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Asus TUF Gaming A15 hands-on review: AMD meets Nvidia

A unique laptop for gamers on a budget

(Image: © Laptop Mag)

Our Verdict

Asus' TUF Gaming A15 could be a winner at the right price thanks to its unique blend of AMD and Nvidia components.

For

  • New AMD CPUs
  • Up to RTX 2060 graphics
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • 144Hz display with FreeSync

Against

  • Chunky plastic chassis
  • Display isn't very colorful

Asus unveiled today at CES 2020 the TUF Gaming A15, a gaming laptop that blends AMD and Nvidia components to provide gamers loads of power at an affordable price. Packing the new AMD 4000 Series processors and Nvidia RTX GPUs, the TUF Gaming A15 brings feuding houses together under one roof. 

It's a unique approach that Asus believes will bring more value to consumers who need a laptop that can play the latest games but who don't want to spend a fortune on hardware. 

I got to see the TUF Gaming A15 in person, and while I wasn't able to play any games on it, it's easy to see the value it offers gamers who don't need the slimmest or most powerful machine. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Asus will offer a version of the laptop with 10th Gen Intel Core processors called the TUF Gaming F15. It will be available at an unspecified date later this year. There are also 17-inch versions of both the AMD and Intel models: the TUF Gaming A17 and TUF Gaming F17, respectively.

Asus TUF Gaming A15 price and availability 

The TUF Gaming A15 will be available in the first quarter of 2020. Asus has not announced pricing yet but we expect the TUF Gaming A15 to start at under $1,000. 

Asus TUF Gaming A15 design

The TUF Gaming A15 isn't the slimmest or lightest gaming laptop. Nor does it have the most premium materials. But that's not really what the device is about. TUF Gaming laptops are Asus' lower-tier gaming machines meant to give gamers the specs they need to play at high graphics levels but without breaking the bank. 

With that said, the TUF Gaming laptop is still a chunky device even though its new thin display bezels helped reduce the overall footprint of the machine by 7% from the previous model. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

To keep the price down, the TUF Gaming A15's chassis is made out of plastic. This isn't the cheap, sticky plastic you find on most budget machines; The TUF Gaming A15's deck has a brushed finish stylized with sharp lines and aggressive angles that give the laptop an attractive "gamery" aesthetic. The TUF Gaming A15 feels like a durable machine and is even MIL-STD-810H tested for withstanding extreme conditions. 

If you want a more premium finish, Asus will sell the TUF Gaming A15 with a sandblasted metal lid. I got to see this version in person and love how the exposed metal screws make it look as though Asus bolted a steel plate onto the top of the laptop. 

Centered on the lid is the winged TUF gaming laptop while a slight lip just above the display makes it easy to open the TUF Gaming A15 and gave Asus enough space to fit a camera up top.

Asus TUF Gaming A15 ports

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The TUF Gaming A15 comes with a generous selection of ports. On the right side is a Kensington lock slot and a USB 2.0 port for connecting peripherals like a mouse or keyboard. The left side houses the rest of the connections, which include an HDMI input, two USB 3.2 Type-A ports, a USB-C port, an RJ-45 Ethernet port for a fast, stable internet connection and a headphone/mic jack.

Asus TUF Gaming A15 display

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The Asus TUF Gaming A15 has a 15.6-inch, 1080p display with a refresh rate of 144Hz and AMD FreeSync support. 

The display isn't particularly colorful based on what I saw in the brief time I spent with the TUF Gaming A15, but it did a great job of reducing glare and reflections thanks to its matte finish. It should also be great for gaming thanks to its fast refresh rate and AMD FreeSync technology, which should keep fast-paced action looking smooth and eliminate any screen tearing. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

I also like how thin the TUF Gaming A15's bezels are. Sure, we've seen laptops with true edge-to-edge displays but most budget laptops today still have thick frames around their displays. 

The 17-inch TUF Gaming A17 will flaunt a 17.3-inch, 1080p display with a refresh rate of 120Hz. It is also an anti-glare panel and supports AMD FreeSync.

Asus TUF Gaming A15 keyboard

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The TUF Gaming A15's keyboard felt comfortable to type on. The chiclet-style keys have plenty of travel and their soft actuation kept the tips of my fingers from feeling fatigued. There is also a nice weight to them that makes it satisfying to complete a keystroke and bounce over to the next letter. 

That said, they aren't the clickiest keys so you might want to invest in a mechanical keyboard if you're worried about maximizing your APMs.

Asus TUF Gaming A15 specs

Here is where things get a bit odd. Asus is marrying AMD and Nvidia components inside the TUF Gaming A15. This rare combination should lead to strong performance, especially thanks to AMD's newly-announced processors. 

Powering the TUF Gaming A15 is AMD's new Ryzen 4000 series processors based on its Zen 2 core architecture. The high-end chips offer eight cores and 16 threads and are said to double power efficiency compared to previous generations. 

We'll need to put the TUF Gaming A15 through our benchmarks to get a better idea of how capable these processors are, but we like what we're hearing so far. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

When it comes to graphics, the TUF Gaming A15 relies on Nvidia's Turing GPUs. The gaming rig can be configured with up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU (6GB of VRAM), which should be capable of playing almost every modern game at high settings.

Other components include up to 32GB of 3200Mhz DDR4 RAM and up to 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD. 

The TUF Gaming F15 and F17 will launch later this year with Intel chips.

Asus TUF Gaming A15 battery life

Gaming laptops aren't known for battery life but the TUF Gaming A15 could break the spell. The machine houses a massive 90Wh battery that Asus claims will keep the Gaming A15 powered for 8.7 hours of web browsing and 12.3 hours of video playback. 

We'll need to do our own testing to see how it holds up in real-world usage.

Asus TUF Gaming A17, F15 and F17

The TUF Gaming A15 one model in a family of new TUF Gaming machines. Asus will also offer a 17-inch model called the TUF Gaming A17. It's very similar to the A15 except that it has a larger display with a 120 hertz refresh rate. 

There will also be Intel versions called the TUF Gaming F15 and TUF Gaming F17. Those will be powered by the latest 10th Gen processors and still offer up to an RTX 2060 GPU.

 Outlook 

The TUF Gaming A15 is an interesting laptop that gamers on a budget should keep an eye out for. It has a 15.6-inch display with a fast refresh rate and AMD FreeSync technology so action should look smooth. 

On the inside is a unique combination of AMD's new Series 4000 processors and Nvidia graphics, which go up to a GeForce RTX 2060. As with any laptop, pricing is going to play a big part in whether the TUF Gaming A15 is a good choice. If Asus can bring it down to well below a $1,000 then it might just have a hit on its hands.

For more laptops, tablets and more, read our CES 2020 hub page.