Even though The Origin
EVO17-S laptop has a large 17.3-inch display it's still relatively thin and light for a gaming laptop of this caliber. As mentioned, the laptop stands just under an inch tall, and it is 16.4-inches wide. A 16-inch laptop might not be the best travel companion, but this laptop is built for gaming
more so than ultimate portability. The laptop also weighs in at 6.6lbs, so while it's relatively thin, it's not exactly light. For a gaming system it is relatively svelte, but in comparison to sub-4lb ultrabooks, the additional weight is noticeable, and that doesn't even account for the burly power brick.
Still, for a laptop of this size we were impressed by the powerful hardware Origin managed to squeeze inside. Of course, there are lower-priced, less-powerful options available too. When configuring the EVO17-S you can chose from either a GeForce RTX 2060
or a RTX 2070 Max-Q, which are $638 USD and $431 USD cheaper than the RTX 2080 Max-Q in the machine we reviewed. Along with the Intel Core i7-9750H processor and RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics card our sample also sported 16GB of DDR4 memory running at a speedy 2666MHz, a 500GB Samsung 970 EVO
NVMe M.2 SSD and a 2TB Seagate HDD for bulk storage.
As with the graphics card there are a ton of storage and memory options to chose from to try and tailor the EVO17-S for a variety of needs and budgets. Of course, this machine isn't exactly budget-friendly with a base price of $1818 USD, but it's not over the top like some products in the category either. Along with the configurable internal hardware the rear panel can also be customized as well. You can chose from either a standard black/red cover for free, or you can chose a non-standard color for $175 USD. There are also graphic prints you can use, or you can upload custom prints for $150 USD.
The back of the EVO17-S is all about ventilation. More than half of the bottom is perforated to allow airflow to enter and leave the case. There are also multiple pads on the bottom of the laptop to lift the base off of your desk and facilitate good airflow. Nothing kills a laptop faster than heat, so Origin has taken some steps to ensure the internal hardware runs nice and cool.
To keep this beast running untethered, Origin has included a 4-cell 62WH battery. That's not the largest battery we have seen in a gaming laptop, but it still should allow for some game time when away from an electrical outlet. We'll have a better picture of the battery life later in the review.
The EVO17-S comes with a 17.3" FHD IPS matte display with a 144Hz refresh rate. While testing we found the image quality on the display to be top-notch for both gaming and movies. The matte finish helped reduce most of the glare and the 144Hz refresh rate made for some silky smooth animation and motion. Another aspect we liked about the display is the small bezel footprint. The bezels on the top and sides are just a half inch thick, so you get more screen real estate without adding additional bulk to the laptop. Even with such a thin bezel, Origin
managed to fit a 1080p webcam on the top edge. We're glad to see they went with a camera at the top to prevent any awkward angles.
As for the audio, there's an upward facing sound bar that runs just above the keyboard. We have yet to praise a gaming laptop for its audio performance because there's only so much you can with the limited space inside a laptop. Overall, the sound quality was decent, but thin, and the low-end output was virtually non existent. Still, that's consistent with most other gaming laptops we've tested and the Origin EVO17-S sounds better than most machine with downward firing speakers.
The expansion ports are all found on the sides of the laptop, with the majority being on the left. On the left you have the power port, an HDMI 2.0 port, a Mini Display port, dual USB 3.1 (Type-C) ports and a USB 3.0 port. On the flip side you have the audio ports, along with a additional USB 3.0 port, a 6-in-1 card reader and a physical LAN port. In all, there's a lot of connectivity here, for even the most demanding gamer. The USB Type-C ports will allow for plenty of expansion options and the LAN port is ideal for gamers that want the lowest possible latency (and have access to wired ethernet at their desk).
(Top image: Left side / Bottom image: Right side)
The keyboard used on the EVO17-S is really good, but with a couple of caveats. We really liked the feel of the keys while typing. They have relativity short travel with a soft bottom out. The key caps also feel somewhat soft to the touch, even though they are hard plastic. Each key is also individually backlit, allowing the color scheme to be customized. On the flip side we weren't huge fans of the placement of some keys. Since Origin included a num pad on the right side, all of the keys are shifted to the left. To make up for this the track pad was also shifted to the left.
In theory typing should still feel natural because you're hand placement is aligned with the touch pad, but it forces the user to be off-center when typing and it took a bit of getting used to. Over the first couple of days of testing, it was difficult to find the correct finger placement and we kept clicking the right mouse button, thinking we were hitting the left. It just took some time though. After a few days with this machine we were right at home typing on it. Of course, this is a common complain with laptop keyboards featuring a dedicated numpad.
The Origin EVO17-S has a relatively small (62WH) battery, so you'll be connected to the wall more often than not. For the times you are tethered to the wall you'll be using the Chicony 180W power supply that comes with the EVO17-S. While gaming we recorded the total power of the system at 170W. That doesn't provide a ton of headroom, but it offers enough power to run the system under full load.
Along with the laptop, Origin likes to include some extra goodies, free of charge. In all, you get a Origin shirt, a mouse pad and a protective carrying case. Not the most impressive swag we've come across, but it's appreciated, considering most laptop manufactures don't include any at all.