When it comes to gaming laptops, I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Asus. It's probably personal preference, but I'm a sucker for Asus' ROG (Republic of Gamers) line and its gorgeous aesthetic. The heavy-duty hardware and excellent build quality are also points in its favour. That being said, my concern has always been with the pricing of that line. ROG laptops are premium devices, and they're deserving of that premium, but it's hard to justify spending that additional cash when competitors like MSI, Acer and the like offer more value. Fixing this issue is the recently introduced TUF series from Asus. It's slightly on the cheaper side and what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in value. The internals of TUF FX and the ROG Strix series are more-or-less the same but the latter costs about Rs 40,000 more. For the average gamer, the choice is quite simple, at least in theory.
To put said theory to the test, I got my hands on the Asus TUF FX705 gaming laptop and put it through its paces.
As the name suggests, this is a machine that is, well… TUF. I received the top-end model which costs about Rs 1,24,990 but there is also a cheaper variant which is about Rs 79,990. There are many stand out features in the laptop which a lot of gamers will appreciate, features such as the inclusion of a 144 Hz display, a nice design, high-end graphics for a lower price point and more. There are also a couple of drawbacks which include poor speakers, a decent but underlit display and loud fans, among other things. Overall, I believe the TUF FX705 is the perfect package for casual gamers who have slightly deeper pockets than the average person.
Asus TUF FX705 Build and Design: 7/10
As I said before, this is a laptop that is ‘TUF’. The reason for that is that the device has gone through some rigorous “military grade MIL-STD-810” testing, as per Asus. Theoretically, this means that the US military would be happy to use this laptop in certain situations. The laptop will survive adverse conditions including extremes of solar radiation and thermal shock, not that any of this will be a problem when you are comfortably sitting inside your home. I was careful enough not to drop the laptop anywhere but Asus has given an assurance that the TUF FX705 will be able to withstand “day-to-day” usage and accidental knocks.
From the outside, the TUF FX705 does not exude the same amount of gamer vibes as say the ROG Strix, but it is still quite appealing. The construction of the device is mostly plastic with some sort of textured lid and palm rest. The FX705 is available in Gold Steel or Red Matter colour options and we received the former. While Gold Steel sounds fancy, the laptop is mostly dark-grey in colour with a gold-accented Asus logo at the back.
The RGB backlighting on the keyboard looks quite refreshing and the white colour scheme for the WASD keys is a nice added touch. The display gets small 7.2 mm bezels on the sides, giving it a much higher screen-to-body ratio than devices like the Dell G3 3579 or the Legion Y530. The edges for the palm rest are slightly curved, which makes for a more pleasant typing and gaming experience.
Being a 17-inch laptop means that the device is certainly going to be a bit heavy, but I was pleasantly surprised by how lightweight the TUF FX705 is with respect to its screen size and all the heavy duty internals it packs in. The laptop weighs about 2.5 kgs, making it lighter than most 17-inch laptops and only slightly heavier than the 15-inch ones such as the above mentioned Dell G3 3579.
Asus TUF FX705 Features: 7/10
The Asus FX705 is packed with features, the least of which is its military-grade physical endurance certification. The laptop has a 17-inch IPS LCD display with a 144 Hz refresh rate, the latter makes a big impact when gaming. The processing department is handled by a top of the line hexa-core 8th-gen Intel i7 8750H CPU while the graphics run on the capable NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060Ti with 6 GB of memory. Both these options seem quite good for a Rs 1,24,990 laptop as other laptops with similar specs such as ROG GL503VM Hero and the Strix Hero II GL504G, cost above Rs 1,50,000. The latter, however, does have a 240 Hz display, which is just super cool, but not really necessary.
Apart from that, the laptop comes with 16 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD storage and 1 TB of HDD storage. All these features are from the top-end variant of the TUF FX705 and a cheaper alternative is also available.
In terms of connectivity options, the TUF FX705 gets a Wave 2 Intel Wi-Fi module (for 1.7 Gbps transfer speeds) with Bluetooth 5.0 alongside Gigabit LAN support. There are also 3x USB A slots, an HDMI 2.0, a LAN Port and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. All these ports are on the left side of the laptop as on the right side, you will just find cooling vents. There are no ThunderBolt ports on this laptop, but in the interest of future-proofing, I would have liked to see at least one USB-C port.
Asus TUF FX705 Keyboard and Trackpad: 7.5/10
The keyboard layout looks quite good on the laptop and the RGB backlighting just adds a touch of style. The clear plastic design of the WASD keys allows the light to shine through the buttons, which I feel is a cool touch. Asus has said that it has implemented 'overstroke' technology which apparently raises the activation point so the keys apparently respond faster. I personally didn't think it made much difference because a) the travel distance is already tiny and b) I ended up having to bottom out the keys anyway because the response wasn't consistent otherwise.
And anyway, if you're gaming, you're bottoming out the keys by default.
The trackpad was super responsive and fast. It’s a large plastic surface made by Synaptics and I felt no problem in registering strokes or gestures on the trackpad smoothly. The buttons are clicky and require minimal force. In conclusion, however, you are most likely to get a mouse for gaming so there would not be a need to use the trackpad for long durations.
Asus TUF FX705 Display: 7/10
The Asus TUF FX705 offers a great display but with a surprising shortcoming.
The maximum refresh rate on the IPS LCD display is 144 Hz and you can also switch back to 60 Hz as well. The high refresh rate means the animations are smooth and so are transitions. This was especially noticeable when I was playing Call of Duty: WWII and Rise of the Tomb Raider, both of which did not appear so smooth on the Dell G3 3579 and its 60 Hz display.
Refresh rate aside, the display on the TUF is good enough for casual gamers such as myself to get a great gaming experience. However, those who are looking for more will be slightly disappointed. The sRGB accuracy on the display was somewhere around 85 - 90 percent which happens to be quite good in the Windows PC realm.
However, the brightness of the laptop seems to be a bit low at 248 nits when the likes of Asus Asus Strix GL703GM and the MSI GS73 Stealth 8RF-011 has a luminosity of 288 nits and 261 nits respectively. Also, we prefer to see something in the 300-nit range on our laptops.
The laptop does get decently bright in indoor conditions and also gets sufficiently dim at night. Regardless, games such as PUBG, Fortnite, Doom and more looked quite visually appealing.
Asus TUF FX705 Performance: 7.5/10
The TUF FX705 is packed with a lot of performance features which are quite remarkable at a Rs 1,24,990 price tag. It has an NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6 GB of VRAM along with an 8th gen Intel i7 CPU. So, is performance an issue? Well, here’s the thing, all else being equal, thermals and heat dissipation mechanisms are what primarily determine how well a device will run. Now the laptop does get pretty hot during gaming sessions so Asus has provided an 'overboost' mode that makes the fans go on ultra mode to keep the system cool. The downside is that the fans make a lot of noise. Hopefully, you're using a set of great headphones and the sound won't bother you.
The other two fan modes are 'quiet' and 'balanced' and the former is unsuitable at all for heavy gaming. Doom and Rise of The Tomb Raider barely managed 20 fps in this mode.
In terms of benchmarks, I was surprised to see how easily the Asus Strix GL703GM beat the TUF FX705 in our standard 3D Mark test even though both of them have the same GPU and CPU. However, in our video rendering test, the TUF was faster than the Strix, meaning its CPU is able to perform better under load. The laptop even managed to keep thermals in check as the temperatures rarely crossed 87°C even during intensive tasks.
Let’s talk a bit about gaming. With the GTX 1060 in place, it was but obvious that gaming was going to be pretty smooth. Doom, Shadow of The Tomb Raider and even the highly demanding Battlefield V ran quite well on high graphics. I, however, had to keep the fans in the overboost mode to sustain long periods of gaming at a high frame rate. Doom gave me a good 70 fps at the highest settings and Shadow of The Tomb Raider was also locked at 70 fps on high while Very high settings offered 54 fps. Far Cry 5 also managed 66 fps at ultra graphics. These scores are a little lower than what we have seen Strix GL703GM, which as I said, has the same computing power but comes with a higher price tag.
Games such as Fortnite will quite easily run on the highest settings which is Epic, while PUBG did not give the smoothest of frame rates on Ultra graphics settings.
The TUF FX705 did not disappoint in any of the gaming benchmarks and at the end of the day, this is what a gaming laptop is about. The best part is that there are only one or two other laptops that manage the same specs in the same price range, and in my books, that's a big win for Asus.
The laptop has a 64 Wh battery which lasts for a really long time considering the 144 Hz refresh rate and heavy-duty hardware. Our standard Doom skybox test revealed a battery time of 1 hr 40 minutes, which is quite spectacular as the Asus ROG GL503VM Hero and MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RF managed 70 and 90 minutes respectively. Through my usage, I have found that the laptop can easily give you 2.5 hrs of screen on time if you are casually browsing or watching videos, which is admittedly a bit low.
I have to stress the fact that the TUF FX705 is a good value for money in what it is offering, especially since it comes with that 144 Hz display. The military-grade certification is just an added bonus. Yes, the device is not quite performing up to the standards of the ROG Strix or perhaps the MSI Stealth, but then it is also about Rs 30,000 - 40,000 cheaper.
If I were to be spending my own money on a gaming laptop, I will not hesitate to drop my hard-earned cash on this device. In fact, unless you're looking for a truly high-end gaming device, the TUF FX705 is the perfect gaming laptop for everyone.
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