- Great Build Quality
- Powerful for its Price Tag
- Better Cooling System
- Loud Speakers
- Trackpad is Wobbly (with our unit)
- Very little I/Os
- Arrow Keys Could've been Bigger
- No SD Card Slot
It’s no surprise – Gaming is becoming a thing and companies are making laptops to cater the gamers. One sad thing is – during the process, most of the companies forget about consumers who wants a decent and affordable gaming laptop. That’s not the case with Asus. Previously, we have seen them releasing so many variant of the same laptop – just to make sure everyone gets to feel and own one. With their new TUF Gaming Series – they are making laptops that’s affordable. But is Asus TUF Gaming FX504, the entry level gaming laptop that we all have been waiting for? Time to find out in this Asus TUF Gaming FX504 Review.
Design & Build Quality
For a gaming laptop, the design is rather understated – atleast that was the case with our unit. The FX504 shares a lot in common with the FX503 which was the predecessor of this one. On the lid, the Asus logo comes in this Red Finish to give that gaming laptop look to it. Along with that, you’ll notice that it has this brushed design with the cornered off slash design. Opening up the lid, you’ll realize – the top area that’s surrounding the keyboard has this brushed pattern with angular design that’s flushed near the trackpad but sinks in as it goes to the keyboard area. I personally like this particular design choice. Other than that, the bottom that covers the whole component area has a rough pattern to avoid any sort of scratches.
As for the build quality – the FX504 is completely constructed in plastic. When you hold it, the laptop is surprisingly sturdy and has a solid build to it. The hinge that holds the display counter part with the body is solid and doesn’t wobble as much. Possibly one of the sturdiest hinges I’ve ever came across. The body has a really good build at the top whereas at the bottom, which covers the components has a hollow and cheaper feel to it. This is in a way – normal because of the fact that it’s removable. Other than that, the laptop holds up really well. As for the weight, it comes in at 2.4kg. It’s thicker by 2.6cm. If you are planning to carry your gaming laptop around, you might want to get a better bag that has good padding as well.
I/O & Connectivity
In terms of the I/O – everything is located on the left side. It has a DC IN port for charging, Gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI Port, One USB 2.0 and 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1. Finally we have the headphone jack as well. On the right side, the laptop has a Kensington Lock slot.
For a gaming laptop, I kind of wish that it has more USB Ports – considering the fact that it does not have a CD ROM. This would have been nicer. Funny thing, the FX503 had a SD Card Slot but the FX504 doesn’t. Why?!
As for connectivity, the FX504 comes with a dual band 2.4G/5G 802.11ac Wave2 Wi-Fi. Asus claims that it supports 160MHz bandwidth. Via MU-MIMO, it will get a dual band 1733Mbps setup. For Bluetooth, it has 4.1.
Specification & Performance
As for the specification, the Asus FX504 has the following. It runs an Intel Core i7-8750H. For the storage, it has two storage – a PCIe NVMe 128GB M.2 SSD and a 1TB FireCuda SSHD. Since it’s a gaming laptop, the FX504 houses a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti with 4GB GDDR5 VRAM. There is one downside with the laptop, that’s the RAM. For a gaming laptop, it comes with 4GB DDR4 RAM only. Good thing, it has 2 extra slots to upgrade the RAM. But for today’s standard, I personally think that it should have at least 8GB RAM under the hood.
Now for the Performance, for basic performance – you can expect the laptop to work just fine. Chrome and other applications like Word, Origin, Steam and more – loads up quickly and it’s snappy – thanks to the SSD. During these task, the laptop handles the temperature fairly well. Both the processor and Graphics Card has a temperature about 37 – 39 degree C.
Now on to some gaming – we played DmC, Need For Speed: No Limits and Evil Within 2. We noticed the following – there is a frame drop when there’s heavy animation happening around and during the game play – it drops a bit more. After playing for about 3 hours +, the game does get a bit of lag and sorts.
The FX504 packs a 15.6” FHD IPS Level display at 60Hz. The screen has a 170 degree wide view and has 63% sRGB Color coverage. On top of that, the panel has a matte finish – making it a display that’s easier to work under bright light. The viewing angle sure is good and I have no issues with it. If you are using the FX504 solely for gaming and to consume some of your favourite movies or show, it’s completely alright. Especially for gaming as it goes go upto 60 Hz.
With a 63% sRGB Color coverage, I can’t really recommend you to use the display to edit pictures or color correct your content – but you can. Other than that, it’s pretty impressive.
The Asus FX504 has a 48 WHr, 3S 1P – 4 Cell Lithium Ion battery under the hood. When it comes to battery life on a gaming laptop, we all know it’s going to be so-so. Under balanced mode, with 50% brightness – the laptop was able to last for almost 3 hours (2 hours 53 minutes) – until it’s last drop. If you were to crank the brightness to about 100%, expect the battery life to drop half the duration – and it did. The laptop does come with a 120W power brick to charge this behemoth up – and that takes about 1 hour 40 minutes (approx.,)
Possibly one of the most important aspect of a gaming laptop. Asus has opted in for a Cooling system – called HyperCool Heat Dissipation. Here’s how it works. The FX504 uses a dual fan setup – located on either sides and the components smack right in the middle. The GPU and CPU are connected to the copper heat sink – thus helping out with head dissipation. Don’t worry about dust because the laptop has an anti-dust mechanism that would stop dust accumulation.
There’s three different mode for the fan – Silent, Balance and Turbo. You can turn it on according to the task you’re performing. The moment we were playing some game title, the laptop automatically triggers the turbo mode to make sure the heat is dissipated. The heat can be felt at the top area of the keyboard actually. It does get hot but the thermals doesn’t let the temperature exceed 70++ degrees.
Keyboard and Mouse
Starting off with the keyboard, the FX504 has a Full Size Keyboard and every key has a key travel of 1.8mm with 62g peak force. If you look closely, the keys have a slight curve to it. Asus claims that this is done to improve the ergonomics. The keyboard is responsive and easier to type with. But the key travel is indeed a bit longer (and how to say this). It feels soft and sturdy. No matter how hard to hit the key, you can’t any key stroke sound – it’s very subtle.
The WASD keys are highlighted for easier identification. This particular keyboard feels okay for me – I do have mixed feelings about this but thank Asus, they have stuck with a proper layout. I asked my brother and my friends to try the keyboard, they liked it – I guess it’s just me then. One thing I wish Asus got it right – is the Arrow Keys. It does feel a bit too constricted.
Yes, you do get that gamer-y accent lights – but it only comes with a Red Backlight and you have three different levels to choose the brightness.
Finally the trackpad. The trackpad has a decent size to it and yes, in order to click left or right – you’ll have to press the trackpad – which is alright. But there was a problem with the unit we received. The trackpad was just too wobbly even to just moving my fingers and touching it. I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be this way but I really hope it isn’t. If your trackpad has such issue, I suggest bringing it to the Asus Service Centre to check it out.
The Asus FX504 rocks a side firing speakers. At maximum volume, the speaker is surprisingly loud and the highs are pretty sharp. There isn’t any bass to it but if you want to watch movies or listen to some tunes with your laptop, it’s great. I wouldn’t say it’s the best speakers because we have seen better speakers with their other lineup. But if you are one who prefers loud sounding speakers, this would do just fine.
What’s best is that the FX504 supports DTS Surround Sound, a virtual 7.1 channel surround when you use your headphones. This is probably one of the best things about this laptop.
When it comes to entry level gaming, we have so many options in the market – Dell with their Inspiron 7000 Series, Lenovo with their Legion Y520 to be specific. But then when, you look at what they have to offer – it’s either powered with a generation older processor like the Inspiron 7000 which has a 7th Gen and Legion. But with the price they offer – it clearly shows that the Asus TUF Gaming Laptop – FX504 is a clear winner.
Of course, it does have a bit of hiccup with the laptop – personally – just 4GB RAM does not suffice. But then, for RM 4199 – their highest variant, it sure is a steal. If you think, this particular variant is a bit pricey, Asus offers 3 other TUF Gaming laptop – with GTX 1050 instead – that starts at RM 3149.
Our conclusion – Asus TUF Gaming FX504 – Highly recommended.