ASUS TUF Gaming F15 Laptop Review
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The ASUS TUF Gaming F15 Laptop Review
The 15.6-inch TUF Gaming F15 FX506 and 17.3-inch TUF Gaming F17 FX706, which were just unveiled last May along with the 11th Gen Intel Tiger Lake-H series, are a direct successor to the FX505 and FX505, respectively. Last year’s FX705 models by introducing new aesthetics and new processors. The F15 and F17 should not be confused with the faster TUF Dash series or the A15/A17 series which use AMD processors instead.
Our reviewed device is an upper-midrange configuration with the Core i7-11800H CPU, GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, and 144Hz display for around $1500 retail. Other SKUs are available with the Core i5-11260H, i9-11900H, RTX 3050 or 60 Hz to 240 Hz panels. All options are currently limited to FHD and up to the RTX 3060 to better separate the TUF model from a more expensive ROG model.
Competitors in this space include other budget to midrange 15.6-inch gaming laptops such as the Lenovo Legion 5i, the MSI GF/GL series, the Razer Blade 15 base model or the HP Pavilion 15 Gaming.
The TUF F15 shakes up the new-style design that leaves behind the more gamer-centric aesthetic that plagued the entire gaming laptop landscape in recent years. The laptop is well balanced, and the keyboard is comfortable to type on. It’s nothing like that in my Macbook Air (early 2020), but I was happy enough to write more than half of this review about it in terms of gaming laptops To go. The trackpad is also quite usable, although the lack of capacitive touch threw me into a loop as it instead uses two physical buttons At the bottom. As such, dragging and dropping items using just the touchpad didn’t work half the time.
The laptop’s 1080p display is well suited to the internals that power it, with our panel’s 144Hz refresh rate making up for the lack of color depth. The screen is also a bit too “smooth” in my eyes, with colors looking flat, especially when watching movies. It also never got bright enough for comfortable use even with the wall adapter plugged in, which does help a bit. That’s where the I/O ports can come in handy, with HDMI and even Thunderbolt 4.0 to expand your screen space.
ASUS’ claims of the laptop’s audio solution including buzzwords like ‘DTS:X Ultra’ and ‘Advanced Two-Way AI Noise Cancelation’ reads well on paper, but their implementation could use a little more fine-tuning. That is not to say that the laptop speakers aren’t good, they’re fine, but they didn’t sound like royal to my ears. The cooling system has to be tested for weeks to verify its claims, although during my time with the device I was thoroughly impressed with how quiet the fans were, even when gaming at maximum power. There are several performance profiles that can automatically switch based on the current load on the laptop, and testing in ‘Turbo’ mode kept the fan noise to a minimum to the point where I didn’t feel the need to plug in headphones.
Our ASUS TUF F15 came with an 8 core/16 thread Intel Core i9-11900H, 16GB RAM and an Nvidia Geforce RTX 3060, all of which are powerful enough for the 144Hz 1080p display.
Since most of the title supports ray tracing, DLSS, or both, our baseline testing was done with both features turned off. Here’s how the games went with ray tracing and DLSS enabled:
DLSS doesn’t seem to work as well as I expected, with the performance boost being much less than it probably should be. In some cases, DLSS wouldn’t work at all, especially if ray tracing is turned off. We reached out to ASUS to confirm our findings, with the company confirming that the issue may be related to developer optimizations.
The Intel Core i9-11900H is a fairly powerful CPU on the heart of the ASUS TUF F15. (Pictured: Cinebench R23 benchmark) Watch Dogs Legion’s benchmarks actually diagnosed the odd DLSS performance to be “low CPU performance”, which doesn’t sound right. Nevertheless, our independent CPU performance tests show that Intel’s mobile core i9 processor can compete with my own personal Ryzen 7 3700X on the desktop, which is almost three years old at this point.
The ASUS TUF F15 will satisfy gamers looking for a laptop with enough power to get them through their day of gaming, though it might require some fine-tuning first on the user’s end. The first of these would be to remove the bloatware that causes the laptop comes pre-installed with, which we can really do without.
Perhaps the biggest reason to laptop of this status right now is that you’re getting a good GPU for a decent price, and with the F15’s powerful processor and expandable storage keeping it company, you really can’t go wrong with the laptop.
For entry-level to midrange gaming laptop, the TUF FX506HM offers good value for money, especially when compared to the competing MSI GF65 or GF66 series. Most notably, it has Thunderbolt connectivity, RGB keyboard lighting, and a numpad that the aforementioned MSI models lack. We also prefer the firmer keyboard keys and more user-friendly touchpad on the Asus for an overall more satisfying user experience.
The high CPU and GPU performance allows the FX506HM to rise above its budget to midrange category. However, the plastic base and limited color rendering bring it back down to earth.
The processor performance of the new Intel 11th generation Core-H platform is also excellent with significant gains over the previous generation. While it doesn’t outperform the latest Zen 3 AMD CPUs by significant margins, the on-die support for both Thunderbolt and PCIe 4.0 gives it an edge. up for users who care about this high-end features.
Everything else about the FX506 is just average for its category. For example, the plastic base is comparable to a cheap Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i, HP Pavilion Gaming 15 or MSI GF65. The quality of the chassis therefore feels no better or worse than with the previous generation FX505.
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