“The TUF FX505 is one of the most affordable laptops with a 144Hz display. Read our review to know whether you should be buying it”
It seems that ASUS aims to cater to all types of gamers. While the Taiwanese brand has its flagship ROG range of laptops for those who look for style and performance without fussing over the budget, it has also launched the TUF (short for The Ultimate Force) series to take care of budget-conscious consumers. The company had introduced the TUF FX504 (first impressions) laptop in India earlier this year, and soon thereafter, introduced a successor in the form of the TUF Gaming FX505. On the surface, both devices aren’t much different. But look closely, and you’ll find that the manufacturer’s latest gaming laptop is a solid offering. So should you buy it? Read our review of the ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 (first impressions) to find out.
Specs at a glance
- Measures 360.4 x 262.0 x 26.8mm
- Weighs 2.2kg
- 15.6-inch display, with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
- Intel Core i7-8750H processor
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics
- 16GB DDR4 RAM (along with an expansion slot)
- 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
- 2 x Type-A USB 3.1 ports, 1 x Type-A USB 2.0 port
- 1 x HDMI port
- 1 x Ethernet port
- Windows 10 Home
Design and display
Considering I reviewed the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR II GL504 not so long ago, it’s difficult not to draw references and comparisons between these two laptops. However, while the ROG laptop screams gaming (thanks to the RGB logo on the outside) from the get-go, the TUF Gaming FX505 is more subdued. In fact, from the outside, the FX505 can pass as a normal professional-grade laptop, as there’s nothing more than the ASUS logo on the lid.
The difference continues in terms of the construction material as well. Unlike the solid metal build of the ROG GL504, the ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 features plastic on its lid. And that means that you’ll notice screen flex wherever pressure is applied. While I liked the cut corners around the display panel (that lend the device a unique appeal) instead of rounded corners found on most laptops, there’s a considerable chin at the bottom. The size of that chin is perhaps double of what I’ve seen in other modern-day laptops, and it doesn’t seem to serve any purpose apart from sporting the ASUS logo.
In comparison to the lid, the base of the laptop is the polar opposite. Not only is it made out of metal, it also gets your attention thanks to the backlit RGB keyboard. The LED indicators for charging, battery, and airplane mode up top are also quite interesting, and are visible even when the lid is closed. Speaking of which, the laptop can be opened with a single hand, which is a plus considering its size.
The series gets its name from the fact that the laptops are MIL-STD 810G certified. While I didn’t have the heart to drop the TUF Gaming FX505 to test this out, I’m sure the laptop would be able to survive a fall or two.
Coming to I/O, the TUF Gaming FX505 should serve your needs well. The left edge is chock-a-block with the proprietary charging port, an Ethernet port, an HDMI port, three USB ports (two of which are super-speed), and a 3.5mm audio socket. It’s worth mentioning that you’ll also find the speaker grille towards the bottom. In contrast, the right side is almost empty with just the lock port, cooling vent and a speaker grille further below. It requires a behaviour change to remember that all the USB sockets are placed on the left, though it’s good that there’s enough space between these ports so that you can use them simultaneously. Sadly, there’s no SD card slot on the rig.
Getting a gaming laptop means that you have to forgo the ultraportable form factor, and the ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 doesn’t change that in any manner. The device tips the scales at 2.2kg, which is rather heavy. It’s also quite thick with a waistline measuring 26.8mm.
All these niggles vanish when you look at the 15.4-inch display of the TUF Gaming FX505. The full HD+ panel offers ample brightness levels with good viewing angles and reproduces colours accurately too. However, the biggest highlight is its 144Hz refresh rate, which makes playing action-packed games a delightful experience, which we’ll discuss in the subsequent sections.
Keyboard and touchpad
Thanks to its size, the ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 ships with a full-sized keyboard. The keys are well spaced out (which ensures that there are fewer typos) and offer a good amount of travel to ensure a good typing experience as well. That said, it’ll still take you some time to adjust to the layout of the keyboard. The function keys let you change volume levels, change brightness, turn on HyperCool (to be explained in the following section), disable the touchpad and toggle the airplane mode, among others. Any gamer would know how important the WASD keys are for playing, and on this laptop, these are translucent and stand out on the keyboard. Sadly however, due to the odd placement of the arrow keys, there were several times when I ended up pressing the Ctrl or Insert / 0 key instead of the Up arrow.
Unlike the ROG GL504, there are no different zones in the keyboard, and it has a single backlight. Not that I’m complaining as the backlight still adds to the charm and if you don’t like it, then you can change it from the TUF Aura Core app.
It’s also worth appreciating that there’s no flex on the palm resting area whatsoever, and that makes using the keyboard a joy. The ridged pattern also ensures that your palms don’t slip while typing.
Sadly, the touchpad isn’t as good. It’s sufficiently large, but doesn’t seem to be very fluid. At times, it doesn’t even respond to navigation or clicks. It does support gestures however, and features left and right clicks.
Hardware and software
Under the hood of the ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 ticks the 8th-gen Intel Core i7-8750H chipset, which has an hexa-core processor with a clock speed of 2.2GHz. Paired with 16GB of RAM, the device promises swift multitasking as well. Considering this combination is exactly what powered the higher-priced ROG GL504, I had high hopes from the machine. And it didn’t disappoint, as during my three week-long usage, I was never able to bring the TUF Gaming FX505 to its knees. It handled everything thrown at it well. In terms of benchmarks, the machine achieved 4,802 on PCMark 10, which is right up there with fully-loaded laptops.
Of course, you aren’t here to read about just the processing performance. It’s the graphics that make or break a gaming laptop, and ASUS seems to have done its homework well. The TUF Gaming FX505 comes equipped with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX1060 GPU, and thanks to dedicated 6GB memory, it makes sure that gaming experience remains incredibly smooth. Playing titles like Far Cry 5 and Witcher 3, there was nary an instance when I felt that laptop was unable to cope. I was able to play constantly at 50 fps (measured via Fraps), which isn’t the best, yet makes the gaming experience quite addictive. To give context via benchmarks, the GPU was able to get 86.72fps on Cinebench.
The best part is that the laptop manages its thermals impressively well. That’s also due to the clever design which ensures that the display doesn’t interfere with the exhaust vents. Thanks to dual fans, the FX505 didn’t get heated up even when pushed to its limits, and the noise of the fans wasn’t too loud either. In the usual scenarios as well, during the balanced mode, the fans didn’t create much noise unlike its cousin in the ROG series. The HyperCool Technology allows you to go to the OverBoost mode, which can be activated by simply pressing Fn+F5 combination.
The ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 comes with DTS 7.1-channel surround sound, which is just decent. Don’t get me wrong. The audio output is loud, but it isn’t as rich as I’d have liked.
Taking care of your memory needs is a 256GB SSD along with a 1TB SSHD (solid state hybrid drive) from Seagate. The hybrid storage system works well to offer fast bootup times, along with providing more than enough space to store files, games and more. As per CrystalDiskMark, the SSD scored 1726.5MB/s and 1299.3MB/s sequential read and write speeds respectively, whereas the scores were relatively lower at 144.1MB/s read speeds and 132.0MB/s for the HDD.
If you want to use the machine on the go even for casual work, make sure to sit alongside the power socket. That’s because the ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 offers a battery backup of a little more than two hours hours even for web browsing, with the device connected to an external display and brightness set at 100 percent. If you are gaming or doing performance-intensive tasks, then the three-cell 48Wh battery drains even faster. The same experience was reflected by Battery Eater Pro, as the device was able to last just 82 minutes. The bundled bulky charger can however, juice up the laptop from 10 to 100 percent in about two hours.
Remember I said that the TUF series is an affordable alternative to ASUS’ ROG series? Well, that’s for the lower-end variant of the laptop, which costs Rs 79,990 and comes with a 60Hz panel, an Intel Core i5 8300H processor, and 8GB RAM along with NVIDIA GTX 1050TI under the hood. The higher-end model on the other hand, will set you back by Rs 1,29,990. If you’ve been following the review, then you’d know that the latter delivers everything you’re looking for in a gaming rig. It also overcomes certain issues with its predecessor, the FX504. Having said that, the Taiwanese giant isn’t the only brand catering to the enthusiastic gaming crowd. The biggest competition comes from Acer’s Predator Helios 300, which comes with the exact same spec sheet and is available around the same price. Then there’s the Dell G7 and HP Omen 15, both of which are priced similarly, though pack 60Hz displays.
Overall, for its faults and minor annoyances, the fact that the ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 is one of the most affordable laptops with a 144Hz display refresh rate and doesn’t skimp on any aspect either, makes it a worthy consideration for anyone looking for a capable gaming laptop.
Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5
- Robust build with MIL-STD 810G certification
- Great display with 144Hz refresh rate
- Powerful specs
- Good thermal management
- Flex in the display
- No Type-C ports or SD card slot
- Poor battery life
Photos by Raj Rout