Gaming laptops are set to be even more affordable this year.
Graphics chipmaker Nvidia announced last month that its GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti graphics chips, which are targeted at the mainstream segment, will be in more than 30 budget laptop designs shipping in the first quarter of this year.
Among them is the 15.6-inch Aftershock MX-15 Elite, which comes with a GTX 1050 Ti and the latest Intel 7th-generation mobile processor. All for just $1,702, compared with over $2,000 for the typical gaming laptop.
Aftershock has installed these new PC components in a brand- new laptop chassis design. Given its price point, the Elite is unsurprisingly made of plastic, though the build is decent enough.
At 2.5kg, the Elite is around the same weight as most of the Aftershock's 15-inch models.
The rear looks sporty but, overall, the Elite is relatively plain for a gaming machine. You can, however, spruce it up with a custom paint job from Aftershock.
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.8GHz)
GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB GDDR5
RAM: 8GB DDR4
SCREEN SIZE: 15.6 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, HDMI, 2 x mini-DisplayPort, Ethernet port, SD card slot, audio jacks
BATTERY: 47 watt-hour
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
Most of the laptop's ports and connectors are on the left, including two mini-DisplayPort and an HDMI port.
I find this arrangement more convenient than the other way round as, being right-handed, my mouse is usually on the right.
The keyboard backlight supports the full RGB spectrum, which means you can pick from over 16 million colours. There are three distinct lighting zones that can be customised to show different colours.
More importantly, the keys feel tactile with decent key travel. The included Control Center software also lets you disable the touchpad and the Windows logo key so that you will not accidentally hit them while gaming.
Despite its mainstream pricing, Aftershock did not skimp on the display. Its 1,920 x 1,080 pixels matte screen is an in-plane switching display with wide viewing angles. It looks vibrant and bright, though without the Nvidia G-Sync feature found on the more expensive Aftershock S-15 model.
The Elite that I tested was an early version used for demonstration purposes. It proved to be good enough for running the latest games at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.
In Doom, the laptop produced 57 frames per second (fps) at Ultra setting. The laptop also ran Crysis 3 at around 43fps at Very High setting. This is similar to what I got on a gaming laptop with a GeForce GTX 970M.
Its overall system score of 2,816 in the PCMark Home benchmark, which tests typical computing tasks, is slightly higher than 7th-generation Intel Core-powered ultrabooks like the ZenBook 3 (2,786).
The cooling fan was fairly audible when the laptop was running a game. It was not excessively noisy, so it should be fine for most users, especially if you are using a gaming headset.
Aftershock says that temperatures for the graphics chip peak at 80 deg C.
As a result, the bottom of the laptop gets warm, but not toasty.
In addition to the Elite version reviewed here, Aftershock offers a standard MX-15 that comes with a slower GTX 1050 graphics card and is priced at $1,585.
•Verdict: The Aftershock MX-15 Elite will not win any prizes for its performance or looks, but it is good enough to run the latest games.