Acer has Nitro 5, MSI Leopard line and US Navy F16; ASUS, in turn, has its new ASUS TUF Gaming F15 and A15. They give players good performance without having to torture the piggy bank too much. A very attractive prospect, you will agree…
In April, we tested the very interesting ROG Zephyrus G14, a 14-inch gaming laptop equipped with a Ryzen 9 4900HS. Here we are today in such pleasant company. ASUS sent us in May one of its new TUF Gaming, aimed at the accessible segment and equipped, again, with one of AMD’s new generation processors: the brave Ryzen 7 4800H. This computer is nothing more than one of the best equipped versions of the TUF Gaming A15, offered at a price of $1400. Below, the complete data sheet as an appetizer. For this price, here’s what ASUS has to offer:
A 144.6-inch 144Hz IPS Full HD display
An AMD Ryzen 7 4800H processor (8 cores / 16 wires between 2.8 and 4.2 GHz; 8 MB L3 cache, 4 MB L2)
16 GB RAM (DDR4 at 3200 MHz) via two SO-DIMMs. Expandable capacity up to 32 GB
A dedicated 6 GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card
1 x 512 GB M.2 NVMe SSD (up to 1 TB optional)
Wifi 902.11 ac / Bluetooth 5.0
1 microphone / headset, 1 RJ45 port, 1 USB 3.1 3.1 Type input, 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A inputs, 1 USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port with DisplayPort 1.4 support, 1 HDMI 2.0b output.
48 Wh battery
Offered from $1099 on the web, the TUF Gaming A15 can also be equipped with a Ryzen 5 4600H and a GTX 1650 Ti. The Ryzen 7 4800H is also supported by a GTX 1660 Ti on another version, this time sold for around $1200. As mentioned above, ASUS is also betting on the TUF Gaming F15, which benefits from similar configurations, but this time with Intel processors (Core i5-10300H or i7-10750H, to choose from) and the RTX 2060 option less… probably just to keep prices more or less at the same level as the AMD versions.
Lots Of Plastic, But A Pretty Sober Game Machine
Out of the box, the TUF Gaming A15 surprises with its relative ease. The device relies heavily on plastic to reduce costs, while the parts most vulnerable to scratches and various marks are made of aluminum. There are two metal plates: the first for the keyboard and the palm rest, the second on the hood. If ASUS highlights the ease of its new TUF game compared to the old models (we confirm), the device has a reinforced frame, which should withstand shocks.
In particular, the manufacturer indicates that it has designed the A15 and F15 in order to approach the MIL-STD-810H military standard as much as possible, for infallible or near robustness. it does not suffer from any particular defect. Overall, and despite its basic approach, the TUF Gaming A15 makes a good impression and looks built to last, with a well-designed chassis.
This brings us to the design of the laptop. Although this is ultimately very subjective, I appreciated the relative sobriety of the car. All the more so considering some models launched at ASUS in the past and what the competition offered not so long ago. Therefore, it seems entirely possible to use the TUF A15 as a daily computer without automatically switching to the service gamer. A good point in our opinion.
To achieve this, ASUS is content with discreet colors: black and dark gray and limits the eccentricities on the chassis. Apart from some relief effects here and there and a honeycomb pattern on the bottom of the computer, nothing too obvious. On the other hand, we find some clues to the “reinforced” approach of the product with four false rivets on the lid, as if holding the aluminum plate fixed behind the screen. Funny.
A Good Keyboard And RGB Input Level
Let’s get to the keyboard and his companion, the trackpad. No problem here, on the contrary. In addition to a strangely shaped enter key and the annoying position of the “*” key (which we always accidentally hit), the new TUF Gaming has a very nice keyboard in the store, with a comfortable typing and a good space between the keys. The race is quite long, which is positive, but we regret, on the other hand, that the return was not a little firmer. Nothing particularly annoying, especially since you get used to it pretty quickly.
Lovers of RGB LEDs will also be served, with keys capable of displaying all the colors of the rainbow. You can also easily switch between the different rear lighting modes using the directional keys. However, it is not possible to set the color of each key individually. In addition, the configuration is done in a few clicks from the ASUS Armory Crate tool, quite successful, but very interesting for monitoring the use of components.
The trackpad is precise and very sensitive. Too bad it can’t be clicked (you have to be content with two buttons) and it’s not bigger. However, we remain in the middle of what we usually find in this type of car. Otherwise, keep in mind the presence of a mediocre webcam, barely enough for video exchanges, and the absence of a fingerprint sensor. Zephyrus G14 has included one in the power button: nothing here… you will have to identify with the old one.
When IPS Does Not Shine With Its Capabilities
Like most of the 2020 market, the new TUF Gaming has a screen with tapered edges at the top and side of the panel, with a slight protrusion above the screen to facilitate opening and a chin. on the bottom. Beyond the 144 Hz update offered, it’s hard to find other qualities in the affordable ASUS Expertbook laptop.
In order to integrate high-performance components without exploding the final price of its product, we consider that the Taiwanese manufacturer has made the biggest concessions on the screen. Leaving aside the emotional fluidity allowed by the display frequency, the IPS screen of the TUF Gaming A15 is at best acceptable, if not mediocre. Guilt is too light: we often close our eyes, very often, with our eyes in front of the laptop screen to try to see something outside or even in a very bright space.
Unfortunately, that’s not all, you have to deal with soft and not very accurate colors, which are far from flattering the retina or beautifying the content displayed. It’s a shame, but often on devices offered on the same price segment. The display is good in turn (1920 x 1080 pixels on a diagonal of 15.6 inches for 141 ppi) and the very correct contrast for eyes with very black.
In general, we are satisfied, for lack of something better, with this perfectible display, especially considering the starting price of the device (even if it will be necessary to do without 144 Hz on the most affordable versions), as if console for this very disappointing visual experience. We would love for ASUS to do better in the future in this range.
AMD And Ryzen 7 4800H At The Controls Of A Very Playful Device!
As I said in the introduction, ASUS is again offering its TUF Gaming versions this year in Intel (F15 models) and AMD (A15 variants). I received a loan device equipped with a Ryzen 7 4800H, one of the newest AMD processors. From the “Renoir” generation, the latter benefits from both the Zen 2 architecture developed by Lisa Su (and used on Ryzen 3000 desktop processors) and the 7 nm TSMC engraving. Therefore, we inherit what AMD is able to do best in the low-power SoC market in 2020.
Along with this brand new processor (announced in March and launched in the mass market in April): a GeForce RTX 2060 from Nvidia, which clearly does not need to be proven, and 16 GB of DDR4. Let’s see what all these beautiful people are capable of doing in the game, but also in video editing.
In order to have a sense of performance of the device, we launched two recent games, taking advantage especially of the effects that derive from ray tracing and are activated by RTX 2060: Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Control. In either case, the 1080p experience didn’t set a trap.
Under Shadow of the Tomb Raider, in Full HD definition and with all the details pushed to the maximum level (all to the last), but without the active shadow tracking shadows, we managed to exceed the threshold of 65 FPS. Once the beautiful shadows and light effects of the title have been activated and pushed into Ultra, the framerate is between 40 and 50 FPS. The experience remained fully redeemable, but we preferred to lower the sails a little to get to the average level, less greedy and therefore less critical in terms of fluidity (60 FPS almost constant this time)… for more comfort. We are not convinced of the effectiveness of DLSS on SotTR, we preferred to leave this option aside, because it was too visual in our opinion.
Note, on the other hand, the presence, under the title Crystal Dynamics, of a graphics option signed by AMD: FidelityFX CAS, which here has the effect of improving the image clarity quite convincingly without affecting the framerate. A good surprise and a good point for the tomatoes.
Audio For Correction, Limited Autonomy
The world of laptops most often neglects the audio quality of the speakers, preferring to be content with speakers of often questionable quality and with virtually no capacity. A logic that TUF Gaming A15 follows, not surprisingly.
In this sense, the device has everything to please (it’s ironic), with two microscopic speakers compared to the size of the chassis, integrated on the bottom of the computer for a sound that is really missing, without relief or power, mainly focused on misleading screams. No big deal, the noise from the dissipation system is enough to cover most of the frequencies, which is practically not bad! We’ll be happy – but only just – to watch an occasional movie or a few videos on YouTube. Nothing more.
Fortunately, and this is the case in most markets, connecting a good quality headset to a 3.56 mm plug is enough to fix the problem. A saving effort: without forgetting, the audio output of the TUF is very correct and quite powerful. In any case, enough to play without hearing the outside world – and the sound of ventilation. Too bad, on the other hand, that the signal loses its accuracy and is embellished with a light grain when you push the volume to the maximum. Nothing bad though.
In terms of autonomy and to close the test of this TUF Gaming A15, without madness: count on more or less 4 to 5 hours of juice in the office and in the use of multimedia and not even more than 4 hours of video playback under Netflix (via Chrome, with 70% brightness, essential here, given the low brightness provided, the keyboard backlight off, and the “Silent” mode on).
We are exactly at the level of what we usually find on this type of car, whose energy margin is modest compared to the greed of the components invited on board… Impossible to have everything, of course, but still remember that Zephyrus G14 did better with Ryzen 9 4900HS and RTX 2060. You can really count on 6 to 7 hours of battery life.