PC Specialist Vortex IV X780 Laptop Review
Published: 23rd September 2013 | Source: PC Specialist | Price: £1449 |
Brand identity is an important thing to the average consumer, after all how else can you explain the endless demand for the iPhone when it's clearly inferior to the Android offerings? The PC Specialist Vortex IV X780 is almost the antithesis of that quest for something which will elicit knowing nods from passers by. That's why we're here, to give you the information to ensure that at the very least you nod in appreciation
This devotion to internal brilliance at the expense of external flair appears the moment you take the box out of the packaging. A plain brown cardboard box greets you with nothing beyond the "Notebook Computer" text to hint at what lays within. Once you free the Vortex IV X780 from its packaging you're even less likely to jump for joy. Completely devoid of any branding or stickers, the plain black plastic shell is restrained to the point of asceticism. Normally we don't mind the understated and there is some kudos to be given to the company for taking the stealthy approach, except the case is also bordering on flimsy. We're not suggesting that it would break, but every time we lifted the display our heart was in our mouth. It doesn't inspire confidence, although it works perfectly well.
The only thing as meagre as the outward appearance is the price. So whilst the externals are sombre, the internals are stunning. There is no doubt that every last penny of the relatively tiny asking price has gone towards the hardware, and what a collection it is. The i7-4700MQ is a 4th Generation Intel Haswell CPU, and has plenty of grunt. That's backed up by 16GB of very quick CAS9 Kingston RAM, with 25GB/s of bandwidth. Storage is handled by a Kingston V300 SSD which is more about read speeds than write speed, but still doesn't bottleneck the system, and finally the graphics are handled by the GTX780M which was relentless in every benchmark we threw at it. Even the stern image quality settings we tested with weren't enough to phase it, and anything that can give nearly 60FPS in BioShock Infinite has to make you sit up and take notice.
The cooling worked well under these heavy loadings too, with the Vortex IV X780 no warmer than similar gaming laptops, and the fans aren't deafening either. The sound quality from the Onkyo speakers is great in the midrange, although we found them a little lacking in crisp bass, but by no means intolerable. The keyboard is a joy to type on. Not only is the customisable lighting fun to play with and, because of the all-black case you can use any colour you like and it will look good, but the actual tactile typing feel is very good too. The screen on our review model was the matte option which we greatly prefer, and the colour definition was good with little ghosting in games, except in very rare extreme contrast scenarios.
Of course the other attractive part of the Vortex IV X780, after that low price and high performance, is the amount of customisation you can do to the hardware. There are a massive amount of options from PC Specialist, and you can configure it with anything from a i5-4300M dual-core and GTX770M up to i7-4930MX and a nVidia GTX780M and everything in-between. This truly is a laptop that would suit all pockets, but we think that the setup of our review sample is the sweet spot of price and performance. It's considerably cheaper than anything with an equivalent specification, and the performance is exceptional in every scenario.
This is unquestionably a laptop that is more enjoyable to use than to look at. Once it's open and on your lap the modest and rather cheap casing ceases to be an issue and you can bask in the power that's on tap. You're paying a very reasonable price and in return getting very definition of a plain looker with a Nobel Prize brain. For the jaw-dropping performance at a cost that makes your bank manager happy, the PC Specialist Vortex IV X780 is a very worthy winner of our OC3D Performance Award.