ASUS FX504 is a thin and lightweight gaming laptop designed for those who need powerful components at a reasonable price. The model with 8th-Gen Intel Core i5-8300H Processor (up to 3.9GHz), GeForce GTX 1050 2GB is priced under 80k. But is it worth the price, we are going to find out in this review.
ASUS FX504 Key Specifications
- Processor :Intel® Core™ i7 8750H Processor, Intel® Core™ i5 8300H
- Operating System: Windows 10 Home.
- Memory:8 GB DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM, 2 x SO-DIMM socket for expansion, up to 32 GB SDRAM
- Display: 15.6″ FUllHD 60Hz or 120Hz panel.
- Graphics:NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 , with 4GB GDDR5 VRAM or GTX 1050TI , with 4GB GDDR5 VRAM or GTX 1060 , with 6GB GDDR3
- Storage: 1TB 5400rpm FireCuda and 128GB SSD.
- Keyboard:Illuminated chiclet keyboard
- Networking: Integrated 802.11ac (2×2), Bluetooth® 5.0
- Interface: 1 x COMBO audio jack, 1 x Type-A USB2.0, 2 x Type-A USB 3.1 (Gen 1), 1 x RJ45 LAN jack for LAN insert, 1 x HDMI, HDMI support 1.4
- Battery:3 -Cell 48 Wh Battery
- Dimensions:384 x 262 x 25 mm (WxDxH)
- Weight:2.3 kg
Build and ports
ASUS TUF FX504, as the model name says, is part of ‘The Ultimate Force’ lineup of gaming laptops. While ASUS RoG series of gaming laptops are usually priced at a premium, TUF brings gaming to more mainstream gamers. ASUS TUF series is created to bring performance and long term reliability at affordable prices. This laptop is the first one in TUF family.
ASUS’s focus on build quality shows here. FX504 feels super sturdy in hand. This one feels so strong that you would not dare to drop the laptop on tiled floor. You may even feel that keeping the laptop accidentally on your phone may result in phone getting damaged. I am not exaggerating here. The feel of the laptop’s shell is among the best that you get in laptops that are priced around 65k-80k. The downside is that, at 2.3kgs, the FX504 is not easy to carry around. FX504 comes with a 15.6″ display, but due to the weight and dimensions, this laptop feels like a 17″ laptop.
The lid has ASUS logo etched in the center and as expected, it glows in red (matching the backlight of the keyboard). There is absolutely no flex when in the lid. Even the hinges are tight and there is no shaking of display panel when you do fast typing while keeping the laptop on your lap. There is cut on either side of the lid and it looks good. A similar cut is there on the base too.
Open the lid and you are greeted with RoG like design. Mayan inspired laser engravings are marked alla round the display and this gives the FX504 a better look. The keyboard is full sized keyboard, with the number pad. This is one reason why the laptop is so big. There is a stereo speaker above the keyboard and there is a separate power on/off key above number key pad. Notification LEDs (power, battery, hard drive activity, flight mode on/off) are placed at the top of the base and I feel that this is the ideal position for the notification LEDs. A windows precision touch trackpad is placed below the keyboard and is aligned with the space bar. There is ample room below the keyboard to rest your palms and there is no possibility of accidental touches on trackpad.
Underneath the FX504, there are 11 screws that you have to remove if you want to change SSD or RAM. That is too many screws! The cooling fans are placed under the base and also near the display hinges.
Upgrading RAM and storage drives is extremely easy. There are two slots for RAM, each can take 16GB RAM. From what we see, it is possible to upgrade the Wi-Fi chip too, not that it matters.
Coming to ports, there are three USB ports, a HDMI port, a audio jack, RJ-45 port and power input on the left side and only a Kensington lock port on the right side. I am not sure why ASUS went skimpy on ports. They should’ve provided additional display port (displayport or HDMI or type-c). If you have to connect two displays to this monitor, you have to look for dongles or external hub that comes with HDMI or other display ports. Given that this is not an ultrabook (it is actually 2 inches thick) and focus is not on slimness, port selection on the FX504 is below average at best. On either side of the laptop, there are additional speakers.
ASUS TUF FX504 comes with a display that has 3ms response time, 120Hz refresh rate and 130% sRGB (equivalent to 94% Adobe RGB) color gamut coverage. Those who have used a lot of glossy display will feel that this display is dull. A matte screen can never match the glory of a glossy display but it is vastly superior if you sit against a light source or when you sit outside. With 3ms response time and 120Hz refresh rate, FX504 display provide smooth game play and great response time. But…
ASUS chose TN panel for this and the end result is lack of viewing angles. You need to have the display positioned in perfect angle to enjoy the benefits of the above mentioned specifications. Even if the angle is slightly off, there is a drop in color accuracy. While I was typing this article, I looked at the page from one side and slightly greyish side bar looked brownish. The worst part is the bezel surrounding the display. The bezels are too thick for the year 2018. The top and bottom bezels are absolutely ugly. The last time I saw such huge bezels was say back in 2000s when my friend got a budget Acer laptop.
Keyboard and Trackpad
For gamers, this keyboard is great. The WASD keys have large red border and the positioning of directional arrow keys is good. I did like how ASUS used ‘Fn’ key to add lot of shortcuts. Best ones are ‘F5’ to change laptop performance mode, arrow keys to change keyboard backlight intensity, enter key (num pad) for calculator, home and end on same key, F12 for airplane mode.
For those who type a lot, this is not the ideal keyboard. They keys have 1.4mm travel. When compared to previous ASUS laptops that I tested, the keys on this one feel a bit bouncy. I reached 91wpm on 10fastfingers and that is decent for me. On my TVSE Gold keyboard, I hit 100wpm with ease. To accommodate number key pad, ASUS has slightly reduced the key size and it will take a little bit of time to get used to this design.
The trackpad does its job well and supports full windows gestures. The feel that you get when you move your finger on the trackpad is good. The clicks are integrated into the trackpad. You can either tap or click the trackpad to register left click and right click. There is a tiny vertical line that helps those who doesn’t know where to click for left and right click actions. For taps, a one finger tap is left click and two finger tap is right click. A two finger click anywhere on the trackpad will be taken as right click.
Thanks to three speakers, audio output from speakers is pretty good. Do not expect the speakers to have a good bass. Gameplay audio is good, when coming out of speakers. ASUS has a tie-up with DTS to provide some audio customizations. The ASUS TUF FX504 supports DTS Headphone:X™ that delivers 7.1-channel surround sound experience to deliver home theater-quality audio. DTS offers several content modes to take you right into the heart of the action! The preloaded DTS audio application comes with various customizations but if you are using stereo speakers, most of these settings are kind of fancy and not that useful.
Battery life is average at best. I had to run for power point way too often. In performance mode, the battery drains in an hour. In balanced mode, without gaming and with reduced display brightness etc, you get more than 2 hours and in battery saving mode, you can get around 3 hours of battery life. This is decent as this laptop is made for gaming and not for day to day use.
The model that we are testing came with Nvidia GeForece 1050TI GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 RAM. This one wont scorch the benchmarks but is just enough for more than casual playback.
The thermal design of FX504 significantly prolongs its lifespan and provides stable performance for graphics-intensive gaming, with HyperCool technology combining the patented self-cleaning ADC system with the customizable Fan Overboost function. By expelling harmful dust particles and dirt from the chassis through two dedicated tunnels, the ADC system is a cooling masterpiece that acts like the laptop’s immune system — preventing build-up in the thermal fins to increase system stability and lifespan.
The adjustable Fan Overboost function is specially designed to fit multitasking and gaming needs: Choose between three different modes to find the perfect balance between fan performance and noise level. A pair of copper heat pipes and a dual-fan system cool the processor and graphics card independently, while the airflow-optimized chassis design increases thermal efficiency by up to 27% in contrast to standards cases. An intelligently-placed fan is located right below the WASD key group to ensure your keyboard stays cool even during long gaming sessions.
Our review unit came with an Intel Core i7-8750H CPU. This is eight generation Core CPU and is one of the best CPUs available for laptops and is a true beast. There are 6 cores, each core supports two parallel threads. Base clock is set to 2.2GHz and Turbo can hit 4.10GHz.
Thanks to six core 8th generation Intel Core i7 chip, NVMe SSD and high speed RAM, the performance is flawless. Not even once did we see the laptop struggle. Multitasking is a breeze. There are two hard drives. One is NVMe SSD on which OS is installed. There is a second 1TB SATA SSHD Seagate FireCuda drive. The Seagate FireCuda drive is up to 5 times faster than traditional hard drive and is good for second drive option. Do note that these drives are still significantly slower than SSDs. Given the price of the laptop, we cannot expect ASUS to provide a 1TB SSD. There is 118GB of SSD space available and we suggest you keep games installed in second drive. Keep enough space in SSD to keep everything smooth. If you want truly blazing performance, we suggest you to replace the second SSHD with a SSD. A 1TB Samsung Evo 850 SSD costs around 15k and there are cheaper options available in the market.
The cooling systems works very well on this laptop. The onboard CPU and GPU and efficient and they do not generate much heat. While gaming for extended period of time, the laptop gets little hot but it does not cause any kind of inconvenience, unless you are gaming with laptop on your lap. We usually see keyboard and palm rest getting hot but ASUS has placed a fan right below WASD keys to keep the keyboard area cool.
ASUS TUF FX504 comes with HyperCool technology and ADC self cleaning system and there is Fan Overboost function that you can customize. ADC system prevents dust getting accumulated near the fans and vents by pushing dust out of the chassis. On click on a button, you can switch between various fan speeds (Overboost function). A pair of copper heat pipes and a dual-fan system cool the processor and graphics card independently, while the airflow-optimized chassis design increases thermal efficiency by up to 27% in contrast to standards cases.
ASUS TUF FX504 comes with lot of ASUS tools. Most of these are not necessary and you will end up doing some changes to settings and forget about most of these applications. Some of these like ASUS Splendid, battery health, winflash, keyboard hotkeys are helpful while some are not so helpful.
After using the ASUS TUF FX504 for some time, we are left with mixed feelings. If you do not mind using the laptop with single external display and do not mind TN panel, this laptop is very good. There is lot of power in the laptop and the build quality too is very good. But when we add up all tiny inferior areas, it adds up to be costly. For those who prefer to have multi monitor setup, high quality display and good battery life, FX504 will not be ideal.