Asus TUF FX505 review: Latest Intel processor and sturdy build make this a dependable gaming laptop
Asus is one of the very few brands in India that focuses on the gaming segment more than anyone else. Their ROG series of laptops are popularly known to be the choice of hardcore gamers, with several gamer-friendly features. The TUF series offers a more no-nonsense approach to PC gaming at relatively affordable prices. They even came up with a ROG-branded Android smartphone for catering to mobile gamers. That's why, when Asus does a gaming laptop, you know that it won't disappoint you, to say the least. The TUF FX505 is their latest offering and from the looks of it, the laptop seems impressive.
The TUF FX505 offers a choice of 8th Gen Intel Core processors and various RAM as well as storage configurations. The range starts at Rs 79,990 for the variants with Core i5 processor. However, as you bump up the specifications, the price goes up to Rs 1,29,990 for the variant with a hexa-core Core i7 processor and a dedicated Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU. This is a very good deal for performance enthusiasts, considering Asus is offering some of the latest generation specifications for offering a fairly enjoyable gameplay experience.
Asus TUF FX505 design and build:
Gaming laptops are a different breed of portable computers with a strict focus on functional and performance-oriented design. The TUF FX505 is no exception - it looks and feels like any other gaming laptop from Asus. It looks and is, bulky, especially with an overall weight of 2.2Kg. Since this doesn't fall under the coveted ROG series, it feels a little bland in comparison, especially with trapezoid Aluminium lid. There are no crazy patterns or whacky RGB lighting on the lid. Instead, it's a very ultrabook-esque matte metallic finish. The Asus logo glows, but I never saw it display a myriad of colours like its ROG counterparts. There is ROG-inspired cross pattern, but the effect is dialled down to such an extent that it often feels like a normal laptop. The cutout towards the hinge for showing the LED indicators for power, processor involvement and the aeroplane mode gives the much-needed gaming laptop zing.
The massive exhaust for the heat sink at the top edge means business, especially with the red coloured fins. However, compared to older TUF models, this one also features an additional heat vent towards the right side, with no ports to accompany it. Asus as moved all the ports to the other side, which I think is a clever touch to enhance ease of use. The speakers are located at a slanted angle with a red grille accent.
The TUF FX505 offers a fairly decent choice of connectivity options. All the ports are located to the right side. There are two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, one HDMI port, an RJ 45 Ethernet port and a 3.5mm headphone.
Open the lid and entire understated theme of the exterior is offset by the typical gaming laptop-esque interior. Yes, there are crazy lines and patterns on the plastic base. The pattern is reminiscent of Asus' trademark brushed Aluminium finish. A very cool addition is the TUF Gaming logo printed on the right side. On the deck, there's an RGB backlit keyboard and a fairly big trackpad laid out spaciously. The lid holds a standard 15.6-inch display with narrow bezels to the sides. This makes for an overall compact form factor compared to previous models. The bottom has a very impressive vent design for the fans to suck while the laptop is busy playing games.
On the whole, the TUF FX505 has very understated looks on the outside but a very "oo-la la" gaming-inspired design on the inside. This is good enough for people who don't want to embarrass themselves everytime they take out their laptop for doing basic work.
Asus TUF FX505 display:
I have used a lot of Asus laptops in my time as a tech journalist and I have maintained the notion that Asus offers the best display on its laptop in that category. With the TUF FX505, nothing changes. The 15.6-inch full HD IPS LCD display with a matte finish works well in resenting smudges. Boot up the laptop and the brilliance of the display is immediately visible. The display features a wider dynamic range with very vibrant colours and adequate brightness. Even while using it outdoors, the display is easily visible. The contrast is very high and makes for a very AMOLED-like viewing experience, especially with its deep blacks. The display does lose colour accuracy a little when viewed from extreme angles, but considering only one person plays at a time on a laptop, this isn't much of a bother.
However, what I loved about the display is the butter-smooth refresh rate. At 144Hz, everything just flows on the display. Whether you are watching the latest Netflix title or driving an F1 car at the Belgian Grand Prix in F1 2017, the 144Hz refresh rate means you will want to see more content on this display. Even navigating around Windows on this laptop makes for a great experience. Well done Asus.
Asus TUF FX505 specifications and performance:
With any gaming laptop, performance is expected to be top-notch. At the heart of the TUF FX505 lies Intel's latest 8th Gen core i7-8750H CPU clocked at 2.20GHz. With overboost, the clock speeds can go up to 4.10GHz. The i7-8750H is one of the powerful variants of the Core i7 family with a hexa-core setup. Asus has paired this processor with a dedicated Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM. As standard, you get 16GB of DDR4 2666RAM. For storage, there's a 256GB SSD and a 1TB 5400RPM Firecuda HDD. As usual, there's a genuine copy of Windows 10 Home looking after the daily errands.
With a laptop like this focused solely on performance, it hardly makes sense as to speak about how fast stuff happens. The usual Windows tasks such as opening applications and shuffling between several folders at a time are no big deal for the TUF FX505. With 16GB of RAM, multitasking with 4-5 web browsers, each holding at least 5 tabs is a breeze.
Since gaming is what this laptop is born to do, I tried some the latest titles on the TUF FX505 and I was left fairly impressed. F1 2017 ran on the highest graphical settings with an average frame rate of 60. Since the GTX 1060 is now a little older, the ultra graphics settings made the game drop frame rates slightly. Forza Motorsport 7 ran on high graphics with no issues, but the ultra settings weren't that gamer-friendly. Fortnite ran like a dream at the highest possible graphics. Older titles from a few years ago such as PES 2017 and Grand Theft Auto 5 were able to exploit the resources fully. War Thunder, which is an online multiplayer title with high fidelity graphics was handled very well at the "High" settings.
The thermal management is on-spot. There's a HyperCool Technology involving a dual fan system to suck air from the bottom and throw it out of the vents situated on the sides. When you aren't gaming, the fans keep spinning at a bare minimum speed. However, when you are busy shedding sweat on virtual battlefields, the fans start spinning at their max speeds to keep the processor from sweating. There's a boost button to put the fans in overboost mode if you feel the laptop is heating up.
Windows 10 isn't a very well-optimised operating system, especially with some updates having the ability to make or break the ultimate experience. However, Asus' optimisation and certain custom add-ons make sure the experience stands up to what's been promised. Asus' custom TUF aura core app manages the RGB lighting of the keyboard. The application is a watered-down version of the version on ROG laptops with only four lighting modes. There's no ROG centre for monitoring the live clock speed or other statistics of the computer. Maybe Asus could do something about this, considering the asking price goes above a lakh for this laptop.
Since a laptop also needs to be used for other purposes, I used the TUF FX505 as my primary computer for a few days. For the most part, it impressed me with its versatility. The keyboard is comfortable to type a long document and the higher key travel makes it a satisfying experience. The RGB backlight isn't in your face even when it's at full brightness. The slight curvature of the keys reduces ghosting by a huge margin. The trackpad is fairly comfortable to use and is very accurate. However, I would have preferred a slightly bigger trackpad for easier user experience. While all of this makes for a great work laptop, the sheer bulk of the FX505 restricts the usage to indoors. I wouldn't carry this outdoors for lighter work such as writing documents and browsing the Internet.
When it comes to the audio, the inbuilt speakers are a massive improvement from the previous versions. With passive amplification, the speakers can get fairly loud with a focus on higher frequencies. However, it still lacks base and isn't suitable for gaming. If you are playing PUBG, make sure you plug in your headphones as the 3.5mm audio port supports 7.1 channel surround sound. This elevates the gaming experience further.
Asus TUF FX505 battery:
With a 3 -Cell 48Wh polymer battery, it's a fairly standard affair. On battery power, the FX505 can at most last up to an hour and 15 minutes while playing games. However, when you are not gaming and using it as a conventional laptop, the stamina can go up to 4.5 hours. Since gaming will mostly take place when the device is plugged in, the smaller battery stamina isn't bothersome. To fill it up quickly, Asus has enabled a fast-changing technology with a 180W fast charger. It should fill up to 60 per cent within an hour.
Should you buy the Asus TUF FX505 gaming laptop?
As with all gaming gear, the Asus TUF FX505 is quite expensive. But, in its category, this is easily one of the best gaming laptops you can buy right now. The Intel Core i7-8750H is a super fast performer while the Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU is fairly powerful to manage the latest gaming titles without breaking a sweat. I also adore the extensive heat management system and the butter-smooth 144Hz display. For competing at e-sports events, this is a laptop that can hold it for longer sessions while you are busy making a name for yourself. Surely, as a gamer, I would have preferred some crazy eye-catching design as well as a slimmer overall profile inspired from the ROG series.
Despite that, the TUF FX505 is a very powerful gaming laptop for Rs 1,29,990. The laptop doesn't disappoint in terms of raw performance and is surely a dependable gear for hardcore gamers.