Laptop, Review

Asus TUF Gaming A15 Review: Best Value for Money Ryzen 4000 Gaming Laptop

The gaming laptop scene has seen some exciting developments in recent times, thanks to new processor and GPU options in the market. The former is particularly exciting with AMD’s Ryzen 4000 series of processors. Not only does it bring excellent performance, laptops powered by the new chips are also offered at competitive price points.

One such gaming laptop is the Asus TUF Gaming A15. I’ve spent a few weeks using it as my daily driver and gaming machine, and while it does have some shortcomings, the level of performance it offers at this price point makes it an incredibly attractive value for money gaming laptop.

If you want the best gaming performance for the least amount of money, you should seriously consider the TUF Gaming A15.

Specifications

Display15.6-inch 144Hz FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 7 4800H (8C/16T, 2.9GHz with boost up to 4.2GHz)
GPUNvidia GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6 VRAM
RAM16GB DDR4 3200MHz
Storage1TB PCIe Gen3 SSD
Camera720p
Battery48WHr
Dimensions359.8 x 256 x 22.8 – 24.7 mm
Weight2.3kg
AudioBottom-firing stereo speakers
Ports1x USB 3.2 Type-C
2x USB 3.2 Type-A
1x USB 2.0 Type-A
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x RJ45
PriceRM5,699

Design

The TUF Gaming A15 looks like your average gaming laptop, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It has an RGB keyboard, see-through WASD keys, and compared to its predecessor, it does look sleeker with a cleaner top lid design. The slim bezels surrounding the screen also give it a modern aesthetic, though we do wish the bottom bezel was smaller.

Given the affordable positioning of the TUF Gaming A15, plastic is used quite extensively throughout the laptop. The top lid is made out of metal, but other parts of the machine are all plastic. These include the palm rest area, the sides, and even the bottom chassis.

While the plastic construction doesn’t feel premium, the TUF Gaming A15 does feel solid. It is MIL-STD-810H certified, so you know it’s a durable gaming laptop that can take a few knocks and bumps of everyday use. Asus also says that the laptop has been “tested to survive short falls.”

In terms of connectivity, the TUF Gaming A15 offers a good selection of ports. These include a USB-C connection, three full-size USB-A ports, an HDMI 2.0b output, and even an RJ45 connection. It would have been great if it had an SD card reader as well; that would’ve made it an even more appealing laptop.

Overall, the TUF Gaming A15 is a reasonably sleek-looking gaming laptop. It’s not particularly slim or lightweight – it weighs 2.3kg with a 24.7mm thick chassis – but at this price point, you can’t really complain.

User Experience

To game effectively, you need a good keyboard, and the TUF Gaming A15 fares quite well in this regard. The keys have pronounced tactile feedback, enough key travel to not feel shallow, and overall, it’s a comfortable keyboard that is more than serviceable in long gaming sessions. The RGB lighting looks pretty good as well.

That being said, I have one major qualm with the keyboard: the layout. In order to fit a (compressed) numpad on the right side, the whole keyboard is shifted to the left, which feels awkward when I first started using the laptop. I did manage to get used to it after some time, but I still occasionally hit the num lock key whenever I reach for the backspace button.

As for the trackpad of the TUF Gaming A15, it’s decent. It’s largely accurate, gestures work as intended, and I never felt the need to plug in a mouse to the laptop whenever I’m using it for non-gaming tasks. I do wish I could physically click on the trackpad though – instead of only relying on taps – but this is just my own personal preference.

And then there’s the 15.6-inch 1080p IPS display of the TUF Gaming A15, which is fantastic for gaming. This is thanks to the 144Hz refresh rate of the panel. Not only does it provide excellent motion clarity – fast-paced games will especially benefit from this – the extra frames also make every single animation on the screen look extra smooth.

But the quality of the display itself does leave much to be desired. Compared to other IPS panels, the TUF Gaming A15’s screen doesn’t look quite as vibrant. Colours appear muted, viewing angles are not great, and while the maximum brightness is good enough for indoor use, it’s a tad too dim in brighter environments.

Regardless, it’s still a good display for gaming purposes with the 144Hz refresh rate.

Gaming laptops don’t usually have very good battery life, but that’s not the case with the TUF Gaming A15. After all, it’s powered by the new Ryzen 7 4800H processor. Fabricated on a 7nm process, it’s a power-efficient chip; this is one of the biggest benefits of Ryzen 4000 series processors.

Throughout my time with the TUF Gaming A15, I was consistently getting five hours of use on a single charge; that’s good for a gaming laptop. Of course, I only managed to get this level of battery life when I was using the laptop for word processing, web browsing, and some video playback. The power mode was set to power saver too, with the display dimmed to a comfortable level.

Okay, five hours of use may not sound very impressive, and it certainly doesn’t show the true extend of the Ryzen 7 4800H’s power efficiency. But it’s worth noting that the TUF Gaming A15 for the Malaysian market – the review unit we got – only has a 48WHr battery; it’s not a big battery capacity. In fact, in other markets, this laptop can be configured with a much larger 90WHr cell, which would’ve offered even better battery life.

Nonetheless, let’s move on to the system noise of the TUF Gaming A15. Outside of gaming, it’s a quiet machine…when the power profile is set to Silent. On Performance or Turbo profile, the fans definitely make themselves heard, even when I’m just browsing the web. Needless to say, the fans get even louder when I’m running intensive games.

Thermals of the TUF Gaming A15, on the other hand, are decent. In prolonged gaming sessions, the palm rest area remains cool. Not so much for the internals though: the GPU hit 77°C, while the CPU got up to 94°C. Not great numbers, but the high performance figures do justify these equally high temperatures; more on that in the next section.

Performance

We received the Ryzen 7 4800H variant of the TUF Gaming A15 for review, and to see just how capable the chip is, I put it through its paces in Cinebench R20. In the multi-core test, the processor got 4,106 points, and in the single-core test, it returned 481 points. Evidently, it’s a fast chip, especially when it comes to multi-core performance. Just imagine how much faster the Ryzen 9 4900H could be in the range-topping configuration.

Anyway, compared to its closest Intel competition, the Core i7-10750H, the Ryzen 7 4800H got about the same score in the single-core test, but it absolutely blew Intel’s offering out of the water in the multi-core test. On average, the Core i7-10750H only got about 3,000 points in this test; that pales in comparison to the Ryzen 7’s 4,106 score.

It’s worth noting that the Ryzen 7 4800H is an octa-core processor with 16 threads, which explains its much higher score in the multi-core test. In comparison, the Core i7-10750H is a hexa-core CPU with 12 threads; it’s missing two physical cores than the Ryzen 7. Given that these two chips are offered in laptops in the same price range, this is a fair, relevant comparison.

Okay, what about gaming performance of the TUF Gaming A15? Well, packed with an RTX 2060 GPU, this is a reasonably powerful gaming laptop. Just look at the results below.

Games (Max settings @ 1080p)Average FPS
Witcher 3 (HairWorks disabled)68.28
Borderlands 3 (DX11)50.12
Call of Duty: Warzone89.88
Apex Legends99.39

Without a doubt the TUF Gaming A15 can run AAA titles with high frame rates, and it’s worth noting that I ran these games at maxed out settings. If you want higher frame rates to take advantage of the screen’s 144Hz refresh rate, you can always tweak the graphics settings.

Competition

There are quite a number of configurations of the TUF Gaming A15 in Malaysia, and in my opinion, the most interesting option is the GTX 1660 Ti variant. I will be comparing this particular SKU of the A15 in this section.

Acer Nitro 5

The new Acer Nitro 5 for the Malaysian market doesn’t come with AMD Ryzen 4000 chips, but it is a good alternative to the TUF Gaming A15. The highest-end configuration of the Nitro 5 is quite interesting: it comes with a Core i7-10750H processor paired with 8GB of RAM, a GTX 1660 Ti GPU, a 512GB SSD, and a 15.6-inch 1080p IPS screen with a 144Hz refresh rate for RM4,899.

Closest configuration of the TUF Gaming A15 to this variant of the Nitro 5 is the aforementioned GTX 1660 Ti model. Retailing at RM4,699, it costs RM200 less, but it offers a faster Ryzen 7 4800H CPU, the same GTX 1660 Ti GPU, 8GB RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. Clearly, Asus’ laptop offers better value for money.

Of course, the Nitro 5 does have a couple of advantages over the TUF Gaming A15. For one, the former is not quite as plasticky, and measuring 23.9mm at its thickest point, the Nitro 5 is ever so slightly slimmer than the 24.7mm chassis of the A15.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G15

If you still want a Ryzen 4000 gaming laptop, there’s the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15. It’s a more premium offering than the TUF Gaming A15, so it does cost more than a similarly configured A15. Only one variant of the G15 is offered here, which retails at RM5,299.

For that kind of money, the sole configuration of the Zephyrus G15 features a Ryzen 7 4800HS processor – it’s basically a 35W version of the Ryzen 7 4800H chip, so it will be slightly slower – a GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q GPU, a 15.6-inch 1080p IPS screen with a 144Hz refresh rate, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. While it’s not quite as powerful as the TUF Gaming A15, the G15 is lighter and slimmer: it weighs 2.1kg with a 19.9mm chassis.

But if you want better value for money, and you don’t mind the thicker, plastic chassis, the TUF Gaming A15 is the better option. Even though the RM4,699 configuration only has a 512GB SSD instead of a 1TB drive, it offers a faster Ryzen 7 4800H chip and a beefier GTX 1660 Ti GPU for RM600 less.

Conclusion

The Asus TUF Gaming A15 may not be the most premium or sleekest-looking gaming laptop, but it offers incredibly good performance for the money courtesy of the fast Ryzen 4000 chips. For folks that just want the best value for their money, the A15 is really one of the most – if not the most – ideal option. This is especially true with the RM4,699 GTX 1660 Ti configuration.

That’s not to say the RTX 2060 variant of the TUF Gaming A15 in this review doesn’t offer good value for money. Yes, the RM5,699 price tag is a lot of money, but it comes with 16GB of RAM, a whopping 1TB SSD, and the RTX 2060 offers features like ray tracing and DLSS. To some folks, these extras are worth the RM1,000 difference.

But regardless of which variant you go for, there’s no denying the sheer value for money the TUF Gaming A15 offers. It has its fair share of shortcomings (especially in the display department), but the level of performance afforded by the Ryzen 4000 CPUs more than make up for it.