“Portable graphics power for the mobile gamer” reads the tagline on this new machine from AVADirect, a gaming laptop that, like others in this segment, takes significant liberties with the word “portable” but shows just how far things have come in that department.
AVADirect Avant P750DM2-G
Endless configurability options. World-class performance. Surprisingly, not obscenely expensive.
Fan reaches ungodly loudness under load. Still beastly in size. Screen is chintzy and relatively low in resolution. Screen has some quality issues.
At 7.8 pounds and more than a whopping 1.7 inches thick, this 15.6-inch laptop (1920 x 1080 resolution, no touchscreen) strains the limits of portability but sports the latest PC hardware. Inside you’ll find a sixth-generation Skylake Intel Core i5 CPU, 16 gigs of RAM, a 1TB traditional hard drive and a 256GB SSD, and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 for the graphics. As impressive as those specs are, the P750GM2-G can support up to 64GB of RAM and a full hard drives of any type.
A bevy of ports keeps you connected: three USB 3.0 ports, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port, one USB 2.0 port, Ethernet, a Thunderbolt 3 port, two MiniDisplay ports, and an HDMI output. There’s an SD card reader too, but no optical drive, which apparently even gamers can now do without. But with all these plugs and ports, if you can’t find a way to hook up all your peripherals, it’s time to invest in a desktop.
Machines like this are of course all about performance, and the P750GM2-G easily outscored every notebook I’ve tested. The machine beat every benchmark (gaming or mainstream), typically by 10 to 20 percent and sometimes more, and breezed through high-end gaming tests and rendering lifelike 3-D content. The screen lacks the resolution to properly test 4K content, but everything was seamless at its native 1080p.
Although the screen offers ample brightness, some may decry the lack of 4K resolution. (Upgrade to 3840 x 2160 pixels for just $84.) That said, I did notice some brightness irregularities on the review unit, namely light leaking around the upper LCD bezel. It was quite noticeable in spots when the screen was supposed to be dark.
Most gaming rigs don’t have the battery life to get you much further than the distance from your house to the LAN party, but the AVA boasts 2.5 hours of run time. That’s surprising and impressive, though functionally the battery is limited to 2 hours and 15 minutes. Once it hits the last 10 percent, it emits a loud, shrill beep that overrides any Windows settings. Allow it to sound in public at your own risk; it’s the type of thing that might prompt someone to call security, thinking a bomb is about to blow.
The fan is loud, too. The slightest load activates it, and it sounds like a jet taking off. It’s almost certainly necessary, given the high-end components, but that doesn’t make it right. When you can hear it over the fan, audio quality is loud and crisp. The touchpad is a smooth operator (including, oddly enough, a built-in fingerprint reader), but the keyboard is mushy and unsatisfying despite the brilliant backlighting.
It’s interesting and instructive to consider this machine against the last AVADirect machine I reviewed, the P375SM that is now three years old. That ultra high-end rig has long held records across the board in my testing database, as one would expect from a $3,500 laptop. Since then, AVA has trimmed the chassis by nearly 2 pounds and half an inch while significantly boosting performance. And it cut the price in half—this test unit costs $1,870—putting gaming rigs like this within reach of the mass market. Nicely done.