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Chillblast Samurai review - ultra thin gaming laptop

Richard Easton
6 Feb 2016
Chillblast Samurai lead
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,499
inc VAT

The Chillblast Samurai is a surprisingly svelte gaming laptop with plenty of power

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ, RAM: 16GB, Dimensions: 390x266x19.9mm, Weight: 1.9kg, Screen size: 15.6in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080, Graphics adaptor: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M, Total storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB SSHD

‘Ultra slim’ isn't a phrase commonly associated with gaming laptops. More often than not, they're the size and shape of the monstrous Acer Predator 17, but the Chillblast Samurai is a gaming laptop which, finally, bucks the trend. 

At just 19.9mm thick, it's hardly as slim as an ultraportable, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anything thinner that's this capable. The only laptop that comes close is the Dell XPS 15, which is thinner at its thickest point at 17mm, but the Samurai definitely has the edge when it comes to gaming prowess. The Samurai even weighs a perfectly reasonable 1.9kg, too, so it shouldn't weigh you down too much if you have to pack it up in a bag either.

Made from well-finished metal, it's incredibly plain compared to other gaming laptops we've tested recently, but its all-black finish comes as a welcome change from all the LED stripes and flashy grills of Acer's Predator. Instead, there's just a blue backlit keyboard that has three levels of brightness and a single LED ring light around the power button that changes colour, making it ideal for those after something a little more subtle and unassuming. The thick bezels around the display are perhaps a little old-fashioned, but that doesn't mean it's any less of a portable powerhouse. 

Chillblast Samurai power button

Performance and Battery Life

That power comes courtesy of an Intel Skylake-based quad-core 2.6GHz i7-6700HQ processor that can Turbo Boost to 3.5GHz. There’s also 16GB of 2,133MHz DDR4 RAM, and a 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD and 1TB SSHD for storage. Unsurprisingly, it shot through our application benchmarks with ease. It managed a score of 115, which is four points higher than the similarly-equipped Dell XPS 15. This was likely helped by better cooling from the larger chassis, which has large fan vents above the keyboard.

The all-important gaming performance comes from a 3GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M, which made short work of our Dirt Showdown test. Playing at 1,920x1,080 resolution, 4x anti-aliasing and Ultra graphics was an absolute cakewalk for such a capable GPU, managing an average of 81.6fps. In the tougher Metro Last Light Redux test, the GPU managed 30.3fps at 1,920x1,080, Very High quality and SSAA turned on, but turning the SSAA off resulted in a much smoother 52.1fps. Needless to say, you’re not left wanting for gaming performance with the Chillblast Samurai, and the fact that such a powerful graphics card has found its way into a laptop of this size is commendable.

Chillblast Samurai side angle

Such power comes at a price, though, and battery life is where the Samurai comes up disappointingly short. It managed just 2 hours 39 minutes in our video playback test, which is rather abysmal. This is an hour less than what we saw with the Acer Predator 17 and that had a larger screen to contend with. Similarly, the Dell XPS 15 had almost twice the longevity. Most people will be mains-tethered with a gaming laptop, so it might be a moot point, but it still would have been nice to have seen a higher level of endurance here.