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It’s no longer a rarity to see a gaming laptop with dedicated GeForce or Radeon graphics under a thousand bucks. But, it’s a tall order to score one that can handle the latest AAA games with scalpel consistency. Granted, we’ve seen some remarkable efforts. The Asus TUF FX505DT-AH51 enters a market dominated by the likes of Dell’s Inspiron 15 7000 and Lenovo’s flagship Legion Y520 since last year, and recently we’ve seen OEMs like MSI and Acer play in this market too.
Even with the many options around, very few come more affordable than the Asus TUF FX505DT. This isn’t a laptop for the elitist gamer; our review unit has a workhorse AMD Ryzen 5 processor and, at best Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB of video memory.
If you’re looking for a modest-price gaming laptop with decent 1080p display, and fast SSD storage the TUF FX505DT-AH51 is an excellent choice.
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With an angular, black design, the Asus TUF keeps up with the gaming-laptop aesthetic, but doesn’t include the red color scheme on the ASUS TUF FX505DY-ES51, that features red accents on the lid, along the vent grille and keyboard deck. Instead, you have a uniform black color disrupted by a shiny ‘ASUS’ logo on the lid.
The chassis is all-plastic, which is something you’d really expect at this price range, the touchpad is also made of plastic. These days, many high-end gaming laptops from Dell, Gigabyte, and other come with bezel-less displays, but the TUF FX505DT doesn’t come any close. Its 15-inch screen is bordered by wide, 1-inch thick sections of the same plastic material that covers the rest of the machine.
To add some flair, the two forward corners of the chassis and lid are cut off at a diagonal, rather than the right angles or rounded edges you see on most laptops. At 1 by 14.2 by 10.3 inches (HWD), the TUF is about the same thickness and the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming, but with a fairly smaller footprint. It’s lighter too, weighing 4.85 pounds against the Inspiron’s 5.84 pounds.
In making the FX505DT-AH51 affordable for the budget gamer, Asus sacrificed the display, though not to a large extent. The machine’s 1,920-by-1,080 resolution and 120Hz refresh rate is fairly above what you find on most models that boast standard specs, including a 60Hz screens, mostly budget and midrange laptops.
Of course, pictures look better, text are readable, but we feel this laptop would do more. Since we have Chromebooks out there with better color reproduction, we at least expected a more vibrant display on a gaming system, the price point notwithstanding.
Nonetheless, the screen is sharp, and could easily make for a daily use laptop. When buying on budget, it goes without saying you’ll make sacrifices along the way, and Asus have it right on the eyes. It covers just 66 percent of the sRGB color gamut, which is far below the 98-percent entry level average.
Connectivity comes via a pair of USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, HDMI output, an Ethernet jack, a power jack, and a headphone jack. All these are housed on the left side. The right side only holds a Kensington lock slot.
This gaming laptop doesn’t include a USB Type-C port (the ordinary kind, or one with Thunderbolt 3 support), meaning you’ll have to buy an adapter or two if these are crucial to your work (or play) flow.
Wireless connectivity comes via 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2. Also missing is an SD card reader, which we can easily overlook, just like we nowadays do with optical drives on laptops.
Keyboard & Touchpad
The RGB backlit keyboard feels comfortable and is a better performer. You’ll find the chiclet keyboard fast and easy to type on, with decent key spring back and adequate spacing. The WASD keys are outlined in clear white for better visibility, and the spacebar has been shaped in a way that the left side protrudes outward, just in case you need more room for your left thumb.
One place you don’t expect to speed-type is the numeric keypad. In trying to keep up with its 15-inch competitors, Asus added a number pad whose keys are notably narrower than those on the rest of the QWERTY layout. As with touchpads on low-cost gaming laptops, this one is small and plan, which is exactly what we expected.
Considering that the FX505DTpacks AMD’s Ryzen 5 3550H APU, 8GB RAM and 256GB solid state drive, it is a fast-paced machine for the price. This Picasso-generation chip has 35 W thermal design power (TDP) clocked at 2.1 GHz spread across its four cores. It utilizes AMD Turbo Core to achieve a beefier 3.7 GHz on all cores, making it a direct competitor to Intel’s Core i5-8300h CPU, which is found on most office-centric notebooks.
For daily productivity, you can still get through with over 15 Chrome tabs open and a few YouTube videos streaming in the background. Adding an additional memory module will peak everything at 16GB, but it still works well out of the box with the pre-installed 8GB. As configured, this laptop can deliver on any productivity task thrown its way, may it be media processing or a Microsoft Office project, when not playing.
Gaming & Graphics
The TUF FX505DT sports an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU with 4GB of VRAM. That’s not the highest GPU from Nvidia, not when you have prowling beast in the RTX 2000 Series, but it’s still enough to get you by on most triple-A titles at medium-high settings. The GTX 1650 is a mobile graphics card based on Nvidia’s Turing architecture (TU117 chip).
When compared to the speedy RTX 2000 GPUs (e.g. RTX 2060, 2070 or 2080), the GTX 1650 doesn’t include any Raytracing or Tensor cores. Its performance should only be slightly better than last year’s Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.
When played on medium settings, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey at 1080p runs at 55 to 67 frames per second, the same game on low settings runs at 59 to 68 fps, but with some pixel lose as you move to high settings, topping at 48 fps. At the same settings, Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1080p at a mix of medium and high settings, the FX505 renders the game at 46 fps. That’s fairly higher than the entry-level gaming average of 37 fps.
If you hope to use the TUF FX505DT for work and play away from the mains, think again. It will last around 3 hours and 56 minutes under normal use, which includes continuous web browsing, watching videos at 150 nits brightness. That’s slightly below the entry-level gaming average of 4: 38 minutes, whereby the Acer Nitro 5 Spin leads the pack at 7 hours 09 minutes.
The TUF FX505DT-AH51 by far the cheapest gaming laptop you can buy today, but it gets you medium-to-high-quality performance at acceptable frame rates. It’s an especially good value for esports competitors and MOBAs players who don’t require lots of graphics processing oomph to power their daily gaming drives. It’s isn’t as thin as the newer Nvidia Max-Q based machine like the Asus ROG Zephyrus S or the Razer Blade, and the battery needs some work.
Also, the plastic-build leaves a lot to be desired, but it is a lower-cost alternative to some other dated GTX 1050 Ti-powered machines.
Is there a better alternative?
Among competing budget gaming laptops, the MSI GL63 8SC-059 is a worthwhile alternative. It gives you a brighter display and its battery lasts a little longer, and it gets a better Intel core i7-8750H processor, but the rest of the specs are the same.
If your budget isn’t very tight, the Acer Predator Helios 300 offers an even better gaming experience with an Intel Core i7-9750H processor, Nvidia GeForce 1660 Ti graphics card, a 144Hz (3ms) IPS panel and 256GB SSD storage.
Should you buy it?
Yes. If you want to spend as little money as possible and still enjoy your games, the Asus TUF FX505DT-AH51 is worth a look.
Asus TUF FX505DT-AH51
The Asus TUF FX505DT-AH51 by far the cheapest gaming laptop you can buy today, but it gets you medium-to-high-quality performance at acceptable frame rates.
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Asus TUF FX505DT Gaming Laptop, 15.6" 120Hz Full HD, AMD Ryzen 5 R5-3550H Processor, GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics, 8GB DDR4, 256GB PCIe SSD, Gigabit Wi-Fi 5, Windows 10 Home, FX505DT-AH51, RGB Keyboard
6 used from $536.96