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Asus TUF Gaming F15 review: A great value mid-range gaming laptop

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,400
inc VAT

The 2022 Asus TUF Gaming F15 is a powerful, pretty and robust all-rounder at a keen price

Pros 
Fast for an RTX 3060 laptop
Colourful QHD display with MUX
Tactile keyboard with a numeric keypad
Cons 
Poor battery life
Irregular keyboard backlight
Avoid the 144Hz model
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The Asus TUF Dash 15 was one of our favourite affordable gaming laptops of 2021, a combination of good looks, good performance and low price that was hard to resist.

The only small issue was trying to find the optimum combination of display and GPU, something not made any easier by Asus’s habit of restricting some combinations to certain markets. Now, a successor has arrived – the Asus TUF F15 – with a makeover and the latest 12th generation Intel processors inside.

Buy now from John Lewis


Asus TUF Gaming F15 (2022) review: What you need to know

At under £1,500, the 2022 Asus TUF F15 sits in the space between true budget gaming laptops like the Lenovo Legion 5 AMD Advantage Edition and full-fat gaming rigs such as the Asus ROG Scar Strix 15. That means you get close to Premier League performance and build quality for little more than Championship prices.

The F15 is a very attractive laptop fitted with the latest 12th Gen Intel Core i7 CPUs and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU with the wick turned right up. It also comes with a decent display with up to a 165Hz refresh rate and DCI-P3 colour reproduction, storage of up to 1TB in capacity and a rather fine keyboard complete with a numeric keypad. The design is an evolution rather than a revolution from last year's model but that’s not a problem because the 2021 TUF 15 was a stunner.

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Asus TUF Gaming F15 review: Price and competition

As was the case with the 2021 (FX506) model, 2022 (FX507) TUF F15 is available in several different variants. You can have it with either a Intel Core i7-12500H or Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050, 3050 Ti, 3060 or 3070 GPU and one of three different screen types, all 15.6in across the diagonal: a 144Hz Full HD unit, a 300Hz Full HD panel or a 165Hz QHD screen.

The version tested for this review has an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, an Nvidia RTX RTX 3060 GPU with 6GB of video RAM, and a 165Hz QHD (2,560 x 1,440) display. It also comes with 16GB of quad-channel system RAM and a 1TB SSD; this system costs £1,400 at John Lewis.

The mid-priced gaming laptop arena is intensely competitive so it isn’t hard to find strong rivals and, when it comes to maximum bang for your buck, the Acer Nitro 5 is hard to beat. It’s made from plastic rather than anything from the metallic end of the periodic table and the display is a bit drab but its AMD Ryzen 5 CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU make it a solid performer. The price of less than £900 is very tempting.

Lenovo’s Legion 5 AMD Advantage Edition uses an AMD rather than Nvidia GPU and, significantly, this comes with 8GB of VRAM. For just under £1,000 with a Ryzen 7 CPU the Legion 5 is the most balanced budget gaming laptop on the market today.

Another all-AMD package, HP’s Omen 16, uses the same Ryzen 7 chip and RX 6600M GPU as the Lenovo Legion 5 but has a larger 16.1in, 2,560 x 1,440 display. The AMD GPU isn’t quite up to the task of gaming at the native display resolution but the extra screen real estate pays dividends when it comes to working rather than playing. At the time of writing, HP is selling the Omen 16 for £899 which makes it an absolute steal.

If money is no object then the TUF F15’s hardcore cousin, the Asus ROG Scar Strix 15 is worth a look. Yes, at £1,000 more it’s far more expensive and the sides of the keyboard deck can get hot but it’s an absolute powerhouse thanks to an Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti GPU, which means it’s able to make the most of its 1440p display.

Asus TUF Gaming F15 review: Design and build quality

The TUF F15 is one of the best-built gaming laptops on the market thanks to its MIL-STD-810H resistance to shock, vibration, and other environmental extremes. Like the 2021 model, it’s made from a combination of aluminium and plastic and feels very sturdy. Asus boasts the new model is 4.5% smaller than the 2021 model, which my measurements more or less bear out. At 354 x 251 x 25mm, the 2022 model is certainly narrower and shorter, although it’s a smidge thicker and, at 2.2kg, 200g heavier.

It’s still available in Moonlight White but our review machine was the more sober Off Black model. It’s certainly a smart-looking thing and the decoration on this Gaming F15 model is more discrete than the TUF Dash I reviewed last year. Also different are the four status lights above the keyboard that can be seen when the lid is closed thanks to the cutout at the bottom of the lid. I found these rather distracting when using the F15 in the dark.

Asus has refined the port assortment so you now get one fewer USB-A port but one more USB-C. That means on the left you’ll find a Thunderbolt 4 port, a USB-C USB 3.2 Gen 2 port that also supports DisplayPort 1.4, a Gigabit Ethernet connector, HDMI 2.0b, 3.5mm audio jack and one USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 socket (plus the DC power input). The other USB-A port is on the right edge along with a Kensington lock slot, making for a rather lopsided arrangement.

Removing the bottom panel is a straightforward process and, once inside, you can add a second 2280 M.2 SSD, replace the existing one and upgrade the two 8GB SODIMM RAM cards. While on the subject of the SSD, the PCIe 4 Samsung 1TB card in my sample recorded decent sequential read and write times (2,685MB/sec and 1,996MB/sec respectively) but dismal 4K speeds of just 23.9MB/sec and 42.7MB/sec. There were no such problems with the Intel AX201 Wi-Fi card which supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 and performed faultlessly.

Asus TUF Gaming F15 review: Keyboard, touchpad and webcam

The new TUF F15 has a full-width membrane keyboard complete with a numeric keypad. It’s a solid affair with the trademark TUF translucent WASD keys. The keys themselves have a 1.7mm travel and a smooth action with a nice bit of bounce at the bottom making them good for both typing and gaming. Four handy hotkeys at the top let you adjust the volume, mute the microphone and launch the Asus Armoury Crate control panel.

There’s no per-key lighting which is not too surprising at this price. More annoying is the fact that the backlight doesn't evenly illuminate the key graphics. For instance, on the function keys, the upstrokes of the small Fs are fully lit but the rest of the letter and numbers to the right are only partially illuminated. Combined with the stylised graphics it makes everything look a bit chaotic in dark environments.

While the TUF 15 has shrunk, the trackpad has grown, to the tune of 27% so it now measures 130mm x 77mm. It’s still an all-plastic affair but it’s pleasant to the touch and has a positive click action. The TUF logo printed on the top right corner is a neat design feature.

The webcam doesn’t support Windows Hello – indeed there’s no biometric security whatsoever – but it produces crisper and more colourful images than the 720p specification would suggest.

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Asus TUF Gaming F15 review: Display and audio

The display can generate a decent maximum brightness of 337cd/m2 while the contrast ratio is a solid, if unspectacular, 1,033:1. It’s vividly colourful, too, capable of reproducing 130.7% of the sRGB gamut (96.5% of DCI-P3) and also reasonably colour accurate – for a gaming laptop – with an average Delta E of 2.07 versus sRGB.

The combination of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels and a 15.6in panel results in a sharp pixel density of 188dpi and makes the F15 a very satisfying laptop to watch movies on. Tets results for the cheaper 144Hz display on other websites suggest it’s a dim, drab and rather dismal affair. If you can, choose this QHD model.

For 2022, all TUF machines get a MUX switch that lets you directly connect the GPU to the display without the integrated graphics processor making it a ménage à trois. This improves frame rates but hits battery life. Along with the MUX switch, you also get Nvidia’s G-Sync VRR display synchronization technology.

The Dolby Atmos-certified speakers produce a reasonable amount of volume, registering an average of 76dB from a pink noise source at 1m and peaks of 84dB from a music source at the same distance. There’s plenty of bass in evidence, too, but the definition isn’t quite as good as on some of the competition with the soundscape coming across as just a bit woolly in the mids. The Dolby control panel does allow you to change sound profiles but the alternatives replace woolly with raucous.

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Asus TUF Gaming F15 review: Performance and battery life

Our in-house 4K media benchmarks returned a score of 443 from the TUF F15, substantially ahead of the only other Alder Lake Core i7 and RTX 3060 laptop we've tested, the Alienware x14, which scored 393. It even narrowly beat the Asus ROG Scar Strix 15, which is quite an achievement.

That’s largely down to TUF F15’s GPU running at a higher total graphics power (TGP) than is generally the case in cheaper or slimmer gaming laptops – 140W vs the more usual 80W, 85W or 90W in the case of the Alienware x14.

Turning to our usual gaming benchmarks, at 1,920 x 1,080 Hitman 2 test returned an average 55fps, Shadow of the Tomb Raider 80fps and Wolfenstein: Youngblood 109fps, those last two both with Ray Tracing on but DLSS off and video detail set to the highest level. At 2,560 x 1,440, the Tomb Raider and Wolfenstein results dropped to 47fps and 59fps respectively while the Hitman 2 test slumped to 34fps.

I also ran the Metro: Exodus benchmark at 1,920 x 1,080 using the three standard presets and got 36.9fps in Extreme, 58.1fps in Ultra and 73.4fps in High. Running at 2,560 x 1,440 the same test results dropped to 19.6fps, 42.9fps and 54.3fs respectively.

Those are the highest frame rates any RTX 3060 laptop has achieved here at Expert Reviews.

Running demanding games at 1,920 x 1,080 is clearly where the TUF F15 is most comfortable because the RTX 3060 can start to run out of VRAM at high video detail settings and QHD resolutions. Of course, with so many options to mix different video detail levels with different resolutions and to run with Nvidia’s DLSS upscaling technology, getting triple-digit frame rates from the majority of games isn't a problem.

Running in the top Turbo setting, the F15’s cooling fans are rather loud but if you drop down a notch into Performance mode the noise drops noticeably while performance only takes a small hit. Run the TUF F15 under stress for long periods and the very top of the keyboard deck between the lid hinges can get quite hot but as this isn't a part of the laptop you touch in general use it's not an issue.

Our review unit came with a 90Wh battery although there are apparently both 56Wh and 76Wh versions available. Those are best avoided because the runtime from the larger battery was pretty poor, lasting a mere 6hrs 20mins in our video rundown test. That's well short of the 2021 TUF Dash model and quite disappointing, although it’s worth pointing out that the competition doesn’t do much better.

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Asus TUF Gaming F15 review: Verdict

The key to enjoying life with an Asus TUF Gaming F15 is making sure you buy the right model. The one I’d strongly recommend is the machine with the QHD 165Hz display, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU and Moonlight White colour scheme. That’s the optimum combination of performance and value and it will get you a gaming laptop that can produce higher frame rates at 1080p than any other RTX 3060-based machine.

Add to that the catwalk good looks, tough construction and premium features like the MUX switch and G-Sync technology and consider that – along with all that – you will still get a penny change from £1,400, then what more can you ask for? It’s a fantastic gaming all-rounder.

Buy now from John Lewis


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