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Asus TUF Gaming A17 Review

Asus’ TUF Gaming notebooks have always been a decent alternative to cheap gaming laptops, but the company is committed to that competitive advantage with the Asus TUF Gaming A17. It’s a 17-inch gaming laptop with a robust AMD’s Ryzen 7 4800H processor and an Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU along with long battery life and a comfy keyboard. However, you could be put off by its bleak display and quiet speakers. This is our Asus TUF Gaming A17 Review.

Last updated on September 17, 2020 1:13 am

Despite that, At just $1,099, you get a 1TB SSD, which is unusual to find for the price, and the chassis has even been Mil-Spec tested. Overall, the Asus TUF Gaming A17 is one of the best gaming laptops out there if you are willing to overlook the display.

Specifications

Asus TUF Gaming A17 Specs
Price:$1,099
CPU:AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
RAM:16GB
Storage:1TB PCIe SSD
Display:17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080, 120Hz
GPU:Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
VRAM6GB
Battery life:7 hours and 40 minutes
Size: 15.7 x 10.6 x 1.0-inches
Weight: 5.7-pounds

Asus TUF Gaming A17 Review: Design

The fact that the Asus TUF Gaming A17 is an affordable gaming laptop doesn’t mean it’s made cheap. The aluminum lid and plastic deck have withstood multiple MIL-STD-810H tests against drops, vibration, humidity, and extreme temperatures. The Asus TUF Gaming A17 has a machined design, and the gunmetal lid features four black faux screws in each corner. In the middle of the lid is the TUF logo, which cleverly omits the letters.

Asus TUF Gaming A17 Review

There is also a recess in the lid that reveals the black deck. The mix of textures on the unveiled deck, in combination with the TUF Gaming logo, makes the notebook look like a piece of military machinery. The interior gives more of the same feeling. A soft curve surrounds the keyboard in the chassis, which dips down, and just above the keyboard, there are recesses for the vents. The on/off button is located in the upper right corner of the chassis, not on the keyboard, so don’t worry.

The display rings are relatively slim, and the webcam even sits on the top edge thanks to a small lip adjustment. The Asus TUF Gaming A17 has quite a few ports, but it would have been nice to see a Mini DisplayPort. On the left, there is the power connector, an RJ45 Ethernet port, an HDMI port, two USB Type-A ports, a USB Type-C port, and a headphone jack, while on the right there is a drizzly USB Type-A port and a Kensington slot.

At 5.7-pounds and 15.7 x 10.6 x 1.0-inches, the TUF Gaming A17 is quite a size for a 17-inch laptop. Besides, Dell’s G5 15 SE (5.5-pounds, 14.4 x 10 x 0.9-inches), HP Omen 15 (5.4-pounds, 14.2 x 10.2 x 0.8-inches) and Lenovo Legion Y545 (5.3-pounds, 14.2 x 10.5 x 1~1.1-inches) were smaller and lighter, but that’s no surprise.

Keyboard and TouchPad

For a gaming laptop, the Asus TUF Gaming A17 has a super comfortable keyboard. It wasn’t necessarily a click, but it took some power to operate the keys, and they provided fleshy, albeit unfocused, feedback. The keys are correctly distributed — I’ve seen keys with worse feedback on many premium gaming laptops, so these keys are quite solid in comparison. Given the price point, you don’t see RGB lighting per key on this keyboard, but RGB lighting per zone.

Asus TUF Gaming A17 Review

You can adjust the lighting via the Aura Sync tab in the Armoury Crate app. You can use primary effects such as Breathing or Color Cycle and even change the speed and brightness. The touchpad, though, is relatively soft and offers two discreet clickers with moderate feedback. With the Windows Precision drivers, Windows 10 gestures, such as two-finger scrolling and three-finger tabs, were highly responsive.

Asus TUF Gaming A17 Review: Display

The TUF Gaming A17’s 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 screen features adaptive sync technology and a 120Hz refresh rate, but it’s incredibly weak and boring for a gaming laptop. In the trailer for Bill and Ted Face The Music, the characters’ blue and red shirts looked washed-out as if they were going through the wash too often. In the scene where Bill and Ted visit their torn future themselves, the lights were relatively dark during the day, and the scene didn’t pop because the display wasn’t as bright as it should have been.

In the opening film of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Leonidas’ red cape was muted, and the flat panel made it look less daring or threatening. In the same order, it was difficult to focus on the battle that was going on, because the nocturnal skirmish did not benefit the dim screen of the Asus. Disabling some of the settings resulted in some smooth frames thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate.

In our test, the screen of the TUF Gaming A17 covered 64% of the sRGB color gamut and dived the average mainstream gaming laptop (106%). The Dell G5 15 (108%), HP Omen 15 (102%), and the Lenovo Legion Y545 (99%) were close to or even above 100%.

At 248 nits of maximum brightness, calling TUF Gaming A17 bright would give it too much credit. Meanwhile, the Dell G5 15 SE (301 nits), HP Omen 15 (320 nits), and the Legion Y545 (300 nits) all killed the average of the category 292 nits.

Asus TUF Gaming A17 Review: Audio

Unfortunately, the bottom speakers of the TUF Gaming A17 weren’t very loud and didn’t have enough bass to do music or gaming justice. Listening to Kailee Morgue’s cover of “Black Sheep,” the opening bass beats sounded clumsy and as they went through the whole song. The groove was never realized due to the lack of bass. Still, when the vocals came in, her soft melodic voice came off with a touch of crunchy detail and fullness just as intended. Nevertheless, the cymbals remained muted in the background.

In the opening of Assassin Creed Odyssey, King Leonidas’ voice was soft, making it difficult to hear what he was saying. When Leonidas went after some folks with his spear, the penetrating sound effect was boring and muted. Even if he broke someone’s neck standing up, it didn’t sound very satisfying. The only audio software this machine has is DTS Sound Unbound, and it works only for headphones, so the speakers have no luck.

Asus TUF Gaming A17 Review: Graphics and Gaming

The Asus TUF Gaming A17 comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 6GB VRAM. It was able to run Assassin Creed Odyssey at 45 fps (frames per second) on Ultra settings, 1080p as I skipped over some rooftops, and landed face-first in the ground for a not-so-epical landing.

On the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark (Max, 1080p), the TUF Gaming reached A17 50 fps, sliding along the 47-fps mainstream gaming laptop category average. With the same GPU, the HP Omen 15 landed at 45 fps, while the Lenovo Legion Y545 equaled the TUF Gaming A17 at 50 fps. The G5 15 landed an AMD Radeon RX 5600M GPU and scored 45 fps.

Asus TUF Gaming A17 Review

The TUF Gaming A17 scored 86 fps on the Hitman benchmark (Ultra, 1080p), which exactly matches the category average. It beat the Dell G5 15 SE (83 fps) and HP Omen 15 (78 fps), but the Legion Y545 nailed a stable 95 fps.

On the GTA V benchmark (Very High, 1080p), the Asus TUF Gaming A17 averaged 60 fps, which is just below the 62-fps mainstream gaming laptop category average. It still excelled above the G5 15 SE (56 fps) and even equaled Omen 15 (60 fps), but was eventually beaten by the Lenovo Legion Y545 (62 fps).

When playing Metro: Exodus (Ultra, 1080p), the Asus TUF Gaming A17 got 41 fps, which is one frame away from the category average (42 fps). However, it matched the Lenovo Legion Y545 (41 fps) and outperformed the Omen 15 (40 fps), despite the G5 taking second place at 15 SE (46 fps).

Asus TUF Gaming A17 Review: Performance

Around an AMD’s Ryzen 7 4800H processor with 16GB RAM, the Asus TUF Gaming A17 survived 40 Google Chrome tabs and five YouTube videos (1080p) while Assassin’s Creed Odyssey ran in the background. On the Geekbench 4.3 performance benchmark, the Asus TUF Gaming A17 scored 24,568, exceeding the mainstream gaming laptop average (22,421). With the same CPU, the G5 15 scored 29,253. Meanwhile, with Intel’s Core i7-9750H CPU, the HP Omen 15 and the Lenovo Legion Y545 reached a meager 19,956 and 23,868, respectively.

The Asus TUF Gaming A17 transcoded a 4K video to 1080p in around 7 minutes on our HandBrake benchmark test, crushing the category average (9:59). It passed HP Omen 15 (12:34) and Lenovo Legion Y545 (8:51) but fell short of Dell G5 15 (6:43).

The Asus’ 1TB SSD copied 4.97 GB of data in 8.7 seconds, which translates into a transfer rate of 585 megabytes per second, sliding beyond the mainstream gaming laptop average (471 MBps). It was faster than the Dell G5 15’s 512GB SSD (410MBps) and Legion Y545’s 128GB SSD (189MBps), but couldn’t match the Omen 15’s 512GB SSD (728MBps).

Asus TUF Gaming A17 Review: Battery Life

Once again, AMD has proven to have the best grip on gaming laptop battery life. The TUF Gaming A17 surfs the web continuously over Wi-Fi with 150 nits of brightness and takes a fleshy 7 hours and 41 minutes, and travels the 5:11 mainstream gaming laptop average. The G5 15 (7:14), the HP Omen 15 (3:05), and the Lenovo Legion Y545 (3:38) also fell.

Asus TUF Gaming A17 Review: Heat

Thanks to its plastic bottom, the TUF Gaming A17 won’t get as hot as many all-aluminum gaming laptops. After 15 minutes of gaming, the bottom reaches 109 degrees Fahrenheit, which is well above our 95-comfort threshold. The middle of the keyboard and touchpad registered 101 and 77 degrees, respectively. The hottest this laptop got was 111 degrees at the bottom of the display. When streaming a YouTube video for 15 minutes, the base only touched 101 degrees, while the keyboard and touchpad registered 91 and 78 degrees, respectively.

Price and Configuration Options

The Asus TUF Gaming A17 I costs $1,099 and comes with an AMD’s Ryzen 7 4800H processor, an Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB of PCIe SSD and a 1080p, 120Hz display. A 1TB SSD in a gaming laptop for this price is quite a deal. Unfortunately, this is the only configuration of the TUF Gaming A17. There is an Intel variant called the TUF Gaming F17, but it is not for sale right now. For cheaper options, check our list of Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000

Asus TUF Gaming A17 Review

Asus TUF Gaming A17 Review: Conclusion

The Asus TUF Gaming A17 is packed with a ton of exact specifications and features for a reasonable price. For $1,099, you get reliable performance and graphics, long battery life for a mainstream gaming laptop, a Mil-Spec tested chassis, a comfortable keyboard, and a beefy 1TB SSD. But if you’re like me, it’s going to be incredibly hard to look over that super dull screen. If you’re looking for a gaming laptop that also has great battery life but a better display, consider the Dell G5 15 SE (2020).

For just $100 more, you’ll get comparable performance and battery life, but a display worthy of a gaming laptop plus a bumped up refresh rate. However, if you are looking for a 17-inch laptop similar to the Asus TUF Gaming A17, you will be hard to find, especially with a 1TB SSD for the price, which is why it is one of the best gaming laptops you can get.

8 Total Score
Our Verdict

The Asus TUF Gaming A17 offers powerful performance and solid battery life for a mainstream gaming laptop, but it's hard to get over its bleak display.

PROS
  • Strong performance and graphics
  • Solid battery life
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • 1TB SSD
CONS
  • Dismal display
  • Speakers are quiet
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