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Chillblast Akira 14in Gaming Laptop review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £600
inc VAT

The Chillblast Akira is a great value laptop with good entry-level gaming performance


Processor: Dual-core 2.5GHz Intel Core i3-4100M, RAM: 4GB, Size: 339x239x29mm, Weight: 1.85kg, Screen size: 14in, Screen resolution: 1,920×1,080, Graphics adaptor: Nvidia GeForce GTX 850M, Total storage: 500GB hard disk (8GB SSD cache)

The Chillblast Akira’s chassis is plain and understated. It’s also a light laptop, weighing just 1.85kg. The lid is made from a black, brushed metal-style material, which is cool to the touch, and this material also adorns the wrist rest. Cheap, glossy plastic surrounds the keyboard and forms the screen’s bezel, which does rather take away from the otherwise reasonably attractive looks.

The keyboard tray is noticeably flimsy, with the surface under the keys flexing with every press. This makes it slightly rattly and does detract from what is an otherwise robust design. At least the keys are responsive and offer plenty of travel and tactile feedback, which is as important for keen typists as it will be for gamers. Some users may be slightly put off by the half-height return key, but we soon got used to its slightly smaller proportions.

The touchpad is small but functional, responding to taps, clicks and two-fingered gestures consistently well. While its faux-chrome buttons are certainly distinctive, they pick up fingerprints rather too keenly for our liking, meaning this shiny surface soon becomes a little messy after a few minutes of use.

Gaming performance is stellar for the price. While it won’t be able to handle the latest and most advanced games at their maximum settings, you’re unlikely to find a modern game that simply won’t run. Dirt Showdown, which is fairly representative of moderately demanding modern 3D games, managed 53.7fps running at 1,280×720 pixel resolution with High settings and 4x anti-aliasing, which is our standard laptop benchmark test. Increasing the resolution to the laptop’s native 1,920×1,080 and Ultra settings still yielded a still very playable 41.5fps. In the challenging Crysis 3, in Full HD and High settings, it returned a jerky 23.4fps. However, dropping the resolution to 1,600×900 with Medium graphics settings and ‘Low’ system spec settings, along with 2x anti aliasing brought this up to 43.5fps, which we think is a fair compromise with the game still looking reasonably good and running smoothly.

When gaming the laptop runs rather hot, which the palm rest heating up to a temperature that is almost uncomfortably warm. This is something to bear in mind if you’re going to be gaming using the keyboard instead of a USB model. You’ll need to make sure you keep the left edge of the laptop clear of any obstructions, as a stream of hot air is constantly being ejected from the vent.

The Akira comes equipped with the dual-core Intel Core i3-4100M processor. This mid-range processor is clocked at 2.5GHz and uses Hyper-Threading technology to turn the two physical cores into four virtual cores for better multitasking performance. It scored 63 in photo conversion benchmarking test, which challenges single core performance, dropping to 47 for video conversion and 45 for multitasking, giving it an overall score of 49. This is great performance for a laptop at this price.

There’s only 4GB of RAM, which may not be enough for some games or applications, but you can upgrade to 8GB on the Chillblast website for an extra £30, which would be a sound investment. A 500GB hard disk should provide enough storage for most people, plus it has an 8GB SSD cache to speed up boot times and application load times.

For an off-the-shelf chassis, the Akira’s screen is pretty good. It covers 89.3 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut, meaning it’s able to display most colours with a surprising degree of accuracy. We measured fairly high contrast levels of 1,217:1 and saw low black levels of 0.26cd/m2. As a result, overall image quality is pleasing, with plenty of detail visible in darker images and games. The screen has a matt coating, so it’s legible under bright artificial lights and outdoor conditions. The downside to this matt coating is that it puts a slightly messy-looking grain over the screen that’s particularly noticeable when viewing lighter colours such as off-white and yellow.

Battery life isn’t great, with our light use rundown test finishing the Akira off in 4h 41m. It’s a shame it isn’t longer, but it’s not a huge surprise given that the chassis and battery pack are unbranded, off-the-shelf items. If you’re going to be gaming on the move, battery life will be substantially worse, so you should always carry the charger with you.

We’re impressed with the Chillblast Akira. It manages to squeeze good gaming performance and decent processor speed into a 14in chassis at an attractive price. If you want a general-purpose laptop for work but don’t want to sacrifice gaming ability, this is a great choice.

Core specs
ProcessorDual-core 2.5GHz Intel Core i3-4100M
Memory slots (free)1(1)
Max memory8GB
SoundRealtek HD Audio (3.5mm headphone and microphone ports)
Pointing deviceTouchpad
Screen size14in
Screen resolution1,920×1,080
Graphics adaptorNvidia GeForce GTX 850M
Graphics outputsHDMI, VGA
Graphics memory2GB
Total storage500GB hard disk (8GB SSD cache)
Optical drive typeNone
Ports and expansion
USB ports2x USB3, 1x USB
Networking802.11n Wi-Fi, gigabit Ethernet
Memory card readerSDXC, MMC
Other portsNone
Operating systemWindows 8.1
Operating system restore optionRestore partition
Buying information
Parts and labour warrantyFive years parts and labour, two-year collect and return
Price inc VAT£600
Part numberAkira

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