iBuyPower Valkyrie CZ-17 Gaming Notebook Review - HotHardware

iBuyPower Valkyrie CZ-17 Gaming Notebook Review

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Displays are the most difficult component of a system to objectively rate. We ran the CZ-17's panel through the Lagom LCD comparison tests, and compared it directly to the Asus VG278H.

The first feature that stands out is the screen's pixel ratio. At 17", the Valkyrie's 1920x1080 panel has a PPI of 129.5. That's good enough to qualify as a Retina Display at a viewing distance of 27" or more. The Asus monitor, in contrast, has the same 1920x1080 resolution, but a PPI of 81.5. Compared side-by-side, the Valkyrie's LCD is crisper and small text is easier to read.



How much this matters depends on how good your eyes are and the distance between your eyes and the screen. If you've got better than 20/20 vision and you've despaired of finding a non-Apple laptop with a high-PPI display, you might really like the Valkyrie's panel.

Color gradients and black/white banding are about what we'd expect for a TN panel -- decent, in other words, without particularly standing out. SPVA and S-IPS panels have always had better color reproduction than TN panels, but both the VG278H and the Valkyrie are at the upper end of the TN spectrum.

Keyboard and Trackpad


There's a lot of good things to say about the Valkyrie's keyboard. Responsiveness is good, the keys are comfortable, and everything is reasonably sized. One feature of the keyboard that we didn't personally like (but that some users may love) is an omission at the lower-right-hand corner:



That's right. No Windows key.

Whether or not this is a problem is itself a matter of contention. If you hate the Windows key, this is reason enough to mutter triumphantly into your neckbeard. If you like and use it, its absence is jarring. We've seen plenty of gamers note that while it's handy in general, they'd give a tooth to be able to disable it when gaming. Given the CZ-17's focus, we're betting that's the crowd iBuyPower wanted to cater to.


As for the trackpad, it sets a record as the most annoying mouse replacement I've ever tried to use. Mechanically, it's fine, with good button response and reasonable default sensitivity. Multi-touch and swipe gestures aren't supported, but it gets the job done -- until you try to type.


The lack of space between the two is a real problem. 

The CZ-17 desperately needs palm detection, and it doesn't have it. The pad immediately picks up even a light brush from the bottom of the palm and promptly transforms from staid icon of productivity to caffeine-fueled Jack Russell Terrier. This wreaks enthusiastic havoc on text and web forms.



Those of you who learned proper wrist position from an overzealous Catholic nun will have no problems. Everyone else is in for a rough time. Mobile gamers almost always use a mouse for playing, but the CZ-17's trackpad drove me to full-time mouse usage. I couldn't leave the trackpad enabled, even when typing a story or comment on the desktop.
 

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The possessive of "they" is "theirs." Please edit. Also, according to the graphic, the battery life test indicates that lower is better. That seems counter-intuitive; wouldn't we want longer battery life, rather than shorter?

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RT,

Please expand your criticism. I've searched the entire article for all instances of "They" and "There's."

"iBuyPower's CZ-17 "Valkyrie" is proof that they haven't."

'They', in this sentence, refers to desktop-replacement laptop chassis. They haven't what? Fallen out of favor.

You're correct that "theirs" would be the possessive form "Who does that Valkyrie belong to? It's theirs" but I see no instance of the word being used in that context.

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"The spec sheet gives you a good idea of where iBuyPower has focused its attention. The Valkyrie CZ-17 uses a 17" 1920x1080 panel with a matte finish. If you hate glossy panels, this alone should put the system on your radar. 1080p panels are tough to find at this price point -- Dell's 17" Inspirons all use a 1600x900 resolution; Alienware's cheapest MX-17 starts at $1649 for a 1920x1080 panel -- and there's is still a glossy."

Bottom of the first page.

 

And, given the ability to pay for it ("Driver carries no cash; he's married"), this Valkyrie would be mine.

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Are the specs correct for the AC Adapter being only 65W?

A gaming notebook with NVIDIA GTX675M graphics and Intel i7 3610QM normally would have a 180W.

Also why the GTX675M(Fermi) when the GTX675MX(Kepler) is available to put in the unit.

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Joel, I see you were wise enough to take RTitjens' corrigendum suggestion ad notam (even if you didn't respond to his second posting in the thread) ; may I be so bold as to suggest another correction ? On the next to last page of your detailed review, the following table caption is found :

Battery Life

Battery Easter Pro, Web Browsing

Time in Minutes (Lower is Better)

Unless I've grossly misunderstood the issue at hand, the comment in parentheses should rather be «Higher is Better». Surely longer battery life is better than shorter - at least for users ?...

Henri

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