Asus TUF F15 FX506HF-ES51 Review

7.5 Total Score
EXCELLENT

The 2021 Asus TUF Gaming F15 FX506HF-ES51 is a powerful, pretty, and capable all-rounder at a keen price. If you can look past some of its cost-cutting, the internals on offer here performs well above their cost.

PROS
  • Superb 1080p gaming
  • Strong productivity capabilities
  • Great price
CONS
  • Poor webcam, touchpad, and speakers
  • Some games appear washed out on display

The Asus TUF F15 FX506HF sits in the space between true high-end gaming laptops such as the Asus ROG Scar Strix and the more affordable Lenovo Legion 5. That means, you’re getting almost Premier League performance and built quality for a lot less than Championship prices.

Our review model of the Asus F15 is the FX506HF-ES51; a very attractive gaming laptop fitted with an 11th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 GPU. It also comes with a decent display with up to a 144Hz refresh rate, storage of up to 512GB SSD in capacity, and a rather fine keyboard complete with a numeric keypad. The design is familiar as it mimics last year’s model, but that’s not a problem because the 2020 TUF 15 was a stunner.

Well, since 2021 Asus has updated the TUF F15 line, and we now have a newer machine with 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD storage, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU. But for the budget gamer looking for something capable for well under$1000, the Asus TUF F15 FX506HF remains the best budget gaming laptop around.

Asus TUF F15 FX506HF copy

Asus TUF Gaming F15 Specs

Here is the FX506HF-ES51 configuration in this review:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-11400H
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080, 144Hz
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3
  • Camera: 720p webcam
  • Weight: 5.07 pounds
  • Size: 14.13 x 0.9 x 10.08 inches

Design & Features

  • Sturdy chassis
  • Backlit chiclet keyboard
  • 144Hz FHD Display

The Asus TUF F15 FX506HF arrives in a familiar dark grey chassis meant to blend into any professional or casual environment, and it does well. This version of the Gaming F15 sports minimal branding on the lid, which is only limited to a streamlined TUF shield at the center.

When the lid is opened, there’s a notch that houses a 720p webcam for your video conferences. On the left of the Gaming F15 is a port for the power adapter, an Ethernet port, an HDMI 2.0 port, a USB 3.2 Type-A port, a 3.5mm, and a Thunderbolt 4 port. The right side holds a single USB 3.2 Type-A port.

The laptop measures 13.94 x 9.88 x 0.78 inches and weighs 5.07 pounds. Compared, the Acer Nitro 5 measures 14.19 x 10.67 x 1.06 inches and weighs 5.51 pounds, while the MSI GF63 Thin measures 14.13 x 9.99 x 0.85 inches and weighs 4.1 pounds.

Asus TUF F15 FX506HF back copy

The Asus FX506HF-ES51 sports a 15-inch FHD1920 x 1080p display with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a 144Hz refresh rate. Those specs sound solid enough for gaming, but you’ll need more money if you want a higher refresh and the best-looking display. The screen doesn’t get too bright enough for comfortable use, but plugging in the wall adapter helps a bit. That’s where the I/O ports come in handy, with HDMI that can extend your screen estate. Still, this one does a decent job, especially among its peers in the budget category.

The 2022 TUF F15 rocks a new style without the gamer-centric aesthetic that plagued the gaming landscape in the past few years. Though billed as a gaming laptop, this particular iteration is well-balanced with a backlit keyboard that’s comfortable to type on, and the WASD keys are set in solid white color for seamless gaming.

While it doesn’t match the keyboard on my MacBook Air, it’s decent enough for gaming laptops. The trackpad is also sizeable enough, and responsive, but the lack of capacitive touch means you’ll have to use the two physical buttons at the bottom. You can adjust that in settings, especially if you will be dragging and dropping items on the screen.

Gaming and Graphics Performance

  • Good 1080p gaming performance
  • Great for productivity tasks
  • Mediocre battery life

We reviewed the Asus TUF F15 FX506HF with an Intel Core i5-11400H Processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 GPU, 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD storage, which explains the low price, but it still blows the competition out of the water when it comes to 1080p gaming and productivity. Competitors like the Acer Nitro 5 AN515-58-525P and Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022) have better Nvidia RTX 3050 cards, despite selling for around the same price.

On Hitman 3 (Ultra settings, 1080p), everything runs smoothly and at a consistent 53 frames per second. As Agent 47, you can eliminate foes and move around the farmland of Colorado without any lag. When you play Forza Horizon 5 (high settings, 1080p), the Gaming F15 yields 54 frames per second. Meanwhile, the MSI Pulse GL66 (with an RTX 3060) achieved 69 fps, followed by the Alienware x14 R1 (RTX 3060), which got 64 fps, and the Acer Nitro 5’s (RTX 3050) 58 fps.

On the Far Cry 6 (1080p, ultra), the Gaming F15 reaches 28fps, which is much lower than both the Acer Nitro 5 (70 fps) and the Acer Predator Helios 300 (78 fps), with RTX 3050 and RTX 3060 cards, respectively.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 graphics card used here is a mid-range card released in 2021 for laptops and is based on the Ampere GA107 chip, just like the RTX 3050, which is more reason benchmark results aren’t far apart. Compared to the GeForce MX570, the RTX 2050 offers both Raytracing and DLSS support. On the other hand, compared to the old GeForce RTX 2060 mobile, the 2050 offers more shaders (2,048) but on a significantly reduced memory bus (64-bit). Thus, gaming performance on the RTX 2050 is much lower than RTX 2060 due to the reduced graphics memory bus.

For productivity, the Intel Core i5-11400H Processor, 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD storage can handily crush intense workloads without breaking a sweat, such as opening two dozen Chrome tabs, playing five YouTube videos, editing Photoshop documents and running Assassin’s Creed Valhalla in the background.

Our review unit has a 48WHrs battery, but there are other models with 90WHrs, 4-cell batteries which offer good battery life for a gaming laptop. The 3-cell battery in our review unit won’t impress, lasting only 5 hours 31 minutes on a single charge, and the run time drops significantly during use. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 remains the best laptop when it comes to battery life, lasting up to 11 hours on a single charge.

Asus TUF F15 FX506HF keyboard copy

Asus TUF F15 FX506HF-ES51: Verdict

The Asus TUF F15 FX506HF is a capable, affordable 1080p gaming laptop with solid productivity performance. However, don’t expect your games to look as beautiful as they should on the Asus ROG Strix G16 (2023) with an RTX 4070 graphics card. However, if you’re just getting into PC gaming or shopping on a tight budget, you’ll be able to game without a hiccup.

While the webcam, touchpad, and speakers may be secondary concerns for some PC gamers, those who will be using this for productivity may want to consider other options than the Gaming F15. The Acer Nitro 5 AN515-58-525P excels at both productivity and gaming, thanks to a 12th Gen Intel Core i5-12500H processor and GeForce RTX 3050 GPU.

If your budget can flex a little, the MSI Thin GF63 is an even better alternative, packing a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD storage, and still in the under $1,000 price range. But if you’re on a tight budget, the Asus TUF Gaming F15 is a nice, budget choice to enter the PC gaming club with.

Asus TUF F15 FX506HF-ES51 Review
Asus TUF F15 FX506HF-ES51 Review
$699.00
Digital Weekly
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