Super-thin portable powerhouses like Asus' ROG Zephyrus M look awesome, but some folks' circumstances don't make room for for a $2200-plus gaming laptop with an origami cooling system and a GeForce GTX 1070. Asus itself comes to the rescue with the TUF Gaming FX504, the first gaming laptop we can recall with durability as its main claim to fame. Compared to the Zephyrus M, the FX504 has thick bezels around its screen, and its optional GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics can't match the might of a GTX 1070. However, the 15.6" laptop does have a display with a 120-Hz refresh rate and a claimed 3-ms response time.
The TUF-book's optional speedy six-core, 12-thread Intel Core i7-8750H processor is probably too much for the modest Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, though Asus also offers more sedate CPU choices. The company didn't say what kind of 120-Hz display panel is used in the FX504, but did mention "wide-view" angles, 130% coverage of the sRGB color space, and 94% coverage of the NTSC space. The machine comes fitted with a 1-TB Seagate FireCuda SSHD hybrid, a selection that seems at odds with the laptop's emphasis on surviving bumps and bruises.
The focus on durability extends to the red-backlit keyboard, whose switches are rated to withstand up to 20 million keypresses. The key caps have 2.5-mm deep scallops and a plus-sized space bar. The switches have 1.8 mm of travel, a characteristic that Asus calls Overstroke. The manufacturer even positioned a system fan right under the highlighted WASD keys to make sure they stay cool during the hottest gaming sessions.
Asus offers the FX504 in four different exterior trims with varying proportions of red and black. The "Premium Steel" finish has just hints of crimson, the "Black Matter" variant adds a little more red, the "Fusion" markings go a little further into gamer-style, and the "Red Matter" version is splattered with red graphics inside and out. In addition to the red accents, the outside of the machine is bedazzled with several USB ports, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, and an HDMI 1.4 output. If wires are not to the user's liking, the FX504 has 2x2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac "Wave 2" Wi-Fi that uses 160 MHz channels to reach a claimed maximum throughput of 1.7 Gbps.
A version of the Asus TUF Gaming FX504 with a four-core, eight-thread Intel Core i7-8300H processor, 8 GB of 2666 MT/S DDR4 memory, a 1TB SSHD, and a GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card is available for pre-order now on Amazon for $799. The e-tailer expects to start shipping the laptop on April 16. We imagine more powerful versions with the previously-mentioned six-core CPU and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics will make their way to store shelves around the same time.