ASUS TUF A14 and A16 Hands-on: AI-Powered Budget Gaming

ASUS TUF A14 and A16 Hands-on: AI-Powered Budget Gaming

ASUS TUF 14 and TUF 16 quick review: ASUS’ two new budget gaming laptops sport AMD’s powerful new AI-powered processors as well as RTX 40 series GPUs, stylish bodies, and hopefully slightly cheaper price tags than its ROG equivalents.

ASUS has launched a bevy of laptops during COMPUTEX to coincide with the announcement of AMD’s new Ryzen AI 300 series processors. Aside from the stylish ZenBook S 16, the Taiwanese firm also launched two new versions of its TUF laptop lineup in the form of the TUF A14 and TUF A16. So how does ASUS’ new AI-powered gaming laptops feel at the outset?

Design, display, and keyboard

ASUS’ TUF series has had the unenviable task of having to differentiate itself from the brand’s more visible gaming line, ROG. The TUF Gaming line has had to go with more subdued browns and earthen hues versus the black and red that has been the trademark color of the ROG line.

The TUF A16 and A14 look more stealthy, streamlined, and less gamer-y because of this, and look more fit for an office setting versus its louder and often more ostentatious ROG equivalents.

Despite this, both laptops are built to the same manufacturing standards as ASUS’ more visible gaming line. I prefer the RGB-less TUF series as far as overall design goes, as they shed a lot of the more ostentatious (and expensive) lighting features that are present on the ROG line. Both of them are also built to rigorous MIL-STD specifications, meaning both can take a beating without suffering catastrophic damage.

The main difference between the two laptops aside from the obvious screen size, at least physically, is the type of connectors on the chassis. The TUF A14 has one fewer port than the TUF A16 (there are two on the TUF A16 and just one on the A14). That choice is a little baffling since USB-C connectors don’t take up a lot of space on the board. It’s likely a cost-cutting measure, one that I don’t agree with. Another big difference between the two is weight – the TUF A16 is heavier than the TUF A14 (2.2 kilos VS 1.6)

Both variants use the same display resolution despite the size difference: you’re getting a WQXGA resolution, 165Hz refresh rate, IPS-level, anti-glare panel. These displays work well enough for what most people require, especially considering the GPU you get with the laptop.

The keyboard is the typical fare that you find on ASUS’ offerings. They sport RGB lighting, can be customized, and have great travel for such small keys.


Hardware and internals

The main draw for both new laptops is the processor under the hood. Providing most of the number-crunching is AMD’s brand-new Ryzen AI 9 HX 370 processor, with 12 cores, and 24 threads. More importantly, it has a built-in NPU capable of 50 TOPS of AI performance, vital for Microsoft’s new AI push with Copilot. The addition of the NPU is important because Copilot requires at least 40 TOPS of processing power to run Copilot locally.

We haven’t taken Microsoft’s Copilot for a spin in any meaningful capacity, but ASUS says that programs like it will be the next evolution in how we control and use our PCs. I’m personally still not convinced of that, though a lot of the features that AI and Microsoft Copilot bring like automatic subtitle generation for videos, email summaries, and other natural-language adjacent features sound appealing.

As far as the gaming front goes, both versions will get NVIDIA’s RTX 4060 GPU, along with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage. That’s good enough to game at 60FPS at ultra settings without RTX on with full HD resolutions, though you’ll have to lean on NVIDIA’s DLSS tech if you want more frames or if you want to run games at the laptop’s native WQXGA resolution.

Wrap-up and early verdict

The ASUS TUF A14 and TUF A16 are solid refreshes of the brand’s A-series of gaming laptops, though I’m not entirely sure if the addition of AI will help the brand sell more of these units once they go on sale. No local pricing has been set for either laptop, but expect them to retail lower than the brand’s ROG offerings.



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