We recently reviewed Asus’ mid-range TUF Gaming A15 laptop which offered decent performance at a decent price. However, the value proposition was tinged by its propensity to overheat when under load. Now here’s the lower cost Asus TUF Dash F15 which has similar design cues but with a slightly different chassis and a lower price. Is this going to be the mid-range gaming laptop to buy?
KEY SPECS OF THE Asus TUF Dash F15
15.6-inch, matte, 240Hz, 1920 x 1080, non-touchscreen, IPS LCD; 3.0-4.8GHz Intel Core i7-11370H CPU; 16GB RAM; 1TB NVMe HDD; Nvidia RTX 3070; 76Wh battery; 2.0KG. SKU: FX516PR, Full specs here.
Design and Handling
The Asus TUF Dash F15, like its sibling, has a strong, industrial-inspired design with a uniform dark (Eclipse Grey) chassis and sharp lines. The large, TUF lettering on the lid belies its gaming designation so you might raise a few eyebrows in a corporate meeting, but otherwise it’s an understated, stylish laptop that will suit most occasions. The blue-green, back-lit keyboard is functional, accurate, quiet and very comfortable to type on for extended periods. The clear WASD key group stands out in a way that will please gamers but is likely to add a dose of guilt when using it in front of colleagues or the boss. The trackpad is smooth and accurate and has two, accurate, quiet, easy-to-click, internal buttons.
The Full HD screen is bright, well-lit and sharp. It also has a rapid, 240Hz refresh rate (with a 3ms response time) which keeps games and graphic-rich content running incredibly smoothly with virtually no ghosting or lag.
Colour gradients can experience some stepping in transitions (it’s worse for monochromatic gradients which get blocky) and detail can get lost in bright areas, but not to an alarming degree. It supports 100 per cent of the basic, Adobe RGB colour gamut. Designers might want for more, but generally this is a very slick laptop that’s great to use and interact with. The only glaring omission is a webcam. In this day and age… that’s weird.
The Asus TUF Dash F15 has a quad-core, HyperThreaded, 3.0-4.8GHz Intel Core i7-11370H CPU which delivers solid mid-range performance that’s sits above last-gen rivals but below its latest, gaming laptop peers. It’s flanked by 16GB DDR4-3200 RAM (up to 32GB RAM is supported) and a 1TB NVMe hard drive. The RAM and hard drive are reportedly simple to upgrade.
It scored a modest 5957 in PCMark 10 which, while being low compared to other Intel 11th Gen rivals, is impressive compared to higher-end, last-gen competitors. However, it still only managed 1086 in Cinebench R15 and 5943 in CineBench R23 which demonstrates how it’s poor at straight-up rendering.
We were very impressed to see an Nvidia RTX 3070 installed. This scored a decent 7463 in 3DMark Time Spy which is an average of 50fps. It also managed 9632 (average 46fps) in Fire Strike Extreme and 4866 (average 22.5 fps) in the difficult Port Royal ray-tracing test. Considering the screen is limited to a 1080p resolution, there’s not a game it won’t play very well indeed.
Connectivity of the Asus TUF Dash F15
Inside there’s Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.
The two, 2-Watt speakers don’t get exceedingly loud but they do offer surprisingly well-rounded audio that even includes a bit of bassy punch.
The cooling system is based around twin 83-blade fans with ‘self-cleaning dust proof’ air channels and five heatpipes. Unlike it’s TUF sibling it’s very efficient and only really ramps up to an noisy constant swoosh when manually set to Performance mode. It’s very quiet most of the time, especially in Silent Mode.
At 2.0KG the Asus TUF Dash F15 is relatively light for a powerful, 15.6-inch laptop. It’s also passed MIL-STD-810H tests for drops, vibration, humidity and operation in extreme temperatures – so it’s easy to lug it around and is likely to survive life on the road. Asus promises a 16-hour battery life which is huge for a gaming laptops. While it lasted 8hrs 1min in our PCMark 10 Modern Office battery test, that was using the discreet, Nvidia 3070 graphics. Asus’ iGPU feature, however, allows you to utilise the integrated, low-powered, Intel Xe GPU (that’s part of the processor) instead. Doing this pushed battery life all the way to 14 hours. Amazing!
Should you buy the Asus TUF Dash F15
There are some attractive choices at this end of the market including the MSI Sword and Acer Predator Helios 300. However, at $2,125 the TUF Dash F15 is still hundreds of dollars cheaper and so represents an impressive proposition for anyone who doesn’t want to pay too much for a high performance laptop: one that’s very capable for all tasks especially gaming. Impressive. Just remember that there’s no webcam for some reason.