As technology marches on, affordable, powerful gaming laptops have become commonplace. The Origin EON15-S is one such mobile PC gaming device, though it’s not without its compromises to earn that ‘affordable’ descriptor.
The EON15-S comes encased in a black frame, with the same sort of angles found in almost every modern gaming laptop. However, Origin offers a slew of design customizations, from different lid colors to your very own designs on the shell.
Customization extends beyond just the chassis, with RAM, processor, and storage options galore. The configuration we tested, at $ 1,381 (about £1,050, AU$ 1,729), is a decent value, too, but there are plenty of options to make yours cheaper, or more expensive. There's no 4K option, like the , and the lowest configuration is $ 200 more than the low-end – but, even at the low-end, it's still affordable for what’s inside and the additional free services Origin provides post-purchase.
Price and availability
The low-end EON15-S, with an Intel Core i3 processor and a paltry 120GB solid-state drive (SSD) for storage, sets you back $ 1,006 (about £780, AU$ 1323). Origin recommends an M.2 SSD for your OS, and even lets you add one for no extra cost. Strangely, you need to make sure to check the radio button on the configuration page, even though it's free.
Fully decked out, with an Intel Core i7 processor, 2TB Samsung 960 Pro SSD, 32GB of 2,666MHz RAM, a 6x-speed Blu-ray drive and an Elgato capture card pumps the price up to $ 3,414 (about £2,597, AU$ 4,274).
There are two constants in all configurations: the display and the graphics chip. Whether you go bone-stock or all-out, your EON15-S has the same 15-inch 1080p display and the same Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.
Since the 1050 Ti isn't aimed at 4K gaming, it makes sense not to offer a UHD display, but the 4GB of video RAM holds the EON15-S back. The 1050 Ti-configured Apache Pro is $ 1,399 (about £1,063, AU$ 1,751), making it a hair more expensive for a comparably specced laptop.
The black laptop we tested isn't eye-catching in the least. It has just enough in the way of angular design flair to tip an outside observer off to its intended purpose as a gaming laptop. Where it really shines design-wise is in its multitude of case options. In addition to the stock black option, there are 8 other metallic colors to choose from, each adding $ 175 (about £133, AU$ 219) to the price.
There's also a $ 249 (about £189, AU$ 311) "Hydro Dip" option, which replicates the look of carbon fiber. Then there are an 8 additional themes to choose from, with flames, battle scarring, and more. The themes each add $ 299 (about £227, AU$ 374) to the price, though opinions of these elements of flair are divisive.
Custom designs make personalization options for the EON15 limitless. The price is ‘to-be-determined,’ and requires coordination with Origin and extra lead-time. But, if you have a guild or clan logo you want emblazoned on the lid of your laptop, Origin's got your back.
Inside the laptop is a programmable, full-sized chiclet-style RGB keyboard. They keys are well spaced, but we don’t like the way the keys felt. Key travel is suitable, but typing on them feels a little mushy, lacking force when bouncing back into position. We found it less noticeable after a day or two of use, but the sludgy feeling never fully fades away.
However, we were left unimpressed by the trackpad. The buttons have a satisfying clickiness to them, but the multi-touch response is terrible. Two-finger scrolling is not possible in the way we've grown accustomed with nearly every multi-touch trackpad we've used. Normally, we’d place our pointer and middle fingers on a trackpad and scroll with impunity without giving it any thought.
The EON15-S won't have any of it. The cursor jumps all over the screen, sometimes clicking randomly, sometimes scrolling a tiny bit. We are able to properly scroll only by spreading our fingers way apart, which is uncomfortable and requires us to actively think out the gesture, rather than just doing it. We’ve ended up using the up and down arrow keys to scroll instead.
The IPS matte display is a delight. Colors really pop, and when you're configuring your laptop on the Origin website, there's an option to have the screen color-calibrated before it ships. That's awesome if you're a photographer or designer who needs true-to-life on-screen colors. Movies and games look sharp, and it's bright enough to take outside, although we wouldn't recommend it in full sun.
The EON15-S is comparable to both the Inspiron and the Apache Pro in both size and weight. The power brick is about what you'd expect size-wise, so slinging the EON15-S around in a laptop bag isn't too much of a problem. At exactly 5 pounds, it's the lightest of the three, but just barely, and we never felt like it was too heavy to use on your lap.
The EON15-S isn't a gaming powerhouse, but it's no slack, either. The Apache Pro benchmark results are nearly identical to the EON15-S – not surprising since both have nearly identical configurations.
It beats the Inspiron, thanks to an i7-7700HQ, as opposed to the Dell’s i5-7300HQ. All three have the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti powering graphics, and that's where they all run into a wall.
The 4GB configuration is less than the required video RAM needed to run Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Grand Theft Auto 5 in their Ultra settings.
As such, dire performance warnings appear after changing the settings, begging us to turn things down a tick or two.
The EON15-S absolutely hates Ultra settings on both GTA 5 and Deus Ex.
It's a bummer that the EON15-S is only available with the 1050 Ti, because a stronger card would definitely help push it to levels of greatness.
That's not to say the EON15-S stumbles as a gaming laptop. Far from it. It's perfectly capable of running most modern games at medium settings, and older games will absolutely benefit from the power of Nvidia's 10-series.
The EON15-S handles its power well, with minimal fan noise and heat. It also does OK with battery life.
While it fails to come close to reaching the Inspiron's 5 hours 51 minutes of battery life in the PCMark battery test, it handily defeats the Apache Pro's 1 hour, 47 minutes. It's nice to not have to suffer from outlet anxiety, but you still can't go long without needing to charge up.
The speakers in the EON15-S are, frankly, terrible. They're hollow and tinny, and the worst we've tested in a while.
After a few seconds listening to one of our favorite albums, we shut it down and reached for the headphones. There's no configuration option for better speakers, either – only ways to improve headphone performance. It's rare to find a set of laptop speakers that sound full and crisp, but it's almost as rare to find a set that sound this poorly.
For midrange laptop gaming with decent battery life at an approachable price point for what’s inside, the EON15-S is a sound choice. The available customization options are welcome, so tweaking it to your liking is as easy as clicking a few radio buttons before checkout.
The speakers are a nightmare and the trackpad is incredibly frustrating. At its most basic configuration, the design of the EON15-S fails to make any statement.
On paper, there's no question the EON15-S is a bargain. You get an i7-7700HQ processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti for just a bit less than a similarly-equipped MSI GE62 Apache Pro, with comparable performance and a much better battery. The design customizations are mostly cool, helping you stand out from the crowd for additional cash.
As nice as it is to be able to infinitely customize the design, the lack of graphics options holds the EON15-S back. For everything it does right, like the screen, RGB keyboard, and long battery life, it steps back close to where it started with atrocious speakers and a frustrating trackpad.
Taking two steps forward only to take one step back leaves the EON15-S little better than the rest of the crowd, making it a completely competent, completely ordinary gaming laptop.