An understated laptop for playing games and working on visually intensive tasks, the Asus TUF A16 does precisely what it says on the tin. It’s not the most powerful machine going around, but it offers reasonable features for its asking price.
It’s difficult to separate gaming laptops from one another due to many competing brands offering similar features and hardware. Some of the differentiators include form factor, unique quirks, and value for money. Where the Asus TUF A16 sits is somewhere between the entry-level and mid-range offerings in a category packed with expensive gear. For roughly $2,000, you get a sturdy laptop capable of playing just about any modern game, albeit not necessarily at the highest settings.
As is commonly the case with technology, the more you spend, the more power you get in return. As much as I salivate over the spec sheets of the Asus ROG lineup of high-end laptops, spending upwards of $3,000 simply isn’t feasible for many people. Ultimately, your budget and how you want to use a gaming laptop determine whether the Asus TUF A16 is a good fit.
You often see gaming laptops and peripherals emblazoned with garish designs that stick out like a sore thumb next to an equally powerful enterprise device. It’s not capital-G gamer tech unless it looks like it could launch into space, you see. Not so with the Asus TUF A16. Replete with a minimalist black finish, it doesn’t scream outlandish gamer aesthetic.
As far as 16-inch laptops go, it’s reasonably slim, although a bulky power brick for charging adds some heft. The laptop does support fast USB-C charging, but the standard AC adapter is what’s included. Speaking of charging, the AC port bizarrely sits in the middle of the left-hand side. In practicality, this is because of the large air vents flanking the back of the laptop’s sides, but this means that the charging port is in an uncomfortable position instead of towards the back and out of the way.
Setting up the device didn’t take too long, with only the standard Windows procedures to follow. Once up and running, I found that the Asus TUF A16 took a while to launch games but performed reasonably well after loading everything in.
Asus TUF A16 specifications
AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS
16GB DDR5 4800MHz
AMD Radeon RX 7600S
512GB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD
1920 x 1200, 165Hz
Bluetooth 5.2 2x USB-C 2x USB-A HDMI 2.1b Ethernet Audio jack combo Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
Through a mix of general use, synthetic benchmark software, and playing games, the Asus TUF A16 showed that it’s a decent laptop. It showed good numbers across a mix of tests and games, indicating that it’s a worthy option if you don’t want to commit to a “full” gaming laptop that costs upwards of a thousand dollars more.
Compared to other devices we’ve tested recently, the Asus TUF A16’s AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS CPU holds up well. Many of the other devices tested using Cinebench and Geekbench are substantially more expensive, which is worth keeping in mind. Essentially the brain of your computer, the better the CPU performance, the better your device can handle multiple processes and rendering tasks.
Asus TUF A16
Asus Expertbook B6 Flip
Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED
Apple MacBook Pro (M2 Max)
With Geekbench’s GPU test, the Asus TUF A16 posted a respectable score of 69,434. Its Radeon RX 7600S graphics card performs just about on par with an Nvidia RTX 4050 laptop GPU, according to Geekbench’s database. Naturally, the higher the score, the better the performance. As seen in the above table, an Asus Zenbook Pro 16X does post noticeably higher results using an RTX 3060 GPU. Mind you, the Pro 16X does retail for roughly $2,000 more, making the TUF comparatively good value.
Another common GPU test is 3DMark’s TimeSpy, a benchmark that strains both the CPU and GPU using a game-like experience. Here, the Asus TUF A16 reached a score of 9,196 and an average of 56.04 frames per second (fps) in the graphics component of the test. It’s a tidy, if unspectacular, result, although the power of a dedicated graphics card is put into perspective when you compare it to the Lenovo Yoga 9i’s low score of 1655 using onboard Intel Iris Xe graphics.
With SSD storage the norm these days, you ideally want a drive capable of both opening and saving files quickly. Unfortunately, the Asus TUF A16’s included SSD is slower when compared to others on the market. Using CrystalDiskMark, it recorded read speeds of 4305MB/s and write speeds of 1811MB/s.
Alongside the ExpertBook B6 Flip (a full review coming soon), which recorded read speeds of up to 6300MB/s and write speeds of up to 5300MB/s, the TUF is fairly slow. Combine this with the 512GB capacity included with the review model, it’s not an ideal storage solution. Fortunately, you can get up to 2TB of storage in addition to an empty M.2 slot so you can expand it yourself.
Now for the most important test: actually playing games. Despite a sluggish SSD contributing to slow startup times, each game I played on the Asus TUF A16 ran pleasingly well. It handled real-time strategy games like Age of Darkness without issue, and even put up some good numbers with big AAA titles as well.
Forza Horizon 5 is a great way to test out any laptop or PC, with its photorealistic visuals and robust in-game benchmarking tools able to put the system under a decent load. On the “Extreme” preset, the benchmark returned an average of 73fps. Racing games don’t need the highest refresh rates, although by turning the settings down to “High”, I averaged 130fps, meaning you definitely have options between visual fidelity and overall smoothness. With MSI Afterburner installed, a program highly regarded for measuring game performance and frame rates, I averaged 163fps on Overwatch 2. The Asus TUF A16 only displays up to 160fps, but it’s still suitable for optimised shooters like Overwatch.
In fact, the only trouble I encountered during my gaming sessions was when playing Returnal. Originally a PS5 game, the PC port is notorious for bringing systems to their metaphorical knees. On the recommended “High” settings, I used the in-game benchmark to see if the laptop lived up to its “TUF” moniker.
After an extensive demo running through Returnal‘s spooky sci-fi setting, the end result was an average fps of 73. Pretty good, right? Well, mostly. In a non-visually intensive section of the benchmark, it peaked at 127fps, but fell to an agonising crawl of 15fps at one point. Returnal is a demanding game in both hardware resources and player skill. Much of the gameplay relies on quick action and reacting to enemy movements. In other words, you need a stable frame rate to have the best experience. The Asus TUF A16 can play Returnal, although you’ll want to turn down the graphics and a lot of the visual effects to enjoy it.
Asus TUF A16 general use
As an everyday laptop, the Asus TUF A16 performed well across general tasks, as you’d expect of a laptop with gaming-level hardware. Its keyboard felt nice and responsive, although the keycaps felt slightly smaller than what I’m used to, which led to an increase in typing errors. I’m not a fan of the current trend of low-profile laptop keyboards, as I’m used to the tactile sensation of a mechanical board. However, the TUF’s keys were raised enough to suit my personal preferences and retained a satisfying sense of tactility.
Its IPS display looked solid, although you’ll find that videos don’t display in their full colour range. This is because the display only encompasses 100% of the sRGB gamut, not the wider DCI-P3 range favoured by modern filmmaking standards. This being said, the TUF is a reasonable multimedia machine, backed by its relatively punchy speakers.
On the inside, the Asus TUF A16 wields a 90Wh battery, which will last most users the day on a single charge. However, heavy gaming and anything that puts the laptop under load will drain the battery quicker. Whenever I ran anything slightly strenuous, the laptop fans kicked in and the surface became hot to the touch. Not unbearably hot, but certainly noticeable.
While not a definitive way to test a laptop’s general usefulness, the PCMark 10 benchmark provides a rough estimation of how well it handles common tasks like web browsers, content creation, and videoconferencing. Here, the Asus TUF A16 recorded an overall score of 7145, beating both the ExpertBook B6 Flip and the Lenovo Yoga 9i.
Who is the Asus TUF A16 for?
Recommending a laptop or PC is tough because it ultimately comes down to budget. It’s easy to suggest you spend an extra amount of money to future-proof against software advances and increasingly demanding games. In practice, money only stretches so far and you eventually reach a point of diminishing returns.
Sure, you could get a more powerful desktop PC for the same amount of money. However, you need to weigh up the importance of portability, considering a similar-spec laptop always costs more than its desktop counterpart.
When compared to other laptops in its own price bracket, and more expensive devices, the Asus TUF A16 stands up as a capable gaming machine. It’s priced competitively among similarly-specced devices, making it a worthwhile consideration for anyone wanting a gaming laptop without completely emptying the wallet.
As both AMD and Nvidia recently highlighted, the overwhelming majority of PC gamers still play on 1080p displays, which the TUF slightly surpasses, and is capable of cracking the sweet spot of 120Hz. You may have to tweak some settings to get the performance you want, but that’s just the nature of PC gaming.
Asus TUF A16 Gaming Laptop
Equipped to handle 99% of modern PC games, the Asus TUF A16 gaming laptop provides performance without blowing the budget.