Content creators in search of a powerful laptop have yet another brand to choose from. Origin PC, best known for its gaming rigs, is now branching out into the professional space with the 15.6-inch NT-15 Quadro ($2,626 starting, reviewed at $3,551). This workstation's Core i7-8750H CPU and Quadro P4200 Max-Q graphics offer good performance in a chassis that's both slim and lightweight. Unfortunately, the NT-15 Quadro's 4K display is dim and you'll need to stay near an outlet due to the laptop's subpar battery life.
Origin NT-15 Quadro Pricing and Configurations
The NT-15 Quadro isn't a gaming laptop, but Origin still gives you tons of customization options. The $3,551 unit I reviewed came loaded with a Core i7-8750H CPU, 32GB of RAM and a 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD, along with a secondary 2TB SSHD and an Nvidia Quadro P4200 GPU.
The $2,626 base model is equipped with a Core i7-8750H CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 250GB SSD PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD, a secondary 250GB SSD and an Nvidia Quadro P3200 GPU. Those with deep pockets can configure the NT-15 Quadro with a Core i7-8750H CPU, 32GB of RAM, a 4TB Samsung 860 EVO SSD, another 1TB Samsung 970 Pro PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD and a Quadro P4200 GPU for $4884.
You can also customize the NT-15 Quadro's lid with a solid metallic color for an extra $150. Themed lids cost between $249 to $299 while custom laser etching is a $50 fee. A display color calibration service costs $29, although I'm not sure why Origin would sell a laptop without optimizing its display in the first place.
While the laptop looks rather bland, I appreciate the restraint Origin exercised when it designed the NT-15 Quadro. The company successfully crafted a machine that blends in better at an office than at a LAN party.
The NT-15 Quadro's aluminum lid flaunts a stealthy matte-black finish with an off-centered white Origin logo. Chrome accents form a border between the lid and the NT-15 Quadro's plastic silver hinge, while aggressive rectangular vents are a not-so-subtle reminder that this machine was designed by a gaming brand.
Open the laptop and you'll find the same nondescript design on the interior. A matte-black deck matches the exterior finish while a raised silver hinge separates the deck from the screen. A slim fingerprint sensor sits in the top-left corner of the laptop's glittery touchpad and a rectangular power button resides above the keyboard. A stippled grill stretches between the two hinges, hiding two top-firing speakers underneath.
Despite its subtle design, the NT-15 Quadro could still be confused for a gaming laptop if you look hard enough. A "Tuned By Sound Blaster Pro-Gaming" emblem is stamped on the deck and outlined WASD keys nearly ruin this workstation's enterprise disguise. Also detracting from the premium design are thick plastic bezels that border its 15.6-inch display.
The NT-15 Quadro may look like a laptop for business professionals, but it doesn't feel like one. The lid bounces under slight pressure and the laptop's hinges don't feel rigid enough. These issues are inexcusable for such a pricey machine, especially when you consider that most rival workstations trumpet military-grade durability.
As is tradition with Origin products, customers can customize the NT-15 Quadro with a new paint job. Metallic finishes come in a variety of solid colors, from bold lime green to a more conservative gray. You can also choose between eight different themes, none of which are work-appropriate. Be ready to get some strange looks from co-workers if you bring a laptop with a blood-splattered lid into the office.
At 15 x 10 x 0.7 inches and 4.3 pounds, the NT-15 Quadro is a relatively compact workstation. The Lenovo ThinkPad P1 (14.2 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches, 4 pounds) and 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro (13.8 x 9.5 x 0.6 inches, 4 pounds) are even smaller and lighter than the NT-15 Quadro, but those devices have class-leading designs. The ZBook 15 G5 (14.8 x 10.4 x 1 inches, 5.7 pounds), a more typical workstation, is significantly bulkier than the NT-15 Quadro.
On the right side of the workstation are an RJ-45 Ethernet port, an SD/MMC card slot, a SIM card slot, a USB 3.1 Type-A port and separate jacks for external microphones and headphones.
The left side is loaded with ports, including an HDMI, two Mini DisplayPorts, two USB-C inputs and two USB 3.0 ports.
Durability and Security
The NT-15 Quadro is not MIL-SPEC tested like its modern workstation competitors. That said, it's probably best that this laptop wasn't subjected to rigorous conditions given its thin lid and weak hinges.
When it comes to security, the NT-15 Quadro comes better prepared. A company's IT department can control the NT-15 Quadro's TPM 2.0 microchip to enable hardware-based protection against intruders looking to snag unprotected passwords and encryption keys. On a local level, the NT-15 Quadro has a fingerprint sensor embedded in the top-left corner of its touchpad for secure login.
Business users won't need an external monitor unless they plan on using the NT-15 Quadro outdoors. The workstation's 15.6-inch 4K non-touch display is extremely sharp and plenty vivid but it doesn't get bright enough.
The amount of detail this 4K panel captured made the trailer for Jordan Peele's upcoming thriller "Us" even more unnerving. I could see webs of red veins in Lupita Nyong'o's teary eyes as her alter ego menacingly tapped her fingers against her face. In one especially disturbing scene, Nyong'o's white shirt is soaked in rich, scarlet blood as she stares down her son's doppelgänger while plumes of orange flame envelope the ground around him.
Although the display looked great in general, I missed out on details during dark scenes when the panel didn't get bright enough to illuminate certain objects.
The NT-15 Quadro's 15.6-inch display covers 119 percent of the sRGB color gamut. While that would be good for the average consumer, it isn't quite up to the standard set by other workstations. For example, the 15.6-inch, 4K display on the ThinkPad P1 (179 percent) is much more colorful, as is the average premium workstation (153 percent). However, the 15.4-inch, 2880 x 1800-pixel display on the MacBook Pro (117 percent) and the 15.6-inch, 1080p screen on the ZBook 15 G5 (112 percent) aren't as vivid.
I wasn't surprised to discover that the screen on the NT-15 Quadro tops out at just 227 nits of brightness. That's a poor result for any laptop and especially bad for a workstation, considering the category average is 343 nits. The 15-inch MacBook Pro (354 nits), the ThinkPad P1 (285 nits) and the ZBook 15 G5 (631 nits) all shine brighter than the Origin workstation.
The twin top-firing speakers on the deck of the NT-15 Quadro lack depth. When I listened to Leon Bridge's "Coming Home," the soul singer's voice sounded clear, but the high notes produced by percussions and cymbals pierced my ears. Toning down the treble in the Sound Blaster Connect software didn't help.
Rather than smoothing out harsh treble peaks, the program hollowed out the midrange. The speakers didn't do any better with Khalid's "Better." The R&B singer's vocals were masked by sharp high notes, and the speaker's nonexistent bass didn't improve when I maxed out the low frequencies in the Sound Blaster EQ.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Origin brought the comfortable island-type keyboard from its gaming laptops to the NT-15 Quadro. The keys are cushiony but still have a nice amount of tactile clickiness thanks to their 1.7 millimeters of travel and 68 grams of actuation force. The keys are also large and nicely spaced despite a full numpad taking up the right portion of the deck.
Bright RGB lighting does a nice job illuminating the NT-15 Quadro's off-centered keyboard. You can use Origin's Control Center 2.0 software to adjust lighting colors, effects and brightness levels. Stylized font and a border outlining the WASD keys fail to hide that the keyboard was originally meant for a gaming laptop.
I typed at 120 words per minute with an accuracy rate of 94 percent on the 10FastFingers.com typing test, which is slightly faster (119 wpm) but less accurate (95 percent) than what I typically score.
The NT-15 Quadro's smooth, 4.2 x 2.4-inch touchpad responded quickly to my swipes. I had no problems executing Windows 10 gestures, like pinch-to-zoom and three-finger swipes to switch apps. Tap-to-click also worked fine and, if you'd prefer, there are discrete left and right buttons under the touchpad.
Anchored by an Intel Core i7-8750H CPU and 32GB of RAM, the NT-15 Quadro sailed through my real-world performance tests. I didn't experience any slowdowns, even after pulling up 22 Google Chrome tabs comprised of three 1080p YouTube videos and a pair of Twitch streams. Web pages took a split second longer to load once I started streaming ESPN+ but that didn't prevent me from browsing through my favorite sites.
On paper, the NT-15 Quadro's performance is good, but not great when compared with other workstations. The laptop scored a 19,087 on the Geekbench 4.3 overall performance test, which is just below what the MacBook Pro (Intel Core i9-8950HK, 23,138) and the ZBook 15 G5 (Intel Core i7-8850H vPro, 22,013) achieved. The Origin workstation topped the ThinkPad P1 (Xeon E-2176M, 18,782) but couldn't reach the category average (20,409).
The 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD inside the NT-15 Quadro needed only 9 seconds to duplicate 4.97GB of mixed-media data on our Laptop Mag File Transfer Test. That equates to a transfer rate of 565 megabytes per second, which is speedier than the ZBook 15 G5 (512GB NVMe M.2 SSD, 508MBps) but not quite as fast as the ThinkPad P1 (2TB NVMe SSD, 848 MBps) or the category average (631.7 MBps). The MacBook Pro's (2TB SSD, 2,724 MBps) ridiculously fast SSD wipes the floor with the competition.
The NT-15 Quadro beat the category average (12:47) on our HandBrake video transcoding test (converting a 4K video into 1080p resolution) with a time of 12 minutes and 21 seconds. The ThinkPad P1 (9:45), ZBook 15 G5 (9:53) and MacBook Pro (10:16) completed the task several minutes earlier.
Packing an Nvidia Quadro P4200 Max-Q GPU, the NT-15 Quadro has enough power to run graphically-demanding software and as well as some modern games.
The NT-15 Quadro scored a 3,424 on the 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra graphics benchmark, more than doubling the results of the ThinkPad P1 (Quadro P2000, 1,576) and ZBook 15 G5 (Quadro P2000, 1,645). The workstation average is 1,871.
In our real-world test, the NT-15 Quadro played the racing game Dirt 3 at 198 frames per second, beating out the MacBook Pro (Radeon Pro 560X, 83 fps) and the ThinkPad P1 (190 fps). However, drifting around hairpin turns was smoother on the ZBook 15 G5 (235 fps).
The NT-15 Quadro switches to integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 graphics to conserve power when it isn't running graphics-intensive software.
The NT-15 Quadro's battery life is poor, even for a workstation. The laptop lasted just 3 hours and 47 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. That result is worse than the ThinkPad P1's (4:16) poor showing and well short of the workstation average (6:19). Heck, the NT-15 Quadro would power down twice before the MacBook Pro (10:21) or ZBook 15 G5 (8:56) even hit battery-saver mode on their first charge.
I have mixed feelings about the NT-15 Quadro's 1080p webcam. While the lens captures tons of detail, the images it produces are dull. A selfie I shot in our dimly lit office was practically colorless. My face was so white that I looked like a zombie and my unflattering blonde hair, which looked gray, added 30 years onto my age.
That's a real shame because I was able to make out fine details in my face, like individual strands of hair in my beard and the reflection of light in my eyes. This is also one of few webcams I've tested that produced a relatively noise-free image.
With such a thin chassis, it's not surprising that the NT-15 Quadro ran hot in our testing. The bottom of the laptop reached a concerning 104 degrees Fahrenheit after we played a 15-minute HD video in full screen. Even the touchpad (99 degrees) and the center of the keyboard (103 degrees) warmed beyond our 95-degree comfort threshold.
Software and Warranty
It's refreshing to see so few programs pre-installed on the NT-15 Quadro. The only Origin-made program on the NT-15 Quadro, Control Panel 2.0, is hidden on the taskbar or can be opened via a keyboard shortcut. From this app, you can monitor CPU and GPU usage, change performance modes, and adjust RGB keyboard lighting, effects and hotkeys.
Other third-party programs include a Spyder5Pro app for calibrating the NT-15 Quadro's 4K display and the Nvidia Control Panel for fine-tuning the discrete graphics card. In the Sound Blaster Connect app, you can choose from several audio presets or tinker with an EQ to control bass, midrange and treble.
Microsoft hardly laid a finger on the NT-15 Quadro. There are your standard Windows 10 Pro apps, like Excel, Outlook and Xbox, but McAfee and Candy Crush are nowhere to be found.
The NT-15 Quadro comes with lifetime 24/7 U.S.-based support as well as lifetime labor, one-year part replacement and 45-day shipping warranties. See how Origin did in our Best and Worst Gaming Laptop Brands special report.
The NT-15 Quadro is a good first attempt but Origin needs to make a few improvements if it's going to be a legitimate contender in the business professional space.
The NT-15 Quadro packs quite a performance punch and it does so in a chassis so thin that you can easily slip it into a backpack. On the flip side, the NT-15 Quadro's battery life is poor, there is no Thunderbolt 3 port, and it runs hot under a heavy workload. And while the 4K display is detailed and vivid, it just doesn't get bright enough.
For around the same price as the NT-15 Quadro, we recommend the ThinkPad P1. This durable workstation sports a vivid 4K panel, and at 4 pounds, the P1 feels more like an ultrabook than a powerful business laptop. Unfortunately, it also has poor battery life and gets warm under a heavy workload.
If you don't mind macOS and can afford it, the 15-inch MacBook Pro is one of the best laptops on the market. Apple's flagship machine offers outstanding performance, long battery life and a vivid display in a slim, lightweight chassis. But a high price and shallow keyboard are the worst of the MacBook Pro's few shortcomings.
Overall, the NT-15 Quadro is a good workstation for creators and business professionals, but you can get more for your money.
Credit: Laptop Mag