Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Scan 3XS LG15 Vengeance G-Sync

Scan 3XS LG15 Vengeance G-Sync

Scan’s LG15 Vengeance is presented in a big, Clevo-manufactured chassis. The main external surfaces (excluding the plastic underside) are metal, and resting on this material is comfortable, although it also smudges easily and the edges are a little sharp. This laptop is also both the heaviest and thickest machine on test, although it’s still a far cry away from standard, beefier gaming laptops.

It’s the screen that really makes this laptop shine though. It’s another 1080p panel, but with one big difference – Nvidia’s G-Sync tech, which is fantastic, eliminating tearing and stuttering artefacts from games. Frame rates between 30-60fps are pretty much standard for a gaming laptop at this price, which our results show very clearly, and this range is where G-Sync is most effective. It isn’t a feature to be underestimated or understated; it makes a big difference to the visual quality of games, which you’ll appreciate in every session. The screen holds up well in terms of image quality too, producing the best colour accuracy and gamma results on test.

There’s a powerful selection of hardware as well, although nothing that isn’t seen elsewhere on test. The Core i7-6700HQ CPU is accompanied by 16GB of DDR4 memory and a GeForce GTX 980M GPU. For storage, there’s a 256GB Samsung NVMe SSD paired with a 1TB hard disk, with a second, spare M.2 slot inside the chassis.

Meanwhile, the Scan’s connection options match those of the PC Specialist and XMG systems, both of which also use Clevo chassis. One of the four USB 3 ports is located at the back, which is no big deal since the rest, along with all the other ports, are sidemounted. The lack of HDMI 2 and USB 3.1 loses the Scan a few points, however. Then there’s the smooth touchpad, which is joined by two separated buttons, although they feel cheap and plastic. Still, the action itself isn’t too bad, and the keyboard is fine too. Like the other Clevo models, the Scan’s keyboard also has five adjustable white backlight settings.

You really can’t argue with the performance on offer from the Scan either. The overall RealBench result is the highest on test this month, and the same is true of all three games tests as well, where the closest rival, from Gigabyte, drops a few frames per second, as it can’t boost its GPU frequency as far as the Scan. The Scan’s GPU can’t quite maintain peak frequencies all the time, but we only ever saw it dip by 30MHz or so.

The noise output when gaming isn’t bad either – it’s clearly audible but not excessively loud. However, while this laptop is quiet when idling, it’s not inaudible, and the fans can be heard humming away in the background, which is unfortunate but not a deal-breaker. Nearly all the warm air is evacuated through the back, but some warm air is exhausted out of the back left side, which could potentially irritate left-handed gamers from time to time.

Finally, the battery life is okay at close to the 70-minute mark, although the Gigabyte’s battery lasted an extra 20 minutes, despite having the smaller and lighter chassis. The Scan put in a comparatively poor result in PCMark 8’s battery test, though, barely scraping past two hours. This suggests that the use of Nvidia’s Battery Boost tech meant the Scan was still using the GTX 980M GPU under non-gaming workloads.

The Scan may be the biggest and weightiest laptop on test, but it still qualifies as thin and light relative to the massive size of so many gaming laptops. This size enables you to get a big 15.6in screen, plenty of power and even some upgrade potential. However, it’s G-Sync that’s the killer feature. This Labs test is very tight in terms of scores, but G-Sync, top performance and aggressive pricing sees Scan nab victory this month. That said, if you’re pursuing portability to the max, there are some great 14in models on offer too.

The largest laptop on test, but it strikes a great balance of performance, design and features, and G-Sync really helps it to shine.