Typically you’d have to deal with a lot of compromises when getting a “budget” gaming laptop, whether its the crummy build quality or heat management or an underpowered gaming graphics chip.

But don’t let that discourage you from getting one, especially if you’re super tight on cash. The cheapest gaming notebooks are far from being the worst investment. When it comes to gaming and graphic-intensive productivity, they generally perform better than non-gaming laptops and even macbooks. 

Think of it like getting a gaming console. You know it’s not the most powerful gaming machine out there, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play games on them.

That’s exactly what I felt when I tested out the ASUS TUF FX504G. The built-in Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU coupled with an Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM lets me play games without a hitch, at least on medium settings.

The ASUS TUF FX504G is one of the cheapest gaming laptops available in Brunei, costing just two PlayStation 4 Pros. And for that money, you get a decent laptop instead of a box that sits idly at home.

No ultra settings here, but I was pleased that the FX504 can handle Triple A titles like Overwatch, Fortnite and Rainbow Six Seige at 60 frames per second. Although the GTX 1050 is an entry-level discrete gaming graphics card, it still trumps all the other budget offerings that uses an Nvidia MX150 or an AMD Radeon with Vega graphics.

Of course, if performance matters to you and you really want to crank up the graphics and framerate, I’d suggest shelling out a few hundred dollars more for the newer TUF FX505 (review coming up).

The 15.6-inch 1080p TN panel screen isn’t the brightest and sharpest in the market, but it gets the job done for blazing fast gaming. Casual surfing, email, writing or office work is fine too, though I would suggest getting an external IPS monitor if you want to do Photoshop or anything that involves colour accuracy.

I personally loved the gaming-centric keyboard here, even though the FX504 doesn’t offer full RGB. At this price, you gotta praise ASUS for at least giving us a backlit keyboard, albeit only in red. A nice addition to the keyboard is the ability to manually control the fan noise and fan speed.

Speaking of fans, the FX504 has a surprisingly decent cooling system. It still gets warm during long gaming sessions, but not unbearable, and that fan control manual overide does help.

My only gripe I had with the TUF 504 is with the speakers, which is rather thin for my taste (my iPad Pro sounded way better). Of course, this shouldn’t come as an issue for a majority of the headset-clad gamers, which this laptop is really targeted for.

The battery on the FX504 isn’t impressive either. For both work and play, it gave me less than 4 hours of juice before I had to pull out the charger from my bag. I expect most gamers would have their laptops plugged in through the entire gaming session.

The TUF FX504 is also one big heavy laptop, weighing at 2.3 kilogrammes. That is expected in a gaming notebook, and you won’t see budget gaming laptops heading to ultrabook territory very soon, unlike the more expensive thin and light range that are getting the new Nvidia MAX-Q graphics exclusively.

Design-wise, the FX504 seems like it’s really trying hard to look like a ‘high-end’ gaming machine with that faux-aluminium blushing and red paint on a black hunk of plastic. I can’t say it’s a pretty laptop, but some might like that ‘cyber’ look and feel. I prefer thin and smexy.

If gaming isn’t your priority, then the TUF FX504 shouldn’t be your daily driver for productivity or if you plan to be away from a power source for too long. Not to say that it’s a bad laptop, but it’s not the ideal choice if you only plan to do spreadsheets or Photoshop on it.

But if you’re looking for a descent budget gaming laptop right now, the ASUS TUF FX504 should be an easy pick in Brunei. It’s hard to resist that B$1,139 price tag.

The ASUS TUF FX504 is available at CF King Enterprise in Kiulap, and you can get it today for $100 off with our promo code: geekturf504

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