In matching a possible price with an elegant form factor, the Asus TUF Dash F15 Gaming Laptop is a masterclass. It has a good efficiency in a chassis that will not weigh you down when you need to go somewhere. And it doesn’t hurt to have some of today’s most extended battery life on a gaming laptop.
Quick Review Asus TUF Dash F15 Gaming Laptop
Gaming laptops such as the Asus TUF Dash F15, packed in a thin and light bundle with mid-range output, have historically been much more expensive than your traditional portable gaming computer. Typically, you were looking at dropping a few grand on it if you wanted a gaming laptop that could power the new AAA PC games at high settings, and you wanted to take it around quickly with you in your backpack.
However, this time, thanks in larger part to Intel’s new 11th-generation Tiger Lake-H35 processors, the Asus TUF Dash F15 brings an affordable $1,099 price point to start with a luxurious gaming experience.
However, there are a couple of sacrifices made at this low price to make this laptop work. The lack of a webcam is going to be the most obvious. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 from 2020, still one of our favorite gaming laptops, also made this compromise. This is not the first time we have seen this in an Asus gaming laptop. It was then worth it, and it is now still worth it.
It is also gestational to highlight that the Asus TUF Dash F15 will probably not be the most powerful RTX 3070-driven gaming laptop on the market due to the laptop’s lightweight nature. Still, it was much than powerful enough to run anything at a stable framerate in our test suite.
The Asus TUF Dash F15 should be at the top of your list if you’ve been searching for a portable gaming laptop that can both play the latest games at high settings and doesn’t cost as much as a down payment on a vehicle.
- CPU: Intel Core i7-11375H (four cores, 12MB cache, up to 5.0GHz Turbo)
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
- RAM: 16GB DDR4-3200
- Screen: 15-inch 1080p IPS, 240Hz
- Storage: 1TB SSD
- Optical drive: N/A
- Ports: 3 x USB-A 3.2, 1 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x ethernet, 1 x 3.5mm audio jack
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.1
- Camera: HD Webcam
- Weight: 4.41lbs (2.0kg)
- Size: 14.17 x 9.92 x 0.78 inches (36 x 25.2 x 1.92cm; W x D x H)
Price and Availability
Starting in January 2021, the Asus TUF Dash is available, and the base configuration will set you back $1,099. You’ll have an Intel Core i7-11370H processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512vGB SSD, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 for that price, all of which are behind a 15-inch 1080p 144Hz display.
This is possibly one of the best laptops on the market with an RTX 3000 GPU right now, particularly considering the long battery life and super-portable design brought to the table by the TUF Dash F15.
The setup we’re reviewing here, listed on the right, will set you back $1,449, and for most people, it’s probably the sweet spot. You mostly won’t see many other gaming laptops with equivalent hardware at this price point, especially not in a well-built laptop.
There is also a $1,699 configuration (approximately £ 1,249, AU$2,200) available. The only thing that changes is switching the processor from the Intel Core i7-11370H to the Intel Core i7-11375H and bringing a sleek white colorway. It’s an option that’s open to you if you want a shiny white laptop, but really, you’re not going to get anything given how much extra cash you’re going to throw down on it.
Design: Asus TUF Dash F15 Gaming Laptop
We had to double-take when opening the Asus TUF Dash F15 to ensure a TUF object and not a ROG Zephyrus. Asus’ TUF gaming laptops squad and accessories are targeted at a budget audience that wants the best bang for their buck for a bit of history. Usually, these goods take a utilitarian approach to their nature, but the Asus TUF Dash F15 is anything.
This gaming laptop is just 0.8 inches (approximately 20.3mm) wide, weighing in at only 4.5lb (2kg), making a gaming laptop incredibly thin and light. The keyboard deck and the laptop’s lid are made of aluminum with a beautiful gray colorway, but it doesn’t sacrifice rigidity for the sake of portability. However, the laptop’s bottom is still plastic, so don’t imagine you are having a unibody build or something – unfortunately, that’s still something reserved for far more costly machines.
However, it does make the laptop more comfortable to run. Although the Asus TUF Dash F15 is extremely thin and compact, to maximize your storage and memory, you can still pop out of the back of the laptop. A screwdriver is all you need to get inside the laptop, and the bottom half of the underside will pop off, allowing you easy access to the M.2 ports, two of them, if more room is needed in the future.
However, to get to the RAM, you will have to remove the laptop’s entire bottom, but you can still upgrade it with up to 32GB of DDR4. When you can update it as you go, this makes the low entry price even more enticing, rather than having to fork over a lot of cash upfront.
With two USB-A ports on the laptop’s right side, the Asus TUF Dash F15 also has a wealth of ports on sale. On the left, along with the Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, Ethernet, a 3.5mm combination jack, and a dedicated charging slot, you get one more USB-A. Now, though Asus uses a dedicated charging port, the TUF Dash F15 can still be charged via USB-C, but not as quickly.
The display is a Full-HD panel with a refresh rate of 240Hz, making it ideal for esports, especially paired with an RTX 3070. It’s also bright and vibrant enough to do justice to the single-player hits, with an average peak brightness of about 265 nits and reaching 110% of the sRGB range.
The bezels are far from the thinnest in the world around the display, but they’re certainly not thick enough to be distracting. Yet, we can’t help but wonder why Asus couldn’t suit the top bezel with a webcam. It is more than thick enough, but to keep the price of the Asus TUF Dash F15 so low, this is possibly just a cost-cutting measure. It’s unsatisfying, but it’s not the end of the world, especially if you don’t want to use it for video calls or Twitch streaming. You’re going to have to spend on one of the best webcams if you’re going to do those things.
Given the thin laptop construction, the keyboard is comfortable to type on, with plenty of essential travel. Spacing, though we wish the lighting were a little different, is also on target. There is no RGB lighting on sale, which is again likely to be a price compromise. Alternatively, it’s all teal backlighting, and it’s not the most appealing color in the world, and it looks worse around the transparent WASD buttons. It makes sense to emphasize these buttons because, you know, gaming, but the backlighting makes it look gross.
These transparent keys stand out in a beautiful laptop like the Asus TUF Dash F15, and we want it to be either optional or just not there at all.
What is extraordinary is that above the keyboard, several dedicated keys are handy. Without having to straddle awkwardly between the Fn key and the function keys, together with an exceptional and dedicated mic mute button and one that opens the Asus Armoury Crate app, you can monitor volume
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The trackpad, you know, is just perfect. It’s large enough to use gestures, and the clicking mechanism feels strong enough, but you really should go for a gaming mouse with a gaming laptop anyway. But, in a pinch, it’ll do.
Asus placed the speakers on the left and the other on the right, on the laptop’s bottom. This is one of our pet peeves, unusually when there is sufficient room for each side of the laptop. They don’t sound irritating, as many other laptops go with this design option, but it’s not ideal yet.
When gaming, however, they are loud enough to power through the fan noise. The fans are not loud enough to be annoying with the “Performance” profile – selected from Armoury Crate. You’ll certainly always hear them when the laptop is heavily loaded, but there’s nothing too serious about it.
And they also do their work. The keyboard deck was not uncomfortably heavy, even after hours of benchmarking, thanks to the vents all around the laptop’s sides.
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Performance: Asus TUF Dash F15 Gaming Laptop
We prefer to think of them in one of three distinct groups when it comes to gaming laptops: there are the ultra-powerful desktop replacements, the ultra-portable ones that let you get some gaming done on the road, and those in the middle that give you a little bit of column A and B. The Asus TUF Dash is what we would term an ultra-portable laptop for gaming.
So, though both Intel and Nvidia are packaging the new silicon, the hardware is designed in such a way that it won’t explode into flames in such a tiny chassis so that you won’t get the best RTX 3070 laptop on the market here.
That doesn’t mean that, though, the Asus TUF Dash F15 can’t tear through the most recent AAA games. It draws an appropriate framerate, whether it’s Watch Dogs with RTX on, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, or even Dirt 5, no matter what game we throw at this thing.
The RTX 3070 here is also based on the Ampere architecture of Nvidia, which carries along with its ray-tracing tech’s second-generation implementation. And, in games that embrace it, the output is improved a lot by this. For instance, we tested and benchmarked Metro Exodus at Ultra settings, scoring 59 fps average without ray tracing. Thanks to the genius DLSS tech from Nvidia, it only drops down to 48 fps when we turn it on.
That’s not the flawless 60 fps you would expect, but it’s still more than playable. We consider it a win, considering that you can get that output on a device that can comfortably fit in your backpack.
Due to the inclusion of a Tiger Lake-H35 processor, CPU output is not as powerful as you would get in other laptops, in large part. The Core i7-11370H is a 4-core, 8-thread component that can increase to approximately 4.8 GHz. It’s more than enough for gaming-we don’t run into any issues with the GPU being bottlenecked or anything, but if you want to look elsewhere for creative professionals looking to use a gaming laptop as a workstation, it is becoming more and more popular.
Gaming laptops have a reputation for low battery life, but they have recently been improving. Most notably, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 with an AMD Ryzen 4000 processor and an RTX 2060 came out in early 2020 and managed an impressive 8 hours of battery life in our video playback test.
With an even improved and more powerful GPU and a quicker 240Hz display, the Asus TUF Dash F15 is even better, reaching 10 hours of battery life. The laptop lasts about 9 hours even in the PCMark 10 battery tests, which simulate a wide range of different computing workloads, which means that this gaming laptop should have no trouble taking you through a full day of work. And, given how big the charging brick is, it is a massive plus to carry this to work with you without it.
Features and apps
The Asus TUF Dash F15 offers just the app’s bare basic features, and that’s a good thing. Beyond the Asus driver utilities and the Armoury Crate app, which is truly useful, there is not much in the way of bloatware. Although only one color is available, this tiny software will allow you to customize the lighting and give you power over performance profiles to determine whether you want quiet fans or the best performance that the laptop can squeeze out.
It even has a game launcher built into it, so instead of having to continually juggle among Steam, GOG, Epic, and whatever other launchers you wish to play your favorite PC games, you have one software you can launch games.
There’s no IR facial recognition because there is no webcam on this laptop, and there’s no fingerprint reader here either. That means no biometric login, but considering that this laptop is such a steal for the hardware on offer, that’s not a feature that we’re going to begrudge.