The ASUS TUF lineup has remained a very reasonable and at times, an optimal choice for gamers who don’t need heavy-duty internals to run their favourite games. The icing on the cake is that the company’s TUF series laptops stand out in the industry as they undergo stringent military-grade testing which makes them resilient to a variety of extreme weather conditions too. That’s partly why I was excited to test the latest addition to the lineup in the form of the Asus TUF Dash F15. Priced starting at Rs 90,990, the device packs in Intel’s latest 12th-gen CPUs which work alongside NVIDIA’s RTX 3050 GPU. Let’s find out in this full review if you should consider putting aside money to get your hands on the laptop.
- As its moniker suggests, the ASUS TUF F15 is… well tough. What’s more, unlike the herd of gaudy-looking gaming machines, the unit’s Off Black colour variant – which, by the way, is complemented by white WASD keys and a pearlescent aluminum lid – lends the laptop a minimalistic look. With very little flex in the center, MIL-STD military certification for durability, and a sturdy hinge design, the Dash F15 comes across as a machine which will stand the test of time. To top it all off, the Dash F15 tips the scales at only two KG and is among the more lightweight gaming laptops on the market.
- Talking about port selection, the device concentrates most of its options on the left with just a single USB 3.2 Gen A port on the right. The rest of the options consist of a USB 3.2 Gen A port, one USB C slot with DisplayPort and power delivery, a USB C Thunderbolt 4 slot, an RJ45 LAN port, an HDMI 2.0b connector and a 3.5mm headphone jack. For wireless connectivity, the laptop touts support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 too. Much to my dismay, the laptop doesn’t ship with biometric authentication. On the bright side, the laptop does feature a serviceable webcam.
- On the display side of things, my review unit of the TUF Dash F15 features a 15.6-inch FHD panel that can refresh at 144Hz. That said, gamers with an affinity for high-refresh rate screens can spec the unit with a 300Hz panel as well. Given its price point, the viewing experience is adequate, however, it’s far from the most colour-accurate screen on a laptop. To wit, the display covers 62.5 percent of the sRGB gamut and has a peak brightness of just 250nits. Rest assured, the laptop’s screen, albeit not cut out for photo/video work, felt sufficiently snappy for gaming sessions.
- A regular six-row keyboard can be seen on the device but with an additional Numpad on the side, the keys feel a bit cramped. It does take a while to get used to the typing experience especially when you are coming from a more spaced-out keyboard deck. That said, once I got acclimated to the layout, I enjoyed my time typing and gaming on the TUF Dash F15 keyboard. What’s more, the laptop even features four hotkeys that are positioned at the top and allow users quick access controls for the device volume, microphone, and the Armoury Crate app. The laptop offers a reasonably large trackpad too, which by the way, felt sufficiently responsive and offered minimal latency.
- Talking about the performance on offer, ASUS has furnished the TUF Dash F15 with a 12th-gen, Intel Core i5-12450H CPU. There is 16GB of DDR5 4,800MHz RAM soldered into the motherboard but there is the option to extend the memory by up to 32GB. As for storage, the base variant has a 512GB NVME PCIe SSD. Now, the Alder Lake lineup from the American silicone giant has been quite effective at bridging the gap to AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series. And, sure enough, the laptop churned out respectable results in an array of benchmarking apps too.
- To give you a better picture, the device yielded a multicore result of 9,271 points in CineBench R23 and 7,327 points in Geekbench 5. In PCMark 10’s daily workload testing, the laptop returned a score of 6,292 points which, quite frankly, is a remarkable result for a sub Rs one lakh machine. And, while the SSD felt quick enough, I ran CrystalDiskMark’s speed test to get a number on the drive’s read and write speeds too. As such, the SSD net sequential read and write speeds of 3,039MB/s and 1,631MB/s respectively.
- As for the laptop’s graphical prowess, the unit’s RTX 3050 GPU paves the way for a quality gaming experience. Popular and less intensive titles like CS: GO and Valorant can accomplish easy 140-160fps at High settings. Adaptive Sync is present as well to reduce frame tear for the most part. The TUF Dash F15 also gets the MUX Switch that had been privy to high-end ROG laptops before this year. I have explained what the MUX Switch does in more detail while reviewing the Strix Scar 15 but to get you up to speed, the unit increases the efficiency of the discreet GPU by relaying information directly to the display instead of routing it via the CPU’s integrated graphics.
- You can enable the feature via the Armoury Crate app and per my testing, it does improve the in-game FPS. But, coming back to the laptop’s gaming prowess, Titanfall 2 at High settings averaged anywhere between 120-145FPS. The unit could even run demanding games like CyberPunk 2077 at medium graphics wherein, the laptop churned out 60-70FPS. The Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark returned 67fps at High settings while 3DMark’s Time Spy got a pretty decent score of 5,222. Rest assured, it is quite clear to me that the TUF F15 is a capable budget gaming machine.
- Thermals are managed effectively while running graphically-intrinsic titles with GPU temperatures not rising beyond 85 degrees. I believe the same can be attributed to ASUS’ trademark Arc Flow Fans which claim to give 13 percent better airflow. Moving on, the laptop features a pair of downward firing speakers which unfortunately, don’t get too loud. On the bright side, the laptop touts Hi-res certification and consequently, offers a fantastic audio output via a pair of wired headphones.
- Lastly, the laptop ships with a 76Whr battery which, for the lack of a better word, offers a sub-par backup that pales in comparison to the AMD versions of the TUF series. I got about four hours of normal usage on the battery which further drops down to just 90 minutes when gaming. There is a 180W adapter that is provided alongside the device and it can juice up the laptop in under two hours.
The TUF Dash F15 carries forward the lineup’s legacy in delivering a quality gaming experience at an affordable price point. It also helps that the laptop features a lightweight and minimalistic design which blends well in an office setting too. At the same time, the TUF Dash F15 offers commendable specs that will easily satisfy a user’s gaming needs, provided they keep their expectations in check. The only points of contention for the device revolve around the rather underwhelming battery life, average speakers, and lack of any biometric authentication. Be that as it may, the TUF Dash F15 checks most of the right boxes and consequently, deserves a second look.
Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5
- Good performance
- Sturdy design
- Great port selection
- MUX Switch
- Average speakers
- No biometrics
- Battery life could be better