This 15.6-inch gaming laptop blitzes the competition, but it’s expensive
The Schenker XMG P504 is one of the most powerful gaming laptops we’ve ever tested, and its immense gaming prowess comes courtesy of Nvidia’s latest mobile graphics processor, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M. Our review sample came with an Intel Core i7-4710MQ processor installed, but you can choose from a wide choice of processors when you specify your laptop on the Schenker website.
The P504 is a 15.6-inch laptop, which is typical for a desktop replacement laptop, but its weight exceeds some of the heaviest 17-inch laptops we’ve tested. At 3.3kg, and 45mm thick, the P504 is not a device you’ll want to carry around frequently.
In terms of design, the Clevo-built chassis itself is pretty plain, with the only flair being a customisable backlit keyboard. The keys are responsive and certainly suitable for gamers, but the chassis has sharp edges which can dig into your wrists if you don’t keep them elevated while typing or gaming.
Many gamers will use a gaming mouse with the P504, which is a good move because the P504’s touchpad isn’t particularly good. It has separate mouse buttons, which is a good thing, but there’s little feedback from them. We’re not keen on the feel of the touchpad either, but it’s sufficient for general use. Sadly the touchpad sometimes interpreted two-fingered scrolling gestures as pinch-to-zoom commands, which meant we often found ourselves zooming in and out of web pages when we intended to scroll. If you invest in an XMG P504, you should also invest in a good gaming mouse.
Given the XMG P504’s blocky looks, it had a lot to prove in terms of performance, and it didn’t disappoint. Our review sample’s Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 880M graphics processor has a supremely impressive 8GB of dedicated memory, but it’s an expensive option. However, even the base-spec XMG P504 comes with a GeForce GTX 870M with 6GB of graphics RAM.
The P504 has the best graphics performance of any laptop we’ve seen, delivering an average frame rate of 98.7fps in Dirt Showdown at a resolution of 1,280×720 with 4x anti-aliasing and graphics quality set to High. Even at a resolution of 1,920×1,080 with graphics quality set to Ultra, the XMG P504 produced a super-smooth average frame rate of 63fps in Dirt Showdown. This is a full 16fps higher than the Ultimate Award-winning MSI GE70 2PE Apache Pro. The GE70 Apache Pro, however, is much cheaper.
It was our most intensive Crysis 3 benchmark in which the XMG P504 truly shone. With Crysis 3 set to a resolution of 1,920×1,080 and graphics quality set to High, many laptops fail the benchmark. Astoundingly, the Schenker XMG P504 produced an outstanding average frame rate of 45.2fps. This means you’ll have no problems playing the most graphically intensive games on this machine, and you’ll be able to play the latest games for a long time.
With 8GB of Crucial DDR3 memory and a quad-core Intel Core i7-4710MQ Haswell chip running at 2.5GHz, the XMG P504 also performed well in our PC benchmarks, scoring a mightily impressive 93 overall. This is just seven points shy of our Core i5-3570K-based reference machine. The P504’s overall score is also three points less than that of the MSI GE70 Apache Pro, but in reality the difference will barely be noticeable.
As for storage, the XMG P504 has a 250GB Samsung 840 Evo SSD, a favourite of ours, as well as a 750GB Western Digital mechanical disk. This storage combination provides excellent for those looking for a blend of speed and capacity. There’s also room for two more mSATA drives if your appetite for storage isn’t satisfied by the two SATA III units included.
Great graphics performance means nothing without a good display, and the XMG P504’s 15.6-inch 1920×1080 pixel panel is good, but not outstanding. In our colour calibration test, the screen was able to display 89.5 per cent of the colour sRGB gamut, which compares well with the GE70 Apache Pro’s 84.5 per cent coverage. Sadly, the screen’s contrast levels were less impressive, as we measured a contrast ratio of 652:1. When we looked at our high-contrast test images, the screen’s shortcomings were fairly subtle and many users will be happy with it. The panel has a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz, and while we’d prefer a higher refresh rate the P504’s 60HZ is appropriate for a gaming laptop.
THE DESKTOP REPLACED
As you’d expect, battery life is short in comparison to a regular ultra-portable laptop, with the XMG P504 lasting just 3 hours and 49 minutes in our light usage test. That isn’t bad for a laptop as powerful as the XMG P504, but if the size and weight of this laptop doesn’t put you off carrying it around town, you’ll want to turn screen brightness down and enable all the power-saving options within Windows 8.1. We’d also recommend that you don’t play games when the P504’s unplugged. Under heavy load, the P504 consumes power at four times the rate it does while idling.
The XMG P504 has an excellent array of ports and should suit most needs. While it lacks both VGA and DVI ports, it includes full-size HDMI, DisplayPort and mini DisplayPort connectors. There are also four USB ports, three of which are USB3 and one of which is also an eSATA connector. Optical and 3.5mm audio jacks are present, as is a multiformat card reader. Schenker has also included a mini Firewire port and a DVD writer. If you want to replace your
gaming desktop, the XMG P504 is ideal.
The Schenker XMG P504 is an impressively powerful laptop that completed our toughest benchmarking tests with ease. Its high price and comically big chassis would be drawbacks in a regular laptop, but you’ll be glad of its immense power as soon as you load the latest games. If you don’t mind having graphics quality set to less than maximum, we’d suggest opting for the XMG P504 with the GeForce GTX 870M or buying the cheaper MSI GE70 2PE Apache Pro. However, if you demand the best gaming performance above all else you should definitely buy the Schenker XMG P504.
|Intel Core i7-4710MQ
|Processor clock speed
|Memory slots free
|Sound Blaster XFI MB3
|Nvidia GeForce 880M
|HDMI, DisplayPort, mini DisplayPort
|Total storage capacity
|Optical drive type
Ports and Expansion
|Total Firewire ports
|Wired network ports
|Wireless networking support
|PC Card slots
|Supported memory cards
|MMC, RSMMC, MS, MS Pro, MSDuo, SD, MiniSD, SDHC, SDXC
|Windows 8.1 64bit
|Operating system restore option
|Microsoft Office 2010 Starter
|2 years collect and return (within Europe)