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Origin EON 11-S Laptop Review

Hardware Reviews By Arden Bartlett on August 18, 2012

The Eon 11-S I reviewed came with the following specs: Intel Core i7 3720QM (Quad-Core Processor (2.60GHz), 6MB Cache), 8GB of ram (1333mhz DDR3), a Nvidia GTX 650M (2GB) video card with Optimus 1.2, a 256GB Samsung 830 SSD HD, and Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit).  The line comes in 15 and 17-inch versions, but the price will jump considerably from this $1481 model to do so.  The EON 11-S starts at $999, while the 15” and 17” start at $1544 and $1575 respectively.

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I should note that Origin gives you seven processor options (from the entry level Intel B960 Pentium Dual-Core Processor to the very powerful Intel Core i7 3820QM Quad-Core Processor), twenty-three different HD choices (four mechanical and eighteen SSD), and five choices when you are choosing RAM (4GB up to 16GB).  There’s a lot of options that can change the cost and function of the machine.

The Good:

I'm going to start off this review and say that that Origin Eon 11-S is a very impressive little machine for the amount of power, processor and graphics in particular, for such a small form factor. The laptop itself has a rubberized coating on the back on the screen which helps getting a good grip on the box when you are moving around with it.  It does also come equipped with three USB ports (two are USB 3), one HDMI port, one VGA out port, a gig Ethernet port, 802.11n wireless, a 1.3 megapixel video camera, a media card reader and headphone and speaker inputs. 

The keyboard is similar to the 'Chicklet' type you see on Apple laptops and it performed very well when I was playing Diablo III and Space Marine on it.  With an MMO you do run into the problem that you're going to want a keyboard with more functions available on it.  I did give it a try with a few (Rift and WOW) and it performed fine, but you're be missing your Razor or Logitech keyboard when you want to do a second or third ability with your character.

One of the more interesting design features on this laptop was the placement of the speakers on the bottom of the machine.  I wasn't too sure how well they would sound when playing a game, but I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and robustness of the sound coming out of them. 

The Bad:

While I felt that the screen had good color/depth to it I just wanted a bigger screen to come standard on it.  It only measures in at 11.3 inches, and while this didn't make a huge difference with Diablo you did definitely see it was your shooters and MMOs.  Yes you do have the option to output this through HDMI and the VGA port, but most of the competition comes in at 13 inch in this size of laptop.

Another thing was this particular laptop does not come with CDROM drive (which is fine in this day and age with Steam, Origins, etc), but it leads to a good amount of space on the right side of the computer to be wasted.  The left hand side of the EON has the following ports: Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, headphone in, speaker in, and two USB ports.  While the right hand side has a USB port, the power plug, and a laptop lock.  You have three and a half inches of wasted space on the right side of the machine where they could have placed another cluster of USB 3 ports or something equally useful.  I assume the optional media drives would be placed here. But an option to have USB ports would be equally as welcome.

The Ugly:

Rubberized material should never be used for a track pad.  This is probably the worst design feature of this laptop, and I can say that you're going to have to purchase a mouse with this machine if you want to use it with gaming or general use of the computer.  Even tweaking the mouse settings in Windows didn’t help, and I think this is due to the use of the rubberized material on the track pad.  I know that built in mice are not the greatest, but I think I should be able to do basic Windows functions without any type of issues.

Additionally, the keyboard is not backlit.  I thought that there was a function key or a switch I needed to activate, but it turns out that the EON 11-S does not have this option.  Origin's larger laptops (EON 15-S and the EON 17-S) do come with this feature and its just weird that a 'gaming' laptop does not have this standard feature you would find on most modern laptops today.

In Conclusion

The Good:

  • Very powerful machine for its form factor
  • Nicely built
  • Very good speakers

The Bad:

  • Even though the monitor was good...I felt it should have been 13 or 15 inches. There are larger monitor specs, but the price goes up considerably.
  • Wasted space on the left hand side of the computer. More USB ports please!

The Ugly

  • Mouse is just awful...even for everyday use.
  • No backlit keyboard is a downgrade on a gaming rig.

Would I purchase this computer?  I would take a wait and see attitude to EON 11-S since I feel that even though the specs are really impressive for the price (just under $1500 for this specific model), you are essentially getting a gaming computer with not enough ports, poor physical layout of the existing ports, no black-lit keyboard, and a terrible mouse.  I think this machine has serious potential, but right now I would wait and see what the next version would bring before I could give this a full ‘buy’ recommendation.

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