I have had the laptop for about a week now and I am very impressed but there is one issue preventing it from getting a 5 rating.My particular machine has a small hotspot (about 30-40 pixels) on the monitor that I can see when the area is a solid color.I work in Adobe Premiere a lot so it's pretty distracting on a static screen but I don't notice it during games.I have a replacement on the way so if the screen has no issues, this review will be changed to a 5.Now for some background and details!
I typically buy Dell computers as they have always served me well but when I saw the price and specs of this machine, I had to give it a chance! So far it has not disappointed considering a comparable, but not quite 4k resolution Dell runs about $600 more and has a slower GPU.I do a lot of video editing and the resolution of this screen allows me to watch windowed 1080p video clips in Premiere at full resolution.
In The Box:
Inside the box you will find the laptop, an external DVD writer with single port USB cable, quick start guide, and the power brick.Not much else is included except for the warranty card.It looks like the users manual and recovery partition are on the machine itself.No restore disks are included.
Appearance & Build Quality:
After checking out the pictures and seeing the keyboard glows red I wasn't quite sure I would like the appearance but I was pleasantly surprised.The laptop is black with a brushed metal top that looks nice even if it is a fingerprint magnet.As stated the keyboard's backlight is red and it really gives the laptop a polished look.The laptop is quite thin and measures less than an inch tall when closed.I have only played a few games so far but when gaming the laptop barely gets warm and with the volume at a normal level I can't hear the fan.With the volume down the fan is pretty quiet.There is some flex to the bottom of the machine if you press on the corner but you won't notice under normal use.On the left side of the machine there are two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, Ethernet connection and the AC port.There is no display port connection so if you want to hook this up to a 4k monitor you will be limited to 30hz.On the right side of the machine there is a USB 2.0 port, SPDIF connection, combination microphone/headphone jack, and a card reader.Power, disk, and battery indicators are on the front of the machine.Overall I think this is very nice looking machine!
Inside the machine you will find plenty of horsepower for your games and apps as well as a beautiful 4k screen to display them.The i7 processer runs at a solid 2.4ghz and can turbo up to 3.4ghz.There is also an NVIDIA GTX 860m to render the latest games.16gb of RAM and a 256gb SSD are included as well.There is no built in optical drive but this model includes an external DVD writer in case you still use those things!Wireless tasks are handled by an Intel wireless AC card.Above the screen is a 720p webcam.
Before I gush about how much I love the screen on this laptop, I have to throw up a few disclaimers.As mentioned above, I have a hotspot in the lower left quadrant of my machine that is very visible when there is a solid color in the area.It appears to be whiter than the rest of the screen but it still displays whatever is behind it.It is quite noticeable during static scenes but I don't notice it during gaming.A replacement is on the way from Amazon so I will update this after I receive it.The other issue that doesn't really bother me is that the screen only operates at 48hz.I don't notice it at all, even during gaming, but your mileage may vary if you are an FPS player.This appears to be an Intel driver issue as safemode shows it at 64hz without the Intel driver.One last issue is that Windows doesn't always play nicely with high DPI screens.It took some playing with the DPI scaling to make the text readable from a distance on the desktop.Some apps don't scale well either and you may be left with text the size of a very small ant.Those issues aside, the screen is the reason I bought this computer and it does not disappoint.Even at it's smallest size you can still read text on the desktop if you have good eyes.Everything is crystal clear on the screen and viewing angles are very good.There is not light bleed around the screen on my particular machine.I watched a few 4k videos off Youtube the other night and I was absolutely stunned at the level of detail.Even my wife noticed a difference in quality between 1080p and 2160p and she doesn't pick up on things like that normally.If you can work around the scaling issues you will not be disappointed by this screen.I will also mention that this screen looks great in 1080p if you need to use it.
Keyboard & Trackpad:
The keyboard is a chicklet style keyboard and has one feature that I really enjoy, a full numeric keypad.The keys are responsive and provide a satisfying click but some folks may not appreciate the slick feel they have.It took a little getting used to (like most keyboards) but I have no issues with typing quickly on the keyboard.The trackpad is serviceable and works quite well but I do not like that the keys themselves track your finger movement.After moving the cursor and then clicking on the button, the PC may register movement if you don't push straight down so you will miss clicking on your intended target.This doesn't happen all the time and I normally use a wireless mouse anyway so it doesn't bother me too much.The trackpad does make up for these shortcomings by supporting many gesture controls such as pinch to zoom and two finger scrolling.There are several other gestures that I haven't taken the time to learn as well.
There two speakers on the top corners of the keyboard and a subwoofer on the bottom of the laptop to provide some added bass.The speakers get loud enough to fill the room and can be heard quite well when there is ambient noise in the room (fans, AC, etc.).They don't sound as full as the speakers on my XPS 15 but they work quite well.
Battery life is advertised as 4 to 5 hours but it may be shorter depending on usage.I haven't fully tested the battery but I had about an hour left in the battery gauge after about 3 hours of web browsing and playing videos off Youtube.With the power settings at "balanced" I managed to play about 1.5 hours of Bioshock Infinite on medium settings.My XPS 15 has a 9 cell battery and gaming times are even shorter so this isn't too bad in my opinion.I should note the battery is only accessible by removing several screws and the bottom cover from the laptop.
The included wireless AC adapter works well and provides me with wireless speeds I have never seen before!My XPS has a wireless G adapter and manages about 5MB/s when transferring large video files off my server.My Acer W700 has a dual band N adapter and manages about 15 to 30MB/s.The AC adapter in this laptop delivers a blistering 50MB/s when copying the same files.This makes moving my video files very speedy!I have not had any connection issues or degradations in quality over the last week of constant use.
I stated the specs above so I won't go over them but this computer is speedy!It has handled every task I have thrown at it with relative ease and barely gets warm to the touch.My dell has a 2nd generation i7 that runs at 2.5ghz and there is a noticeable increase in performance with this computer.I rendered a 3 minute HD video in Premiere on both machines and it took a minute thirty on the Dell and 1 minute flat on this machine.The XPS has a GTX 540m video card and I cannot use GPU previews in real time without sever stuttering and frame loss.The same clips play back smooth as butter on the Y50.I'm sure some of it has to do with the fact this machine has twice as much RAM and an SSD but it will certainly decrease the time I spend looking at the now rendering screen!
So far I have only played a few games on the machine but what I have played looks fantastic.Bioshock infinite averages about 50fps on ultra settings at 1920x1080 and about 20fps on low settings at 4k resolution.I also installed Borderlands 2 which averaged about 60fps in 1920x1080 with the settings maxed out and if you turn off ambient occlusion the game averages about 30fps with the settings maxed in 4k resolution.My results are not super scientific but if you play in 1080p you should be able to play most newer games in high to ultra settings.The 48hz refresh didn't cause any problems in the games I played.Needless to say, this PC blows my 2 year old XPS out of the water when it comes to gaming.
Overall I am very impressed with this machine considering the price and specs.I would highly recommend it if you have a similar workload to mine!I will update this review once I receive the replacement as I really feel this PC deserves 5 stars!