A lot of people who buy gaming laptops won't care about a slimline chassis or how classy it looks. Generally, svelteness is sacrificed for power, and if looks like it came from a sci-fi set, it's all good. But there definitely are people who want power and a sharper design, and the Schenker XMG C703 is a great option for them.
You've got great levels of CPU power, strong dedicated graphics and a 1080p screen all in a package that's about as thin as it gets without sacrificing performance. The fact that it's a 17-inch machine means that it still takes a hit for portability, but it's not overly heavy, and it's really one of the better options for gaming anywhere.
But it's absolutely a trade-off, and it's the XMG C703 does end up not totally excelling in either the design or performance stakes. Apple's MacBook Pro with Retina display is still the thinner, more aesthetically pleasing option; while the likes of the Gigabyte P25W and Schenker XMG P703 offer more power.
However, there's little out there that straddles the line between these two ideals better than the C703.
When it comes to performance, the XMG C703 impresses, considering the size difference between it and most gaming laptops. It's nice to play on something that doesn't weigh a ton. The amount of power it's got should be good for lots of creative work, too. Our review unit's 500GB SSD was a major plus, too, and the upgrade price through Schenker is very reasonable.
It gets most of the other major points correct, too. The screen is nice (and matt, which can be hard to find), the design is pleasing and the trackpad is good.
It's normal for gaming laptops to offer poor battery life, but it's still a shame – especially if you were thinking about working on the go. It's perhaps no surprise that the fan noise gets loud, considering its size and components, but it's still not ideal either.
When it comes to price, the XMG C703 isn't bad by any means, but it has a few weaknesses compared to some of the competition at the same price – no included operating system (and SteamOS isn't exactly ready yet) and only 8GB of RAM compared to 16GB in the cheaper HP Envy TouchSmart 15, for example. We don't think the Schenker is bad value for a premium laptop, but it is beaten in a few key areas.
The Schenker XMG C703 really impressed us. No, it's not the fastest gaming laptop. No, it's not the thinnest or lightest pro-level laptop. But it is a lot of gaming prowess in a chassis that's minimalist and smaller than much of the competition.
It's pleasant to use, enables us to play our games in Full HD with few issues, and looks great. We hope to see more from Schenker along these lines in the future.