Powerful enough to run anything at highest settings, surprisingly light and feature-rich, the Origin Evo16-S is ideal for gaming while on the go. It’s got its share of flaws – we couldn’t get that fingerprint reader to work, and the speakers are boxy sounding. But overall, this one’s a win for Origin.
Plenty of power
Thin and light chassis for gaming
Customizable lid and RGB lighting
Fingerprint reader flawed
Display could be better
Speakers boxy sounding
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As far as first impressions go, the Origin Evo16-S gaming laptop certainly makes a great one. Before you even pop this laptop open, you’re already impressed by how light it is. In fact, it’s among the lightest gaming laptops we’ve ever pulled out of the box.
Though that’s hardly an indication of the power inside. For a laptop this portable, the Origin Evo16-S touts a lot of power, delivering gaming performance that’s butter smooth. That’s, of course, owing to its powerful components like the Nvidia RTX 2080 with Max-Q graphics card and features like its beautiful IPS display with a 144Hz refresh rate.
Unsurprisingly, all that power in a fairly compact and incredibly light chassis comes at a hefty price. Our review configuration, for example, will set you back a whopping $2,880 (about £2,180, AU$4,190). Granted, this is one of the more high-end configurations, with an Intel Core i7-9750H processor, a Max-Q NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080, 16GB of memory, and a dual storage configuration with a 500GB SSD and 2TB HDD.
If that proves a bit above your price range, you can cut back on specs for a more affordable – yet still fairly pricey – $1,819 (about £1,380, AU$2,640). This price should get you a more modest configuration with the same processor, but only an RTX 2060 GPU, 8GB of memory and 250GB of storage, which should still give you silky-smooth 1080p gaming.
In the US, you can get the Alienware m17 with very similar specs for $1,469 (£1,899, about AU$3,555). The only difference is the Origin Evo16-S base configuration gives you a display with a faster refresh rate. You can also get more memory and storage with the base MSI GS65 Stealth for only $50 (about £38, AU$70) more, or the Razer Blade 15 for only $180 (about £136, AU$260) extra.
One of the things we appreciate most about the Origin Evo16-S is its thin and light chassis – for a gaming laptop, that is – that’s made of high quality plastic. Granted, this is a bit of a double-edged sword. It makes the laptop very portable, but it also makes the laptop get very hot, especially under the keyboard, with intensive tasks like gaming. The good news is that all that hot air gets blown out the back, so you won’t feel it that much unless you’ve got it on your lap.
The lid panel can be customized with vinyl, which is a cool idea when you want to showcase your fandom, though it doesn’t necessarily help your case if you want something that’s a bit classy looking.
Other things we appreciate about the design is its very smooth to touch and super responsive glass touchpad, and its comfortable keyboard with a decent bounce back, good travel and fun RGB lighting that you can customize.
It’s not all puppies and rainbows, however. The Origin Evo16-S’ trackpad’s buttons, while offering a good bounce back and feedback, are too deep and require a bit of getting used to. The keyboard feels a bit flimsy, as if they’re too easy to break or pop out, and has keys that are too small even under small fingers. The 1080p display isn’t particularly impressive. And, the speakers, while delivering a very good soundstage, are a bit boxy sounding, especially at max volume.
Then there’s the fingerprint reader. It sits right on the trackpad, which is kind of cool, but we could never get it to work. We’ve tried several times to get it to work, setting it up a few times, but it never could read our finger properly. At least the facial recognition login works perfectly.
Design flaws aside, the Origin Evo16-S impresses when it comes to performance. It’s a solid gaming machine that can handle AAA games really well on highest settings without frame drops or stuttering.
We tested this gaming laptop with Gears 5, which is graphics and physics effects heavy and has lots of fast-paced action, on ultra, and it played beautifully at 144Hz. We also played Hitman 2 on all settings maxed out and Shadow of the Tomb Raider on ultra with ray tracing turned on, and the Origin Evo16-S delivered smooth gameplay for both. What’s more, some games were saved on the non-SSD second hard drive, but they ran just as well as the ones that were on the SSD, with no noticeable difference in loading times. When it comes to gaming on high settings, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth with the Origin Evo16-S.
In addition, the Origin Evo16-S’ battery life is on par, if slightly above average, for a gaming laptop. During our movie loop test, it lasted a bit longer than three hours, which is about 30 minutes longer than expected. As gaming laptops are notorious for having crappy battery life, this is definitely something, especially if you’re planning on taking full advantage of its portability. You can have this thing fully charged before you leave the house, and do a couple of hours of gaming while you’re on the train.
Buy it if…
You want a portable gaming laptop that delivers plenty of power.
The best thing about the Origin Evo16-S is that it boasts a thin and light chassis for gaming that hides a lot of power inside to handle the most demanding AAA games. We’ll happily take this laptop anywhere with us for on-the-go gaming.
You’re looking for a laptop with a decent battery life.
This gaming laptop boasts a better battery life than most, lasting about 30 minutes longer than others during our movie loop test. Coupled with its portability, this laptop is an obvious choice if you need a gaming machine when traveling.
You’ve got cash to spare.
This isn’t the most premium of laptops on the market. However, the Origin Evo16-S isn’t exactly the cheapest either. In fact, our review configuration will cost you just short of $3,000, which honestly is a hefty price. Be prepared to spend some serious silver.
Don’t buy it if…
You want to save money.
A similarly specced Alienware m17 (2019) will set you back less than the Origin Evo16-S. Even the MSI GS65 Stealth and the Razer Blade 15 might be of better value. If you want to get more for comparably less, there are definitely other excellent options out there.
You prefer a more striking gaming aesthetic.
Though you can personalize its lid panel with vinyl and customize the keyboard’s RGB lighting, the Origin Evo16-S sports a simpler and more laidback design. If you want a bolder, gaming-inspired look, this laptop’s design may not be to your taste.
You need better quality display and better sounding speakers.
Two of the most disappointing things about the Origin Evo16-S are its 1080p display, which is nothing extraordinary, and its speakers, which only produce good enough sound quality. If a more vibrant display and better sound quality are important to you, look elsewhere.
Michelle Rae Uy is the Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor here at TechRadar. She's a Los Angeles-based tech, travel and lifestyle writer covering a wide range of topics, from computing to the latest in green commutes to the best hiking trails. She's an ambivert who enjoys communing with nature and traveling for months at a time just as much as watching movies and playing sim games at home. That also means that she has a lot more avenues to explore in terms of understanding how tech can improve the different aspects of our lives.