THE BOTTOM LINE
The Asus TUF A15 FA506IH-AS53 is an excellent gaming laptop that offers incredible value for money, and it manages to do so, without compromising performance and design.
The new Asus TUF A15 (also known as TUF FA506IH-AS53) is one of the most versatile budget laptops you can buy right now. In fact, it’s a refreshed iteration of our favorites from last year, the Asus TUF FX505DT-AH51; now rocking a formidable combination of brand new, top-end AMD Ryzen APU paired with a healthy dollop of Nvidia’s Turing graphics silicon.
As the TUF moniker implies, this isn’t a svelte machine, as is the case with its Zephyrus siblings, which pack powerful performance in slimline packages. Nor does it pack the best of gaming components to rival the best gaming PCs.
No, what makes us excited about the Asus TUF A15 is the fact that it features on of the latest AMD Ryzen 4600 mobile processors along with the excellent Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU, to create an affordable gaming laptop that offers brilliant performance without creating holes in your pockets.
Like other Asus TUF series laptops, the Asus TUF A15 is a big, chunky system that’s nothing close to Asus’ ROG Zephyrus range – but then, that’s part of the charm. With the TUF line, we are used to devices that place build quality and durability at the forefront when it comes to design.
It’s certainly a design that affirms status of a gaming machine, but it’s not completely overboard either – and you’d really give it some credit for being the right size for lugging around. The chassis comes in two colors: Fortress Gray (the color on our review unit) and Bonfire Black.
Keyboard & Touchpad
When you open the lid, there are even more design choices to appeal to gamers. The choice RGB lighting for the keys, and the all-important WASD keys are illuminated with a translucent coloring, leaving no doubt of this being a gaming laptop.
The military grade design is certainly alluring, and is quite functional. It gives the laptop extra protection from daily knocks and bumps, and there’s also a honeycomb design on the base of the machine, which keeps the laptop from sliding about, with cells in the structure housing cooling vents.
Display & Ports
Having a chunky design means that you have enough room to accommodate plenty of ports, and in this case an Ethernet port, HDMI, two standard USB ports and a USB-C port on the left-hand side, along with a power plug in the power supply, while the right-hand side holds another standard USB.
It’s a robust selection, and should be sufficient for all your peripherals without the need of an adapter. For a gaming laptop, the presence of an adapter is much welcome, as it offers more reliable network speeds.
Meanwhile, the screen is a nice, large, 15.6-inch 1080p display with 144Hz, further bolstering the Asus TUF FA506IH-AS53’s gaming credentials. Still, you can get a version that top out at 60Hz refresh rate, but the rest of the features remain unchanged.
As we mentioned from the onset of this review, the choice of components on the Asus TUF A15 made us particularly interested about this machine, and that includes the latest hardware from both AMD and Nvidia.
For the CPU, the FA506IH-AS53 features the new AMD Ryzen 5 4600H. It’s not quite the flagship mobile processor from AMD (that title is currently held by the Ryzen 9 4900HS), but again, the TUF A15 isn’t aiming to be a flagship laptop. All we know for sure; it’s aiming to be a budget machine that offers a mix of performance and value, and that’s why we like the choice of the 4600H.
With 6 cores and 12 threads and a maximum boost clock of 4.0GHz, this chip easily delivers on both productivity tasks and gaming. To that, add 8GB and 512GB SSD and you have a spirited machine that can handle most (if not all) of your computing needs., may it be media editing or playing the latest games in 1080p.
This is paired with an Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU. Again, this isn’t a flagship GPU (you have the RTX 20 Series), but it’s a capable 1080p performer, making it an excellent choice for this kind of gaming laptop. It’s one of Nvidia’s more affordable GPUs, but it still offers very good performance, and with 4GB DDR6 memory, it makes for a smart choice for a laptop whose cost need to be kept down.
Gaming & Graphics
With Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 GPU (4GB) in tow, the TUF FA506IH-AS53 stands out as a capable gaming laptop, that will let you play modern titles at 1080p and medium settings. The GTX 1650 graphics card is the low-end version of Nvidia’s 2019-released gaming GPUs, hitting the market with the Turing-based RTX 20-Series graphics cards. Unlike its high-end siblings (RTX 2070 & RTX 2080), the GTX 1650 doesn’t include any Raytracing or Tensor cores.
Still, it delivers better performance over last year’s GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics cards. Played at medium settings and 1080p resolution, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey yields at 55 to 62 frames per second, but the same game runs at 53 to 68 fps at medium settings. Of course, you suffer from pixel lose as you move to higher settings, topping out at 48 fps.
At the same settings, Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1080p at a mix of medium and high settings, the TUF A15 renders the game at 46 fps. That’s slightly better for an entry-level gaming laptop as it goes above the 37-fps average.
Gaming laptops are never excellent when it comes to battery life, and the Asus TUF FA506IH-AS53 we’re reviewing isn’t exceptional. Its battery lasts just over 6 hours and 56 minutes under normal use, which includes continuous web browsing, watching videos at 150 nits brightness. That’s over the entry-level gaming average of 4: 38 minutes, whereby the Acer Nitro 5 Spin leads the pack at 7 hours 11 minutes.
The Asus TUF A15 is an excellent gaming laptop that offers incredible value for money, and it manages to do so, without compromising performance and design. While it’s not the cheapest gaming laptop around, it manages to offer build quality and performance that its mid-range and budget rivals will find hard to beat.
However, don’t expect eye-popping 4K visuals since the screen here tops out at 1080p, and if you’re looking for something thin and lightweight, just look elsewhere. Otherwise, if all you need are an affordable gaming laptop for competitive play with robust build quality, the Asus TUF A15 FA506IH-AS53 is all yours. And all for a genuinely decent price too.
ASUS TUF Gaming A15 Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 144Hz FHD IPS-Type, AMD Ryzen 5 4600H, GeForce GTX 1650, 8GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe SSD, Gigabit Wi-Fi 5, Windows 10 Home, FA506IH-AS53
2 used from $1,069.99