I reviewed a previous incarnation of the ASUS TUF Gaming laptop earlier in the year, so I was a little surprised when I was offered a review unit for the FX505DU. Surely they wouldn’t be all that different. The FX505DU however is powered by the AMD Ryzen 7 rather than the Intel Core i7 of the previous model. Whether this change would make much of difference, remained to be seen, but I wanted to find out.
The FX505DU I had to test was a gunmetal grey which gives the laptop a more stylish look when compared to the Intel-powered FX505GM. The glossy finish gives the machine a more professional appearance. Everything else about the FX505DU remains similar to the previous model, from the edgier cut-off corner design to the location of the USB and other ports. Once I opened up the lid though, I immediately noticed a major difference. The keyboard features WASD keys that are transparent, easily distinguishing them from the rest of the keyboard. The keyboard does appear somewhat inset due to the edgy styling, but it is a full-size keyboard with numpad. The arrow keys are wedged between the main keyboard and numpad, with the Up Arrow level with the keypad whilst the other arrow keys have their own line of keys.
With an identical design to the FX505GM, the screen retains the slight flimsy feel with the open-hinge look, but the laptop is indeed one of the more durable on the market. According to ASUS, it has passed military grade testing and is certified to endure day-to-day use including accidental knocks from a desk. I’m not sure the distance that it can be dropped before damage occurs, and I didn’t really want to test my luck with the review unit. But apart from the somewhat flimsy feel of the lid/screen, the laptop seems sturdy. When closed, the open-hinge style also allows the power and battery lights to be clearly viewed.
The FX505DU comes equipped with three USB ports (of which two are USB 3.1), a HDMI outlet, an Ethernet port and a 3.5mm Audio Jack. All of these ports, as well as the power adapter are located along the left side of the laptop. As a right-handed person, this suits me perfectly, as it frees up the right side of my desk for free mouse movement. Heat flows through to the rear of the laptop, which I feel is the optimal placement for air dispersion.
Unlike the previous FX505 model I reviewed, the FX505DU comes complete with the ASUS AURA RGB keyboard enabled right out of the box. The AURA RGB feature is an easy one to use, allowing gamers to customize the keyboard lighting to their liking. I love the feel of this keyboard — the key-touch feels softer than many other laptop keyboards, and as a result it feels more precise. This is not only important when typing up reports such as this review, but also ensures that important key-presses in game will be responsive. Keyboard shortcut keys also allow for quick use functions.
With an AMD Ryzen7 and the Nvidia GeForce GTX1660 Ti, the FX505DU is certainly more than capable as a gaming laptop. The Steam VR test hovered between 110-120 FPS for most of the test, although it did dip to 99 at one stage. The VR test did provide an Average quality rating of 10.6, which would run VR games without many issues at all. I tested the laptop out with a couple of games. The overtly colourful Overwatch is a favourite of mine, and the FX505DU handled the bright colours at max settings with ease. Framerates hovered at or above 120FPS for most of the game, even when there were multiple characters on screen and explosions of colour happening everywhere. For a complete contrast, I put the laptop to the test with Dark Souls III, a game with a far more muted colour palette. On max settings, the framerates did not drop below 48FPS.
Apart from great framerates, the colours looked brilliant on the thin NanoEdge screen of the TUF Gaming FX505DU. From playing games to watching videos and streaming movies, the visuals are great. Combined with the 7.1 surround sound speakers, watching your favourite movies (especially with headphones) provides an immersive experience. This carries through to gaming as well, with audio quality enabling gamers to hear minute details, such as the direction of footsteps, allowing them to gain any advantage. Transferring files from a USB is also super quick, with transfer speeds around 38MB/s for a 1GB file.
Battery life is still somewhat of an issue with the FX505DU. With regular use, such as web browsing and typing up work documents, and with brightness turned down to an adequate 20 percent, I was able to garner around six hours out of the 3-cell 48WH battery before I needed to plug in the chunky adapter. This would suit those heading to school, but for gamers who forget to bring along the AC adapter, they would only get around two hours of gameplay.
Although there aren’t too many differences between the two FX505 models I have reviewed, the 505DU would be my preferred, but mainly due to the AURA feature and the more professional looking silver/gunmetal grey style (compared to the black model I tested of the 505GM). Performances were fairly similar, so in the end it all comes down to personal style preference. I also preferred the keys on the FX505DU, which for someone who does a fair bit of typing is reasonably important. For a mid-range gaming laptop (price wise), the ASUS TUF Gaming FX505DU is definitely a more than capable machine, one that will play any game you throw at it, be it standard or VR. It is also a handy all-rounder for those wishing to use it to stream their favourite movies. And with the Military Grade toughness of the TUF series, it can take a knock or two.
Specifications of test model
AMD Ryzen7 3750H with Radeon Vega Mobile GFX
512GB NVME SSD
16GB DDR4 RAM
Nvidia GeForce GTX1660 Ti 6GB
15.6” FHD LCD screen
3Cell 48WH Battery