The Asus FX503 is available in four variants starting at Rs 69,990.
The laptop strikes the ideal balance between productivity and gaming, leaning more towards the latter.
Under the hood are an Intel Core i5 or i7 (7th generation) processor and the NVIDIA GTX 1050 graphics card.
If you’re a gaming enthusiast, you have a handful of options that will help you get your fix of video games. The simplest and easiest option is of course your smartphone, but most smartphone games are basic at best. If you’re a more avid gamer, you’ll want to either get a current-generation gaming console or a PC gaming machine. And while the self-assembled PC rig is usually the best way to go, a lot of gamers might want some form of portability as well.
Gaming laptops exist to satisfy that need for portability. A powerful gaming machine will help avid gamers take their games to go, and will also serve as a necessity in most social gaming situations, such as multiplayer gaming and tournaments. Today, we’re reviewing the Asus FX503 gaming laptop, which is the latest from the Taiwan-based company’s gaming-centric line-up. Priced from Rs 69,990 onwards, we review the FX503.
Asus FX503 Design and Specifications
Design on gaming laptops is usually less about size and efficiency and more about functions and features that are relevant to gamers. While most productivity laptops offer smaller screen sizes and a form factor focused on portability, the Asus FX503 does the exact opposite. It’s large, bulky, barely fits in my backpack and is very heavy. It isn’t a comfortable laptop to have at all, particularly if you need to carry it around everywhere with you.
But that is exactly what gaming laptops are. Thanks to the components that are needed to help the laptop process graphics, it’s naturally bulky and needs big cooling fans to keep things running smoothly. Since a lot of PC games still come on optical discs, the Asus FX503 also has an optical disc drive, which only adds to the bulk. There’s also a large 15.6-inch full-HD screen, which will help you make the most of any games you play.
As is expected from gaming laptops, the Asus FX503 has an excellent keyboard. The keys have a fair amount of travel and excellent tactile feedback, giving you a better sense of key presses which is critical to the gaming experience. The keys are also backlit for easy viewing in any conditions, and are laid out for maximum convenience. The direction and WASD keys are particularly distinguishable thanks to convenient positioning and backlighting.
The trackpad, too, is larger than you’d expect, while the heat-dissipating grille is right above the keyboard. During intensive use such as gaming, this you’ll hear a fair bit of noise and feel some hot air coming out of this grille, as the laptop’s fans kick in to cool it down. The dual-fan system works with copper heat pipes to independently cool the graphics card and processor. The finish and design in general are tasteful, and the laptop certainly looks and feels premium.
While gaming laptops from Asus are typically branded under the company’s Republic of Gamers line, the Asus FX503 isn’t an ROG device. This is presumably because of its low price, but the device does meet all the requirements for a gaming laptop. You get either an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 (7th generation in both cases) processor depending on the variant you buy, 8GB of DDR4 RAM which can be expanded to up to 32GB, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card with either 2GB or 4GB of RAM, a combination of a 128GB SSD drive for quick booting and 1TB of SATA storage, and a four-cell 64Wh battery. You also get Windows 10 Home on the Asus FX503. An 8th generation Core series processor would have been ideal here, but keeping the price in mind and the rest of the hardware on offer, there isn’t too much to complain about.
Asus FX503 Performance
While the higher-end model with the Core i7 processor with SSD should ideally be what you go for, your budget will decide which variant you get. The starting variant is priced at Rs 69,990 and comes with an Intel Core i5 processor and no SSD storage, while the top-end variant sells for Rs 87,990 and comes with a Core i7 processor and 128GB SSD storage alongside the 1TB SATA storage. 8GB of DDR4 RAM and the NVIDIA GTX 1050 are standard across variants, although the entry-level variant comes with 2GB of graphics memory while the others come with 4GB.
Even with the entry-level variant, you won’t face any trouble in actual gaming, since 2GB of graphics memory and the Core i5 processor are sufficient for most games today. Some of the more graphics-intensive games may struggle with this configuration, but it should be fine for most casual gamers since the majority of games will work well. Even the most challenging games will cope with a drop in video quality within the game.
We tested the Core i7 variant and were suitably pleased with the performance. I tried out PlayerUnknown’s Battle Grounds, GRID: Autosport and DOTA 2 during my time with the laptop, and the FX503 was able to cope fairly well thanks to the quality of the hardware under the hood. PUBG functioned with a few dropped frames and hiccups at the highest settings, but reducing the performance settings a bit fixed this. With DOTA 2 and GRID: Autosport, I was able to play at the highest graphics and performance settings without any trouble at all.
Now I’m a casual gamer at best, and what I truly use a laptop for is every day productivity. Granted, a gaming laptop isn’t the most portable and might indeed be a waste of all of that power if you’re only going to use it to surf the web, write word documents, make presentations and maybe do a bit of photo and video editing. But it might make sense if you do enjoy your games and want the machine for productivity as well.
The Asus FX503 is relatively affordable for a gaming laptop, and is closer priced to typical productivity machines. Although 8GB of RAM may seem a bit low today for a device that costs Rs 70,000, keep in mind that it’s easily expandable thanks to Asus’ approach to laptop hardware upgradation. It’s naturally incredibly smooth and reliable for most tasks, and doesn’t slow down too much even when faced with somewhat challenging tasks. Multi-tasking is a breeze, and the sheer hardware capability of the Asus FX503 is what drives it through most tasks. And as mentioned, it’s perfectly capable for most games in the evening after your work day.
As is the case with gaming laptops, don’t expect stellar battery life from the Asus FX503. I was able to use it for a little over three hours on a single charge most of the time, and this reduced a fair bit when I was gaming. In most cases, you’ll have the laptop connected to a power outlet, but you do have the peace of mind of a bit of wire-free usability if you need it.
The Asus FX503 gaming laptop isn’t the best gaming laptop you could buy today. But for its price, it’s certainly an option worth considering for casual gamers. The ideal use case for such a laptop in my opinion isn’t dedicatedly for gaming, but is rather a mix of gaming, productivity and everyday functionality. To put it simply, the FX503 works if you’re a gamer only in the evenings, and want to get some work done during the day. The sheer hardware power in the laptop makes it more than capable to run regular tasks, including video and photo editing and regular use.
If you’re a hardcore PC gamer, perhaps the Asus FX503 isn’t the best fit for you. The NVIDIA GTX 1050 graphics card with either 2GB or 4GB of video RAM isn’t the best out there – true top-notch performance would need the GTX 1080 at the very least. However, if you aren’t too fussy about graphical performance or don’t need cutting-edge hardware, the FX503 strikes the right balance between all functions. It’s definitely worth a look if you want a relatively affordable gaming laptop today.