Affordable gaming laptop with potential

Affordable gaming laptop with potential

Asus F570 detailed review

The Asus F570 is quite a unique gaming laptop as it is easily one of the most affordable on the market. It uses an all-plastic construction but doesn’t feel visibly too flimsy or delicate. The body has a neat brushed metal finish that is easy on the eyes. The keyboard is easily one of the best Asus has ever made outside of its ROG lineup; the keys are soft and precise and include the long-lost context menu key.

Inside is an AMD Ryzen 5 processor that stays cool most of the time. The AMD Vega 8 internal GPU is accompanied by a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 GPU with 4 GB of video RAM. The RAM is a healthy 8 GB, but the hard drive is a slow 1 terabyte unit. How does this all come together for a slot machine aimed at students and budding gamers? Let’s find out.

Build and design

The Asus F570 is only made of plastic on the outside but feels strong enough for everyday use. The top cover feels like it can withstand scratches and minor bumps, but not major drops. The top cover and the area around the keyboard have a brushed metal finish, which gives the laptop an attractive appearance. While the case itself is in black, some bezels and the Asus logo are neatly accentuated in teal.

The screen can be opened with a single finger but takes some effort and it will only go a maximum angle of 120 degrees. But be careful not to wrestle the lid as it is quite slim and thin. We hope you don’t mind the bezels, as those around the F570’s display are thick. The build and design of the Asus F570 seems in line with its reasonable price point of Rs 52,990.

Screen, audio and IO

The display of the Asus F570 is a 15.6-inch Full HD device with an aspect ratio of 16:9. At 60Hz, the refresh rate is less than half that of the Asus TUF-series displays, but given the laptop’s price, that’s forgivable. But what is unforgivable is the display’s alarmingly low contrast. The white of the backlight shines poorly through the colors, to a point where you start to wonder if Asus forgot to add colors to the screen. According to our display test, the Asus F570’s display only covers 58 percent of the colors in the sRGB color scale and 43 percent of the colors in the Adobe RGB color scale.

Audio on the Asus F570 comes through Asus SonicMaster speakers co-developed by the Asus Golden Ear team. The speakers are neither too loud nor too weak. At maximum volume you can listen to instrumental music very clearly when the cubicles around you in the office are empty. If there’s a noisy gathering around you, you’re in trouble. These speakers are best reserved for vocals and music that isn’t too heavy on bass, because you don’t hear or feel anything from them. In summary, they’re slightly better than the usual hidden, downward-firing speakers you’d find on most affordable laptops.

The Asus F570 is not shy about offering ports for connectivity. On the left we see two USB 2.0 Type-A ports and a 3.5mm jack for headsets, along with a lock. On the right we see the power port, a LAN port, a USB 3.1 Type-A port, an HDMI port, a USB 3.1 Type-C port and a microSD card slot. What is not offered is a fingerprint scanner. Your fastest sign-in method on Windows 10 is a four-digit PIN.

Keyboard and touchpad

Despite a few quirks, this keyboard is one of the best you’ll ever see from Asus. The keys on it are large and soft to press. While they sometimes seem a little too soft for accurate feedback, I find that I have little trouble registering a keystroke. The backlight is single-zone and there are no borders around the WASD keys. This may make some gamers grumble, but I’m quite happy with its simplicity. What’s a bit odd is that Asus has chosen to make the right Ctrl key extra long on that super-thin numpad, which is normally an Enter key, a Delete key, and the right Ctrl key. No, seriously, that Ctrl key is half the width of the space bar. On a positive note, the context key returns on the Asus F570. Hoera!

The touchpad on the Asus F570 is a standard precision unit, making swiping and clicking a breeze. Multi-finger gestures can be controlled directly through Windows settings. The physical touchpad keys underneath require some force to click, but otherwise responsive.

Achievements and Gaming

The Asus F570 is powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 processor and 8GB of RAM. Taking care of the graphics department is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card with 4GB GDDR5 RAM. The only odd one out in this setup is the storage drive: a one terabyte Toshiba SATA 3 hard drive spinning at 5,400 rpm. It’s also what I believe makes the F570 slower than it actually is.

The rating unit scored on the low side on most of our performance benchmark tests. Working with everyday applications such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Excel and iTunes is usually a pleasant experience, but sometimes the laptop freezes for a few good seconds. A cold boot to desktop takes a minute to happen. Opening a rarely used context menu in applications or clicking the Wi-Fi icon in the taskbar will cause the system to hang for a few seconds. Exporting a hundred files in Adobe Lightroom takes almost ten minutes. In my observation, the hard drive is almost always floundering, even if other resources appear to be available.

Do yourself a favor and upgrade to a solid-state drive, or even a hybrid solid-state drive, at the time of purchase. But a word of advice for those of you who want to upgrade later: go straight to an Asus service center; do not try to open the laptop yourself. Not only will the process of opening it void your warranty, it will put your patience to the test.

The motherboard is bolted securely to the inside of the back cover, which isn’t a design you see on too many laptops. So if you just unscrew the tailgate, you won’t have access to anything. You have to turn the machine over, open the screen and take off the keyboard to access the entrails. Remember, you can’t just pull the keyboard out without disconnecting the ribbons running underneath. If you’ve done that carefully, you’ll have access to the battery, hard drive, and fan. RAM replacement is a much more complicated affair as it cannot be accomplished by simply opening the keyboard; you will have to go to the other side of the motherboard, which requires a complete disassembly of the elements inside.

The gaming performance is surprisingly better than expected on the Asus F570. During our test, Doom ran on Full HD resolution and Ultra graphics settings at about 50 frames per second, dropping to 40 frames per second during action scenes. Lowering the settings to Medium increased the frame rate and locked it at 60 frames per second for most of the gameplay. Metro: Last Light, on the other hand, ran rather poorly on the Asus F570. Regardless of the graphics settings, the frame rate did not exceed 20 frames per second. Unfortunately, this game is best played on low settings. The beauty of the F570 is that the packaging temperature of the AMD Ryzen 5 processor never exceeds 50 degrees Celsius at any time. There is no visible heat on the keyboard or base. Keep in mind that the AMD Ryzen 5 has a TDP of 15W and has a maximum temperature of 95 degrees Celsius, but it probably stays that way because of the single fan inside.

Battery

The battery performance of the Asus F570 can be described as average at best. The test device scored 5 hours and 20 minutes on our standard battery benchmark test. In daily usage tests, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on, screen brightness set to 60 percent and CPU usage on the higher side, the Asus F570 lasted about three and a half hours on a single charge. Charging from 20 percent to full took two hours straight. If you use it for some light web browsing, you can expect up to four hours of battery life.

Bottom Line

The Asus F570 is definitely a model to consider if you’re a college student who wants to play lightweight gaming titles on an affordable laptop that you can also take to college. It is solidly built and has enough power for video editing tools. That said, keep in mind the F570’s poor display; it looks practically colorless. All things considered, you don’t have to think twice about purchasing the Asus F570. You just need to have that hard drive replaced with a solid-state drive through Asus.

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