This has been the year that desktop performance truly arrived in gaming laptops. Nvidia’s new GTX 10-Series graphics chips have already proven themselves to bring desktop-level performance and some of the best gaming experiences we’ve seen on a notebook this year. But what happens when you add a full-on, PC-equivalent processor to that equation?
The new Origin EON17-X is here to answer that question with overwhelming performance. The 17-inch desktop replacement comes equipped with a top-end Nvidia GTX 1080 and an unlocked Intel Skylake processor – both of which have been overclocked to the max – plus enough DDR4 RAM and PCIe SSD storage to make most PC towers cry in envy.
However, you’ll really tear up when you see the $3,637 (about £2,940, AU$5,010) price you’ll have to pay for all this awesome power packed into our review unit.
This year’s Origin EON17-X not only comes with new internals but a completely new design courtesy of the Clevo P775. Clevo might not sound like a familiar name, though it’s the manufacturer Origin has worked with for years as the chassis provider for most of its EON-series gaming laptops.
Following the tradition of sacrificing portability and thinness for maximum performance, the new EON17-X measures 16.4 x 11.6 x 1.6 inches (41.7 x 29.5 x 4.06cm; W x D x H) and weighs 8.6 pounds (3.9kg). The laptop won’t fit in anything but the largest of bag, and make you feel sore every day you’re carrying it.
This latest model also adds to the increasingly angular look as seen with the Lamborghini-esque . Our review unit is furnished with a bespeckled candy red lid that shimmers in the light. On top of this hot paint job, panel lines are etched into the screen lid, giving it sculpted lines like a hypercar.
Around the rear, you’ll also find the EON17-X’s forked and extended exhaust system. Don’t mistake this for a hinge forward design like that of the , though. The 17-inch screen is actually attached at this extended stern section. It’s more likely that Clevo pushed in the center of this machine to create a small cubbyhole for cleaner routing with the backside ports.
Interestingly, this indented center of the laptop is also the only spot that’s made with metal. Unlike the Origin EON15-X, there’s no soft-touch coating to cover up the unmistakable plastic construction of this machine. The good news is the EON17-X feels solid throughout, with only the most miniscule bit of flex in the center of the keyboard.
Although it looks like there isn’t much to the EON17-X’s all black interior, there are enough little touches to keep things interesting.
The aforementioned metal flap rises up from the back and drapes itself over and onto the interior of the laptop to meet the power button. Just below this, there’s a set of white indicator lights arranged into a chevron. And just to the sides of this whole arrangement is a sizable, split speaker bar.
The keyboard also lights up into three distinct zones – though we stuck with a simple white color scheme, matching it to the system lights and power button. Typing on the keyboard feels solid thanks to keys with a firm actuation point and an appreciable amount of key travel.
Unfortunately, we don’t have as many nice things to say about the touchpad.
Don’t forget to bring a mouse with this laptop, because you’re almost always going to want to disable the Synaptics touchpad on this laptop. We can forgive the basic plastic build and the pointing devices serviceable job of translating our cursor movements, but palm rejection was virtually non-existent.
While writing this review, we would abruptly jump to a different page or end up deleting large sections of text whenever our hand brushed too closely to the touchpad.
And as if that wasn’t enough of a frustration, the integrated fingerprint reader was initially buggy due to Windows 10’s incompatibilities with the preloaded BioExcess software. No matter how we swipe our fingers on the biometric sensor, we couldn’t properly register a single digit.
Worse yet, even gently brushing our palm against the sensor causes the BioExcess app to pop up above all other windows. While playing games, BioExcess would literally bust through all our open programs like the Kool Aid man, forcing games to drop out of full-screen mode.
Thankfully, Origin quickly squashed this bug for us by telling us delete the software from our system and simply use the built-in Windows Hello feature. Registering and logging in with the fingerprint sensor is still annoying due to the part being much smaller than readers on other devices. But at least we don’t have to tell BioExcess to end task anymore.
Ultra HD the way it was meant to be seen
One of our biggest complaints of the Origin EON17-SLX we reviewed last year was the lack of a 4K screen option from the onset – though Origin added it later. Thankfully, the Ultra HD screen option is available from the get go now, and it’s spectacular.
The 4x resolution bump from your traditional Full HD display makes games and high-resolution movies look incredible. Colors are vividly represented to make everything pop off and the EON17-X 4K screen also produces the best blacks and contrast we’ve seen on an Origin laptop yet.
That said, everything looks a little warm and that’s even with Origin’s optional screen calibration, so we wouldn’t really rely on it for editing photos or color correcting video reels. As a media machine, though, we would say hell yes.
On top of the big ol’ gorgeous 17-inch 4K display you’re getting here, the split speaker bar on the EON17-X is also dazzling. Music played on this laptop is both loud and full of richness. Thanks to the size of the drivers inside, you can practically use it like a Bluetooth speaker to fill an entire room with sound.
Last year, the $3,305 (about £2,341, AU$4,114) was the most expensive laptop we reviewed due to its two desktop-grade parts, and now the $3,637 (about £2,940, AU$5,010) Origin EON17-X has eclipsed that.
It’s a pricey proposition, but let’s consider the fact that it’s essentially a very well specced desktop that also happens to be portable and has a 4K screen. Yes, it’s entirely possible to build an equally powerful desktop for the same price while still having plenty leftover to buy a 4K screen and additional peripherals – but not everyone has the time or space for this type of setup, and this is when a gaming laptop makes the most sense.
That said, there are more affordable alternatives out there, like the $3,339 (£4,399, AU$5,799) MSI GT73VR Titan. Although it may not include a processor pulled from the desktop bin, it’s Intel Core i7-6820HK chip is still unlocked, plus there’s a larger 1TB SSD and 64GB of RAM on tap here. The thinner, though only QHD (2,560 x 1,440) resolution, can also be had for $3,199 (£2,829, AU$4,199).
The Origin EON17-X may be the most expensive option in this desktop replacement group, but it’s the only one that offers a full desktop processor. The true value of an Origin system comes with its ability to customize the system however you’d like.
The base $1,894 (about £1,530, AU$2,610) Origin EON17-X is merely a platform with a 1080p screen, Nvidia GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5), 3.2GHz Intel Core i5-6500, 8GB RAM and 120GB SSD. From there, you can build up the system to be a mid-range gaming machine or a media workhorse equipped with tons of storage.
No matter how you build it, Origin includes a year of insurance coverage and guaranteed parts replacement service. Our review system also came with optional overlocked CPU and GPU upgrade, the earlier of which is pushes the processor to operate at 4.5GHz – rather than the 4.2GHz limit Intel suggests.
Thanks to the desktop CPU and overclocked parts, the Origin EON17-X is the best performing machine we’ve tested this year. Both the MSI GT73VR Titan Pro and Razer Blade Pro wowed us with their impressive scores, but Origin’s 17-incher just smashed them out of the park.