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Origin PC EVO17-S Review

Our Verdict

Despite impressive overall performance, the Origin PC EVO17-S is outshined by other 17-inch gaming laptops.

For

  • Fast overall performance
  • Capable graphics
  • Snappy RGB keyboard

Against

  • Dim display
  • Dismal battery life
  • High price

Origin PC's EVO17-S has a lot to offer gamers and content creators, but there are better 17-inch laptops on the market. For the EVO17-S, which is armed with an Intel Core i7 CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics, performance isn't a problem; it blazed through our benchmark tests. We also really like the laptop's snappy RGB keyboard and relatively slim chassis.

However, there are too many missteps to recommend the EVO17-S over its competitors. The laptop has a very dim display, and its battery life is dreadful, even for a powerful gaming rig. Still, at the right price, the EVO17-S is a decent choice for anyone who needs a mobile desktop replacement with excellent graphics performance.

Pricing and configurations

In typical Origin fashion, the EVO17-S can be customized to your heart's desire.

Without a custom-printed HD lid (+$149) or laser etchings (+$50), the base configuration of the EVO17-S costs $1,866 and comes with an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU.

There are endless ways to configure the EVO17-S. Origin lets you choose exact components from various suppliers, including hard drives from Samsung, WD and Seagate, and RAM from HyperX and Corsair.

Our review unit, priced at $2,779 with coupon code "LAPTOPMAGEVO17S19," was configured with a custom lid, along with a Core i7-9750U CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD and a 2TB HDD, and RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics.

MORE: How to Buy a Cheap Gaming Laptop: 7 Essential Tips

We had some fun with Origin's configuration tool and built a beastly $5,003 EVO17-S with a Core i7 CPU, 32GB of RAM, three SSDs totaling 6TB and an RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics card. Of course, we had to add a themed lid cover (+$250) and laser etching.

Design

If the "S" in EVO17-S stands for "slim," then Origin's marketing is somewhat deceptive.

Yes, the EVO17-S is thinner than some of the hulking Origin PCs we've reviewed, but at 0.8 inches thick and 5.7 pounds, it's not the sort of laptop you'd want to haul around in your backpack.

Other 17-inch laptops, like the Lenovo Legion Y740 (0.9 inches, 6.6 pounds) and the Razer Blade Pro 17 (0.8 inches, 6.1 pounds), are chunkier, but the EVO17-S is nowhere near as portable as MSI's GS75 Stealth (0.7 inches, 5 pounds).

This is not the sort of laptop you'd want to haul around in your backpack.

In a world where gaming laptops shine a million different colors and feature aggressive angles, the EVO17-S's design is decidedly basic. The EVO17-S is a straight rectangle made of black plastic. There are some aggressive lines on the rear and bottom, but the deck is pretty bare, save for a centered power button and vents above the keyboard.

Unique to our review unit is a custom lid with a 10th Anniversary graphic in the shape of a whiskey label. I'm not particularly fond of the aesthetic, but then again, whiskey really isn't my drink.

MORE: Origin Gaming Laptops - Brand Rating and Report Card

Worse than the EVO17-S' bland design are all of the creaking plastic sounds the laptop makes when you open its lid. I'm not worried about durability -- the hinge feels plenty stiff -- but I expect a premium feel at this price.

Ports

The EVO17-S has just about every port, except Thunderbolt 3.

The left side of the chassis has an HDMI port, a Mini DisplayPort, two USB Type-C ports and a USB 3.1 Type-A port.

On the right side, you'll find a lock slot, an Ethernet port, a six-in-one SD card reader, a second USB 3.1 Type-A port and discrete headphone and microphone jacks.

Display

I expected a better display at this price. Yes, the EVO17-S' 17.3-inch, 1080p panel is sharp, and images look smooth thanks to its 144Hz refresh rate. But a poor peak brightness and understated colors spoil the viewing experience.

I found myself squinting to see certain details in darker scenes in the trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate. Even though the matte finish did a good job of fighting glare, the EVO17-S' display was so dim that Linda Hamilton's face was barely visible while she was pinned against a wall in the trailer's opening scene. Details were crisp in brighter scenes; I could clearly see a scar running across Arnold Schwarzenegger's cheek and his salt-and-pepper hair covering his tanned face.

When I played Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the EVO17-S' panel was so sharp that I could distinguish the pattern of tattoos running up Jonah Maiava's arms. Unfortunately, the dim panel struggled to illuminate darker objects, which was a problem as I navigated the shaded Peruvian jungle. On a positive note, the relatively vibrant panel did justice to the lively colors -- turquoise, yellow and red -- painted on the outside of La Choza Del Puerto restaurant.

The EVO17-S' 17.3-inch, 1080p display is sharp, and images look smooth thanks to its 144Hz refresh rate. But a poor peak brightness and understated colors spoil the viewing experience.

With 104% sRGB coverage, the 17.3-inch display on the EVO17-S is less vivid than those on the Legion Y740 (122%), the Blade Pro 17 (109%) and the GS75 Stealth (161%), as well as the premium gaming average (143%).

MORE: Best & Worst Gaming Laptop Brands

The EVO17-S' screen is also dimmer than those panels. Peaking at just 250 nits, the EVO17-S isn't as bright as the Blade Pro 17 (267 nits), the GS75 Stealth (339 nits) the category average (305 nits), but it does edge out the Legion Y740 (247 nits).

Keyboard and touchpad

Typing on the EVO17-S' keyboard is a real pleasure thanks to the deep key travel and snappy feedback.

By stretching the keyboard across the full length of the EVO17-S, Origin was able to give the keys room to breathe and even add a numpad on the right side. My fingers appreciated the clickiness of the keys, created by their 72 grams of required actuation force and their relatively deep 1.7 millimeters (above our 1.5 mm preference) of key travel.

I typed at 117 words per minute with an accuracy of 93% on the 10FastFingers.com typing test, both of which are slightly below my 119 wpm and 95% accuracy averages.

There's something undeniably mesmerizing about good RGB lighting, and the EVO17-S has it. The individually lit keys can be controlled using Origin's Control Center 3.0 program, where I spend way too much time going through the different lighting effects and customizing them further with various speeds and brightness.

MORE: Our Favorite Gaming Keyboards

There a slight sticky feeling to the EVO17-S' 4.1 x 2.3-inch touchpad that made me search around my desk for the nearest mouse. That said, the surface didn't prevent me from executing Windows 10 gestures, like pinch to zoom or two-finger scroll.

Audio

The bottom-firing speakers on the EVO17-S pack a serious punch and easily filled a medium-size room. However, at max volume, they struggled with high notes; I could feel my ears trying to block out the piercing sound of the electric guitar in Her's "What Once Was."

Those high notes were much more bearable after I dropped the volume to around 50% and used the EQ feature in the Sound Blaster Connect program to smoothen them out. Unfortunately, the app didn't do anything to add weight to the speaker's lacking low end, which made drum hits sound splashy in Rae Sremmurd's song "Guatemala."

MORE: The Best Headsets for Immersive Gaming

The speakers were loud enough to drown out the EVO17-S' loud fans when I played Middle-earth: Shadow of War. The audio was so crisp that I could hear the footsteps of a nearby Orc and then get the added satisfaction of hearing the clean slicing sound of my steel blade as it pierced through my enemy's flesh.

Still, for better audio, we strongly recommend buying a pair of headphones or wired computer speakers.

Gaming, graphics and VR

Armed with a mighty Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM, the EVO17-S played Middle-earth: Shadow of War at a steady 81 frames per second as I slashed my way through hordes of enemy Orcs.

On the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark, the EVO17-S reached 67 fps, topping the Legion Y740 (64 fps), GS75 Stealth (65 fps) and premium-gaming-laptop average (65 fps) and falling only to the Blade Pro 17 (72 fps).

The EVO17-S did similarly well on the Hitman test, reaching 105 fps. However, this time, the Legion Y740 (106 fps) had the edge, along with the Blade Pro 17 (110 fps) and the gaming average (108 fps). The superslim GS75 Stealth mustered only 96 fps.

MORE: Xbox One Games: Our Staff Favorites

On the Grand Theft Auto V test, the EVO17-S again did a nice job, reaching 82 fps, which is better than the showings from the Legion Y740 (78 fps) and the GS75 Stealth (77 fps) as well as the premium-gaming-laptop average (77 fps). However, the Blade Pro 17 maintained an impressive 92 fps.

As expected, the EVO17-S nabbed a maximum score of 11 on the SteamVR Performance Test, which means it's more than ready to play the latest virtual reality games.

Performance

Packing an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU and 16GB of RAM, the EVO17-S sped through my real-world performance test without experiencing a hint of lag. This beast quickly loaded 20 Google Chrome tabs, including four 1080p videos and streams, without breaking a sweat. It then went on to play Middle-earth: Shadow of War without hitting any problems, although the fans kicked into high gear.

The EVO17-S scored a 22,948 on the Geekbench 4.1 overall performance test, which is slightly better than what the Legion Y740 (22,287), Blade Pro 17 (19,245) and GS75 Stealth (20,589) netted. The average for premium gaming laptops (24,088) is higher than all of those scores.

Packing an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU and 16GB of RAM, the EVO17-S sped through my real-world performance test without experiencing a hint of lag.

On the Handbrake test, the EVO17-S transcoded a 4K video to 1080p in 10 minutes and 47 seconds, which is faster than the GS75 Stealth (11:00) but not the Blade Pro 17 (10:39), the Legion Y740 (9:30) or the category average (9:31).

MORE: Here Are the Best PC Game Controllers

Our EVO17-S model has two storage drives: a 500GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD and a 2TB HDD at 5,400 rpm. The speedy SSD transferred 4.97GB of multimedia files in 6 seconds, for a rate of 848.2 megabytes per second. That matches the GS75 Stealth (512GB NVMe SSD) and outpaces the Legion Y740 (363 MBps, 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMEe SSD + 1TB SATA HDD) and the premium-gaming-laptop average (764.8 MBps). As it did on most tests, the Blade Pro 17 (1,272.3 MBps) smashed the competition.

Battery life

Ouch. You might want to look away for this.

We don't expect gaming rigs to last long on a charge, but the EVO17-S' 1-hour-and-52-minute runtime on our battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits) is dismal.

You could make excuses about how you're getting a ton of power in a relatively thin chassis, but come on, less than 2 hours?! No thanks.

We don't expect gaming rigs to last long on a charge, but the EVO17-S' 1-hour-and-52-minute runtime is dismal. 

Other laptops with RTX 2080 GPUs -- including the Legion Y740 (2:30), the Blade Pro 17 (3:12) and the GS75 Stealth -- survived for longer on a charger, though they fell short of the average (3:15).

Heat

The EVO17-S' wide frame doesn't help disperse the heat generated when the laptop is operating under a heavy workload. After the EVO17-S played a 15-minute full-HD video, the laptop's bottom panel hit 98 degrees Fahrenheit, which breaches our 95-degree comfort threshold. Even the touchpad (93 degrees) and the center of the keyboard (94 degrees) were on the toasty side.

MORE: Heat damage in gaming laptop??? | Tom's Guide Forum

You could practically cook an egg on the underside of the EVO17-S after a gaming session. The laptop reached a scalding 136 degrees when I played Middle-earth: Shadow of War on Ultra for about 15 minutes. The touchpad topped out at 99 degrees, while the area between the G and H keys warmed to 119 degrees.

Webcam

Props to Origin for fitting the EVO17-S' webcam on the slim bezel above the display. As is the case with most webcams, the 720p camera on the EVO17-S will work in a pinch, but you're better off buying an external solution.

There was a lot of visual noise in the selfie I shot in our dimly lit office, and there was a haze obscuring my face.

Software and warranty

There aren't many preinstalled programs on the EVO17-S, apart from those that let you spruce up its RGB keyboard. You can use Flexikey to create profiles and macros or change the RGB lighting with the apply named LED Keyboard Settings app. Those controls can be accessed via Origin's one-stop-shop app, called Control Center. Here, you can change power modes, keyboard lighting and fan speeds.

Windows 10 bloatware is absent on the EVO17-S, a refreshing change from most other gaming laptops we review.

Origin includes a one-year warranty on the EVO17-S with a one-year warranty. See how Origin fared on our Best and Worst Gaming Laptop Brands report.

Bottom Line

On its own, the Origin EVO17-S is an impressive laptop that packs a Core i7 CPU and GTX 2080 graphics into a relatively thin chassis. You also get a comfortable RGB keyboard that you'll enjoy using whether you're gaming or writing a report.

But things start to fall apart once you compare the EVO17-S to other 17-inch laptops equipped with RTX 2080 graphics. Our favorite among this niche group is the Razer Blade Pro 17, which offers excellent performance in a premium chassis. The EVO17-S is more portable, but we'd recommend MSI's GS75 Stealth ahead of it.

Our biggest problems with the EVO17-S boil down to dismal battery life and an underwhelming display. As a result, the EVO17-S is a very good desktop replacement but not the best laptop.

Credit: Laptop Mag

Tech Specs

CPUIntel Core i7-9750H
RAM16GB
Size15.6 x 10.5 x 0.8 inches
Weight5.7 pounds
Display Size17.3
Native Resolution1920x1080
Hard Drive Size500GB
Hard Drive TypeM.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Ports (excluding USB)Lock Slot, Headphone, USB Type-C, HDMI, USB 3.1, Ethernet, SD card slot, Mini DisplayPort, Microphone
Video Memory8GB
Wi-Fi802.11ac
Wi-Fi ModelIntel Wireless-AC 9560
Secondary Hard Drive TypeHDD
Warranty/SupportLifetime support and labor, one-year parts warranty.
USB Ports4
Touchpad Size4.1 x 2.3 inches
Secondary Hard Drive Speed5400 rpm
RAM Upgradable to32GB
Graphics CardNvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
Company Websitehttps://www.originpc.com/
Card Slots6-1 card reader
BrandOrigin
Highest Available Resolution1920 x 1080
BluetoothBluetooth 5.0
Secondary Hard Drive Size2TB
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Phillip Tracy is a senior writer at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he reviews laptops and covers the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News and NewBay Media. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, listening to indie music or watching soccer.