Using a Max-Q design, the Origin PC Evo15-S packs a GeForce GTX 1070 into a sub-5-pound body.
LIke the Asus ROG Zephyrus, Origin PC's jumped on the Max-Q bandwagon with its Evo15-S, delivering a similarly thin and light notebook packed with gaming guts.
it's not the $1,200 system Nvidia promised last summer; the cheapest you can get is about $1,560 if you cut back to 8GB of RAM, a GTX 1060, a tiny 120GB SSD and the basic 1,920x1,080 matte IPS display. And our evaluation system configuration runs about $2,300. You don't have any choice on the processor, which is typical. But you have a ton of options for the storage, up to 5TB in total, and a nice handful for memory, up to 32GB 2,666MHz DDR.
The three display options include two 1,920x1,080 matte IPS panels, one with a 120Hz refresh rate, and a 4K matte IPS. It supports G-Sync when connected to an external monitor via one of the two Mini DisplayPort connectors. The 4K upgrade (also matte IPS) seems oddly cheap at just under $100 over the base panel; in Australia, the same upgrade costs about AU$1,260 -- that's equivalent to $1,020.
Australians generally have fewer options. Because there are no 120Hz display or 2,666MHz memory choices, there's no direct equivalent to our test configuration. The closest model you can get runs AU$3,910; the cheapest, AU$3,010 with 16GB of RAM, because there's no 8GB option. Origin PC doesn't have a UK site, but our test configuration price converts to roughly £1,635 and the cheapest setup translates to about £1,075.
|Price as reviewed||$2,312|
|Display size/resolution||15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display (120Hz IPS)|
|PC CPU||2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ|
|PC Memory||16GB DDR SDRAM 2,666MHz|
|Graphics||8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q|
|Storage||500GB SSD+2TB hybrid, SD card slot|
|Ports||3 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 2 x USB-C, 2 x Mini DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI|
|Networking||Ethernet, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
|Weight||4.9 lb/2.2 kg|
I think this is a solid configuration to recommend; if you don't play fast-moving games you can save a bit with the base display -- 4K strikes me as a bit too high for such a small monitor -- and cut back to 8GB, but decreasing the amount of storage won't save you all that much. (The Seagate FireCuda flash-accelerated hard drives aren't anywhere near as expensive as all flash.)
The Evo15-S has a relatively attractive, low-key design which you can always customize, and is a lot lighter and more compact than a typical 15-inch gaming laptop -- it weighs less than 5 pounds (a little more than 2 kg), compared to the Alienware 15's hefty 7.8 lb/3.5 kg. It doesn't seem quite as tanklike as the AW15, but its metal body still feels quite durable. I do miss flashy lighting on the chassis.
It also has all the ports you need, including two mini DisplayPort connectors and 3 USB 3.1 Type-A for your wired accessories, plus an HDMI for VR.
The display is okay but not standout for IPS, but as you'd expect much better than TN when it comes to viewing angle. It delivers about 94 percent sRGB gamut coverage, which is perfectly fine for gaming, though I wouldn't use it for anything where colors matter: it's very cool, with a color temperature of about 11,000 K, so everything looks a little too blue. That's perfect for games with ice and snow, however. And it's bright, with a peak brightness of about 400 nits, and typically about 315 nits when set at 75 percent.
The colors pop in where it matters, for games like Borderlands 2 and Bioshock Infinite, and because its native gamma is about 2.4 (which means relatively bright shadows), in moody atmospheric games like Little Nightmares you don't have a problem seeing. Unless you forget to use your lighter, of course.
The Flexikey utility lets you create macros, though there are no dedicated macro keys on the keyboard, as well as control the keyboard backlight colors and settings. It only has three zones and a decent set of options. I like to set the middle section to black, and while you can do that the backlight never really goes off in that section, so it just gets dimmer.
Its membrane keyboard feels a bit mushy, but it's got decent travel and seems to have sufficiently rigid support when you start pounding on it. But it's about half an inch (roughly 13mm) too narrow, which throws the sizes of all the keys off, so if you rely on muscle memory or touch typing, it takes some adjustment; I keep overreaching and hit Num Lock when I'm going for Backspace, or Caps Lock when reaching for A. The WASD keys are visually highlighted, but that only works if you're looking at the keyboard. The touchpad has a built-in fingerprint sensor if you want to use Windows Hello, but it's a typical gaming-laptop trackpad; somewhat inconsistent with mushy buttons.
It's pretty fast, though it can be up to 20 percent slower than the Alienware 15, which uses a non-Max-Q design for the GTX 1070 and otherwise similar components. Still, the Evo15-S has got enough juice for most games at respectable frame rates. Like most gaming laptops it has sad battery life, in this case under 4 hours on our streaming playback tests.
But it can also get quite hot if you put it on maximum performance by forcing it to use the discrete GPU all the time and aren't in a cold room. I had to stop playing What Remains of Edith Finch and Borderlands 2 (in separate sessions) after a relatively short time because I kept dropping my hand on the metal next to the keyboard, which reached as high as 122° F/50° C. Note that dGPU-only isn't a default setting, but it's not an unusual one either. Otherwise, it's just toasty. When our heat went out during a cold snap, I huddled up with West of Loathing to keep warm.
And if you bump the system to always run at full power, the fans blow constantly, so you'll want to use headgear. You may want to anyway, since the speakers don't have much bass and don't get very loud.
If you tote your game gear a lot, 3 pounds (1.3 kg) is a significant weight loss, especially since the power bricks remain as heavy as their namesakes. As long as you can adjust to the keyboard and work mostly plugged in, the OriginPC Evo15-S is an attractive option.
|Alienware 15 (R3, 2016)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070; 512GB SSD+1TB HDD|
|Asus ROG Zephyrus||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core I7-7700HQ; 24GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 with Max-Q Design; 512GB SSD|
|HP Omen (15-inch, 2017)||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with Max-Q Design; 256GB SSD + 2TB HDD|
|Origin PC Eon17-X (2017)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 4.2GHz Intel Core i7-7700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 8GB Nvidia GTX 1080; (2) 256GB SSD RAID 0 + 2TB HDD|
|Origin PC Evo15-S (2017)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,667MHz; 8GB Nvidia GTX 1080 Max-Q; 512GB SSD|