Avatar photo

By Lyle Kruger

Production Manager and Podcast co-host

REVIEW: Gaming on a budget? ASUS TUF Dash F15 might be for you

The ASUS TUF Dash F15 laptop offers a compelling package for budget gaming.

The TUF Dash F15 is ASUS’s foray into the affordable gaming segment. Now before you go raising your heads and looking down on the rest of us with disdain, hear me out.

ASUS truly put together a really compelling package here, and I think particularly the South African gaming market should pay close attention because it checks all the right boxes.

ASUS TUF Dash F15 review

It comes with a 144 Hz IPS screen, the 12 Gen chip from Intel, and a 3050 (up to a 3070) GeForce graphics card. It’s a pretty good package.

ASUS TUF Dash F15 review
Photo: The Citizen/Cheryl Kahla

Actually, it’s a really good package. Let’s take a look.

Gaming performance

Gaming was smooth and never dropped below 60fps, except when it moved onto battery power during my 2-hour electricity ban we call load shedding (more on that a bit later).

It got reasonably hot under load too, but nothing out of the ordinary for gaming laptops in general.

Unusually for laptops there was a camera notch at the top, which might look unsightly in pictures but fades away in person.

Plus, it doubles as a place to open the laptop since the bezels are so small, you wouldn’t get any fingerprints on the screen itself.

TUF Dash F15 IO ports on the right side
TUF Dash F15 IO ports on the right side. Photo: The Citizen/Cheryl Kahla

You can clearly see where ASUS had made reductions since this is about budget gaming after all.

Display and styling

A really tough pill for me to swallow is that there are no changeable RGB colours, so it loses style points to its older brother.

OLED is another thing absent in this laptop, however, don’t take anything away from this IPS panel because the colours were still vibrant and the viewing angles are amazing.

The 144 Hz panel performs really well in Counter Strike with no tearing whatsoever, and you get to have all those frames to yourself.

TUF Dash F15 IO ports on the left side
TUF Dash F15 IO ports on the left side. Photo: The Citizen/Cheryl Kahla

All these compromises aren’t really a deal-breaker since those rebates in cost are felt by your pocket directly.

The South African market is crying out for value brands and ASUS has put together a really affordable package here.

It feels good, it looks good, and it games good.

So why don’t we all own one of these?

ASUS TUF Dash F15 keyboard
ASUS TUF Dash F15 keyboard. Photo: The Citizen/Cheryl Kahla

ROG is just too good

Well, truth be told the biggest problem with the ASUS TUF Dash F15 is actually ASUS itself. Allow me to explain.

We all know the ASUS ROG line is their crème de la crème offering, so naturally it’s where all of their efforts, RND and marketing go.

Unfortunately for the TUF line-up, it is inevitably treated like the stepson or the older brother you wished you had bought instead.

A minor issue

I had an issue where I updated all of the drivers, but one of the driver updates turned off the backlight for the keyboard.

Dash F15 review
ASUS TUF Dash F15. Photo: The Citizen/Lyle Kruger

After a good while browsing on Google, I eventually found the error and had to manually roll back the driver update in the device manager.

So then, where does that leave us?

Still worth it

Don’t fret, none of the drawbacks are major and I would still give it serious thought if I was to get a new laptop.

It retails for about R25 000 but at that price, it’s still cheaper than a desktop option.

And unlike a desktop, this laptop will work during load shedding and that’s a serious consideration since the alternative requires a UPS to work during a power cut.

Tech check podcast

Cheryl Kahla and I host The Citizen’s weekly Tech Check podcast series where we discuss the latest gadgets, and tech news, and talk to industry experts about a variety of fascinating things.

Bookmark Tech Check With K or subscribe to our podcast on Apple PodcastsPodcast RepublicSpotifyPocket Castsiono FM, or Player FM.

This week, we talk to Marce Bester from ASUS about the brand-new ROG Strix Scar 18, one of the best gadgets we ever reviewed.