Digital Storm's Avon takes center stage with its gorgeous mechanical keyboard and incredibly powerful 9th Gen Core i7 CPU and RTX 2070 graphics card, which you can get for a relatively affordable $1,999. The only things the Digital Storm Avon has working against it is that its 17.3-inch display could be more colorful, and its speakers are annoyingly quiet. However, between its overwhelming power and included three-year warranty, the Avon is a solid overall gaming laptop.
Price and configuration options
I tested the starting configuration of the Digital Storm Avon, which costs $1,999 and comes with an Intel Core i7-9750H processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM, 16GB of RAM and a 500GB Digital Storm Performance Series SSD.
A step up from that is the $2,349 model, which nets you a 32GB of RAM and a 1TB Digital Storm Performance Series SSD. But if you want to go all out, you can configure the Storm Avont with two 1TB Samsung 970 Pro SSDs, which will run you $3,242.
The Digital Storm Avon'' hood is composed of a metal-polycarbonate hybrid, and it has a brushed finish accompanied by a glossy white-and-black Digital Storm logo. It's discreet, but relatively bland. It's possible to not be gaudy as heck and still be stylish, but this laptop doesn't quite pull it off. I also noticed that the corners of the chassis were uncomfortably sharp.
There is a thin light bar just below the lip, which does look rather neat. And when I lifted the lid, I was greeted to a sci-fi mechanical keyboard that blasted waves of RGB lighting. Most of the deck has a soft-touch black design, while just above the keyboard is a faux-aluminum gray accent that highlights the game mode button (increases fan speed) and power button. The bezels are pretty thin, and the webcam is up top, which is nice.
Despite its 17-inch stature, weighing in at 5.7 pounds and 15.5 x 10.24 x 1.6 inches, the Digital Storm Avon felt relatively light in my hands. Of course, that doesn't compare with its 15-inch competitors, like the Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic (4.6 pounds; 0.7 inches), the Razer Blade 15 (4.7 pounds, 0.7 inches) and the Lenovo Legion Y740 (5 pounds, 0.9 inches).
This baby has ports for days.
On the left side of the Digital Storm Avon, you'll find an RJ45 port, one USB 2.0 port and seperate inputs for the headphone and microphone jacks.
The backside holds the power jack, one USB Type-C port, an HDMI port and two Mini DisplayPorts. Meanwhile, the right side has two USB 3.1 ports and an SD card slot.
The Digital Storm Avon's 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 display is bright, but it's not the most colorful. However, it has a lovely 144Hz refresh rate.
I played Middle-earth: Shadow of War, and Talion's red-and-black armor shined as the character stood in front of a colorful mossy stone wall, but overall the color still didn't pop. Although I did see most of my surroundings in the dark caverns of a stronghold, the display could have been brighter. However, I enjoyed how smooth the movement was as I bounced around and sliced fools with my sword.
In the trailer for Ford v Ferrari, the red chairs and table that Christain Bale and Matt Damon sat in during the diner scene were colorful but not as bold as they could've been. While Bale was driving at night, I found it a little difficult to make out the inside of the vehicle. Despite that, the panel was sharp enough that I could see the light stubble on Damon's face.
According to our colorimeter, the Digital Storm Avon's panel covered 111% of the sRGB color gamut, and while that beats the 110% mainstream gaming laptop average, it still falls behind the Aero 15 Classic (117%), the Razer Blade 15 (149%) and the Legion Y740 (112%).
Despite that, the Digital Storm Avon has the brightest display of the bunch, at 277 nits, which climbs over the category average (269 nits), the Aero 15 Classic (246 nits), the Razer Blade 15 (262 nits) and the Legion Y740 (267 nits).
Keyboard and touchpad
Nothing beats those sweet, sweet clicks. The Digital Storm Avon's mechanical keyboard is, oh, so pleasantly clicky and is just what every gamer needs at their fingertips. Not to mention that each key looks like a badass alien ship with individual RGB lighting.
You can customize the lighting via the GamingCenter app, where you can scroll through multiple presets like Wave and Raindrop, or even simply assign each specific key a color of your choosing.
I nailed 76 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which speeds past my current 70 wpm average. The keys travel at 2.2 millimeters, which is even better than our 1.5 to 2.0 mm preferred range. Each key required about 64 grams of force to actuate, meeting our 60g minimum.
The 5.1 x 3.9-inch touchpad is soft and spacious, but the clicks are a little too stiff for my taste. Windows 10 gestures, such as two-finger scrolling and three-finger tabbing, work as intended.
The Digital Storm Avon's bottom-firing speakers were disappointingly quiet and could barely fill a small office with Bohnes' "Zombie Love." The heavy bass that opens the song sounded muted and left very little impact. Even the drum beats throughout the song were too soft. And while the vocals were clear, they were just too quiet.
I played Shadow of War, and I could barely hear what the orcs were saying when I rolled up on them and went ham. The sound that emanated from my sword was dull, as if I hadn't sharpened my blade in years. And when I launched arrows at my foes, it sounded like I was throwing twigs, instead of providing that satisfying snap of a released arrow.
There's no audio app provided with the Digital Storm Avon. I would definitely recommend a good gaming headset if you're going to invest in this rig.
Gaming, graphics and VR
Underneath the hood of this 17-inch beast lies an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM. This machine shredded through Shadow of War at 104 frames per second as I sliced my way through an army of orcs to a 50x combo on Ultra, 1080p without breaking a sweat.
On the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark (Very High, 1080p), the Digital Storm Avon nailed 66 fps, which matched the Legion Y740's identical GPU and put it over the 43-fps mainstream gaming laptop average. With the same GPU, the Aero 15 Classic (55 fps) and the Razer Blade 15 (60 fps) performances were slightly behind.
The Digital Storm Avon soared to the triple digits on the Hitman benchmark (Ultra, 1080p), hitting 108 fps, which crushes an average mainstream gaming laptop (76 fps) as well as the Aero 15 Classic (98 fps), the Razer Blade 15 (96 fps) and the Legion Y740 (96 fps).
On the Grand Theft Auto V benchmark (Very High), the Digital Storm Avon averaged 88 fps, which flies past the 54-fps category average. It once again defeated the Aero 15 Classic (75 fps), the Razer Blade 15 (76 fps) and the Legion Y740 (67 fps).
The Digital Storm Avon scored a perfect 11 on the SteamVR Performance Test, rolling past the 7.9 category average. While the Aero 15 Classic also had a perfect score, the Legion Y740 was off by 0.1, hitting a 10.9.
Powered by an Intel Core i7-9750H processor with 16GB of RAM, the Digital Storm Avon barreled through 40 Google Chrome tabs and five 1080p YouTube videos, even while Shadow of War was running in the background.
On the Geekbench 4.1 overall performance test, the Digital Storm Avon killed the competition with a score of 23,766, which soars past the 20,738 mainstream gaming laptop average. With the same CPU, the Aero 15 Classic got 23,516, while the Core i7-8750H in the Razer Blade 15 and Legion Y740 hit 22,379 and 21,629, respectively.
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The Digital Storm Avon took just 7 minutes and 1 second to transcode a 4K video to 1080p on our HandBrake benchmark, which is over 3 minutes faster than the 10:20 category average. Meanwhile, the Aero 15 Classic (10:04), the Razer Blade 15 (12:53) and the Legion Y740 (9:23) couldn't even get close to the Avon's time.
Digital Storm's 500GB SSD copied 4.97GB of data in 12 seconds, which converts to 424 megabytes per second, and while that's faster than the 422 MBps mainstream gaming laptop average, it loses out to the competition. The Legion Y740's 256GB SSD hit 566 MBps, while the 512GB SSDs in the Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic (727 MBps) and the Razer Blade 15 (636 MBps) performed even better than that.
The Digital Storm Avon's battery life isn't awful for a gaming laptop, but it could be better. After continuously surfing the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of screen brightness, the battery lasted 3 hours and 45 minutes. That runtime is just short of the 4:00 mainstream gaming laptop average. The Digital Storm Avon destroyed the Legion Y740 (2:16), but couldn't catch the Aero 15 Classic (6:58) or the Razer Blade 15 (5:02).
The Digital Storm Avon's 720p shooter produces low-resolution, blotchy images. The only color it really highlighted was the red stripes on my flannel shirt, but I couldn't make out the yellow, green or pink at all.
The ceiling was also blown out due to the high contrast of lights. It's safe to say that you should spring for an external webcam if you plan on streaming.
While the Digital Storm Avon hit some relatively high temperatures, it never felt overly warm to the touch during gameplay. After it ran Shadow of War for 15 minutes, the underside of the laptop hit 117 degrees Fahrenheit, climbing above our 95-degree comfort threshold. Meanwhile, the center of the keyboard and touchpad hit 95 and 87 degrees, respectively. The hottest the machine got was 140 degrees, on the top right underside.
On our normal heat test, which requires the laptop to stream a 15-minute 1080p video, the underside measured 101 degrees, the center of the keyboard read 94 degrees and the center of the touchpad peaked at 87 degrees.
Software and Warranty
The unique software in the Digital Storm Avon is relatively bare-bones. It has an app called GamingCenter, where you can set the laptop to Game Mode or Office Mode, which automatically manages fan speeds. With the app, you can also determine the temperature of your CPU and what your network speeds are. And, of course, you can customize the keyboard backlighting and light bar via the app as well.
There is also Windows 10 bloatware, such as Gardenscapes, Candy Crush Friends and Asphalt Street Storm Racing.
Digital Storm Avon offers a three-year limited warranty by default, which is pretty sweet considering that most companies force you to shell out more money for that amount of time.
The Digital Storm Avon ($1,999) boasts several great features, such as its excellent performance, super-satisfying mechanical keyboard and even the inclusion of a three-year limited warranty. However, a gaming laptop with quiet speakers doesn't make for the best gaming laptop.
If you're willing to dive into premium gaming laptops, you can get the Razer Blade 15 ($2,649), which offers a more colorful 15.6-inch display and long battery life packed into a head-spinning design.
But overall, the Digital Storm Avon is a good choice if you want power and a great typing experience to give you an edge when you game.
Credit: Laptop Mag