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Asus TUF A15 Laptop Review – The Best Budget Gaming Laptop?

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When it comes to gaming laptops, things don’t come cheap. Unlike normal laptops that you can bet on finding a good one across multiple budgets, gaming laptops cost an arm and a leg.

To keep the price low, Asus has had to make some conscious decisions but they have all worked together to create a gaming laptop that meets the minimum of what should be called “good”. For instance, the company has paired up an AMD Ryzen 4000 series processor with an NVIDIA Geforce graphics card, and as unusual as such a pair is, they do work together really well.

Design

The overall design doesn’t shy away from the fact that this is a gaming machine. The first thing you will notice about the Asus TUF Gaming A15 is its ruggedness. As in the name ‘TUF’, the laptop focuses on build quality and durability. The chassis is military-grade rated but we didn’t try to do any drop tests and we don’t recommend that you do.

Like other gaming laptops, this machine is not built to be light and pretty – that doesn’t mean it’s not aesthetically pleasing but that’s in a sharp corner, weird shapes kind of way. Opening up the laptop you find the obligatory RGB lit keyboard, and the all-important WASD keys highlighted, stamping down that this is no doubt a gaming laptop.

The bottom of the laptop features a honeycomb design with rubber feet that keep the device from sliding about.

The Asus TUF A15 is also not short of ports thanks to the chunky design. There’s a HDMI port if you wish to use an external display, numerous USB ports, and even a USB-C port. To top it all off, Asus included an Ethernet port for faster internet connections.

Gaming Performance

Before we get into the chips that power the laptop, the display is big enough for mobile gaming. Coming in at 15.6-inches, the 1080p panel clocks at 144Hz refresh rate, further bolstering the laptop’s gaming credentials.

Now to the chips, the Asus TUF Gaming A15 features a new AMD Ryzen 7 4800H. This is a budget processor but does get the job done relatively well as benchmarks have shown.  Asus married the AMD processor with an Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR6 graphics memory. Again, this is another budget graphics card that has helped keep the cost of the machine relatively down.

When it comes to gaming, the Asus TUF A15 does hold its own but don’t expect magical performance altogether. We tested our unit with Call of Duty, PES 2020, and Eurotruck for the fun of it. The more graphics-intensive games struggled a bit clocking at 45fps with a max of 60fps if you lower a few things here and there within the game. However, we did notice that for some strange reason CoD experienced some random lag.

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The 144Hz refresh rate really helped with fast and responsive gameplay but all that bliss vanishes into thin air when the fans kick in. The fans are so loud, they end up sounding like a vacuum cleaner of some sort. We get it, the laptop needs to be kept cool but geez!

Laptop Capabilities

So you won’t be gaming 24/7 on the laptop, if you’re a student you’ll need to get school work done or maybe some entertainment and this applies to professionals as well. The Asus TUF A15 does a good job as a gaming machine but how does it hold up as an everyday laptop?

Mobility

The laptop is chunky and weights over 2kgs, so chances are you will avoid moving around with it but incase you have to, it won’t be featherweight but it also won’t feel like a truck on your back. Just keep in mind that it’s not in any way light, slim or sleek and it’s not even trying to be any of those things.

Usability

I will just say this right off the bat, the keyboard and trackpad aren’t that good. I can’t place my finger on it (pun intended) but something doesn’t add up when it comes to the feel of the keyboard. It’s nice that we have a separate numberpad making it a full-size keyboard but it does take some getting used to.

For those like me who enjoy working with some background music, well, there’s no big disappointment but there’s also nothing to write home about. The speakers are on the sides, downward-facing but they don’t produce that much of a good sound especially if you like some bass. However, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t get distorted when playing loud music.

Battery Life

Gaming laptops are notorious for having terrible battery life, there’s no sugarcoating that. However, the Asus TUF A15 does try to change this narrative. With its huge 90Wh battery, the machine impressively lasts close to 2 hours of CoD without being plugged in. But while using it as an everyday laptop, you will find that the laptop doesn’t last as long as we’ve seen other much slimmer laptops do. I got around 4 hours of usage with my normal workflow, music constantly playing on YouTube, the RGB lights on the keyboard on, and 50% brightness.

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Conclusion

The Asus TUF Gaming A15 is not your top of the range gaming laptop and it’s not trying to be. The machine is perfectly fine as the middle ground that gives you a good gaming performance for less, letting you keep your kidney with you.

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