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The Asus TUF Dash 15 was one of our favorite gaming laptops of 2022, thanks to a combination of good looks, solid performance, and a reachable price that was just hard to resist. The only small issue was trying to find the optimum combination of display and GPU, something we can relate to Asus’s habit of restricting some hardware combinations to certain markets.
With the Asus TUF Gaming F15, the company tends to do a makeover with better CPU and GPU combinations, once again, at a low price than competitors. The FX506HF-ES51 model we’re reviewing isn’t the latest in this line, but it’s one of the best value around for gamers on a tight budget, and that low price isn’t getting you the latest components around.
Still, for the budget buyer, this Asus TUF Gaming F15 is one of the better choices for strong 1080p gaming among the multitude of mid-range options. Beyond its gaming capabilities, it excels at productivity tasks, meaning the FX506HF-ES51 is one of the best budget gaming laptops under $1,000.
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 Gaming F15 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.
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 Gaming F15 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.
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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.
The Asus TUF Gaming F15 FX506HF-ES51 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 Gaming F15 FX506HF-ES51
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.
- Superb 1080p gaming
- Strong productivity capabilities
- Great price
- Poor webcam, touchpad, and speakers
- Some games appear washed out on display
Last update on 2023-09-27 at 20:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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ASUS TUF Gaming F15 Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 144Hz FHD Display, Intel Core i5-11400H Processor, GeForce RTX 2050, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD Gen 3, Wi-Fi 6, Windows 11, FX506HF-ES51
3 used from $654.88