Tech review: Aftershock Terra 15 is a capable and wallet-friendly gaming laptop

Aftershock Terra 15 gaming laptop.
Aftershock Terra 15 gaming laptop.PHOTO: AFTERSHOCK

The orange accents and LED strips of the Terra 15 gaming laptop - an extroverted look that departs from Aftershock's usual minimalist designs - are unlikely to cause a stir among gamers used to flashier designs.

But gamers will appreciate that the local PC builder continues to price its products competitively.

My review set - which came with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of system memory and a high-end GeForce RTX 2070 graphics chip (maximum performance variant) - is priced at $2,499.

In comparison, rivals that sport the slower GeForce RTX 2060 graphics chip cost around $2,500 to $2,700.

Aftershock also has more affordable variants of the Terra 15 that come with a less powerful graphics chip. A model with a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics chip starts at $1,699, while one with a GeForce RTX 2060 costs $1,925.

In addition to having better specifications than similarly priced gaming notebooks, the Terra 15 also has very good build quality.

In fact, it feels sturdier than its stablemates that I have tested in the past. There is hardly any flex when pressing down on the laptop's keyboard, due to the use of aluminium panels in the laptop lid and palm rest.

It has a black metallic finish, which has a downside - the laptop, especially the lid, quickly becomes smeared with fingerprints and other stains.

If you find the LEDs an eyesore, they - as well as the keyboard backlight - can be turned off with a couple of clicks in the Control Centre app.

This app is also used to configure the keyboard backlight, but the Terra offers only four different lighting zones, not the per-key backlight customisation offered by some gaming notebooks.

The keyboard feels bouncy and offers good key travel. The laptop's 15-inch chassis allows for a numeric keypad on the right, though these number keys are slightly thinner than other keys.

 
 
 
 

About half of the laptop base is taken up by meshed ventilation holes to allow cool air to be sucked in by two large fans. Warm air exits from vents at the sides and rear of the laptop.

Hence, this laptop actually is cool enough when running to be placed on the lap.

But, like most gaming notebooks, the zone between the keyboard and the screen becomes very warm while the laptop is running a game.

Setting the cooling fans to their maximum speed of 7,200 revolutions a minute helps with the heat dissipation, but the fans become extremely noisy.

In the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark, the Terra 15 scored 7,466, which is slightly higher than the 7,250 managed by last year's Aftershock Nova 15, which has an identical graphics chip but an older Intel processor.

Both laptops produced similar frame rates in games. For instance, the Terra 15 scored 114 frames per second (fps) in Crysis 3 at very high settings, while the Nova 15 scored 109fps.

Like most gaming notebooks, the Terra 15 has poor battery life despite having a sizeable 64 watt-hour battery.

In a video-loop battery test, it lasted two hours and five minutes with the screen at maximum brightness.

The Aftershock Terra 15 is a step up from the firm's other models in terms of design, cooling and build quality, while being just as competitively priced.

FOR

• Value for money

• Sturdy and well-made

• Good cooling system

AGAINST

• Fans can be loud at high speeds

• Lacks per-key backlighting

SPECS

PRICE: $2,499

PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-9750H (2.6GHz)

GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDDR6 (Max-P)

RAM: 16GB DDR4

SCREEN SIZE: 15.6 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

CONNECTIVITY: 3 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, Ethernet port, audio jack

BATTERY: 64 watt-hour

RATING

FEATURES: 4/5

DESIGN:4/5

PERFORMANCE: 4/5

VALUE FOR MONEY: 4.5/5

BATTERY LIFE: 2/5

OVERALL: 4/5