It can be daunting to look for a gaming laptop considering the plethora of configurations and models available across different brands. For a comfortable and enjoyable gaming experience, the bare minimum you need is a mid-range processor and graphics (even integrated will do) and fast storage (SSD or high RPM HDDs). While you can still play older titles and a few newer ones at low settings on entry-level hardware, a slow storage drive can be terribly annoying.
Under its TUF Gaming lineup, Asus has several SKUs and out of them, the FX505DT seems to be an interesting product. Powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 3750H with integrated Vega 10 graphics and a discrete Nvidia GTX GeForce GTX 1650, it already looks like it should be ready to take on all the latest games.
While the other components are secondary, the laptop comes with a 256 GB PCIe Gen3 SSD and a 1 TB 5,400 RPM HDD. The addition of a PCIe SSD completely changes the game since usually, you’d find slow-spinning HDDs on budget gaming laptops that don’t really deliver a favourable experience. It also comes with a 120 Hz refresh rate display where the norm is usually a 60 Hz display.
In the design department, it follows the familiar TUF Gaming aesthetic. It has a matte finish on the surface of the lid whereas, over the chassis, it has brushed aluminium look replicated on plastic. The chiclet-style keyboard has RGB backlighting and the lighting effects can be controlled using a software utility.
Display: Bright and smooth
High-refresh rate displays were earlier limited to only premium gaming laptops. And as usual, the same technology has now trickled down to the mid-range segment. The FX505DT comes with a panel with a refresh rate of 120 Hz and it’s a huge step up from using a regular 60 Hz panel.
Everything feels smoother, especially moving the cursor on Windows. But that’s not where the display shines. Games look much better on a display with a higher refresh rate and sometimes, you might even choose this over colour accuracy. On the FX505DT, the display reproduces colour quite accurately and because of the IPS panel, the viewing angles are wide as well.
The brightness is appropriate for use even in daylight. I managed to get some work done while travelling in a cab on a bright sunny day and the brightness was adequate enough.
With a 15.6 inch display with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, your gaming experience will be good.
Performance: 1080p 60 fps gaming on major titles
With the Ryzen 7 3750H and GTX 1650, the laptop is capable of running most of the gaming titles at medium to high settings. While games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Fortnite, Apex Legends, DOOM, etc., could comfortably push more than 100 fps at the highest settings, newer graphics-intensive games including Metro: Exodus, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 and Battlefield V ran above 30 fps at ultra settings. Bring the graphics quality down to medium, and the laptop pushes 60 fps comfortably. Essentially, the laptop can handle all the latest games at a decent frame rate that’s above 30 at the highest settings available.
Heating isn’t an issue with the laptop since it doesn’t affect gaming performance. However, the laptop does get hot towards the right side of the keyboard. Laptops usually have little headroom to dissipate the heat generated from the CPU and GPU, and this isn’t uncommon. But I’m glad it occurs on the right side and not below the WASD keys since you’ll be heavily using those keys while playing games. When the fans kick in during gaming sessions (sometimes randomly on opening Google Chrome), they do tend to get loud.
I liked how the airflow has been designed in the laptop so that the two vents are on the bottom and behind the chassis. The absence of vents on the right side makes it comfortable to place the mouse on the same side without worrying about hot air blowing out.
Another design choice that I liked was the placement of all the ports on the left side. This again makes it comfortable to use a mouse on the right side without any hindrance from connected cables or devices.
The laptop has downward-firing speakers and they sound the best when placed on a flat surface. So, when it's on your lap, it doesn't sound good enough. The speakers also could have been louder.
Not everyone will like the trackpad since it does feel flimsy at times. Tracking is accurate but sometimes it would lag, and I believe it has to do with Windows rather than this being a hardware issue. You're better off using a mouse for regular usage.
Battery life was surprisingly good. While I’ve seen gaming laptops dish out a couple of hours on battery, the FX505DT managed three hours in the PCMark 8 battery test in the Creative mode. On average, I was able to get close to three hours of battery life in continuous gaming sessions.
Software: Gets the job done
Asus has updated its central software that lets you monitor various system parameters such as CPU and GPU load, temperatures and fan speeds in real time. Earlier called 'ROG Armoury', the new utility is now known as 'ROG Armoury Crate' and it comes pre-installed.
Apart from checking your system parameters, the software can be used to change the backlighting of the keyboard. There are a few preset lighting effects already present that can be further customised according to your colour and transition speed preferences.
You can also control the fan speed profiles based on when the laptop is running on battery or while plugged in. The laptop’s HyperFan cooling technology can be toggled between different modes based on your usage.
ROG Armoury Crate also has a mobile companion app that will allow you to monitor the same system parameters and change the fan speed profile. While the app works, it erratically gets disconnected from the desktop utility when the app is closed or the phone’s screen turns off.
Verdict: Packing the essential features
The Asus TUF Gaming FX505DT ensures that an essential set of components and features are delivered so that your gaming experience is pleasant. This includes the high-speed PCIe Gen3 SSD storage, discrete graphics card and a full HD display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. It manages to run most of the gaming titles you throw at it comfortably, although at medium to high graphics settings.
Having tested and used a few budget gaming laptops myself, I'd always find something or the other amiss in the design. This could be a poorly calibrated display or painfully slow storage. The FX505DT makes none of those mistakes and makes for a very satisfying gaming laptop, especially if you have a budget of Rs 80,000.