is on a smaller side, considering this is a gaming laptop. The laptop offers around 2 hours of battery life while gaming and it can last up to four and a half to five hours on a single charge while watching videos or surfing the internet.
If you want a laptop that can last for an entire day, then this is not the laptop to consider. However, it does support fast charging and the laptop can be fully charged in less than two hours.
Asus TUF A15: High On Performance, Low On Looks
One thing that is very clear about the TUF A15 is that it prioritizes performance over everything else. The combination of the Ryzen 7 7800H and the NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti GPU works great, making it one of the best-in-class laptop.
When that performance is combined with a great keyboard and the higher refresh rate display, the TUF A15 comes up as a clear performance. However, two shortcomings on the TUF A15 are the looks and the color profile. Though it has a higher refresh rate screen, it is not vibrant and might not offer the best possible multimedia consumption experience.
Considering the aforementioned point, this laptop might not be the best option for colorists and photo editing and it is best to connect this laptop to an external display with better color calibration to use this machine for those sorts of tasks.
Overall, this laptop is meant for gaming and it does deliver amazing performance on some of the aspects such as CPU and GPU performance and it doesn't get heated up as well.