Time was, if you wanted a gaming laptop, you were getting something several inches thick – hardly worthy of the title portable. You do still get chunky, powerful gaming laptops, of course, such as the Toshiba Qosmio X70, Gigabyte P25W and Schenker's own P703, but the Schenker XMG C703 shows that they don't have to be.
At just 21.8mm thick, Schenker reckons this is the world's thinnest 17-inch gaming laptop. It's quite a specific claim to fame (what precisely constitutes a gaming laptop, anyway?), but that's not to belittle what the company has managed here.
The XMG C703 really is impressively thin for the kind of power it has on offer. Less than an inch thick, it packs in a quad-core Intel processor and Nvidia GTX 765M graphics card with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM, meaning only very high-end portable gaming machines offer more gaming power.
You also get 8GB of RAM for running games and applications, but one of the more impressive aspects of our review unit was the 500GB Samsung 840 EVO SSD inside – most laptops with 500GB of space use a hard disk, for cost reasons, but the XMG C703 is all SSD, meaning you get plenty of space while keeping the thing very nippy.
There's a 17.3-inch screen, boasting Full HD 1080p resolution and a matte finish, to avoid reflections. The speakers are powered by Creative's SoundBlaster technology, so should be a cut above normal laptop speakers, too.
The machine looks the part, as well. Finished in metal on the outside, including the rear of the screen, the bottom of the laptop and the palmrest, it's got a real matte black stealth fighter look – save for the huge white 'XMG' logo on the lid. Impressively for this kind of matte finish, it doesn't even pick up fingerprints that badly.
The keyboard has a blue backlight, because no gaming machine can be without some sort of glowing accent, and there's even a numberpad alongside the main keyboard, for extra control options. The font used for the keys (which is reminiscent of the font used for Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films) is utterly horrible, but it makes little odds – you won't be looking down often.
It's a really big machine in terms of footprint, unsurprisingly, and at 2.58kg, it's obviously not light – however, for a 17-inch laptop, that weight really isn't bad at all.
The Schenker XMG C703 starts from around £1109, which is fairly standard for this level of power. However, that's with a regular hard disk and no operating system. To get a model with the 500GB SSD ours had and Windows 8.1, you're looking at over £1400. However, that's actually a perfectly reasonable upgrade price for the SSD especially – you don't pay over the odds, as you do when getting different storage in a MacBook Pro.