Asus TUF Dash F15 Review – Dime and Dash
ASUS make interesting products. Their design cues look nothing like their competition’s and it’s functional.
Their use of sharp angles, interesting airflow, unique LED designs all impress me. How “cool” something looks doesn’t appeal to me as much as how functional it is. That’s a common theme in my writing, as you’ll notice. How well does something work vs. how does it look?
That is a much more important question to me.
ASUS were kind enough to send me a TUF Dash F15 with a Core i7 12650H CPU, 16GB DDR5 4800Mhz RAM and a fast 512GB SSD. The unit we received also had a NVIDIA Geforce 3050 4GB GPU. There’s a large 76Wh battery to accommodate the power hungry components too in a slim chassis. ASUS thought to include a 180W charger too. The screen this unit had was a 144hz 1080p (1920×1080) display which ASUS mated to the correct GPU.
“My main pain point here is the operating system”
The TUF Dash F15 is a gaming machine designed for high loads with that fast CPU and strong GPU. The problem with gaming laptops is that battery life suffers. We’ll cover that later.
ASUS build the chassis in a stiff two-tone plastic, with the screen bezels being the thinnest. There was very little deck flex and built quality felt decent, but not great. I appreciated the tightness of the hinge, which shook a little after moving up and down as compared to some budget gaming laptops. I liked the responsiveness of the chiclet-style keyboard. The trackpad was very smooth indeed but lacked the precision my Macbook Air provided, especially when clicking in the middle. This is rarity among Windows laptops and ASUS did well here. I noticed a small issue with the power button sitting a little off-level, but ASUS did say it was the norm for this model.
I could tell ASUS intended this unit for combined use. Work and play. The large battery will last 4-5 hours while not playing games but has to be in battery saver mode. While gaming the TUF Dash F15 will last one and a half hours while doing intensive tasks or gaming.
Gaming laptops have a heat dissipation issue due to high power consuming components. I am happy to report that the heat does vent to the rear and bottom of the unit through 4 outlets. It didn’t get loud enough while under load so the heat was well managed, though in longer gaming sessions, I could feel the heat on my hands.
You’ll get a 1080p webcam, and the microphone was serviceable. The charger provided came with two velcro straps which made storing it much better over time and ASUS used thick plastics to wrap the wiring. I don’t foresee any issues with reliability on these two things.
While competent, the speakers on the TUF Dash F15 were nowhere as good as Apple’s, who remain the benchmark for me. There wasn’t any bass but there was no distortion on the mids or highs.
“I like what ASUS are doing here with their designs, but…”
For I/O you’ll get two USB-C ports and a USB-A port on the left of the laptop. One port was a USB-C 3.2 and the other was a Thunderbolt variant. There is a single USB-A port on the right of the unit for your mouse while gaming. There is also a 1-gigabit ethernet and HDMI port. The analog headphone jack resides on the left hand side with the charging port. It felt cramped to have most of the connectivity on the left hand side of the laptop.
My main pain point here is the operating system. I did not like having bloatware installed by default on the provided Windows 11 Pro installation.
Before testing the actual performance of the machine, which was great for its specification, I debloated it. It immediately felt snappier after uninstalling McAfee and the other unnecessary Windows applications. I would also argue that having apps like Tiktok or Clipchamp also neuters the performance potential of any laptop. ASUS, you can do better on this. Let us choose our security software, please? The laptop felt genuinely snappier after cleaning out the bundled software from it.
While the display ran at 144hz, I doubt the 3050 GPU would run modern games at 144 frames per second without turning down graphics settings but older games would likely run well. I was able to get Dishonored 2 and Doom Eternal close to 120 frames per second but Deathloop would not run above 60 frames per second due to the VRAM limitation, even at low settings. If you are going to buy a TUF Dash F15, buy the 3060-equipped or 3070-equipped variant if you plan on playing higher-end titles.
I like what ASUS are doing here with their designs, but would not recommend the TUF Dash as a work horse. The components here are high quality and the unit we received was well equipped and upgradeable. You can put in a bigger SSD and increase the RAM in the provided two slots to a largest 32GB. For a chassis this compact given the specifications, this is very impressive.
The battery life leaves something to be desired. ASUS, perhaps it’s time to include an easy way to power save when power goes off while using your laptops?
The ASUS TUF Dash F15 is not cheap. You’ll pay R25,000 for the unit we received and there are options at a similar price range but these will not come with an Intel i7 CPU. You can pick up an AMD-based laptop at a similar price, like the Lenovo Ideapad 3, and newer generations will come in R2000 more. For the specification, this is probably the best value at this price range you are going to get.
More info can be found on the ASUS website.