Schenker XMG P502 review
15.6 in 1,920x1,080 display, 3.1kg, 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM, 8.00GB RAM, 814GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Not familiar with Schenker laptops? Unless you’ve spent time in Germany, you probably haven’t. The brand has only just made its way to the UK, so we took a look at one of its top-end systems to see what it could do. The XMG P502 can be configured up to an eye-watering £3,000, but we’ve taken a more sensible approach, opting for a mid-range setup that costs £1380. You get a lot for your money, including a quad-core Intel i7 processor, SSD and hard disk storage, Blu-ray playback, a 1080p display and seriously powerful dedicated graphics.
The Core i7-3610QM runs each of its four cores at 2.3GHz, but it can use Intel’s Turbo Boost technology to reach a hefty 3.3GHz in certain applications. It also supports Hyper-Threading, so Windows sees eight processor cores. This, along with 8GB of RAM, helped the P502 achieve an impressive 89 overall in our multimedia benchmarks. That’s only 10 per cent behind a full desktop PC, so you’ll have no trouble running applications, even heavily multithreaded ones such as video-editing applications. The only downside to this much power is the way it affects battery life. The P502 only managed a little over three hours away from the mains in our light-use test, and less than an hour when playing games.
As this is primarily a gaming laptop, Schenker has opted for a powerful dedicated graphics chip. The GeForce GTX 675M is Nvidia’s second fastest laptop GPU, which has 2GB of dedicated video memory and access to a further 2GB of system memory should it need it. After scoring an amazing 113.6fps in our standard Dirt 3 laptop test, we eagerly cranked our gaming benchmarks up to their maximum settings and ran them again to put the P502 through its paces. Even at 1080p with 16x anti-aliasing and all details set to Ultra, it still breezed through with an impeccable 45.58fps. Our ultra-demanding Crysis 2 test is normally used to test desktop graphics cards, but the GTX 675 put in an impressive performance, averaging 23.6fps. Without anti-aliasing, you’ll be able to play most modern titles at 1080p, and have no trouble playing at 720p.
A low-resolution screen wouldn’t suit the graphics card, so the addition of a Full HD display is welcome. Its 15.6in size is a perfect match for the 1,920x1,080 panel, which makes everything look pin-sharp without forcing you to squint at unreadable text. There’s more than enough room to open two documents or browser sessions side-by-side, or watch Blu-ray films at their native resolution. It isn’t perfect, as the TN panel suffers from colour shift at anything more than a face-on viewing angle, but there’s plenty of screen tilt and the matt finish prevents light reflections becoming too distracting.
In everyday use, the P502 fared very well. You can’t make a gaming laptop these days without adding a backlit keyboard, and Schenker has obliged, equipping the XMG P502 with blue LED lighting. Due to the almost complete proliferation of Chiclet-style keyboards, you might need a few moments to familiarise yourself with the traditional layout used here, as there’s very little space between neighbouring keys. However, each one is springy, with just the right amount of travel and tactile feedback. We had no problems using it to type this review. There’s also very little flex in the keyboard tray and you get a full-size numeric keypad for faster data entry.
The rather compact touchpad felt cramped when navigating the desktop at 1080p because it isn’t sensitive enough to cover it completely in one swipe. You can change this on the settings page of the touchpad driver, but it’s no replacement for a larger touchpad. It’s made of the same rubberised plastic as the rest of the chassis, but is smooth to the touch and doesn’t create unwanted friction. Sadly, we’re not too keen on the placement of the fingerprint reader because it means the touchpad buttons are half the size they could have been.