Asus has come a long way. It has managed to convince us that you don’t have to shell out a lifetime of savings for a good gaming laptop, and if the budget segment is anything to go by, then TUF is definitely carving out a new normal for budget gaming laptops.
We have the A15 Bonfire Black variant for review and it’s got all the bells and whistles of quality gaming innards, but how does all that translate to real world performance? Read on…
Design: It’s tough alright
Once in a blue moon we get a laptop that will boast of a sturdy design and a military grade toughness that has passed rigorous drop tests and everything. This is one of those laptops. And frankly, we would pass it off as a marketing gimmick, but very recently, our Web Editor has had his MacBook display broken because his toddler dropped it by mistake. So even though we can’t vouch for this laptop to survive a drop, we’re certain that you can get away with a few hits around the edges.
The TUF silhouette hasn’t changed much from its inception days. It looks chunky and the boxed exterior is simple to say the least. The plastic body leaves a lot to be desired, but at this price point we can’t complain.
All your ports are sitting on the left hand side, leaving only one USB port on the right side. It would be bothersome if you’re a lefty. USB Type-C is a welcome addition from the previous gen, but the ethernet port on this is a bit rough around the edges, literally. Our ethernet cable almost got stuck inside and it wouldn’t plug in and out as smoothly as we would expect it to.
Display: Smooth life
The 144Hz Full HD display at this price point is quite a grab. It doesn’t come with G-Sync but you won’t miss it.The colour and contrast on this matte finish display is quite good. It’s not the sharpest one around but it gets the job done. Brightness also is what you’d expect from a budget laptop. Take note that this is not a cheap display for cost cutting measures. Asus TUF has come a long way from its washed out displays back in 2018 and this model here deserves credit for slapping on a good display.
Performance: Ready to work?
Our review unit has an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H with 8GB of RAM and an Nvidia GTX 1650Ti with 4GB VRAM.
Before we tell you how the latest video games performed on this baby, the overall story is that this laptop can handle non-open world games very well. Doom Eternal and Resident Evil 3 work absolutely fine here, with Doom Eternal giving us around 69 to 75 FPS on high settings and Resident Evil 3 maintaining a steady FPS of 89 on high settings.
Things start to get a wee bit troublesome when you boot up Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. It’s a massive open-world game with really high textures and details, so expect the game to run around 46 to 55FPS on high settings.
Next we tested Call of Duty: Warzone, which worked exceptionally well at a cool 85-90FPS on high settings.
We stuck to the recommended settings with each game and there isn’t enough VRAM to handle demanding titles at their full glory. Albeit, the Asus TUF A15 can game well for the budget and it will do so without heating up too. Asus says the heatsink fans have anti-dust tech to throw out heavy dust particles, something we can only test in the long run.
Battery: What did you expect?
For a gaming laptop to impress in terms of battery is extremely rare, but the Asus A15 slices through a good 4 hours with work. If you keep your battery settings on battery saver, the laptop can push through the day and won’t unnecessarily crank up the fan like most gaming laptops do. Kudos to Asus for making the battery charger as dinky as possible. It’s the size of your regular harddrive and quite easy to store in a bag.
It's not feather light but you can put it on your lap and get some writing and presentation work done without having your loins set on fire from the heatsink. This review was written exactly that way and we’re pleased to report that the typing experience on the keyboard is pleasant and accurate. The mushy feeling from the keys is not the most satisfying but you can glide your 10 fingers across the keyboard in full speed and with minimal effort. The resistance from the keys is also quite decent.
The Ryzen 5 processor can glide through regular work tasks effortlessly but you might need to bump up the RAM, which can be easily done thanks to an additional empty slot. There’s even room for expanding the storage if you happen to need more in the future.
TUF A15 recognises that budget constraint in gamers and promises a good deal. This laptop keeps up with the demand, both in terms of gaming and multitasking. You get what you paid for – nothing more, nothing less.