When it comes to gaming, we’re used to seeing laptops and desktops that range from MYR5,000 to about MYR20,000. However, ASUS recently introduced a new line up with the TUF (The Ultimate Force) series of laptops which not only brings gaming level specifications to a more affordable level, but also fortifies the laptop with military grade hardening and long lasting keyboards.
With the previous versions of ASUS’s TUF series, we’ve seen these offerings bring better specifications to a more affordable price point. However, with the new ASUS TUF FX505D series, ASUS has managed to up the ante by packing even more performance capability into a lower price point. That said, does the laptop stand a chance against the vast competition it faces? Is it worth considering if you’re in the market for a new laptop? That’s what we’re looking to answer in this review.
The design of the ASUS TUF FX505D isn’t as imposing as the other gaming laptops on the market. It has a sleek silhouette with angled edges. The overall shape of the laptop is a hexagonal shape with small, meek cuts which dull the sharp angles on the corners. The unique shape that ASUS has adopted gives the FX505D a more subtle look which allows the laptop to blend effortlessly between work and play.
Under the lid, lies a striking RGB enabled keyboard and a Full HD 1080p IPS LCD panel which is capable of up to 60Hz refresh rate. It has one of the better displays in the price range it contends in. That said, the overall look and feel of the TUF FX505D when opened evokes a sense of conservative adventure. The faux brushed metal finish gives a strong industrial feel which is also accentuated with the vertical cuts on top for the speakers. The edgy, trapezoid power button is neatly tucked to the side of right-hand side of the speaker grilles while the indicator lights dot the top right edge in an elegant way. Perhaps one of the more functional reasons for the form factor is the accessibility of the indicators when the lid is closed. This allows you easily identify if the laptop is charging when its plugged in or if the hard disk is still working when your carrying it.
The laptop’s screen has what ASUS calls a Nano edge display which simply means that the edges around the display panel are minimized and slim. The only larger ones are the top and bottom bezel. The top is due to a functional decision to house the webcam in the top bezel; a welcome decision as it means that you get to livestream or video chat without your extra chins getting prime airtime. The bottom’s larger bezel serves a pure branding purpose with a large ASUS emblazoned there.
The positioning of the keyboard in the TUF FX505D provides a nice plot of real estate for you to rest your palms. That said, the faux brushed metal finish of the laptop can be a little bit of a hindrance when it comes to using the laptop with a metal watch. The strap tends to scratch along the surface which can be a little unnerving – I was never sure if my watch was damaging the laptop or vice versa. The mousepad is sufficiently large and has satisfying feedback. However, I would have preferred a little bit more of a matte finish to the mousepad for it to blend with the design of the TUF.
ASUS has made a simple design decision to place all the ports on the left hand side of the laptop. This is simply genius as it allows you quick, simple access to the ports and frees up the right-hand side to house a larger, more efficient means of heat dispersal. However, the one downside to this decision is the limited number of ports which can be housed in that limited amount of space. Even at the bottom, ASUS has made some distinct choices which take a more functional approach to design. The single removable panel means that you can immediately access everything once it’s removed. The rugged accents also serve a functional, heat dispersal purpose as well.
Overall, the utilitarian approach to the design of the laptop brings both aesthetic appeal and functionality. That’s definitely a plus when it comes to laptop design. Not to forget, the TUF FX505D is also pretty thin when it comes down to it.
The ASUS TUF FX505D laptop is no skimp when it comes to the internals. It comes with AMD’s latest and greatest when it comes to processors. The bottom configuration of the FX505D comes with a Ryzen 5-3550H while top of the line specifications come with the Ryzen 7-3750H. With the latest H specification of processors, the AMD powered TUF laptops are poised to be a little bit more economical when it comes to their power consumption. That said, these processors don’t skimp on performance and are clocked at higher speeds than the U specifications. This actually translated into a lot better performance and slightly longer battery life.
While processors are important, graphics processing units (GPUs) also play a role in overall performance. The TUF Gaming FX505D comes with the newer GTX1660Ti GPU. The GTX1660Ti allows the laptop to perform at pretty respectable levels when it came to gaming and also doing graphics and video editing. While it’s not the top of the line, the GTX1660Ti is able to take quite a beating.
Complementing the processors is 8GB of DDR4 RAM which you can choose to upgrade or add since there is an extra, unutilized RAM slot. On the memory side of things, the laptop comes with a NVME M.2 SSD with 512GB of memory. If that’s not enough memory, you’re able to add an additional SATA hard disk for up to 4TB of extra space. That said, thanks to the included M.2 SSD, Windows loads pretty fast – usually within 10 seconds.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7-3750H Processor 2.3GHz (6M cache, up to 4.0GHz)|
|Memory||8GB DDR4 2666Mhz*1|
|Storage||PCIE NVME 512GB M.2 SSD|
(Extra SATA Slot: 1)
|LCD Size||15.6″ FHD//IPS Panel//120hz//25ms//Anti-glare|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX1660Ti|
|Optical Drive||No ODD|
|WiFi||802.11ac 2×2 Wave 2 WLAN + Bluetooth 5.0|
|KeyBoard||All Zone RGB keyboard|
|OS||Windows 10 Home|
|Battery||48WHrs, 3S1P, 3-cell Li-ion|
When it comes to features, the ASUS TUF FX505D is packed to the brim for a laptop of its price range. Rarely, do you find an entry level gaming laptop which is fitted with as many meaningful features as we find in the TUF FX505D.
The first thing you’d want to check out in the ASUS TUF FX505D laptop is the Armoury Crate software. This software is pretty much the place you’ll be visiting to customize and optimize your settings. It allows you to control everything from your fan speed to the keyboard’s RGB settings. Aside from that, the Armoury Crate also displays everything you need to know about the laptop from basic information like the laptop specifications to more technical details like the temperature of the processors and fan speeds.
The application is sleek and quite easy to use and understand. It also comes with a companion app for Android and iOS. This allows you to control your settings even when you’re in game through the mobile app – a very welcomed added convenience. The app also allows you to work more silently as you can tune down your fan speed to minimize the fan noise. Of course, this also means that you’ll be running a little warmer when you’re doing heavier workloads.
As with all other gaming laptops, the TUF Gaming FX505D comes with an RGB keyboard which is controlled through the Armoury Crate. However, the keyboard isn’t a “per key” RGB. That said, the zoned RGB setting and the individual control for the all essential WASD buttons brings a nice level of customization and personalization which makes the laptop feel uniquely yours and allows you to reflect your personality in your setup. It also allows you to customise your keyboard for each game you play to fit your gaming style.
That said, when it comes to keyboards, what matters most is the typing experience. The TUF Gaming FX505D comes with a chiclet keyboard which has enough travel and feedback to make the experience a comfortable one. In fact, typing for long periods of time on the laptop wasn’t an issue and there was very little fatigue. When it comes to gaming, the response is near instant and the comfort level is one of the best out there.
Perhaps one of the most useful features it the laptop is the hyper cool setting. This allows you to squeeze higher performance from the laptop. The TUF FX505D already comes with ASUS’s latest cooling technology which not only cools more efficiently but also prevents dust from accumulating. The hyper cool setting pushes that into overdrive; pushing even more air through the laptop to better cool the system as you force more performance out of it.
The TUF Gaming FX505D is one impressive machine when it comes to everything except it’s speakers. Their inclusion of Dolby compatibility is loss on the lack luster drivers on the laptop. The sound that comes out of the built-in speakers is weak, tinny and leaves so much to desire. I guess, if there was any where you would skimp on with a gaming laptop it would be the speakers. Most gamers would take advantage of Bluetooth headphone or even 3.5mm headphones to get their audio. That said, it was a let down to have this one thing bog the laptop’s overall package down.
However, the laptop’s performance when it comes to Bluetooth audio and even the 3.5mm audio output is pretty good. So, if you’re looking for quality audio from this laptop, you’re going to need to invest in a set of good headphones – gaming or otherwise.
The overall performance of the FX505D is commendable – it’s able to handle a pretty decent amount of load when it comes to graphics and data compute. Of course, while it would be great to rely on benchmarks to describe the performance of the laptop, but benchmarks paint a very statistical and ideal picture of the laptop’s performance. We’re interested in the performance of the machine as a whole package – not in separate parts.
That said, when it came to day to day use for the ASUS TUF FX505D, the laptop performed like a dream. It was able to handle day to day document processing, internet browsing and even lossless audio playback without much hassle. When it came to doing more heavy work- related processing such as picture editing and even video editing the TUF Gaming laptop could handle it – no problem. Even processing 4K video was nearly painless. I say nearly painless simply because as one of the entry level GPUs, the GTX1660Ti was the bottle neck in handling the load.
Be that as it may, when it came to gaming, the FX505D performed well for a laptop of its caliber. In fact, I would go so far as to say, it has one of the best overall value. Games such as Overwatch performed really well. I was playing the game with settings set on high and saw little screen tearing or lag in display processing. The optimizations afforded by the drivers allowed the GTX1660Ti to perform better than other graphics processors in its class. Even with more graphically demanding games, playing at high or medium with a few tweaks for better graphics allowed the laptop to perform without much problem. Even when it got a little heated, the Hyper Cool feature allowed the temperature to be maintained at an acceptable level.
That said, the FX505D is one of the only gaming laptops which has over 3 hours of battery life. The only caveat I have to that claim is that I wasn’t doing much heavy processing. The integrated Vega graphics in the Ryzen 7 processor was able to deliver on performance while keeping decent battery life. Even if I was doing video editing or some gaming without being plugged in, I still managed to get about 2.5 hours of battery.
WiFi performance on the TUF FX505D was stable. Rarely did I experience any random dropping of the internet connection and the connection was able to handle games like Overwatch without much instances of lag. Of course, the laptop is also able to support Bluetooth connectivity. I didn’t get to use this much, but when I did connect the laptop to my Bluetooth speaker and headphone, the fidelity was good, and the connectivity was stable even with other Bluetooth enabled devices nearby.
The ASUS TUF FX505D comes with a 15.6-inch IPS LCD Display with up to 120Hz refresh rate. The colour reproduction on this display is quite accurate although the panel does have a little bit more of blue and green tone. That said, it’s not noticeable unless you’re really looking for it. At 120Hz, the laptop’s display definitely made a difference when it came to gaming. The increased refresh rate meant that you could see better even when there was a lot happening on the screen. Snapping your viewpoint in first person shooter (FPS) games, was smoother and less disorienting that on lower refresh rates.
Overall, the ASUS TUF FX505D is one of the best value for money packages when it comes to gaming laptops. In my time with it, it definitely upped the expectations of what an affordable gaming laptop can do when it comes to performance. The only few pain points of the FX505D are easily remedied with quick fixes. The amount of thought and care that went into designing and creating the configuration in the FX505D clearly shines through. The laptop is definitely worth considering if you’re in the market for a gaming device on a tight budget. I would go further an say that if you’re looking for a new laptop to use on the go and need a respectable degree of graphical prowess, the FX505D is definitely a contender.