Schenker XMG C703 review

Schenker swaps pure performance for style in this slimline gaming laptop

Schenker XMG C703
Schenker XMG C703

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If you take away any single fact about the Schenker XMG C703, it should be that it doesn't skimp on specs to get its size down to just one inch thick.

The processor is a prime example. The XMG C703 offers a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor from Intel's latest generation of chips, known as Haswell. It offers four cores with a standard clock speed of 2.4GHz, though this can rise to 3.4GHz using Intel's Turbo Boost technology.

Schenker C703

There's a Haswell i7 in there

As one of Intel's higher-end i7 chips, it also features HyperThreading, meaning that each core can run two processing threads, producing better performance for highly multi-threaded tasks, such as video encoding.

We'll look at the performance of this chip on the next page, but if you want a rough guide, know that we expect it to perform almost identically to the HP Envy TouchSmart 15. That machine uses the Intel Core i7 4700MQ, which is one letter away from the 4700HQ we've got here. What's the difference? Effectively nothing. They might as well be identical. But that's fine – we found the TouchSmart to be a rather well-stocked machine.

Indeed, using this chip really means the XMG C703 is one of the best-performing out there, matching up to the likes of the MacBook Pro with Retina display for CPU performance easily.

Graphics power

When it comes to graphics performance, it's again pushing towards the high end, though it isn't right up there. The Nvidia GeForce 765M GPU is a very capable chip, packing a healthy 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM and taking on the latest games without issues – though not all at the highest levels.

The 765M is near the top of Nvidia's component list, but its bested by the 770M seen in the XMG C703's big brother, the Schenker XMG P503 and the Medion Erazer X7825, and is extra bested by the Nvidia 780M, which is an option in the Schenker XMG P703.

The 780M is a big step up for hardcore gamers over the 765M used here, but there still should be plenty of gaming muscle available. In particular, though, it looks like this is the optimum graphics chip to use for size, with it being used in the Razer Blade laptop, which was similarly focussed on power and balance. And it's noticeably more powerful than the 750M used in the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, so still stands high up in the list of 'thin metal laptops that cost a fair bit'.

The 8GB of RAM is plenty for the gaming ambitions of the XMG C703 (though we wouldn't advise any less these days), though if you were looking at this as a multimedia pro machine instead of gaming, you should think about upgrading it. We've no problem with Schenker investing costs elsewhere in the build, but the HP Envy TouchSmart 15 comes with double the RAM at 16GB, and its sibling, the HP Envy 17 Leap Motion comes with 12GB, giving them an advantage for creative pros out of the box.

The 17-inch screen is 1920x1080, which is pretty much what we expect for this kind of laptop at this price. It's great for HD movies and gaming, though it's large enough that the pixels are fairly noticeable in text. We doubt this will be even close to a problem for the intended gamer audience, but again, creative pros should give a bit of thought to the extra working space and detail afforded by the 2880x1800 screen in the MacBook Pro with Retina display.


Our review unit came with a Samsung EVO 840 500GB SSD, which isn't a standard configuration, but can be added when you buy from Schenker directly. The EVO 840 is known to be a really solid performer that focusses on read speeds, making it faster for general home and entertainment use than a lot of other SSDs in its price bracket. It's not the fastest SSD for writing (which again is something for pros to muse over), but is still an order of magnitude faster than an old-style hard drive.

There's no optical drive, as is fairly common with most thin laptops, though you do often get 17-inch ones that include them (such as the HP Envy Leap Motion). But you're not short of other connectivity options.

Schenker C703

Plenty of ports on both sides

There are four USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port for lovely fast LAN connections, a 4-in-1 card reader, a headphone out port, a separate optical audio out port and a microphone in port.

Interestingly, it's positively overburdened with display connections, offering an HDMI 1.4a port, alongside an additional two mini-DisplayPort slots, supporting DisplayPort 1.2. So, yes, external monitor connections will not be a problem here, even if they're 4K.

In terms of wireless, you've also got Bluetooth and comically fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi - the most up to date version of the wireless networking protocol.