Asus has been on top of the laptop supply chain in India. They’ve had dedicated lineups at every price point imaginable, from the VivoBook series to ZenBook, ZenBook Pro series. In addition, they have a dedicated gaming lineup under the Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand, which caters to the upper-end customer.
To offer gaming products to the masses seeing the rise in the E-Sports category, Asus came up with the TUF series. These laptops are packed with top-notch hardware that is not so flashy shells and a fraction of the cost compared to ROG products. We have been using the TUF A15 2021 gaming laptop for a week now, and the laptop seems to balance a gamer and a non-gamer-focused product.
Let’s dive into the review.
ASUS TUF Gaming A15 2021 FA566QM Specification
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
- Graphics adapter: 6GB Nvidia RTX 3060
- Memory: 16GB, DDR4-3200Mhz
- Display: 15.6-inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, IPS LED, glossy: No, 144Hz Refresh Rate
- Storage: 1TB NVMe M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD
- Connections: 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A, 1 x USB 3.2 (Thunderbolt 4) (Type C), HDMI 2.0b, Audio Connections: Combo audio
- Networking: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11b/g/n/ac/ax) (2×2), Bluetooth 5.2
- Battery: 90Wh Lithium-Polymer (4 cell)
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 64 Bit
- Camera: 720p 30fps, with Windows Hello support
- Additional features: Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: 6-row chiclet, Keyboard Light: Yes (RGB)
- Weight: 2.3 kg
- Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 laptop
- Power Adapter
- Warranty and User Guide
The 2021 TUF A15 gaming laptop comes in two shades, and both of them have different lid designs. We have the Eclipse Gray color with us that has a TUF branding splashed over the lid with the TUF logo in one corner. The construction on the laptop is done in high-quality plastic and alloy.
The display lid is made out of the same set of materials which makes it sturdy and light at the same time. The fact that Asus went with a dual design and color choice is a welcome move. There is not much wobble on display, and it can be propped down relatively low while the hinge lifts a few degrees for ease of use and thermals. There aren’t any noticeable structural changes between this and the older generation models. There are thick bezels on the bottom of the display, which also has a cut-out running down the 2/4th length for aesthetics.
There are clever design elements on the underside of the laptop, including the honeycomb pattern that helps in thermals significantly improve the performance under stressful conditions. The hexagonal patterns are also found on the back, keeping in line with the whole thermal theme. Of course, since this is a gaming laptop, we can’t expect a sleek package, but Asus has still managed to make a bang on the job here. As for the weight, the unit clocks in at 2.3Kgs, which seems decent for a 15.6-inch gaming laptop.
In terms of connections, Asus has taken a mixed approach. Most of the legacy connectivity options have been removed, while some important ones, like an SD card reader, have also been eliminated on this model. Instead, we get a full-size HDMI 2.0b slot on the left side, which is joined by two USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, an ethernet jack, a USB Type C 3.2 Gen 1 that also supports Display Port (DP), a 3.5mm combo jack and a Barrell connector for power.
While on the right side, we get a Type A 3.2 spec port, along with the Kensington lock and a fan grill for air-intake. Since the laptop is aimed at gamers, we feel like the most prominent connectivity options have been covered, and ports and features, including Thunderbolt 4 support, SD card slot, are sorely missed.
The Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 FA566QM laptop comes with the Windows 10 Home out of the box. In addition, Asus mentions in all their marketing materials that this model will be eligible for a free Windows 11 upgrade as and when it is available. Unfortunately, there is no DOS version available, something that Pro users would have liked since the gaming laptops are often used for more than just gaming.
Just like smartphones, every OEM these days is bundling some software as well. However, something that was tailor-made for ROG users was the Armoury Crate brought here as well. Armoury Crate unifies system and lighting controls to put essential settings at your fingertips in a single utility.
Its extensive customization options let you personalize aesthetic effects, fine-tune game profiles, and adjust audio settings to fit your preferences. In addition, in scenario Profiles, you can define and customize preferences that automatically adjust performance and other settings when you launch your favorite apps and games.
Keyboard & Touchpad
Keyboards have been particularly quite well on Asus laptops, irrespective of the lineup. The TUF A15 is no different. The keyboard holds the 6-row layout; some of the rows have been sized a bit differently. The keys are adequately placed, with the travel distance merely being 1.4 mm, which is good for effective typing. The pressure point and resistance are well adjusted, and typing on the keyboard is a breeze once you get accustomed on this key layout. It’s got RGB backlighting, which is pretty neat and is often found on higher-end gaming laptops. The RGB lighting here comes with modes and patterns which can be fine-tuned using the Armoury Crate. There is also a full-length num pad which is often missing on higher-tier laptops.
Moving to the touchpad, Asus has equipped the TUF A15 2021 with a plain touchpad; no fancy NumPad or ScreenPad is found here. The touchpad is barely large enough for comfortable use. However, it comes packed with Windows Precision Drivers, which gives added ability to use gestures like 3 finger swipes to change desktop 3 finger touches to launch Cortana. In addition, you get separate left and right keys, which are placed on the bottom.
The TUF A15 2021 packs a 15.6-inch 16:9 Full HD LCD with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. The bezels on the sides are kept to a minimum, while the top one has some girth to accommodate the HD camera. In addition, the panel has a 144Hz refresh rate which is a staple for gaming laptops.
Asus’s Splendid Display technology makes a return here, which helps you tweak colors and other critical display settings. Further settings can be done via the Armoury Crate. The colors out of the box on display are set to a cooler tone. The display gets bright enough and looks well in most environments. It is not the most color-accurate display and barely registers average numbers on various display calibration scales but gets the job done when solely seen from the gaming aspect.
The Adaptive-Sync technology is on full display here, and the USB Type C 3.2 gen 1 supports DP and can output a 4K stream. Something similar can be achieved using the HDMI 2.0b port.
The performance on the TUF A15 2021 model is top-notch. Our unit comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor, one of AMD’s latest upper-midrange chips. This is new chip demands less power, but the throughput has been upped when compared to the earlier generations or, for that matter, something from Intel’s arsenal.
Our unit comes decked out with 16GB RAM, which is expandable up to 32GB. Along with this, there is the Nvidia RTX 3060 6GB VRAM card so that people can enjoy their favorite titles in high quality and frame rates.
There is no option of getting a dual-storage model here, but you can pop in two SSDs simultaneously. Our unit came with a single populated slot with a 1TB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD by WD. The performance on the drive is quite good, with average reads going all the way to 3,000Mb/s and write speeds in excess of 1,500Mb/s.
Asus claims to have greatly improved the thermals on this 2021 model. There are dual fans and a large heat sink fitted inside the laptop to check the temperatures. A Self-cleaning Cooling 2.0 design ensures that your cooling system stays debris-free for full functionality for the long haul. In addition, the new model is 11% quieter in performance mode and has 10% extra airflow compared to the outgoing model.
Coming to the audio, this is where the TUF A15 shines. The laptop has two speakers with four cut-outs, making them loud and powerful while enabling deeper audio immersion. In addition, there is DTS:X Ultra support that delivers high-fidelity audio for clear, precise sound. Furthermore, the Virtual 7.1-channel surround sound enhances spatial awareness in-game to help you get the drop on enemies.
The DTS:X Ultra suite has up to 8 preset modes for music, movies, and gaming genres to optimize your experience further, on top of the built-in equalizer that lets you fine-tune your settings at will. The Two-way AI Noise Cancelation Technology also works for both upstream and downstream connections, allowing you to remove noise from your mic input and incoming feeds. This noise-canceling technology runs off of the CPU, thereby relieving some stress on the GPU.
To get suffice the gamer’s needs, Asus has packed the TUF A15 2021 with a 90Wh 4-cell battery. In our tests, the battery lasted for about 12 hours with all the networking peripherals turned on, with the laptop on Airplane mode, and on a video loop test, you get up to 15 hours of use out of this unit.
There is fast charging enabled on the laptop, and using the supplied adapter, and you can charge about 50% of the battery in about 30 mins. This is good considering how AMD CPUs get a bad rep in terms of battery performance.