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Origin EVO15-S review: A portable, powerful Max-Q laptop that does everything right

Say hello to one of the most intriguing high-end incarnations of Nvidia’s new Max-Q technology.

The Origin EVO15-S is powerful and portable, delivering GeForce GTX 1070 graphics in a sleek sub-five-pound frame. That’s amazing—but it’s also true of every Max-Q gaming laptop. Origin stands out from the crowd with a superb out-of-the-box customer experience and the ability to configure the EVO15-S hardware any way you see fit, unlike the overwhelming majority of the Max-Q masses.

More importantly, you can use this gaming laptop as a laptop. The first two GTX 1080 Max-Q laptops we’ve tested, the Asus ROG Zephyrus and the Acer Predator Triton 700, suffered from dismal battery life and atrociously positioned touchpads. The more conservative GTX 1070 Max-Q in the Origin EVO15-S still won’t survive the day away from a charger, but it lasts much longer than those others, and it has a straightforward touchpad, right under the keyboard where you’d expect it.

The Origin EVO15-S isn’t trying to be an exotic showpiece. It’s just a damned good gaming laptop you can actually carry around.

Origin EVO15-S specs, features, and price

Most Max-Q laptops stick to one or two preset configurations, which is unsurprising given that Nvidia claims the technology requires tight hardware and software integration. But Origin’s website lets you pick from a wealth of hardware options for the EVO15-S. Here are the specs, features, and price of the Origin EVO15-S that we reviewed. It’s ferocious for a laptop.

  • CPU: Core i7-7700HQ
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4/2400
  • Display: 15.6-inch, 120Hz 1920×1080 IPS, matte finish
  • Storage: 512GB Samsung 960 Pro, 2TB Seagate FireCuda hybrid drive
  • Weight: 4 pounds, 13 ounces, or 6 pounds, 9 ounces with power brick
  • Dimensions: 14.09 x 9.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Ports: HDMI, 2x Mini-DisplayPort, 2x USB 3.1, 3x USB 3.1 Type-C, SD reader, headphone, microphone, ethernet, lock slot
  • Webcam: 1080p
  • Price: $2,375 as configured on Origin PC

You can also customize the EVO15-S casing in all sorts of colors, textures, and themes for a price upgrade, or even a completely original airbrushed design for a quoted price. The version we tested stuck to the default grey aluminum but included several internal upgrades. The $1,626 baseline configuration of the Origin PC EVO15-S sports the same basic shell, but drops the hardware down to a GeForce GTX 1060, 8GB of memory, a 500GB hybrid hard drive, and a 60Hz display. Tinkering with your loadout understandably adds to shipping time. Origin PC’s online EVO15-S configuration page cites 9 to 11 business days for the baseline model, compared to 14 to 16 for the custom-tuned system we reviewed.

origin evo15 s Gordon Mah Ung/IDG

The Origin PC EVO15-S.

The 15.6-inch, 120Hz IPS display on the EVO15-S looks great and runs at a bright 343 nits max, but it also shows one of the compromises Origin had to make to offer such a customizable laptop. Many available Max-Q laptops augment their screens with G-Sync, the Nvidia display technology that eliminates tearing and stuttering in games. But those rival laptops—and Origin’s own EON15-X—stick to a single display configuration to include G-Sync. In the case of the EVO15S, however, Origin offers the aforementioned 60Hz and 120Hz 1080p screens plus a 4K IPS option. The 120Hz and 4K displays require the GTX 1070 Max-Q, though; you can’t configure them with the GTX 1060.

The GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q powers the 120Hz screen like a champ. Aside from the benchmarks we’ll cover later, I spent many, many hours blasting through Destiny 2 ($60 on Amazon) on this rig and saw buttery-smooth 80-plus frames per second throughout with nary a hitch or tear on the highest graphics settings. Nvidia’s Max-Q variants are severely downclocked compared to their non-Max-Q brethren to fit into such slender laptops. You could think of the GTX 1070 Max-Q in the EVO15-S as almost more of a “GTX 1060 Ti,” but that’s still plenty of power for a laptop like this.

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