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Asus TUF Dash F15 Review: RTX 3070 Meets Intel H35

Thin is in.

 Asus TUF Dash F15
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Our Verdict

The Asus TUF Dash F15 is an attractively thin gaming clamshell with an eSports-ready screen. But you can squeeze more frames out of other RTX 30-series laptops.

For

  • Decent battery life
  • Fast screen
  • Successful software-based noise cancelling

Against

  • Frame rates could be better
  • No webcam
  • Flat keyboard

Gaming laptops are trying to slim down. This growing trend finds vendors promising power comparable to the best gaming laptops, which often require bulky chassis and cooling to support high-end components, in a PC that’s closer in size to a mainstream notebook.

The Asus TUF Dash F15 ($1,100 to start, available as tested on March 8 for $1,450) is a next-gen example. It offers the latest in Nvidia RTX 30-series mobile graphics and is one of the first machines to use an Intel H35-series chip. The Dash F15 is 20% thinner and 10% lighter than Asus’ usual TUF gaming laptop. 

But while the Dash F15 can handle high-end titles, its gaming performance overall feels more like a last-gen Super card than the latest and greatest.

Asus TUF Dash F15 Specs  

CPUIntel Core i7-11370H
Graphics Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 (8GB GDDR6)
Memory 16GB DDR4-3200
Storage1TB M.2 2230 NVMe PCIe 
Display15.6-inch IPS panel, 1920 x 1080 resolution @ 240 Hz
Networking Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), RJ45 Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.2
PortsThunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C), 3x USB 3.2 Gen1 (Type-A), HDMI 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack
Camera None
Battery 76 WHr
Power Adapter 200W
Operating System Windows 10 Pro
Dimensions (WxDxH) 14.17 x 9.92 x 0.78 inches (360 x 252 x 19.9mm)
Weight 4.41 pounds (2kg) 
Price (as configured) $1,450

Design on the Asus TUF Dash F15 

Available in moonlight white or a more subtle eclipse gray, the Dash F15 can be striking or muted. Its trim build won’t grab attention on its own, but if you opt for the bolder white or decide to activate the keyboard’s “bolt blue”-colored backlight, you may make a head or two turn. 

It’s not the striking visage that many gaming laptops proudly carry but with the large TUF block typography that may or may not have been inspired by Alienware (Asus hasn't stated) on the lid accompanying the TUF logo, there’s enough to keep this more mature laptop from being a complete snooze. But if you’re looking for more fun, the aqua backlight sure looks special coming out of white keycaps compared to our review unit’s more traditional black ones.

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Asus TUF Dash F15

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The Dash F15 isn’t the only trim gaming laptop on the block. At 4.41 pounds and 14.17 x 9.92 x 0.78 inches, it’s a little lighter and wider than the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model (4.7 pounds, 14 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches). The Acer Predator Triton 300 is also of a similar build (4.4 pounds, 14.3 x 10 x 0.7 inches), but the Alienware m15 R4, which also holds an RTX 3070 graphics card, is heavier than the Dash F15 (5.25 pounds).

When you open the Dash F15, you’re greeted by a more gamer-friendly font and a darker deck. The deck loves to attract fingerprints and is side-flanked with diagonal line carvings that complement the vents north of the keyboard. Liberties were also taken with the shape of the power button. White WASD keys also add to the gamer aesthetic but can look kind of cheap, as you can see the keys’ cross-armed-like white retainers, especially if you turn the blue backlight on.

You get some offset media controls, including a mute button, which is particularly handy as we do more conference calls from home offices. Less welcome is the button for launching Asus’ Armoury Crate software. I’d much rather have the volume mute button here, alongside the other volume buttons (it’s on the FN row instead). There are also no play or pause functions on the keyboard. 

Thankfully, the Dash F15 doesn’t sacrifice ports in its quest for sleek. The left side hosts the port for charging the laptop, along with an Ethernet jack, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.2 Gen 1 (Type-A) and even Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C). The right side carries two more USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports. All the ports are closer to the laptop’s lip, and the charger is shaped like a right angle, so it can be easy for attached cables to get in the way of one another or you. 

The Dash F15 isn’t the only trim gaming laptop on the block. At 4.41 pounds and 14.17 x 9.92 x 0.78 inches, it’s a little lighter and wider than the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model (4.7 pounds, 14 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches). The Acer Predator Triton 300 is also of a similar build (4.4 pounds, 14.3 x 10 x 0.7 inches), but the Alienware m15 R4, which also holds an RTX 3070 graphics card, is heavier than the Dash F15 (5.25 pounds).

Accompanying the travel-friendly form and backing the TUF moniker is military-grade MIL-STD-810H certification for durability. The machine was tested for drops, extreme temperatures, humidity and vibration. Its plastic deck feels a little more solid than the average laptop, especially a budget one, but there’s a little bit of give when pressing the function row buttons. The lid is thin and also has a small amount of flex. The laptop doesn’t open all the way flat, which was a rare nuisance.
 

Gaming and Graphics on the Asus TUF Dash F15 

The Dash F15 we reviewed uses an RTX 3070 (we confirmed that it's a Max-Q design; however, Asus isn’t using the Max-Q label anymore) mobile graphics card, a member of Nvidia’s newest lineup. With Nvidia’s Dynamic Boost 2.0 AI feature, Asus says the card can clock to over 1,390 MHz (Nvidia specs the card to run from 1,290-1,620 MHz with boost). This is combined with Intel's latest H35 series processor, a 35W, 4-core/8-thread part based on 11th Gen "Tiger Lake," rather than the 45W parts we often see in gaming notebooks. 

The machine handled Control well on high settings with ray tracing off. The game typically showed frame frame rates in the high 60s to low 70s, going as low as 57 frames per second (fps) and as high as 75 fps. With ray tracing set to high, the average frame rate dropped to the mid to upper 40s. However, it was sometimes down to 33 fps and managed as much as 53 fps. 

There’s an obvious hit to frame rate, but ray tracing does provide a noticeable change in graphics in Control, since it uses ray tracing in five ways (on reflections, transparent reflections, diffuse lighting, contact shadows and debris). With ray tracing on, an office wall inside the Oldest House looked very high-end, with a shiny mirrored finish. I could see Jesse’s reflection, as well as that of the light fixture behind her. The wall’s gold paneling reflected a large staircase. But with ray tracing off, I could no longer see the light fixture or my reflection. The wall looked less like a pricey, executive border and instead had a large rectangular area that just looked whiter. The paneling was so  washed out it barely looked gold and also lacked reflections. 

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The Dash F15 and Alienware both rock the midrange card in Nvidia’s latest mobile GPU lineup; however, the pricier Alienware was able to push out much more impressive frame rates with its RTX 3070 in the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark (1920 x 1080 resolution, highest settings). Even the Razer and Acer laptops, which use a last-gen RTX 2080 Super Max-Q and RTX 2070 Super Max-Q, respectively, did better than the Asus, though those are also paired with 10th Gen 45W Intel CPUs. 

Our review focus ran the Grand Theft Auto V benchmark (very high) at an average of 87 fps, tying with the Razer and beating the acer (77 fps). But at 108 fps, the Alienware is starkly on top. 

The Dash F15 fell to last place when it came to Far Cry New Dawn (ultra), with a 74 fps average. That’s 17 fps slower than the fastest machine in this benchmark, the Alienware. The two last-gen graphics systems were in the mid-80s. 

In Red Dead Redemption 2 (medium), the TUF Dash F15  landed a solid second place finish with a 61 fps average. The Alienware beat it by just 8 fps. 

The Dash F15 continued to outshine the Razer and Acer laptops on the Borderlands 3 benchmark (badass). The Razer was just 2 fps behind though, and the Alienware, again, took the crown, this time by a notable 16 fps.

To measure ray tracing prowess, we also ran the 3DMark Port Royal benchmark. The Alienware got the highest score (6,411), followed by the Razer (5,048). As a next-gen RTX card, it’s a little disappointing for the Asus to rank third (4,982), albeit a close third. The Acer took last place (3,989). 

As a stress test, we ran the Metro Exodus 1080p RTX benchmark on a loop 15 times, simulating 30 minutes of gameplay. During this time, the game’s frame rate was very consistent and averaged 51 fps. The RTX 3070 ran at an average clock speed of 1,238.64 MHz and average temperature of 70.8 degrees Celsius (159.44 degrees Fahrenheit). Meanwhile, the CPU averaged 3.66 GHz and 72.19 degrees Celsius (161.94 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Productivity Performance on the Asus TUF Dash F15 

The Dash F15 stands out as one of the first machines to arrive with an Intel H35-series CPU. Announced in January, these chips were designed specifically for ultraportable laptops and can operate at a TDP between 28W and 35W. Our Dash F15 configuration opts for an Intel Core i7-11370H. It runs at up to 35W, has four CPU cores, eight threads and a clock speed of up to 5.0 GHz. Our review laptop combines that with a 1TB M.2 2230 NVMe PCIe SSD and 16GB of DDR4-3200 RAM. 

That proved ample for 21 Google Chrome tabs, with one streaming a TV show, Spotify and the Epic Games launcher. The 21st tab caused the fans to kick up for a second, but not so powerfully that the sound overpowered the audio. I could quickly toggle through tabs and programs without delay or interruption to my show. Even tracking through the show was easy, with just a 1-3 second delay.

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In Geekbench 5.0, the Dash F15 bested the Alienware (same specs as our review focus but with an octa-core i7-10870H), Acer (six-core i7-10750H / 16GB DDR4-2933 / 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD) and Razer (eight-core i7-10875H / 16GB DDR4-2933 / 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD) by a few hundred points. When it came to multi-core productivity, the Dash F15 naturally couldn’t compete with its beefier rivals here. All the competing machines’ CPUs have higher core counts than that of the Dash F15. They also all use older 10th Gen chips, but they’re configured at a higher 45W TDP. If you’re running heavily threaded tasks or games, you can get better performance out of the competitors here. 

The Dash F15 fared better against the competition in our file transfer test, moving 25GB of files at a speed of 1,052.03 Mbps. Only the Alienware (1,147 Mbps) was faster. The Razer meanwhile, was at a crawl compared to the other machines here. 

In our Handbrake test, each system is tasked with transcoding a video from 4K resolution down to 1080p. The TUF Dash F15 accomplished this in 10 minutes and 41 seconds. That’s 3:34 slower than the winner here, which is, again, the Alienware. The Triton 300 came in third place, completing the task 1:30 faster than the Dash F15. 

Display on the Asus TUF Dash F15 

Asus opted for a 15.6-inch IPS panel for the Dash F15 and even went the extra mile to include Nvidia G-Sync, a high 240 Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time.

A speedy screen like that has obvious benefits to gaming, especially if you’re playing an eSports title, where it’s easier for your graphics card to near 240 fps. Keep in mind that more graphics-intensive games will be harder to hit high frame rates on. 

IPS is known for good color reproduction, and the shades, including the hints of brown cabinets in the darkest shadows or the pale robin’s egg blue of cabinets, came through. Smoky effects with rainbow prisms looked smooth and realistic with hints of purple, blue and red striking through. The area I was playing in is quite dark, however, and in my sunny room I did find myself wanting to nudge up the brightness a smidge. 

Mission: Impossible - Fallout didn’t lose its luster on the Dash F15. Subtle shades, like pink in a light purple sky, were apparent, and reds were especially strong. The movie was bright enough head on, but from a side view, I could see reflections on about 80% of the screen. 

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The TUF Dash F15 is a bit shy of our 300-nit preferred minimum. At 265 nits, it’s in last place here, although the Triton 300 isn’t too far ahead (286 nits). Not surprisingly, the Alienware’s OLED ran away with both the brightness and color tests. The TUF Dash F15’s more equal color competitors are the Razer and Acer machines, and the Asus tied with the Razer with 79% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space, while just barely edging out the Acer. 

Keyboard and Touchpad on the Asus TUF Dash F15 

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The keyboard on the Dash F15 is a mixed bag. There’s backlighting, but it’s only a teal-ish blue. On the plus side, you can toggle it across three brightness settings or turn it off straight from the keyboard. There’s also an Aura button on the keyboard that toggles through effects, which are all basically flashing blue at different speeds. 

The keys have a good amount of travel at 1.7mm, but they’re excruciatingly flat. Typing felt swift and snappy, but it was harder to figure out where my fingers were without any grooves to help them feel grounded in between presses. The travel makes most of the keys comfortable to press, but larger keys, like backspace, enter and shift (interestingly, not the spacebar) felt a little loose and hollow. 

On the 10fastfingers.com typing test I averaged 112 words per minute (wpm) with a 93.97% accuracy rate. That's slightly below my typical 115 wpm average and 98% accuracy rate, and I attribute all that to the flat keys.

Making the keyboard even more home office-friendly, Asus built the keyboard to be quiet and claims that the keys exude less than 30dB of noise. They certainly shouldn’t drum up any complaints. Their gentle clicking is neither silent nor annoying or distracting. 

The 4.1 x 2.9-inch touchpad on the Dash F15 is on the smoother side, but doesn’t offer the ice rink-like gliding that some premium competitors offer. Clicks are heavy and clunky, but Windows gestures worked well though.  

Audio on the Asus TUF Dash F15 

The Dash F15 has two speakers that pump out virtual 7.1 surround sound audio via four cutouts on the laptop’s underside. They’re clear and accurate for gaming, but I wished for a little more volume. 

When I played Control, it was sometimes hard to hear voices, such as those chanting in the background or my character’s voice. I also wanted to pump up the volume to better focus on key dialogue providing instructions. Footsteps were also hard to hear, sometimes, especially if the laptop’s fans were whizzing, and the experience wasn’t comparable to the virtual surround sound experience you can get with some of the best gaming headsets. Gunshots, however, sounded crisp and with solid pop. 

Again, when I listened to music I want to turn it up about 15% louder for stronger effect. It was loud enough to enjoy but not to blast. Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire” came through accurately and without sounding tinny. But some of the strength and echo in her voice, along with the instruments, didn’t come through, and there was little bass. More electronic sounds, such as those in ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” suffered more. The song’s sound lost warmth and sounded tinny at times. Playing around with the equalizer and presets in the included Realtek Audio Console software didn’t yield significant improvements.

Upgradeability of the Asus TUF Dash F15 

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The Dash F15’s back covers prys off easily after unscrewing 14 Phillips head screws. Once inside, there’s space for a second PCIe Gen3 x4 SSD. You can also add up to 32GB of RAM, but you’ll have to get past some thermal tape to get to the SO-DIMM slots, as is the case with the Wi-Fi card.  

Battery Life on the Asus TUF Dash F15 

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Despite its trim build, the Dash F15 packs decent battery life for a gaming laptop. Our battery test surfs the web, runs OpenGL tests and streams video while connected to Wi-Fi and set to 150 nits brightness. The TUF Dash 15 kept up the workload for 6 minutes and 32 seconds, which is 41 minutes longer than the closest competitor, the Triton 300. The Alienware has been a favorite among our benchmarks, but all that power cost it battery life, and it placed last. 

The Dash F15 comes with an AC charger, but you can also charge it at up to 100W via USB-C. Sadly, our review unit wasn’t bundled with a USB-C laptop charger. Still, it’s a nice feature to have. If you’re ever in a pickle, it keeps getting more likely that you or someone around you has something that uses a USB-C charger.

Heat on the Asus TUF Dash F15 

As you might expect with a slender laptop, this isn’t the coolest machine around, but the Dash F15 still manages to keep warm temperatures relatively at bay. Although, it gets harder not to sweat when you get gaming. When I fired up Control, my right hand controlling my mouse immediately felt warm air blowing out of the side of the laptop, which remained as long as I was playing. 

After 15 minutes of watching YouTube, the Dash F15’s hottest point was the center of the underside, where it measured 93 degrees Fahrenheit (33.9 degrees Celsius). The spot between the G and H keys was 90.5 degrees Fahrenheit (32.5 degrees Celsius), while the touchpad was 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.6 degrees Celsius). 

After 15 minutes of gaming, the touchpad was still a cool 78 degrees Fahrenheit, but the spot between the G and H keys jumped up to 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.6 degrees Celsius), and the hottest point reached 117.5 degrees Fahrenheit (47.5 degrees Celsius. For comparison, the Alienware hit 108.7 degrees after YouTubing and 111.4 degrees when gaming.

To keep a 0.78-inch machine cool, Asus implemented its ROG Intelligent Cooling hardware-software solution. The Dash F15 uses 5 copper heat pipes (covering the CPU, GPU, VRAM and VRM) and two 83-blade, liquid crystal polymer fans to pull heat away from the CPU, GPU, VRAM and VRM and disperse it through the machine’s four heatsinks and fan outlets. There’s venting by the WASD keys to let the fan beneath generate airflow. Additionally, Asus upgraded the self-cleaning capabilities over last year’s TUF lineup with 5% more airflow space. 

On the software side of the cooling solution, the TUF Dash F15 uses Nvidia’s Dynamic Boost 2.0, which switches power to the CPU or GPU, depending on what needs the most push. There’s also Armoury Crate, which, once downloaded, lets you choose among performance modes, including a “Silent” one that promises a max sound level of 35dB.

Webcam on the Asus TUF Dash F15 

There’s no webcam integrated in the slim bezel on the Dash F15’s display. There’s no making up for that, especially with more people taking so many video calls these days, but Asus tries by offering software-based artificial intelligence (AI) to block out background noise on both ends of a call. 

That’s right, Asus claims its tech can remove the sound of your noisy keyboard while also silencing your friend’s dog annoyingly barking in the background. Once you activate AI noise cancelling in the Armoury Crate software and switch to the appropriate speaker and mic in your chatting platform, it provides a helpful service. 

In a video call with a friend, I was able to silence his TV and banging in the background. And on my end, he could “barely” hear me tapping my pen right next to my laptop on my desk. 

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Asus claims its software can reduce noise by 95% and eradicate 500 million “types of background noise.” The technology purposely uses the laptop’s CPU instead of its graphics card, so as to not interfere with gaming performance. You can also tweak its settings in Armoury Crate, and Asus provides recommended settings based on the scenario.  

Software and Warranty on the Asus TUF Dash F15 

Asus kept the Dash F15’s bloatware light. Our review unit came with RealTek Audio Console, McAfee Personal Security, Skype, Your Phone, Xbox Game Bar and Xbox Console Companion, courtesy of Windows 10, but not much else -- not even your usual smatterings of Candy Crush Sagas.  

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Asus does include Armoury Crate, but it’s worth keeping for the AI noise cancelling and, partially, because two of the keyboard’s buttons are useless without it. If you do download the app, you’ll also get access to other perks, the most helpful being the ability to select and tweak different cooling profiles and display presets.  

Asus backs the TUF Dash F15 with a 1-year warranty. 

Asus TUF Dash F15 Configurations 

We tested the middle configuration of the Dash F15 (SKU FX516PR-211.TM15). Available on March 8 for $1,450, it includes an Intel Core i7-11370H CPU, RTX 3070 graphics card, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD and a 240 Hz display.

The cheapest configuration (SKU FX516PM-211.TF15) will be available on February 15 for $1,100. It comes with the same CPU and RAM as our review focus but drops down to an RTX 3060 GPU, a less roomy 512GB SSD and a slower 144 Hz refresh rate. 

The most expensive version of the Dash F15 is $1,700 and matches our review configuration, except it bumps up to an Intel Core i7-11375H and RTX 3070. 

Bottom Line  

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The Asus TUF Dash F15 continues the trend of slim gaming laptops and does it justice, but there are inherent limitations to a gaming laptop focused on staying thin.

For one, frame rates might not match what you expect from Nvidia’s next-gen RTX 30-series on thicker machines. The Dash F15 fell behind the Alienware m15 R4 using the same GPU in our gaming benchmarks, and overall, its gaming performance was more similar to an RTX 20-Series Super card. .

At $1,450, our configuration of the Dash F15 seems fairly priced . It performed similarly to the Acer Predator Triton 300, which was $1,600 when it came out with a six-core Intel Core i7-10750H and RTX 2080 Super Max-Q. The aforementioned Alienware, meanwhile, is $2,499 as tested. So the Dash F15 offers good gaming performance for the price; it’s just not much of an upgrade over last-gen machines. 

In terms of the new Intel H35-series chip, the Dash F15 excelled with lightly threaded workloads, even compared to pricey rivals. But for workloads requiring more cores, the Dash F15’s 11th Gen quad-core chip can’t keep up with beefier 10th Gen CPUs.

The performance conundrum of a slim gaming laptop is something Asus hasn’t fully solved with the Dash F15. But if you’re after a lightweight laptop with the premium screen and components that can handle high-end gaming with good frame rates for the price, the Dash F15 may be for you.