Friday, December 3, 2021

XPG Xenia 15 KC (2021) review: Huge performance gains and some new features make this high-end laptop a winner

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ADATA’s enterprise into the world of Ultrabooks and gaming laptops that started a few years with the XPG model has delivered several beautiful gadgets. I ultimately liked the XPG Xenia 14 as a lightweight productiveness possibility, and the unique XPG Xenia 15 (2020) gaming laptop was a superb basis on which the corporate may construct.

I now have a number of the firm’s continued progress in hand for testing; the XPG Xenia 15 KC for 2021 is again with up-to-date efficiency hardware, contemporary ports, a brand new show, and extra. I have been utilizing it for a few weeks to see the place it excels and whether or not or not it is price your cash.

XPG Xenia 15 KC: Value, availability, and specs

XPG equipped Home windows Central with an evaluation unit of the Xenia 15 KC gaming laptop computer refreshed for 2021. This may be thought-about the second laptop computer technology, and it comes with fairly some upgrades. Our evaluation unit has inside an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11800H processor (CPU), delivering significantly higher efficiency than the ninth Gen Intel Core i7 within the 2020 mannequin.

The 2021 mannequin once more has a twin 16GB stick of RAM for a complete of 32GB, but it has indeed’s been upgraded to DDR4-3200MHz from DDR4-2666MHz. RAM is upgradeable after buying. As for storage, XPG has moved to its personal Gammix S70 PCIe 4. A Zero drive sized at 1TB. There’s an additional M.2 slot obtainable if you would like to add storage, and the factory-installed purpose is accessible for upgrades.

Graphics have been bumped as much as an NVIDIA RTX 3070 Laptop computer GPU, an improvement over the RTX 2070 Max-Q card within the 2020 mannequin. One main closing distinction is the show. Now you can take pleasure in a 1440p image with a 165Hz refresh charge, up from 1080p with a 144Hz refresh charge.

This mannequin prices about $2,400 and is accessible at Amazon. That is about $1,000 greater than the earlier mannequin, although the upgrades to efficiency {hardware}, show, and options do not come and not use a value.

Following are the precise specs as discovered within the evaluation unit.

OSHome windows 10 Dwelling
Processor11th Gen IntelCore i7-11800H8 cores, 16 threads
RAM32GB (2x16GB)XPG DDR4-3200MHz
GraphicsNVIDIA RTX 3070 Laptop computer
Storage1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0XPG Gammix S70Additional M.2 slot
Show15.6 inches2560x1440 (QHD)165Hz refresh rate IPS, Matte
PortsThunderbolt 4Three USB-A 3.2 (Gen 2)HDMI 2.1EthernetSD card reader3.5mm audio
AudioTwin audio system
Wi-fiIntel AX201 Wi-Fi 6Bluetooth 5.2
Digital cameraEntrance-facing 720pIR digital camera for Home windows Hiya
KeyboardOptical mechanicalPer-key RGB
Dimensions14 x 9.2 x 0.eight inches(356mm x 234mm x 21mm)
Weight4.2 kilos (1.94kg)
MaterialsMagnesium alloy

XPG Xenia 15 KC: Design and options

The Xenia 15 KC (2021) is quite a bit, just like the earlier 2020 mannequin. It utilizes a Tongfang reference design for the chassis, with a matte black end and magnesium alloy building. There’s not an entire lot of flash; however, that is OK for lots of people. An XPG brand on the lid and a customizable RGB mild bar alongside the entrance edge are essentially the most you may get when the laptop computer is closed. It nonetheless weighs in at around 4 kilos and has identical dimensions because of the older mannequin.

The USB-C port has been upgraded to Thunderbolt 4 for higher efficiency, and all three USB-A ports are 3.2 (Gen 2). HDMI 2.1 is now included for higher video output, and you continue to get Ethernet, 3.5mm audio, and an SD card reader. The extra everlasting ports — HDMI, Ethernet, Thunderbolt, and energy — nonetheless reside on the again fringe of the laptop computer for simpler cable administration, with USB-A, 3.5mm audio, and SD card reader living on the edges. For added safety, there is a Kensington lock slot.

Opening the laptop computer reveals an optical, mechanical keyboard with per-key RGB lighting that is customizable by onboard Intel NUC Software program Studio. It is primarily the identical keyboard as on the 2020 mannequin, and I nonetheless take pleasure in it for gaming and productiveness work. Full-size arrow keys, an Fn-accessible quantity pad, and devoted nav keys are all appreciated. After spending a little bit of time with the keyboard, I discovered that you need to strike the middle of a number of the bigger keys (Shift, Tab, House) to get them to actuate. It isn’t dangerous, but it indeed takes some getting used to.

As for the Precision touchpad, it is a terrific various to a gaming mouse when you must get some work performed. It is giant, the glass floor is clean, and it tracks correctly. Even a double-tap toggle within the nook means that you can shortly allow and disable the touchpad when gaming.

There’s no digital camera shutter for further privateness; however an IR sensor for Home windows Hiya makes a return. This is not one thing you see on lots of gaming laptops; however, it’s appreciated. The front-facing 720p digital camera does an OK job for standard video conferencing. However, when you’re planning on a profession streaming video games, one thing from our best webcam roundup will fare a lot better.

A single speaker is located on each side of the laptop computer. As an alternative to being strictly down-firing, the chassis now has other cutouts to assist get sound up and away from the laptop computer. The audio system works tremendously for casual gaming when not each footstep must be heard clearly; however, I do not anticipate being wowed. Fan noise does intrude with audio when the laptop computer is below full load.

Total, I nonetheless just like the design of this laptop computer. It is understated, it is pretty mild contemplating what’s all contained inside, and the port format is sensible. One factor I do not like is the inclusion of aspect exhaust vents; they will blow scorching air onto your mouse hand whether or not you are a lefty or a righty. I do not assume eradicating them is possible because the laptop computer is too skinny for just a few exhaust vents alongside the after the ports. You may put up with one thing when cramming a lot of efficiency into a slender physique.

XPG Xenia 15 KC: Show

The Xenia 15 KC now sports extra pixels for its 15.6-inch show with a bump of 2560×1440 (QHD) from 1920×1080 (FHD). The IPS panel has a matte end that does a superb job of slicing out glare, and the pretty slim bezel helps give it a contemporary look. The 16:9 side ratio is a bit stale, but it surely’s nonetheless what most individuals choose for gaming.

The Xenia 15’s QHD show is a step up for anyone who needs one thing extra-crisp than 1080p.

NVIDIA’s G-Sync know-how could be a giant addition; however, sadly, it is nonetheless omitted. You possibly can join the laptop computer to a G-Sync exterior show for all the advantages, so try our assortment of the best gaming monitors when you’re searching for one thing to pair with the Xenia 15. The refresh charge is ready at 165Hz, achievable in many video games at 1440p with the RTX 3070 Laptop computer GPU. Video games look nice on the show, and a selection of shade presets are obtainable in Intel’s NUC software program for additional customization.

Moreover, Intel’s Graphics Command Heart permits for per-color tweaks for brightness, in addition to saturation, hue, and distinction sliders that can assist you in getting the precise image you need. The show regarded OK out of the field; however, I had it trying quite a bit higher after a pair of minutes of tweaking.

Measuring brightness, I repurchased 338 nits at peak and simply eight nits on the lowest level. After hours, this helps with gaming when you do not wish to burn your retinas—as for shade accuracy, measuring with a SpyderX Professional colorimeter revealed 100% sRGB, 78% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. These astounding numbers lead to a terrific image regardless of the sport you are taking part in.

As for response time, it sits someplace across the 6ms to 7ms mark. That may not work for aggressive gaming; the place response time is essential; however, in any other case, it must be tremendous for many avid gamers.

XPG Xenia 15 KC: Gaming

Intel’s NUC software program on the Xenia 15 KC is a giant step up from the proprietary Prime software program on the 2020 Xenia 15 mannequin. It provides extra management over the system with additional stability and a different intuitive UI. Inside, you may regulate battery cost limits, show presets (with shade, distinction, and brightness sliders), and keyboard and light-weight bar RGB colors and presets. There’s also somewhat some efficiency tuning obtainable, although do not anticipate straightforward overclocking without entering into the BIOS.

The Xenia 15 KC has a wise change after the facility button that allows you to toggle energy profiles on the fly without using an app. It is a helpful addition; however, I was curious to see if XPG had carried out any form of more profound energy administration to assist in thermal throttling, one thing the 2020 mannequin suffered from. The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, for instance, intelligently balances energy to the CPU and GPU to stop thermal throttling. You continue to get decreased system efficiency; however, at the least, the PC is aware of what is going on and might higher take care of it to maximize efficiency.

The Xenia 15 KC’s Balanced energy mode provides a ton of efficiency with no thermal throttling.

With the laptop computer on AC energy and set to Efficiency mode (although followers set to Customary mode to scale back noise), I ran a 15-minute stress test with AIDA64 utilizing each CPU and GPU. The CPU averaged 87 levels Celsius, pulling in about 45W at a clock pace of around 3.2GHz. The GPU averaged 87 levels Celsius and pulled in about 92W at a clock pace of about 1.58GHz.

With followers working on Customary mode, I measured about 54 decibels of sound. On Efficiency fan mode, that climbs to about 64 decibels. Not precisely quiet. On this test, AIDA64 measured fixed throttling between 5% and 30% attributable to warmth. There wasn’t an enormous change between Balanced and Efficiency fan modes when it comes to thermal throttling.

XPG’s Balanced energy mode cuts down on warmth, but it surely additionally saps a number of the laptop computer’s energy. After letting the laptop computer calm down, I ran the exact stress test with followers set to Customary and power charged to Balanced. The CPU averaged 78 levels Celsius and ran at 36W with a clock of about 3.1GHz. The GPU averaged 80 levels Celsius whereas pulling in 70W with a 1.21GHz clock pace. As for fan noise, it hit about 47 decibels. There was utterly no thermal throttling on this test; Balanced means balanced.

Regardless of the throttling in Efficiency mode — which loads of trendy gaming laptops undergo — the Xenia 15 KC is a natural performer in benchmarks and real-world gameplay. Discover how it compares to the Razer Blade 15, Blade 14, and Lenovo Legion 5 Professional. I ran these benchmarks utilizing Efficiency mode with followers set to Balanced to scale back noise.

Precise gaming efficiency is simply as spectacular. With pretty strong ray tracing talents because of the NVIDIA RTX GPU and DLSS compatibility with loads of video games, you will get satisfying gaming expertise. The QHD show appears to be pretty crisp, and you may all the time scale down in decision if you would like a more excellent framerate. I examined many demanding trendy video games to see how the Xenia 15 KC fares in real-world situations.

Be aware that I maxed the in-game settings in all checks and performed on the native QHD decision. DLSS is specified per recreation. I ran the primary set of reviews with the laptop computer on Efficiency mode (for each {hardware} and followers).

  • Far Cry 5: 93 FPS common (108 max, 81 min)
  • Pink Useless Redemption 2: 66.6 FPS common (85 max, 34 min, DLSS Auto)
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider: 95 FPS common (DLSS, DX12)

I once examined the laptop computer set to Balanced and followers set to Customary to see the distinction in real-world gameplay efficiency.

  • Far Cry 5: 84 FPS (98 max, 77 min)
  • Pink Useless Redemption 2: 59.5 FPS common (96 max, 28 min, DLSS Auto)
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider: 87 FPS common (DLSS, DX12)

As you may see from the above outcomes, there’s not an enormous dip in efficiency when you select to run the laptop computer on Balanced mode with quieter followers. For those who’re carrying a headset and do not care about noise, you may all the time eke each final body out of the {hardware}; however, a a lot quieter (and cooler) expertise is not going to destroy your enjoyable in any respect.

XPG Xenia 15 KC: Efficiency and battery

Battery life within the Xenia 15 (2020) wasn’t spectacular, and also, you should not anticipate any miracles right here, both with the 2021 model. The big 94Wh battery lasted 6 hours and 21 minutes in PCMark 10’s Fashionable Workplace rundown test. The display screen is set to 50% brightness, and the facility profile is balanced (aka Home windows 10 Higher Efficiency). No complaints with this outcome, but it indeed’s not out of the extraordinary.

Upgradeable SODIMM RAM and two M.2 SSD slots will assist preserve this laptop computer-related longer into the long run.

You would drop right down to Battery Saver mode when you’re solely going about productiveness work, which might little doubt enhance battery life by one other hour or two. Killing the RGB lighting and enabling Intel’s enhanced energy financial savings possibility within the Command Heart app would additionally profit right here.

I additionally examined gaming battery life with PCMark’s Gaming rundown test. With 50% display screen brightness and the Intel energy profile set to Balanced, the battery managed 1 hour and 53 minutes. That is pretty customary for a gaming laptop computer; when you’re planning on having some enjoyable whereas cell, remember to deliver the AC adapter.

The underside panel of the laptop computer is simple to take away with a Philips screwdriver; as soon as gone it reveals the dual-fan setup, sizable warmth pipes, and upgradeable hardware. There are two M.2 slots, one stuffed from the manufacturing facility and the opposite prepared for an improvement. The 2 SODIMM RAM slots are entrance and middle as properly for simple upgrades, as is the only M.2 slot used for the Wi-Fi 6 community card.

I ran some average benchmarks to see how the Xenia 15 KC fares for productiveness work. Discover how briskly the PCIe 4. Zero SSD is in comparison with different laptops we have examined with PCIe 3. Zero drives.

XPG Xenia 15 KC: Competitors

The Xenia 15 KC jogs my memory lots of the Razer Blade 15. The RGB mechanical-optical keyboard, the pretty slim matte black chassis, and the tremendous efficiency are all comparable. You do not get the identical high-level, customized design (XPG is utilizing a reference chassis in any case), but it indeed’s the efficiency and worth that lots of people will have a look at. In that regard, the Xenia 15 KC competes, as you may see in the earlier part’s efficiency graphs. A Blade 15 with related specs — although with 16GB of RAM and a PCIe 3. Zero SSD — prices about $200 greater than the Xenia 15 KC.

The Razer Blade 14 is a barely slighter possibility with AMD {hardware}. A mannequin with highly effective Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU, NVIDIA RTX 3070 Laptop computer GPU, 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, and 14-inch QHD show with 165Hz refresh charge prices about $2,200. Chalk that as much as the decreased value for AMD programs.

Lenovo’s Legion 5 Pro is a more substantial possibility with a 16-inch show with a 16:10 side ratio. A mannequin with AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, NVIDIA RTX 3070 Laptop computer GPU, QHD+ show with 165Hz refresh charge, 2TB SSD, and 16GB of RAM presently prices about $2,080 at Lenovo. That is a terrific deal; however, Lenovo’s costs usually fluctuate.

Lastly, the HP Omen 15 is an improbable possibility when you’re seeking to preserve costs down. A mannequin with AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, NVIDIA RTX 3060 Laptop computer GPU, 15-inch QHD show with 165Hz refresh charge, 512GB SSD, and 16GB of RAM prices about $1,700. You will not get pretty as a lot of energy out of the RTX 3060; however, saving $700 may simply price it.

Make sure to take a look at our assortment of the best gaming laptops if none of those are fairly what you are searching for.

Must you purchase the XPG Xenia 15 KC?

Who it is for

  • Those that need a ton of high-end efficiency with NVIDIA DLSS and ray tracing.
  • Those that choose the crisp look of a 1440p (QHD) show.
  • Those like the texture of a mechanical optical keyboard (and the look of per-key RGB lighting).
  • Those that can spend greater than $2,000 on a brand new laptop computer.

Who it is not for

  • Those that do not thoughts a 1080p (FHD) show for higher framerates and decreased value.
  • Those that want a productive laptop computer with prolonged battery life.
  • Those that want to persist with sound finances.

The Xenia 15 KC for 2021 builds enormously on the unique mannequin we first noticed final yr. The 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11800H and NVIDIA RTX 3070 Laptop computer GPU shred, and although there’s some thermal throttling within the uncapped Efficiency mode, the Balanced energy setting does a terrific job of preserving issues extraordinary without harming performance in any appreciable method.

A PCIe 4. Zero SSD is not one thing you discover in many laptops, and the unbelievable pace is appreciated. Load instances and transfers will not be a problem. You possibly can improve the SSD (or add a second drive to an extra M.2 slot), and you may enhance the dual-channel SODIMM RAM with relative ease after eradicating the underside panel. The chassis itself does not stand out in any effective method, which lots of people can recognize. It is pretty lightweight, skinny, and has ports alongside the again for simpler cable administration. Thunderbolt Four is a superb addition, as is HDMI 2.1.

The optical, mechanical keyboard has a satisfying feel and sound, plus the per-key RGB lighting offers the laptop computer some aptitude. There’s some discrepancy in actuation; however, I used to get used to the strain required after several days. Many gaming laptops have trouble with safety measures; however, the Xenia 15 brings an IR digital camera for Home windows Hiya and a Kensington lock slot.

Gaming on the QHD show is clean because of the 165Hz refresh charge. Coloration correct within the sRGB varies, and there are many tweaks obtainable through the onboard software program. The response time won’t be low sufficient for some aggressive avid gamers; however, in any other case, you must take pleasure in it every time you open the lid.

The Xenia 15 KC’s worth is aggressive, with different high-end choices on the market. As is evident in our testing, its efficiency can sustain (and even surpass) dearer laptops. For those who’re planning on spending greater than $2,000 on a brand new gaming laptop computer, positively give this one some critical thought.

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