THE BOTTOM LINE
The Asus TUF FX505DV-ES74 is an affordable gaming laptop that’s built around AMD tech. It’s capable enough to run modern, graphic intensive games and the Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card for the price makes it an excellent choice for gamers and creatives
Creating an affordable gaming laptop isn’t always about compromises, all it takes is knowing where to cut corners, and Asus seems to have nailed it with the latest TUF FX505DV-ES74 notebook. Coming in at just under a grand it’s by no means a ‘cheap’ laptop, but it stacks up well against the $2000-$3000 rigs that normally turn up boasting Nvidia RTX graphics, and this laptop comes as a welcome relief.
For one, it’s designed to be a portable gaming rig, and can double as an office notebook during the day, or one you can use as a rendering workstation workhorse. By combining AMD APU and Nvidia GPU, this notebook delivers a punch while being a little pocket-friendly than the latest most 9the Gen Intel mobile processors are able to offer.
Asus TUF FX505DV-ES74 Design
The TUF FX505DV-ES74 isn’t in the vein of Asus’ ROG Zephyrus M line of gaming laptops, so it won’t the best choice if you’re after a slim and light gaming laptop. Instead, it sports an angular design, literally, keeping up with the TUF moniker and includes the white color scheme on the keyboard as its predecessors. Unlike the ASUS TUF FX505DY-ES51 we sampled earlier, it doesn’t get red accents on the lid, along the vent grille and keyboard deck. Instead, Asus opted for a uniform black color with a signature ‘ASUS’ logo on the lid.
As with all budget laptops, this on bears an all-plastic construction, which spans the lid, keyboard deck all the way to the touchpad. Lately, most high-end gaming notebooks from the likes of Dell and Gigabyte come with bezel-less displays, but the bezels persist on budget machines. On the Asus FX505DV-ES74, the screen is surrounded by wide, 1-inch sections cut from the same plastic materials used in the rest of the chassis.
At 1 by 14.2 by 10.3 inches (HWD), the TUF is about the same thickness as Dell’s Inspiron 15 gaming laptop, but gets a fairly smaller footprint. And, it’s light too, weighing 4.85 pounds against the Dell Inspiron’s 5.85 pounds.
When you decide to play games on a budget, you have to do with a few compromises, and screen quality is always the culprit. Surprisingly, even at the low price, Asus still managed to pack a Full HD (1,920 X 1,080) resolution display, with a 120Hz refresh rate, with the kind of clarity you find on more expensive gaming laptops such as Acer’s Predator Helios 300. Otherwise, we expected a 60Hz screen with a blurry TN panel at this price point.
It does a great job displaying text, pictures look better, but on fast-paced videos we feel like this laptop would do better. We have seen Chromebooks that cost much less out here, but offer excellent color reproduction, more reason we demand a more vibrant display on a gaming system, the price notwithstanding. It covers 66 percent of the sRGB color gamut, which is a far-cry from the 98 percent entry level average.
Connectivity comes in way of two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 ports, HDMI output, Ethernet port, a power jack and a headphone jack, all placed on the left side. The right side only holds a Kensington lock slot. You don’t get a USB Type-C port here, but you can access wireless networks 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 Asus TUF FX505DV-ES74 offers an RGB backlit keyboard that is as comfortable as it is practical. This chiclet keyboard makes for easy and fast typing, with good key spring back and the keys are well spaced. The WASD keys are outlined in clear white for better visibility, but the spacebar has been modified in a way that the left side protrudes outward, just in case you need more room for your left thumb.
To keep up with other 15-inch gaming laptops, the FX505DV gets a number pad whose keys are notably narrower than those on the rest of the QWERTY layout. On the other hand, the touchpad is small and plain, which is typical of budget laptops.
Asus TUF FX505DV Performance
Asus offers the FX505DV-ES74 as a gaming laptop, but it has all it takes to crank up most of your productivity tasks. Packing a quad-core AMD Ryzen 7 3750H APU, 16GB RAM and 512GB solid state drive, its performance is among the best you can get at this price range. In addition to the impressive spec-sheet, the notebook uses AMD Turbo Core to achieve a beefier 4.0 GHz on all cores, making it a direct competitor to Intel’s Core i7-9750H CPU, which is found on gaming laptops.
All these components make for a good productivity machine that will let you open around 20 Chrome tabs, stream YouTube videos in the background and maybe keep multiple spreadsheets open. If you need more multitasking, you can always throw in more RAM, maybe up to 32GB, but it still works well out of the box with the pre-installed 16GB.
Gaming & Graphics
With Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 GPU (8GB) in tow, the TUF FX505DV stands out as a capable gaming laptop, that will let you play modern titles at 1080p at high settings. The RTX 2060 graphics card is the low-end version of Nvidia’s 2019-released gaming GPUs, hitting the market with the high-end Turing-based RTX 20-Series graphics cards (RTX 2070 & RTX 2080).
While not as capable as its high-end siblings, the RTX 2060 tops not only its predecessors, but even higher-tier GPUs in the Nvidia Pascal generation like the Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti. That means the only graphics cards to top the Nvidia RTX 2060 are considerably the more expensive Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070, AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080.
That is, until AMD releases the new AMD Radeon RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT graphics, and Nvidia unleashes its Super RTX series, you won’t find another mid-range graphics card more powerful than this.
All this performance also translates to seamless gaming experiences. It delivers better performance over last GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics cards. Played at medium settings and 1080p resolution, Battlefield V yields 109 frames per second, but the same game runs at 130 fps at medium settings. Of course, you suffer from pixel lose as you move to higher settings, topping out at 103 fps in ultra-settings.
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 91 and 85 fps, respectively. That’s slightly better for an entry-level gaming laptop as it goes above the 60-fps average.
Gaming laptops are never excellent when it comes to battery life, and the Asus TUF FX505DV we’re reviewing isn’t exceptional. Its battery lasts just over 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 11 minutes.
Just how much you like the Asus TUF FX505DV will depend on your gaming appetite. This is a cheap gaming laptop – at least by gaming standards – that’s best suited for online competitive games where high frame rates are more crucial than graphics. Still, you can use it for most modern AAA games, for as long as you keep your settings at high settings and 1080p resolution.
If you play older games, or games that don’t suffer when graphics settings are set to medium-high, then you’ll like the inclusion of the high refresh rate screen (120HZ). Plus, the compact yet rugged design makes for a gaming laptop that you can carry around with you to competitions and tournaments.
But, the FX505DV-ES74 is not well-powered for playing modern games with high graphical settings, and battery life is fairly short – common with most gaming laptops, though. However, there are just a few budget gaming laptops out there that can be had for under a grand with an RTX 2060 graphics card, the best you’re getting is a GTX 1650 Ti and below, making this among the best in its category.
So, while the Asus FX505DV does some things right – we certainly like the decision to use AMD tech as an alternative to Intel and Nvidia, the refreshed rugged design, slim bezels and low price – you might not need to look elsewhere, especially when the Asus TUF FX505DV-ES74 is offered at a relatively low price.
ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 120Hz FHD IPS-Type, AMD Ryzen 7 3750H, GeForce RTX 2060, 16GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe SSD, Gigabit Wi-Fi 5, Windows 10 Home, FX505DV-ES74
1 used from $879.00