The Good The Origin PC Eon15-S includes some features you don’t see in a gaming system in its price class, including support for three external monitors, including one with G-Sync support, a removable battery and optional custom paint jobs.
The Bad Sad battery life and a finicky touchpad may really mar your nongaming experience.
The Bottom Line The Origin PC Eon15-S delivers the typical gaming performance for a laptop with its specs, but it’s the nice display, Mini DisplayPort connector with G-Sync support, surprisingly comfortable keyboard and removable battery that boost it beyond similarly priced competitors.
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A new crop of low-cost but reasonably fast gaming systems has been made possible by Nvidia’s recent GTX 1050 Ti graphics processor, including the Lenovo Legion Y520, Dell Inspiron 15 7000, ASUS ROG Strix GL753 and Acer Aspire VX 15. Origin PC joins the fray with its Eon15-S, breaking new price ground for the custom-build company which traditionally sticks to pricier territory. And based on the latest model of the Eon15-S, I’d say Origin does budget with class, though a little more expensively than some.
|Origin PC Eon15-S (2017)||Razer Blade Advanced (RTX 2060)||Lenovo Legion Y545||Alienware m17||Alienware m15 R2|
|Price||—||$2,100 Amazon||$990 Lenovo||$1,628 Dell||$2,622 Dell|
The 1050 GTX Ti-equipped notebook buyer likes an afternoon of demon face-punching, but doesn’t don’t care about setting any frame-rate records and can’t tell the difference between 4x and 8x supersampling while running through a swamp. Or does care and can tell, but by necessity is okay trading some speed and quality for price.
Several qualities elevate the Eon15-S above the rest of the crowd. Like the VX 15 and Y520, the Origin incorporates a matte IPS display panel, but the Origin’s looks better — a lot better in the case of the VX 15. (Dell recently introduced a matte IPS option for its Inspiron 15 7000 that’s probably comparable, but I haven’t seen it).
It also has two — two!! — Mini DisplayPort connectors, one on the GPU bus and therefore capable of driving a G-Sync-compatible monitor. That means it can support a total of 3 external displays, with the third on HDMI.
Plus, it has a removable battery, not only a rarity these days but especially for its price class. Of course, given the measly 4.3-hour battery life on our streaming video test, you may want to stock up on them.
Our $1,200 test configuration, with a quad-core Core i5-7300HQ and 8GB memory, performed reasonably well — about the same as similarly equipped systems. As you’d expect, Origin offers a myriad of configuration options starting at $1,000 and which can take you well past the $4,000 mark.
For speed-intensive gamers, I think it’s worth spending a little more if you can, bumping up to 16GB of the 2.4GHz memory and a faster — or at least more consistently fast — Samsung 960 Evo SSD for your primary drive rather than the Intel model in our evaluation unit. It only adds about $100 (£78, AU$135) to the price, but I suspect will improve performance. (I think it’s responsible for the relatively not-terrific Multitasking Multimedia benchmark result.)
Origin PC Eon15-S (2017)
|Price as reviewed||$1,199|
|Display size/resolution||15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display|
|PC CPU||2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ|
|PC Memory||8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz|
|Graphics||4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti|
|Storage||256GB SSD+1TB HDD; SD card slot|
|Ports||1 x Ethernet; 2 x Mini DisplayPort (1 x G-Sync); 1 x HDMI; 1 x USB-C; 3 x USB 3 (1 charging); mic; headphone/audio|
|Networking||802.11ac Bluetooth 4.2|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
You can configure the Eon15-S on Origin PC’s Australia site, where it starts at AU$1,550, but that least-expensive setup is pretty limited. According to the US representative, the price of our test configuration should be roughly AU$1,650, but there didn’t seem to be a way to build one that cheap at review time (Mine came out closer to AU$2,300). The company doesn’t have a UK-specific site, but it will ship worldwide; at current exchange rates, our configuration would cost in the neighborhood of £931, and for an extra $41 (AU$53, directly converted £32), it will pack the laptop in a padded wooden crate for safer shipping and that that your cat will love after the unboxing.
After the hairpin turns, it’s all straightaway
The 1,920×1,080-pixel display is comparatively good, and with a 141 pixel-per-inch pixel density it’s pretty sharp. But it’s still got some issues for fast-moving games, which tend to vary by title. Like many laptop displays, the vertical refresh rate tops out at 60Hz, which presents issues if you’ve got a game that hits inconsistent frame rates. For instance, in Doom, it stuttered a bit at 90fps and beyond, and the intro sequence in Metro: Last Light had a case of the wobblies (though the game didn’t).
Plus, it doesn’t have a big dynamic range. In order to be able to see while Artyom stuck to the shadows in MLL I had to bump the gamma way up, which blew some scenes out unpleasantly. Other games, such as Doom, Bioshock Infinite and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided looked better with tweaked but more reasonable gamma settings, but in those games you don’t run around frantically turning off lights or hunkering in high-contrast, decrepit subway tunnels.
Connecting to a G-Sync external display solved most of the refresh and visibility issues, though. Through the G-Sync-enabled Mini DisplayPort, the laptop drove a 2,850×1,440 Dell S2417DG as high as 144Hz without issues and a 1,920×1,080 Acer Predator XB272 at up to 240Hz (as well as in Dynamic Super Resolution mode at a lower refresh).
The real play glitches result from the components. In BI, I had to turn the quality settings way down (to the low preset) in order to achieve smooth gameplay. At higher settings there was tons of stutter, pausing and nonresponsiveness in surprising places; who’d expect serious dropped-frame issues in the no-action Hall of Heroes elevator?
Rebooting between games seemed to help. I think more memory and a faster SSD would have helped alleviate some of it. Plus, more than 4GB VRAM would help the quality issues, but the only way around that is to spend more and not buy a 1050 Ti-based system.
All of which ultimately means that the Eon15-S is pretty typical. Like every system without top-end components, you’ll have to tweak games individually and you’ll get better results in some more than others; there didn’t seem to be any unusual or endemic problems. Overall, once I had at least semi-optimal settings for each, the gaming experience was great — a couple of lost weekends and some missed deadlines can attest to that. And the Origin advantage is that they’ll help you over all the inevitable bumps. The fan does kick in loudly now and then, though.
The built-in speakers sound decent for gaming, with satisfactory surround simulation; they’re not quite as good for music and movies.
As bland or bright as you want
Closed, the black Eon15-S looks as subtle as a gaming laptop gets; just a hint of bezeled diagonals on the lid and some stylized venting on the back. And without the backlight enabled, the same goes for the inside. But you can also bling up the lid in a matte red or glossy white, a custom paint job or a logo. (Those options were not yet available in Origin’s configurator at review time, though, and based on other systems they look a little expensive for a low-cost laptop.)
The membrane keyboard doesn’t have the clicky feel of a mechanical, but it’s surprisingly good; it’s relatively quiet unless you really pound it, and if you need to use the Eon15-S for work as well as for play, I think the feel will hold up. The Flexikey utility lets you customize the keyboard backlight with up to 3 preset color zones and the usual animated rainbow options as well as custom macro recording. The control panel software doesn’t offer a lot of options, though you can set temperature rules to trigger fan operation.
The touchpad can be finicky, though; sometimes it works fine and at other times became selectively nonresponsive, and the embedded fingerprint reader has some sharp edges that made swiping uncomfortable.
It’s not terribly heavy for a 15-inch at 5.3 lbs/2.4 kg, but the brick is pretty big and given the battery life you’ll need to carry it with you most of the time.
For games that don’t need to trade quality for speed, or gamers willing to trade some quality for speed, I think this is a great option, especially given the myriad connection options. And while it’s not optimal for VR, there’s enough power and connectivity to let you get your virtual feet wet.
|Acer Aspire VX 15||Microsoft windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050; 256GB SSD|
|Asus ROG Strix GL753||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD|
|Dell Inspiron 15 7000 (2017)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti; 256GB SSD|
|Lenovo Legion Y520||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti; 256GB SSD, 2TB HDD|
|Origin PC Eon15-S (2017)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti; 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD|