Gaming

Vapor 15 Pro offers good value for money

The Vapor 15 Pro is the latest slim and light gaming notebook from local PC builder Aftershock. Designed in collaboration with chip giant Intel, the Vapor offers serious horsepower in a portable 1.87kg package.

In fact, it is touted as the world's lightest GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q laptop. This is achieved with a magnesium-alloy chassis and a compact design with narrow screen bezels.

Build quality is excellent and there is hardly any flex when pushing down on the palm rest or keyboard. The lid opens in a single fluid motion and can be operated with one hand.

The Vapor has everything you would expect in a high-end gaming laptop. Besides its Nvidia graphics chip, it has Intel's latest Core i7 processor, 16GB of system memory and a 512GB solid-state drive.

Its 1,920 x 1,080-pixel screen boasts a high refresh rate of 144Hz that is optimised for gaming. Colours are vivid and appear to be accurate. The screen is bright enough at maximum brightness to be visible under direct overhead lighting while the display's matte finish helps reduce reflections.

It offers plenty of connectivity options, including a Thunderbolt 3 port and an SD card reader. It has an infrared camera for Windows Hello face recognition. It also supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard for over-Gigabit wireless speeds with a compatible router.

It has an RGB backlit keyboard. It supports per-key RGB customisations and has four levels of brightness for the backlight.

It is not an island-style keyboard, so there is less spacing between individual keys. It was not a problem for me and I like the extra key travel distance provided by the keyboard's mechanical switches. Those who prefer island-style keyboards may need some time to adjust.

  • FOR 

    • Lightweight magnesium-alloy chassis 

    • Good build quality 

    • Runs cool for a slim gaming notebook 

    • Good value for money

  • AGAINST 

    • Large power brick 

    • Keyboard takes some getting used to

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $2,799

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

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

    RAM: 16GB DDR4

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

    CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet port, SD card reader, audio jacks

    BATTERY: 94 watt-hour

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4.5/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4.5/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3.5/5

    OVERALL: 4.5/5

A dedicated button lets users switch among Battery Saver, Balanced and Performance modes, which affect power consumption and gaming performance.

In my testing, the Balanced and Performance modes differ significantly, with an around 50 per cent drop in performance when switching from Performance to Balanced.

Hence, games were tested using the Performance mode. The Vapor was more than capable here, producing 89 frames per second (fps) in Far Cry 5 at Ultra setting, which is comparable with the similarly configured Lenovo Legion Y740. In short, the Vapor will run most games at a smooth 60fps and higher, at its native resolution.

Even while running games, its palm rest and keyboard never felt too warm, unlike other slim gaming laptops like the Razer Blade 15. The noise from the cooling fans are tolerable at top speed too.

Its battery life is great in Balanced mode. It lasted almost five hours at maximum screen brightness in PCMark's battery benchmark, which ran the laptop in scenarios related to office activities, video playback and gaming.

At $2,799, the Vapor is significantly cheaper than its rivals, such as the Razer Blade 15, while offering a lighter chassis, longer battery life and additional features such as a mechanical keyboard and a memory card reader.

In other words, the Vapor gives the most mileage for your money for a portable gaming notebook.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2019, with the headline 'Vapor 15 Pro offers good value for money'. Print Edition | Subscribe