Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 review summary:

Expert Rating: 3.75/5

Design

Audiovisual

Keyboard

Performance

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Competent performance
  • 144Hz refresh rate with Adaptive sync
  • Nice typing experience
  • Respectable port selection
  • Ample memory available; Expansion also possible

Cons

  • Panel not for color-sensitive work
  • Average webcam quality
  • No biometric solution

Asus has laptops for all intents and purposes, many of which get updated every year with the latest specs and some refinements over the previous models. The TUF Gaming A15 2021 is one such refresh as you could probably tell from its name. This year’s model gets some design tweaks, not just for looks but for the sake of performance too. Inside, the TUF A15 is carrying the new AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, coupled with 16GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, and a 90WHr battery. Now if you’re a spec nerd, all these should give you an idea of what to expect. But, for the rest, spoiler warning, it’s a tempting buffet, to say the least.

Anyways, I have tried and tested the machine for enough time to find out whether the rubber meets the road. And this is a log of the same.

But as always, let’s start off with an eye over the contents and components —

Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 Unboxing

The TUF A15 2021 comes packed in a cardboard box. And besides the laptop, you get a

  • Adapter and Cord
  • Documentation Papers
  • Some funky stickers

Also Read:

Contents


Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 Specs and Price in India (FA566QM)

Dimensions and Weight: 359.8 x 256 x 22.8~24.3 mm; 2.3 kg
Display: IPS-level LCD 15.6″ FHD 16:9 panel, 100% sRGB, 45% NTSC 144 Hz
Processor: 7nm AMD Ryzen 7 5800H, 8 cores, 16 threads, @3.2 GHz (16M L3 Cache, up to 4.4 GHz), Max TDP: 45W
Graphics: iGPU: Radeon 8; dGPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060,Up to 1630MHz at 90W (95W with Dynamic Boost), 6GB GDDR6 SDRAM
RAM: 16GB installed (8GB DDR4-3200 SO-DIMM x 2); Up to 32GB of dual-channel DDR4-3200
Storage: 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD; An open 1TB M2 SATA port available
Keyboard and Touchpad: Full Size Single Zone RGB Backlit Keyboard; 1.8mm Key-travel
Webcam: HD 720P camera (No IR)
Audio: DTS software, AI mic noise-canceling, Built-in array microphone, 2x 2W speaker
Ports: 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 3x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 1 RJ45 Ethernet, 1x Kensington Security slot, Power DC Input
Wireless connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth v5.2
Operating system: Windows 10 Home (Windows 11 eligible; Insider Preview tested)
Battery: 90WHrs, 4-cell Li-ion with 200W AC Adapter
Price in India: ₹110,990


And here we begin the Smartprix review of the Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 —

Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 Review: Design

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Right out of the box you’d feel the TUF-ness of the machine. The lid is metal with a matte finish. This year’s model looks different from the precursor as now both size and position of logo and insignia have changed. Our unit is of Eclipse Grey color while you can also pick the Graphite Black hue. Those colors and brawny build would appear badass to some, but for others, it might seem as bland and boring.

Lift the bonnet (which you can do single-handedly) and your eyes are likely to fall on the 15.6-inch expanse enclosed by rather thick borders, especially on the forehead and chin. A regular 720P webcam resides on the raised brow. This pronounced portion up top is what lets you easily lift the lid. The bottom bezel has got an Asus engraving flanked by gaudy stickers screaming the highlights of the laptop.

Landing your eyes, you’ll see the full-fat keyboard with translucent WASD keys. Aesthetics aside, this has its benefits, but more on that in a later section. The key island is slightly recessed from the trackpad area. Also, this base is plastic with a faux brushed aluminum texture. Plastic or metal, both surfaces are prone to dust and smudges.

Above the keyboard there are LED indicators for power, airplane mode, charge, and drive activity status. You’d also find an air-intake vent here. The other one is by the bottom base with an honeycomb design. Meanwhile, the air exhaust grilles are by the sides and by the brink of the base next to the hinges. Asus has opened up and increased the area of air ventilation, the results of which we will see in the performance part.

Coming back to the hinge, it is sturdy and offers a 140° relaxation. There is no weird wobbliness to the panel, in case you’re wondering.

Finally the port selection is fine with three USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (G-Sync and DisplayPort enabled), an HDMI 2.0b (HDCP compliant), a power DC port, a Kensington security slot, a LAN port, and a 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack. The only absent thing is a SD card slot. Also, if you were to nitpick, there is no Thunderbolt and charging support with the USB-C socket.

Moving on…

Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 Review: Audiovisual

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This is a 15.6-inch 16:9 IPS-level anti-glare panel with 1080p resolution. The standout aspect of this panel is the 144Hz refresh rate, which should entice the target audience. So, this is plenty good for gaming, work, school, and media consumption. The display did suck me into the grim ambiance of Mare of Eastown (2021) and the glamorous world of Casino Royale (2006). The colors should feel sufficient for unsuspecting eyes. But the screen covers only 62.5% colors of sRGB gamut, 45% of NTSC, and 47.34% in Adobe’s. Not ideal values for video editing and other creative pursuits. But then, this is a gaming-focused lappy not creative-centered. So…

Brightness levels were adequate indoors. Outdoors, the 250 nits brightness can be limiting.

As for the sound, by default, the loudness isn’t quite there, but the bass is serviceable. You can play around with the DTS equalizer profiles and it does help with volume. Or, use headphones. For video calls, the in-built 2-way noise-canceling mics get the job done. It offers appreciable isolation of your voice from the environment.

And a big part of my job depends on typing. So, let’s see how it is.

Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 Review: Keyboard

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As mentioned already, the TUF A15 has the full key assortment on deck. That is around 104 keys including Num Keys. I like their actuation and depression feel (with about 1.8mm key travel). The keycaps are large with the exception of arrow keys. There are no dedicated hotkeys and so you have to make do with Fn Plus combos.

The backlighting is single zone with three levels of luminosity. There’s RGB but among the woozy lightshow, the WASD keys are oddly lucid which might speak to some of you, if not all.

The touchpad is also workable with integrated clicky buttons. They are backed by Microsoft Precision Drivers and support multi-finger gestures. There’s enough space to seat the palm too. Nice!

Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 Review: Performance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Let me preface by telling you that I did all the testing on the 64-bit Windows 10 Home edition. It’s only after my evaluation was done that I upgraded the TUF A15 2021 into Windows 11 Insider Preview.

There isn’t much of a nagging bloatware situation here save for McAfee, which I am always quick to do away with as soon as I boot into the desktop. One nifty pre-installed app is Asus’s Armoury Crate, which lets you set performance profiles, change various settings related to the gaming experience on this machine. For casual chores, Silent profile works and for plugged-in max grunt, go with Turbo mode. This pushes CPU and GPU on hyperdrive, but at the expense of heat and some whirling noise. The decibel levels from the latter were perceivable but hardly alarming.

TUF A15 2021 is abetted by 83 blade self-cleaning fans, four heatpipes, three heatsinks, and extended heat spreader to keep the internals cool.

Asus TUF is tough on the inside thanks to an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor with 8 cores, 16 threads, clocked at 3.2 GHz (Boost speeds up to 4.4 GHz). My review unit shipped with 16GB of Dual-channel DDR4 3200MHz RAM and 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD. Asus lets expansion up to 32gigs of RAM and a spare 1TB M.2 SATA slot is present on the motherboard.

As for graphics, you are getting Radeon 8 integrated GPU and a 6GB GDDR6 Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 discrete chip. This along with G-sync enabled 144Hz displays delivers a largely enjoyable playtime. And here are some games I ran:

Games on TUF A15 2021FPS
Watch Dogs 288
Valorant166
GTA V117
Control DX12 Ultra | RT High | DLSS79 | 49 | 78

Those are some capable hardware in the chassis. And is reflected in the benchmarks —

Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 Benchmark (Turbo Mode, Plugged-in)Scores
3DMark Fire Strike | Fire Strike Ultra18029 | 4915
3DMark Time Spy7378
Cinebench R204948
CrystalDiskMark Seq Read | Write Speed3606.99 | 3010.51 MB/s
CrystalDiskMark Random Read | Write Speed1322.08 | 503.48 MB/s
Geekbench 5 Single-Core | Multi-core (CPU) 1377 | 7389
PCMark 106779
Unigine Superposition (1080p Extreme)4707
Handbrake test (1GB WebM file to H.265 MKV 1080p30 conversion)34 min
Blender bmw27 | classroom3m28s | 9m13s

Since my workflow doesn’t involve any creative applications, I ran some simulations:

Note these above three tests were done after I updated the TUF A15 to Windows 11. Still, they should be indicative of the performance you could expect out of this puppy.

Battery life is another area where the TUF A15 2021 really shines thanks to its 90WHr cell inside. I was easily getting by a day’s labor and if I am conservative, the life extends to the next day too. A typical work day consists of 30 or so Edge tabs, some Spotify play in the background, and some YouTube video perhaps. PCMark Modern Office test runs were inching close to 10 hours. However if you are gaming hardcore, then expect way less life.

In any case, the 200W brick takes the battery level from 5% to full in 1Hr 30 Mins. Not bad.

ConditionRuntime
Casual use, Performance Mode within Armoury crate 7 Hrs 40 Mins
Office work, Silent Mode within Armoury Crate, iGPU mode on, Panel Power Saving on11 Hrs

Review Verdict: Should You Buy Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021?

Editor’s rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The 2021 edition of TUF A15 puts forward an assemblage of attractive specs. You are getting a very powerful hardware combination from AMD and Nvidia. The ensuing experience did meet my expectations bolstered by a 144Hz panel, a huge 90WHr battery, and a chock full of memory which gladly is expandable as well. You also see signs of improved thermal performance, possibly based on feedback related to the previous model. And the thing also gets a fresh coat of paint for the sake of being new.

Now, whether you find the new look badass or boring depends. Either way, it isn’t trying to charm you with fancy bling found on the higher-end ROG models. You will also have to forego niceties like per-key RGB backlighting, better color calibrated screen, louder speakers, etc. But for the price at which this machine (₹1,10,990) comes, you are getting its worth.

Reasons to buy

  • Great battery life
  • Competent performance
  • 144Hz refresh rate with Adaptive sync
  • Nice typing experience
  • Respectable port selection
  • Ample memory available; Expansion also possible

Reasons to not buy

  • Panel not for color-sensitive work
  • Average webcam quality
  • No biometric solution

Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 FAQ

Q. Does Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 support G-Sync?

A. Yes, the Asus Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 screen does support G-Sync/ Adaptive Sync.

Q. Does Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 support Nvidia Optimus?

A. Yes, Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 does feature Nvidia Advanced Optimus. The Auto iGPU mode within Armoury crate switches dynamically between Radeon and RTX 3060 depending on demand.

Q. Is Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 good for gaming?

A. Yes, for the price that is. It comes with 144Hz refresh rate, Adaptive Sync for mitigating screen tearing issues, powerful hardware including RTX graphics and octa core AMD CPU.

Q. Does Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 support Thunderbolt 3?

A. No, Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 doesn’t come with a Thunderbolt 3 port. But, the USB-C (3.2 Gen 2) port supports DisplayPort.

Q. Can you charge the Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 using a USB-C cable?

A. No, the Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 doesn’t support USB-C charging.

Q. Does Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 feature a Webcam?

A. Yes, it comes with a HD camera. But is is not IR which means no face unlock.

Q. Does Asus TUF Gaming A15 2021 feature a fingerprint sensor or Windows Hello?

A. No, the machine doesn’t come with any biometric option.

Q. Is ASUS TUF Gaming A15 upgradeable?

A. Yes, the laptop support a max 32GB of DDR4-3200MHz Dual-channel RAM and also has an additional open slot for SATA SSD storage. So, you could say it is fairly future proof.

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