Desktop replacement laptops, which combine the level of performance you’d normally expect from a desktop PC, with the portability of a laptop are stuck between a rock and a hard place these days. With 15-inch laptops getting more powerful while shrinking in size (horizontally) every day, the value in a desktop replacement is rapidly diminishing. This is especially true for the Origin EON15-X desktop replacement gaming laptop.
While the care and attention to detail of the system builders at Origin can’t be understated, it’s difficult to see such a specific device being worth the considerable price tag it comes with when it’s placed alongside gaming laptops that feature the same screen size, yet are way thinner and lighter – and not that far off when it comes to power, either.
Getting a desktop-grade processor inside of a laptop is an impressive feat, but its luster wanes when you consider how little advantage video games continue to take of multi-core processing. What you’re left with is an incredible laptop that, frankly, is beset on both sides by more sensible options: the thinner, lighter and just-as-powerful 15-incher and the larger, even more powerful desktop replacement.
Here is the Origin EON15-X configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: 3.7GHz Intel Core i7-8700K (hexa-core, 12MB cache, up to 4.7GHz with Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5 VRAM); Intel UHD 630
RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2 x 8GB, dual-channel, 2,800MHz)
Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) matte display (IPS, Nvidia G-Sync)
Storage: 500GB M.2 SSD (2 x 250GB, NVMe, PCIe 3.0 x4); 2TB SSHD
Ports: 1 x USB 2.0; 3 x USB 3.1; 1 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C); 1 x USB-C 3.1; 2 x mini DisplayPort 1.4; 1 x HDMI 2.0; 1 x RJ-45 Ethernet; SD card reader; 4 x audio jack
Connectivity: Killer Wireless AC 1535 Dual Band (802.11ac); Bluetooth 4.1
Camera: 2.1MP built-in webcam (1080p, 30fps)
Weight: 7.5 pounds (3.4kg)
Size: 15.2 x 10.3 x 1.5 inches (38.61 x 26.16 x 3.81cm; W x D x H)
Price and availability
As listed with everything you see to the right, the Origin EON15-X will cost you $3,539 (about £2,700, AU$4,800) That’s an egregious amount of money to spend on a 15.6-inch laptop, gaming or otherwise, especially considering how gaming laptops have a shelf life that gaming PCs don’t, due to the fact that you cannot upgrade the graphics.
Also, keep in mind that this price includes services that would be otherwise invisible on a spec sheet, like professional screen calibration, factory overclocking of the processor and graphics chip as well as an upgraded, stylized screen lid. That said, these little niceties only amount to a few hundred dollars in the US – this is still a very expensive configuration.
The entry-level version of the EON15-X will cost you a still-whopping $1,922 (about £1,500, AU$2,600). That gets you the basic black shell and chassis housing the same backlit keyboard and Nvidia G-Sync display, but a comparatively pedestrian 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics, 8GB of slower 2,400MHz memory and either a 120GB SSD or 500GB hard drive.
Frankly, it’s easy to do better than this entry-level configuration. For instance, Dell offers a 15.6-inch gaming laptop with the same graphics, an 8th-gen Intel Core i5 mobile processor, double the memory and more than double the storage for 800 bucks (or quids) less with its new G3 line.
However, if you want to match the power of this laptop for less … that apparently isn’t too difficult, either. The Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 pumps out nearly the same amount of power with its 8th-gen Intel Core i7 mobile processor and GTX 1080 graphics for (comparatively) just $2,899 (about £2,200, AU$4,000), though it admittedly can’t match the storage that Origin’s configuration offers.
You could also grab an Alienware 17 R5, replete with its Intel Core i9 mobile processor and larger 17.3-inch display (albeit just 60Hz) for a mere $2,699 (about £2,0000, AU$3,700). That price also gets you just as much (though slower) memory, with a bit more SSD space and half as much hard drive space.
These are large sums of money to spend on a laptop, so it’s worth shopping around before buying. For our readers in the UK and Australia, take extra care: shipping to your regions will be an added cost for Origin.
The term ‘desktop replacement’ is a bit too fitting for the EON15-X’s design, with its massive weight and dimensions leaving room for that desktop-grade processor. In a way, it seems as if the laptop’s entire design centers around that piece of silicon.
What results is a laptop that’s just barely portable, if only by right of it being a laptop, but packs an immense amount of power, ports and expansion options. Origin has designed the EON15-X so that it can grow with you a few optional upgrades, like memory, storage and the processor. However, even that has its limits since you can’t upgrade laptop graphics in any device short of an external graphics card – which somewhat defeats the point.
The laptop is entirely clad in a matte plastic frame, and can come with optional HD UV printing (which is present on our review unit). To be honest, it’s a cool look, but the material doesn’t feel any more premium for the extra $149 (about £120, AU$200). In fact, the printing feels uneven in places, with little bits of plastic scratching our fingers as they glide across the surface.
We’d imagine that the more expensive screen lid options – like a metallic finish or one of Origins’ original themes – would feel much better and, given that you’re spending a small fortune on this thing, we’re disappointed that Origin has gone for a material that ends up making the laptop feel cheaper than it actually is.
Open the laptop up, and you’re greeted by a gorgeous 1080p Nvidia G-Sync display. Just below the screen sits an excellent keyboard which features deep travel and strong feedback that’s beautifully backlit and fully customizable, and which is surrounded by a comfortable soft-touch palm rest.
The touchpad is also pleasing to use, and we’re fine with Origin using a button-based touchpad rather than a clickpad for a device of this size. The tracking surface is a nice size, and plenty accurate and speedy. However, including the fingerprint sensor in the upper-left corner of the touchpad is a misstep. With all of the room this massive laptop affords, surely there’s a better place for that feature.
That said, using Windows Hello – Microsoft’s biometric login feature on Windows 10 – through the fingerprint scanner works like a charm. And, we have to commend Origin for including this feature, as far too many hugely expensive gaming laptops simply ignore it.
Remember, this laptop is technically a desktop replacement, and as such is absolutely stuffed with ports, including two mini DisplayPort slots, Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C 3.1 – though we wouldn’t accept much less given this thing’s huge size.
Display and audio
Two things that we must applaud Origin (and it’s supplier, Clevo) for are this laptop’s screen and its speakers. While the display is only 1080p, that’s really all you need at this display size, and all that’s feasible with this generation’s graphics processors.
Having your EON15-X display expertly calibrated by Origin may be worth your while, as the color reproduction on the display is spot on. Whether you’re watching movies or playing games, content looks sharp and bright on this screen. Plus, with G-Sync technology built in, frame stuttering and screen tearing simply aren’t issues here.
The speakers, similarly, are simply amazing. They’re perhaps the best we’ve heard on a 15-inch laptop. They protrude from the hinge area and point directly towards the user, and this offers plenty of room for such relatively massive drivers, making the audio that comes out of this laptop sound as if it’s emanating from a TV sound bar: it’s that good.