Friday, March 1, 2024
PCReviews

ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE vs ASUS TUF Gaming Dash F15

ASUS recently released a whole raft of new awesome gaming laptops in varying shapes, sizes and specs. If you’re in the market for a new gaming laptop, we thought we’d run two of their best models head to head in a comparison guide.

This time, we’re looking at the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE vs the TUF Gaming Dash F15.

We’re going to look at the key specs, looks, performance and portability (they’re meant to be laptops after all!), and then tell you which one we would go for with our own money.

Key Specs

ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-11375H (four cores, 12MB cache, up to 5.0GHz Turbo)
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4-3200, 1 x SODIMM slot, up to 32GB
  • Screen: 15.6-inch 4k UHD 120Hz and 14-inch touchscreen UHD 60Hz
  • Storage: 2TB SSD
  • Ports: 3 x USB-A 3.2, 1 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x ethernet, 1 x 3.5mm audio jack, 1 x MicroSD card reader 4.0
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.1
  • Weight:  2.4kg
  • Size: 36 x 26.8 x 2.9cm (W x D x H)

TUF Gaming Dash F15

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-11375H (four cores, 12MB cache, up to 5.0GHz Turbo)
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4-3200
  • Screen: 15-inch 1080p IPS, 240Hz
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Ports: 3 x USB-A 3.2, 1 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x ethernet, 1 x 3.5mm audio jack
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.1
  • Weight:  2.0kg
  • Size: 36 x 25.2 x 1.92cm (W x D x H)

Looks

The Zephyrus Duo 15 SE certainly stands out from the crowd. Before its party piece pops out, the all-black, all-aluminum casing with angular edges and cutouts tells you two things: A) this machine is a beast and B) it’s expensive!

Then there’s the reveal…For a laptop no thicker than most other gaming laptops, yet when you open the lid, up pops the second screen – raked to bridge the angles between keyboard and screen. We’ll be honest, during initial gameplay, we thought this second screen was a bit of a gimmick, but with more thought, 23 can see some good real-world applications. When your main screen is full of gameplay, it would be great to have access to Discord for instance if you’re playing as a group, or a stream-deck if you’re streaming. The keyboard is backlit and ours was, obviously, set to rotating rainbow. It was pretty fabulous but possibly a bit camp, even for us!

One thing we will say about that dual screen is that, despite it being very handy, also really compromises space on the lower deck of the laptop. The keyboard is very cramped up against the front edge with nowhere to rest your wrists, but the part that suffers the most is the trackpad. We know gamers would likely be using a separate mouse, but on the occasions when you wanted to quickly access the system without a mouse, the tiny trackpad placed in a very leftie-unfriendly position is barely usable.

The ASUS TUF range of laptops are typically aimed at the budget-minded market and, as such, the design has always been utilitarian and a bit basic. But this new Dash F15 is amazing! The lid and the keyboard deck are beautifully crafted from aluminium with a stunning light grey and turquoise colour scheme which makes the laptop already look way more expensive than it actually is. The bottom of the laptop is plastic, it’s not a unibody. But that’s fine, it allows easy access to the upgrade space. There are enough ports to run everything you need and the keyboard has a nice cool blue glow to it. It’s a shame you can’t personalise the keyboard light colour, but hey. We can’t have everything.

We have one major complaint for both of these laptops, though. The location of the power cable input -why is it half way down the side? Cables should plug into the back, or at least the part of the keyboard deck furthest away from my hands, that’s just a law.

Portability

For what it has under the bonnet, the Zephyrus Duo 15 SE is surprisingly light, weighing in at 2.4kg. It’s also pretty comparable in size to other gaming laptops considering it’s packing a second screen too. But the real issue is the absolute brick of a charging pack. You’ll need to do plenty of core exercise in the gym if you’re thinking about travelling regularly with the laptop and pack in the same bag! Battery-wise, it’s on par with other high-performance laptops, offering around 5-6 hours of usage, nothing exciting.

The TUF Dash F15 is thin and light, like really light! At 20mm thick and only 2kg heavy, it’s extremely portable for a gaming laptop. It’s power pack is also similarly small in size, meaning you’re not having to break your back when you want to take gaming on the go. In terms of battery life, the Dash F15 can pull almost 10 hours of battery life. Plenty enough to get you through a standard working day.

Performance

The Zephyrus Duo 15 SE is a high-performance laptop being able to cope with anything you can throw at it. Whether that’s high-performance gameplay or detailed content creation, as is the modern way of creative types using gaming laptops as workstations. Under test, the Zephyrus Duo showed just how beautiful games can be and what a treat it was to explore games we’ve played before, but in UHD. However, the same can’t be said about the sound quality, as we struggled to hear it over the incredibly loud fans. We get that high performance laptops produce insane amounts of heat that needs to go somewhere, but when you have modern consoles able to cope with the same performance with barely a whisper, it’s quite distracting sitting with two jet engines in front of you. You’d have thought some of the cost of the laptop would have gone to better cooling solutions.

The TUF Dash F15 is a budget model, there’s no denying that. Its slim and light design also tells you not to expect earth-shattering performance, but we were pleasantly surprised! Under my stringent testing conditions (Borderlands 3 and Gears 5) we were genuinely impressed at how well it performed. It’s not going to hit the 60fps you might have hoped for, but for the ultra-light, portable and wallet-friendly design, it does an amazing job. It performs really well and impressively manages its heat really well without the need for turbocharged fans and a casing you could prep a fried egg on.

The Verdict

Really, a head to head comparison between these two laptops is like comparing chalk and cheese, so it comes down to what you are in the market for.

The Zephyrus Duo 15 SE is undoubtedly an amazing machine which gives you the full gaming fantasy with an additional screen in your life. But at over £3500 you’re certainly going to pay for that luxury.

For me personally, as the existing owner of next gen games consoles, I would be looking for a part-time laptop which offers good all round performance, great portability and the ability to jump in and play the every growing collection of fabulously queer indie games on offer. Therefore, in my view, the TUF Dash F15 at £1300 is everything I need in my life.

Robin Gray

[He/Him] Robin is the Founder of Gayming Magazine. He's on a mission to fly the LGBTQ flag proudly over the video games world and drive forward authentic representation in the industry, in the press and in the games we love.