Desktop performance in a gaming laptop is something we’ve chased forever. Last year, the 15-inch Origin EON15-X was first machines that came closest to reaching that level of performance. Thanks to the best mobile graphics from Nvidia’s Maxwell line and a desktop-grade Skylake processor, it puts up some of the best numbers we’ve ever seen from a gaming notebook.
Now Origin has given its gaming laptops a refresh with Intel’s latest Skylake processors, further blurring the line that separates gaming desktops and laptops.
Of course, Origin isn’t the only one throwing desktop parts into a laptop. The newly announced Asus ROG GX800 packs two Nvidia GTX 980s, meanwhile, the PC Specialist Octane II Pro and Origin EON17-SLX are outfitted with desktop GPU and CPU combos.
However, Origin is still pushing envelop by packing desktop power into relatively compact 15-inch laptop instead of a 17-inch monster. What’s more, Skylake helps the EON15-X deliver more performance and longer battery life to boot.
The Origin EON17-S wowed us with its subtle design and the EON15-X takes the company’s reserved styling one step further. Gone are the flared dimples on the back of the screen lid, leaving a flat and simple rubberized top with a few angular lines and a silver Origin logo printed in the center.
Likewise, the light up equalizer has been replaced with a much more functional set of indicator lights for hard drive activity, the number lock, airplane mode and other settings. Even the rear vents on this laptop are a bit more mature thanks to solid metal fins adding extra protection to the exposed heatsinks.
While the trackpad doesn’t light up as it does on Origin’s EON-S gaming laptops, the front edge of the machine features a small light strip that can be customized to any color. The keyboard backlight is also fully customizable, allowing users to turn it into a dance floor for their fingers as they game.
The entire interior of the notebook is covered with a rubber finish that feels soft against my palms during long hours of use, however it stains like the dickens from even just a bit of sweat.
The EON15-X is also made with an entirely plastic chassis, and while this might sound like a downside, the frame is solid and doesn’t feel chintzy at all. Overall, it’s an attractive machine and with a black lid, this laptop won’t stick out too much until someone notices the aggressive rear ventilation and multi-colored keyboard.
Working off the pounds
Although the Origin EON15-X comes packing a desktop processor under the hood, amazingly it only measures 1.4 inches thick. Again, that’s with the full-size processor, CPU bracket and thick heatsink all tucked into the laptop chassis.
To make it all possible, Origin worked closely with Clevo, the original design manufacturer of many of Origin’s gaming notebooks, to remove any unnecessary weight.
This included dropping the optical drive and engineering a cooling system with only one heatsink for both the GPU and CPU, which surprisingly helps make this machine run much cooler than most other gaming laptops.
Overall, these weight savings have added up to a much slimmer, but still heavy, machine that measures in at 1.4 inches (35 mm) and tips the scales at 7.5 pounds (3,401 grams).
The Origin EON15-X isn’t exactly something I would call a light, but there’s no denying it’s lighter than the 8.33 pound PC Specialist Octane II Pro. Interestingly, it’s on par with other heavy-duty 15-inch gaming laptops like 7.5 pound Acer Predator 15 but it’s not quite as light as the 7.07 pound Alienware 15.
Razor-thin viewing angles
There isn’t much not to like about the Origin EON15-X. It has a large and serviceable trackpad and an excellent keyboard with good travel on the keys. Once again Origin has teamed up with Onkyo, an audio hardware maker renown for its home theater receivers and sound systems, for a full-bodied audio setup.
Despite all the things I like about the laptop, I have one niggling issue with the screen and it’s extremely narrow viewing angles. Despite being nice and sharp, the underlying panel in the screen is a TN panel with razor-thin viewing angles. They’re so narrow that tilting the screen back even just slightly washes out all colors and detail on the monitor.
For this review Origin sent me a unit with a calibrated display, however even with perfectly tuned colors and decent contrast, the EON15-X’s display requires users to stare directly at it dead on.