Asus TUF Gaming A15 Hands-On: Powerful, Affordable Ryzen 4000 Gaming Laptop
May 14, 2020 Andrew Cheng

The highly anticipated AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile processors are now available in Malaysia after Asus unveiled its range of laptops with the new chips locally a couple of days ago. One of the most interesting products launched then is this one right here: the Asus TUF Gaming A15.

Configurable with a fast Ryzen 9 4900H processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, this is a powerful gaming laptop. More importantly, it also offers excellent value for money. If you’re looking to get a gaming laptop with the absolute best performance for the least amount of money, the A15 should be at the top of your list.

Since sheer value for money is one of the TUF Gaming A15’s best selling points, let’s talk about that first. The model we received for review is the Ryzen 7 4800H variant with an RTX 2060 GPU. Coupled with 16GB of RAM and a whopping 1TB SSD, this particular model retails at RM5,699. That’s not exactly an affordable price tag, but you do get some impressive hardware for that kind of money.

Of course, if you want even better processing power, you can swap out the Ryzen 7 chip for an even faster Ryzen 9 4900H processor. How much will this upgrade cost? Only RM200. However, benchmarks have shown that the Ryzen 9 isn’t remarkably faster than the Ryzen 7 due to thermal and TDP constraints, so the extra cost may not be worth it.

Anyway, given the beefy Ryzen 7 processor and RTX 2060 GPU of the A15, it will be able to offer excellent gaming performance. I haven’t managed to run any AAA games on the machine yet, but I’m confident it will have no issue in delivering high enough frame rates for a pleasant gaming experience. I’ll definitely put this to the test in a full review of this gaming laptop.

Further enhancing the gaming experience of the laptop is the fast display of the TUF Gaming A15. Regardless of which variant you go for, you will get a 15.6-inch 1080p display with a 144Hz refresh rate. This high refresh rate ensures that every motion on the screen looks extra smooth, even something as trivial as mouse movement.

Of course, the 144Hz panel also means that the A15 can show up to 144 frames per seconds, so games that can push out that many frames with the RTX 2060 GPU will be able to take full advantage of the fast screen.

What about the display quality of the A15? Well, it’s quite good. Asus says that this laptop has an “IPS-level” display, and for the most part, it does look like an IPS panel. It can produce relatively vibrant colours, and the brightness level is good. But I’m not too thrilled by the viewing angles. It’s not horrible by any means, but it does dim noticeably when you look at the screen at a slight angle.

Design wise, the A15 is a sleek-looking gaming laptop. The screen bezels are quite minimal (though I do wish the bottom bezel was smaller), the lid now sports the TUF Gaming logo instead of the simple Asus branding of the previous FX505 laptop, and it’s actually slightly thinner now, measuring 24.9mm at its thickest point. However, tipping the scales at 2.3kg, it’s a hefty machine.

In order to bring down the price of the A15, plastic is found throughout the gaming laptop. The bottom chassis, display bezel, and even the palm rest area are made out of plastic. This doesn’t give the laptop a particularly premium appeal, but it is MIL-STD-810H certified, so you know it’s a durable machine.

And then we have the input devices of the TUF Gaming A15. The keyboard, for one, is reasonably good. It has a good amount of travel and tactile feedback, which make for a comfortable typing experience. I also rather like the see-through WASD keycaps; it complements the RGB lighting of the keyboard quite well.

That being said, I’m not a fan of the keyboard’s layout. I appreciate the separated arrow keys, but Asus decided to fit a compressed numpad on the right side of the keyboard. As a result, the other keys are “shifted” to the left side, and I find myself accidentally hitting the num lock key whenever I want to reach for the backspace button. I imagine I can get used to this layout over time, but there will be an adjustment period.

As for the trackpad, it’s surprisingly good for a gaming laptop. It can track my fingers accurately, gestures work as intended, and the smooth surface makes it effortlessly to use. It’s a decent trackpad, but I do wish it wasn’t static; I can only tap on it or use the two dedicated buttons below the trackpad for mouse clicks.

Based on my brief time with the Asus TUF Gaming A15, it looks to be a solid gaming laptop with excellent value for money. It has a fast 144Hz screen, a reasonably sleek design, and most of all, it offers fantastic performance for the money. I’ll be putting the Ryzen 7 4800H through its paces in a full review, and based on many benchmarks of the chip, I’m confident it will be one of the fastest chips you can get at this price point.

If you want something more affordable, you can always opt for the Ryzen 5 4600H configurations of the A15, which retails from only RM3,499. Check out our full coverage of Asus’ other Ryzen 4000 laptops in Malaysia to learn more.