You know you're in for a treat when you sit down with a gaming laptop that has a quad-core Intel Ivy Bridge processor, dual solid-state drives, and Nvidia's NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M graphics inside. Yes, the Origin PC Eon 17S has it all, including a highly customizable design and a keyboard you can set to glow multiple colors. Then again, the $3,370 price is pretty darn steep. Is this rig worth it?
We love looking at the Eon 17S almost as we love touching the black matte soft lid. Our review unit came decked out in Origin's prototype Exclusive design. Reminiscent of the hood of car, the soft-touch lid has angles that are simultaneously aggressive and elegant with the telltale Origin logo painted in candy apple red.
The lid is also available in matte red and glossy silver at no extra charge. The notebook can also be custom painted in just about any color the consumer desires for an additional $149. Traditionalists can go old school with a flat panel design.
The notebook's interior is a little Plain Jane by comparison, with a black brushed aluminum palm rest and and matte plastic area around the keyboard and speaker. A glossy plastic strip with status lights for Wi-Fi, Caps and Num Lock sits above the keyboard and adds a nice flourish. There's also a raised black metallic speaker bar that sits right underneath the display and is angled toward the user.
At 8.2 pounds, the 16.2 x 10.9 x 1.7-1.8 inch is lighter than both the ASUS G75VW-DS71 (9.4 pounds, 16.3 x 12.6 x 0.9-2 inches) and the Samsung Series 7 Gamer (8.4 pounds, 16.1 x 11.2 x 1.96 inches). Nevertheless, this rig is thick and heavy enough that you likely won't travel with it often.
The 1920 x 1080p LED backlit display on the Eon 17 delivered crisp details and vibrant colors. We were in awe of the vivid picture as we played "Street Fighter X Tekken." Kuzuza's crimson-red eye glowed menacingly as we caught him square with an electric blue hadouken. The 1080p YouTube trailer of "The Amazing Spider-Man" yielded deep blues and reds amid the minute details of the ribbing in Spider-Man's costume. We especially enjoyed the scene where Spider-Man prevented a car engulfed in searing orange-red flames from falling off the bridge.
The 17S' glossy 262 lux display outshines the 220 lux desktop category and the G75VW-DS71 218 lux display. It wasn't a match, however, for the Series 7 Gamer (325 lux) or the MSI GT60 (268 lux).
While dialogue during "The Amazing Spider-Man" was loud and crisp, we were a bit disappointed in the Onkyo speakers when listening to music. Marsha Ambrosius' "Butterflies (Remix)" easily filled a small room, but we heard a large amount of distortion even after making some modifications to the THX TruStudio Pro control pane. Ambrosius' usually radiant alto was lost in a brassy chaos of background vocals and strings while the percussion was lost completely. However, when we played "Batman: Arkham City," the audio was loud and rich, complete with heavy mood music, crisp gunshots, and the satisfying sound of voltage from the electric charge gun.
The Eon 17S features a traditional keyboard with a number pad complete with blue backlighting. The best part is that you can create your own custom lighting, thanks to the three lighting zones and seven color options. You can also choose from multiple lighting patterns, such as Wave, Dancing, and Breath. This feature really adds to the enjoyment of the notebook.
In terms of typing comfort, the Eon 17S is a mixed bag. The raised keys delivered firm feedback, and we were able to score 50 wpm with a 1 percent error rate on the Ten Thumbs Typing Test. That's right in line with our usual 50 wpm 1 percent error rate on our desktop keyboard. However, we're not fans of the undersize Right Shift and Enter keys, and the layout in general felt a little more cramped than we'd like.
The large brushed aluminum 3.3 x 1.6-inch Synaptics touchpad delivered plenty of room to perform multi-touch gestures. While we like the feel of the striated metal against our fingers, we noticed that a few multi-touch gestures such as three-finger flick took a few attempts to register. However pinch-zoom and two-finger scroll and rotate were nice and responsive, as was the three-finger press.
Our biggest beef with the touchpad was that it sometimes registered cursor movement for chiral scrolling, presenting Synaptics' strange-looking icon.
We really liked the textured metallic discrete mouse buttons. Not only did they look good, they also provided firm feedback. We also appreciated the fingerprint scanner, which could come in handy for folks looking to steal our high scores.
After running a full-screen Hulu video for 15 minutes, the touchpad, space between the G and H keys and underside of the notebook measured 85, 92 and 93 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. However, the rear left vent measured a blistering 109 degrees, far above 95 degrees which we consider comfortable.
A lone USB 2.0 port sits on the Eon 17S' right along with a slot-loading DVD player and jacks for headphones, microphone, audio in and DVI-out. The notebook's right side holds 1 USB 3.0 port, a USB 3.0/eSATA combo, FireWire, Ethernet and a 3-in-1 card reader. Ports for HDMI, DVI-out and Display Port can be found along the rear of the notebook with a secure lock. There's also an IR blaster along the front lip of the notebook that can be used with the optional $90 external TV Tuner module and its remote.
Consumers can also purchase an external Samsung USB 2.0 Portable Blu-ray Writer for an additional $121.
The 2-megapixel webcam captures stills and video with BisonCap's software. We were pleasantly surprised at the relatively sharp detail and color accuracy the camera delivered in florescent and natural lighting. There was some graininess, but not enough to be bothersome.
The Origin Eon 17S packs quite a wallop in the performance department. Equipped with a 2.9-GHz Intel Core i7-3920XM (Ivy Bridge) CPU with 16GB of RAM, dual 120GB SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration, a 1TB SATA hard drive and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 675M GPU with 2GB of VRAM, it was hard to trip this beast up, which doesn't mean we didn't try. We threw everything at the notebook, including playing "Batman: Arkham City" with 10 open tabs in Internet Explorer and Google Chrome and a virus scan, with nary a stutter.
The Eon 17S performed just as impressively on our synthetic tests, scoring a blistering 5,602 on PCMark07. That's 2,439 points above the desktop replacement category average. The Samsung Series 7 Gamer, MSI GT60 and the ASUS G75VW-DS71, which have 2.3-GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM CPUs, delivered 3,611, 3,336 and 3,041, respectively.
We booted the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium in a zippy 17 seconds, far above the 0:60 category average. Laden with dual 750GB hard drives, the G75VW-DS71 and the Series 7 Gamer booted in 0:66 and 0:42, respectively. The GT60 with its dual 500GB hard drives loaded Windows in 0:53.
The 17S duplicated 4.97GB of multimedia files in 20 seconds for a transfer rate of 255 MBps, 217.6 MBps above the 37.4 MBps desktop replacement average. The GT60 turned in a respectable 75 MBps while the Series 7 Gamer and the G75VW-DS71 scored 33.3 and 30 MBps.
During the Open Office test, the 17S matched 20,000 names to their corresponding addresses in 3 minutes and 17 seconds, 1:07 than the 4:24 category average. The GT60 scored 4:26 while the G75VW-DS71 notched 4:51.
Graphics and Gaming
With a Nvidia GeForce GTX 675M GPU with 2GB of VRAM, the Eon 17S has effectively been catapulted to the top of the heap for gaming notebooks. As we played "Street Fighter X Tekken" as Chun Li, we marveled at how fluid her trademark thousand-kick moves looked as it connected with all foolish enough to challenge us. Tagging in partners was nice and responsive and performing super-movers were big and over the top as expected.
On 3DMark06, the 17S scored a searing 24,591, almost double the 12,951 desktop replacement category average. The Series 7 Gamer, which also has a Nvidia GeForce GTX 675M GPU, notched 20,917. The GT60 and its Nvidia GeForce GTZ 670M GPU scored 19,359, while the G75VW-DS71 and its Nvidia GeForce 660M GPU delivered 16,028.
During the "World of Warcraft" test, the 17S achieved an impressive frame rate of 129 fps with the settings on Ultra. The GT60 hit 106 fps.
When we ran the "Batman: Arkham City" test, the Origin Eon 17S scored 44 fps with anti-aliasing enabled, DirectX 11 on and the graphics set to very high on 1366 x768. By comparison, the MSI GT60 scored 30 fps while the ASUS G75VW-DS71 notched 23 fps. When we switched over to 1080p, the 17S scored 30 fps with the GT60 and G75VW-DS71 delivering 23 fps. That's the difference between playable and not playable.
The Eon 17S keeps the pre-installed gamer-centric--and that's the way we like it. There's EVGA Precision X, a GPU over-clocking software. The EVGA On-Screen Display Server allowed us to control GPU clock speed, voltage, fan speed and memory clock, creating up to 10 different profiles.
Third-party software includes Windows Live, Adobe Reader X, AuthenTec TruSuite, CyberLink PowerDVD 12 Ultra and KeepSafe for backing up files in real-time.
The Origin Eon 17S comes with one-year part replacement and 45-day free shipping warranty with DVD image and lifetime labor/24-7.
Our $3,370 review unit of the Origin Eon 17S features a 2.9-GHz Intel Core i7-3920XM CPU with 16GB of RAM, dual 120GB SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration, a 1TB SATA hard drive and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 675M GPU with 2GB of VRAM. The $1,596 base model comes with a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i5-2520, 4GB of RAM, a 320GB 7,200-rpm hard drive and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M with 1GB of RAM.
During the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi), the 17S lasted 2 hours and 35 minutes, an hour shorter than the 3:35 desktop replacement average. The abridged battery life is to be expected with all the high-end specs the notebook is packing. The Series 7 Gamer lasted 3:21 while the G75VW-DS71 clocked in at 3:11. The GT60 had the most stamina, lasting 4:37
Gamers looking for a machine that can deal out the Pwnage with impunity need look no further than the $3,370 Origin Eon 17S. It offers an insane amount of power and performance and offers a ridiculous amount of customization. We just wish the inside of the notebook looked as good as the outside and that all the keys were full size. Those with tighter budgets might want to check out the $1,899 Samsung Series Gamer. But the Eon 17S is an excellent choice for gamers searching for a sweet tricked-out rig.