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For many DIYers, desktop replacement laptops are the safest alternatives to building an own desktop PC. They combine portability and desktop-level gaming performance. With manufacturers ensuring that 15-inch laptops shrink in size everyday, the presence of desktop replacements is rapidly diminishing. This is true especially true for the Eluktronics N850HP6 Pro-X desktop replacement gaming laptop.
While it attempts to maintain the ‘mean’ look of yester-years’ gaming laptops, it has completely evolved from behemoths released in 2009, into a slim, powerful device. Eluktronics as a system builder can’t be understated, and it isn’t difficult to see such a specific device rock an entry-level price tag but harbor high-end components.
Fitting a desktop-grade processor inside of a laptop is impressive, and it gets even better when that laptops costs much less. The N850HP6 Pro-X competes with the likes of Acer’s Predator Helios 300 and the Razer Blade 15, both featuring the latest 8th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs. If you need a stay-at-home laptop for gaming and complex productivity, the Pro-X is worth a long look.
Perhaps describing the N850HP6 Pro-X as a desktop replacement is a bit too fitting for its design, but that is how close it gets to desktop-grade performance. In a way, the black sturdy construction looks better than most gaming laptops we’ve tested before, with a great contrast to the RGB keyboard lighting. The laptop is clad in a plastic frame, which looks cool for those who don’t fancy the curves in Asus’ ROG Series.
It measures 1.17 by 10.51 by 14.88 inches and weighs 5.9 pounds, making it just barely portable, to maybe affirm the right of it being a laptop, but packs immense power, enough ports and expansion options. Eluktronics has designed the N850HP6 Pro-X so that it can grow with you, with a few optional upgrades, like memory and storage. This is a nice thought, only that you can’t upgrade the graphics card, unless you opt for an external graphics card.
Inputs and Connectivity
As you open the laptop, you’re greeted by a gorgeous 1080p display. Right below the screen is a full-size keyboard that doesn’t add anything special. Firstly, the keyboard doesn’t seem to take the entire width of the computer. The result is a group of keys smashed together, albeit the fully customizable RGB color backlighting. You can easily change the key backlight to your taste, but it still isn’t the best for work and play.
The touchpad is good to use, slightly recessed to the left, and we’re fine with the Pro-X using buttons for the touchpad instead of a clickpad. The tracking surface is fairly small for my liking, and with all the room available on the palm rest, we expected it to be bigger or even afford a fingerprint sensor.
Remember, this is a desktop replacement laptop, meaning that it is stuffed with all the ports you might need, including two mini DisplayPort slots, one HDMI and one USB 3.1 Type-C, one USB 2.0, two USB 3.0, a headphone jack, SD Card reader and Ethernet port. Wireless connectivity comes via dual-band AC 8265 and Bluetooth 4.2.
Display and Audio
If there is one thing we must applaud Eluktronics (and its supplier LG) is the laptop screen. In as much as its only 1080p, it is an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel, and just the correct size to display all content correctly on this generation’s graphics processors. We expected 4K resolutions here, but its better to have a true 1080p experience than a falsified 4K resolution on a TN panel. For watching movies or playing games, the contents are rendered accurately and appear sharp on this screen.
The speakers are not the best, not any better than what you’d find on an iPhone 7 though they get the job done. They aren’t the best choice for a 15-inch laptop meant for gaming and media consumption, only that we have to accept a few compromises for the sake of performance.
The Eluktronics N850 can be configured with a variety of components. Our review unit, the Eluktronics N850HP6 Pro-X is configured with a 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.8GHz) quad-core processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB VRAM), 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD expandable through an empty 2.5” HDD/SSD slot. With this configuration, the Pro-X is a dynamo, when it comes to Full HD gaming.
Similarly, it is a monster when it comes to processing power, if it were anything else we would be straight-up angry. Of course, with a desktop-level Core i7 processor and the latest mobile Nvidia graphics card, this laptop chews through anything you throw at it. If you look at the spec sheet, this laptop would make about as good of a workstation as it does as a gaming machine, though some demanding tasks may demand for Quadro graphics.
At any rate, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB) graphics card will deliver beyond 60 framers per second (fps) frame rates at Ultra settings in most –if not all– of the latest PC games at 1080p. While it does put forward strong performance, it doesn’t overlap rival laptops outfitted with the same graphics and cost the same or less.
Modern titles are playable at 1080p, only that it doesn’t perform much well at 4K resolutions. For example, Far Cry 5 played at high settings yields 68 fps, and 64 fps in ultra-settings; and Fortnite (2018) played at the same settings yields 105 fps (high) and 82 fps (ultra), but playability drops to 23 fps in 4K UHD. All said, one thing you won’t have to worry about this laptop for at least a few years is its performance –both on games and productivity tasks.
If you came to this gaming laptop review expecting some good news on battery life, we are sorry it doesn’t happen on these sides. Let’s face it, keeping those overclockable components cool and running the GPUs obviously requires lots of power. The 6-cell 62WHr battery will deliver anything between 3 to 4 hours, though it now common to see laptops like the MSI GS65 Stealth THIN-051 with similar power levels push 6 hours or more.
The Bottom Line
Most definitely the gaming laptop of your dreams, the Eluktronics N850HP6 Pro-X does have enough firepower to handle most demanding AAA games in the market, and because it is a desktop replacement laptop, it has the expansion ability as you’d want. It also has its share of glaring deficiencies, the biggest being the cramped keyboard, which we think is bad enough for everyday tasks let alone gaming. The only reprieve is to get an external gaming keyboard and mouse –they never cost much, though.
However, to be fair here: in most cases, you tend to get what you pay for. With a sub-$1500 price tag, the Pro-X delivers more than you’re paying for, and we can’t ask for a lot especially when this system comes with an impressive set of components. If you’re a hardcore gamer with hardcore demands, simply look elsewhere. But if you’re on a budget and just getting into PC gaming, and willing to overlook a few things, the Eluktronics N850HP6 Pro-X is an option worth considering.
Eluktronics N850HP6 Pro-X
The Eluktronics N850HP6 Pro-X does have enough firepower to handle most demanding AAA games in the market, and because it is a desktop replacement laptop, it has the expansion ability as you’d want, and cost less than competitors.
- Decent gaming performance for price
- Rocks Full HD gaming
- Middling keyboard
- Too much travel on trackpad
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