- Nice Look and a Stronger Brand Identity in place
- The option for upgradability makes the laptop a good option for future proofing down the line
- Powered by the Ryzen 4000 Series with RTX 2060
- Impressive Performance for a Laptop
- Great MultiThread work load capability
- Support for DisplayPort via USB-C is a welcoming addition
- Nice Display with 144Hz Adaptive Refresh
- Great Price Tag
- Thermals can get a little toasty
- The Display could have been better, imo
The Taiwanese brand has been making gaming laptops for the longest possible and about 2 years ago, they decided to make gaming laptops under the ASUS branding instead of the ROG – for those who’d like a budget conscious configuration. After going through numerous refreshes in the naming scheme, their laptop finally gets the TUF Gaming title. With that out of the way, ASUS Malaysia sent us over their new Ryzen 4000 Series based TUF Gaming A15 which we got to review and here’s our final verdict on it.
Look and Feel
After going through a serious identity crisis, the TUF Gaming laptop finally represents the name in its look. Now, on thetop, the laptop rocks a metal finish with a steampunk like design with bolts on the corners to give it a TUF look (pun intended.). Right in the middle, we have the TUF Gaming logo but in a darker print which looks clean and beautiful overall. For a gaming laptop, it does have some design cues that hints that it is one, but it is clean enough to not distract anyone in the meeting room with an RGB-fied logo. On the inside, the design remains the same and the only place you’ll notice the ASUS logo, which is below the display. Around the keyboard, there’s another interesting choice of change – where it now has an area with TUF Gaming written on it. On the bottom, it has a honeycomb design, which in my opinion is a good change. Overall, the laptop has finally gained a confidence to tout the TUF Logo – which is great.
As for the feel, the laptop is constructed in both metal and polycarbonate. It’s completely fine and offers a good feel overall. Honestly, it didn’t change much as the feel of the whole laptop is relatively similar, if not same as the predecessors. The laptop weighs in at 2.3kg which hits a sweet spot for a beefy spec-ed device to bring on the move. That said, the TUF Gaming title isn’t just to catch attention – part of the reason why it boasts the title is because of its MIL-STD-810H Tests – where ASUS has gone as far as testing these laptops in harshest condition and trust me, this laptop can definitely take a beat.
Our TUF Gaming Laptop is the 15.6” variant and if you want a bigger screen, there’s always the 17” variant waiting for you. The panel is a 16:9 Full HD IPS Panel with support for 144Hz Adaptive Sync. If you noticed the recent trends, laptops are moving more towards the Adaptive Sync technology for cost efficiency and offer good gaming experience with little to no screen tearing or motion blur. The Display has an Anti-Glare coating on top to make it more useable in brighter rooms or places and you won’t have any issues with reflections. It has a very thin bezel profile going on, which is nice to the touch and unlike how ROG laptops ditched the webcam, the TUF does have a webcam for you to attend calls, especially in this time of the year considering the fact that how important a webcam is.
The colors on the display is quite alright with 45% NTSC coverage. It isn’t the most color accurate display, but it gets the job done – editing with Premiere Pro or Lightroom was just fine but you’d really want to get a good monitor to do that. Gaming on this display is going to be enjoyable given the fact that the display does run on 144Hz. So, if you decide to launch any AAA Title games or FPS based games, expect your frame rates to really excel quite alright. Since it does come with a Ray Tracing enabled GPU, the Ray tracing component does enable you to see a little bit of extra detailing in games such as shadows and reflections really well. Watching shows on Netflix or Prime, there’s no issue with that – just wished that the display was a little brighter.
Specification | Performance | I/O
Let’s talk about the specification we received from ASUS. Our TUF Gaming laptop was quite beefy for what it is, and the specification is definitely going to put a lot of smiles on faces:
- AMD Ryzen 7 4800H, 8-Core, 16-Thread Processor
- NVIDIA RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM
- 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
- 16GB (2X8GB) Dual-Channel DDR4 RAM
To make things super interesting for consumers, I think ASUS has done that well with the TUF Gaming laptop – not only the specification above sounds good. The upgradability on this laptop is really good. It has two more empty slots for more storage: One M.2 SSD Slot and a 2.5” HDD/SSHD/SSD Slot for you to take complete advantage of the storage.
Both the RAM slots are upgradable with no issues but given the fact that it has 16GB RAM is more than enough for general consensus. To benchmark the TUF Gaming Laptop, we did the following test: CrystalDiskMark for Storage, PC MARK10, 3DMARK (courtesy to UL Benchmark for the tools), Geekbench 5 and Cinebench R20.
Starting off with the storage: both the M.2 Slots on the TUF Gaming laptop supports PCIe Gen 3.0×4 and only one slot is filled with the primary SSD – a 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD. We performed CrystalDiskMark and the scores were: 1602MB/s Sequential Read and 1662MB/s for Write. What’s a little odd is the fact that – these are 3.0×4 slots and the speeds were a fast but not as fast as what a Gen 3×4 would be. So, we filled the other slot with our own Transcend SSD and the speeds were relatively identical as the other SSD. For what it’s worth, the speeds are really great, but it isn’t just as on par as the Gen3x4. But hey, who knew you could now run a RAID 0 configuration on a laptop like this. That’s just exciting. But to be safe, we will run more tests to see if its really Gen 3×4.
Next up we have Cinebench R20. As you can notice, the scores for the new Ryzen 4000 Series, the Ryzen 7 4800H in this case is really nice – with 470 points on single core and 3930 points for multi core work. The Ryzen 7 Processor for mobile just got better because in a multi-threaded work especially running editing or creator tools like Premiere Pro or Lightroom which is CPU Intensive tends to take a huge hit on an Intel Processor but the Ryzen 7 handles multi-threaded core tasks a lot better than team blue. This is a very important aspect for my self because as a content creator myself, it helps a lot.
Then we have the PCMARK10 Test with a score of 6 573 and in 3DMARK, Time Spy test, the laptop hits about 6 323. Finally, there’s the Geekbench 5 Benchmark which you can check out in the screenshot below.
Since it is a gaming laptop, the machine performs quite well in demanding titles relatively well. The RTX 2060 is a GPU you can totally take complete advantage of, especially with a machine like this – it’s more than enough. We ran some games and the frame rates were quite alright. Finally, to test the RTX with DLSS off and DLSS on, we used Metro Exodus. Truth be told, with the new DLSS 2.0 in place, the frame rates have improved a lot even with RTX ON – so it’s only a matter of time you get to play with RTX ON the whole time and enjoy the graphics the way game developers wanted it to be.
|TUF Gaming A15 R7-4800H | RTX 2060 (Turbo Mode)
RTX and DLSS Benchmark
|Metro Exodus (RTX OFF, DLSS OFF, Ultra)||43||7||86|
|Metro Exodus (RTX ON, DLSS OFF, Ultra)||36||6||85|
|Metro Exodus (RTX ON, DLSS ON, Ultra)||41||7||82|
|TUF Gaming A15 R7-4800H | RTX 2060 (Turbo Mode)
|Tom Clancy: Division 2 (High)||73||61||85|
|Crew 2: Gold Edition||60||58||60|
Personally, speaking – after trying to game on pretty much all the three modes the laptop offer: Silent, Performance and Turbo. You are better off playing games on Turbo all the time but say if the fans are a little to loud, then Performance is not a bad mode to play on. The thermals are very important and during our gameplay, Silent mode has the highest temperature and logically it makes sense. Toggle to performance or best yet, to Turbo – the thermals get a little better.
Our thermals for the GPU on Turbo was in the range of 78-89 degrees and as for the processor, it hits about 90 degrees under heavy load. So, when then Turbo mode already has a toasty thermals – seriously 90 degrees and 85 is hot – you are definitely better off not using the Silent or Performance, unless – of course you are on the move.
Finally, the I/O on the TUF Gaming A15 is really nice. 99% of the ports are positioned on the left side of the laptop: DC IN, Ethernet Port, HDMI, 2 x USB-A, 1 x USB-C (which also acts as a DisplayPort 1.4) and a 3.5mm Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack. On the right side, the laptop has another Full-Size USB-A Port and the Kensington Lock. Sadly, the SD Card is nowhere to be seen and I am really bummed about that. The USB-C Port on the TUF is just a DisplayPort 1.4, but it doesn’t have support for PD, which would have been an interesting touch.
Battery Life and Charging
Globally, there are two different variants of the TUF Gaming A15: A 90 Wh Lithium-Polymer Battery and a 48Wh variant. Literally all the variants available in Malaysia comes with the 48Wh battery – which you might think as a bummer but here’s a fun fact, the 90Wh does not have a 2.5” HDD Bay – whereas the 48Wh has a third storage option. That aside, the battery life on the TUF Gaming Laptop is as expected. Mixed task gives the laptop about 2 hours + of battery life and if you are planning to game on this, on battery – not only the performance is going to be choppy, but the laptop battery will only last about 55 minutes to an hour. To charge the laptop, ASUS included a 230W Power Brick to go along with it.
Keyboard and Trackpad
The Keyboard and the Trackpad experience is pretty much the same as the predecessor. You get an interesting design cue on the keyboard with the transparent WASD keys which we have seen with the ROG counterpart. The keyboard now RGB-fied, so you can fire up Armory Crate and customize the keyboard whichever way you want. The 15” variant comes with a Number Pad crammed on the side – so you are getting a full-size keyboard. The key travel is quite decent, but it does have a little mushy feel to it.
As for the trackpad, it works well and thanks to Windows Precision drivers, the gesture controls are quite accurate and responsive. They have included dedicated Left and Right button for easy use case.
It’s funny how this particular laptop went under so many names and identity, but it’s finally rocking that TUF Gaming logo with pride. ASUS beefed up the TUF Gaming A15 with some great specification for both Gamers and Content Creators and with features that was once only available to niche consumer like the 2x M.2 SSD slots, the laptop looks more attractive than ever. Coming in at a price tag of RM 5,699 for the specification we reviewed above – this is one TUF cookie that you will not regret spending your money on for years to come.