As far as gaming laptops go, they can’t run away from a number of standard features – a flashy and aggressively designed chassis, RGB keyboard and powerful hardware internals. For the sake of portability, gaming laptops are usually more overpriced than desktop PCs and until today, while barely any offered the balance between convenience and performance. Therefore, my attention was turned to the THUNDEROBOT 911SE, which I had the opportunity to use it as my work driver for the past two hectic weeks, the laptop now happens to be the most affordable device that comes with a GTX 1050Ti graphics, and it is now priced at RM3,499 all thanks to the availability of the 8th Gen Intel Core mobile processors. How does the 911SE deliver in my mixed usage of work and play? Let’s find out.

Design and Hardware

On first impressions, you would already have expected that the 911SE isn’t an expensive laptop. Commissioned by famous laptop ODM Clevo, the 911SE uses a plastic chassis and base that gives it a decent weight at 2.4kg, pretty good for a 15-inch laptop. The 911SE does try to be a cool laptop by giving it two stylish cutouts and a THUNDEROBOT logo that glows in turquoise when turned on, while you don’t get a RGB backlit keyboard, the white backlit keyboard is sufficient for those who doesn’t bother to look at the keyboard’s lighting while they game.

The 911SE doesn’t lack of I/Os, especially if you are thinking to get this to extend your screen to multiple displays, as this is probably the only laptop that supports extending up to 4 displays with two Mini DisplayPorts, one HDMI and USB-C port. Apart from that, I was glad that the 911SE features one standard USB 3.0 port on the left and right side, which makes connecting USB 3.0 peripherals easier rather than keeping it to one side, a USB 2.0 is also present for connecting your mouse and printer, which doesn’t require high data transfer speeds. Instead of using a combo audio jack, the 911SE has respective ports for line out and mic input, and heck, there’s even an SD card slot there.

The 911SE’s IPS display panel is definitely one that I enjoy viewing, not that it is the best IPS panel I’ve ever seen, but you do at least get good viewing angles and better contrast than a TN panel. THUNDEROBOT reports a color accuracy of 72% NTSC, which is roughly equivalent to a 100% of the sRGB color space, while I do find colors to be a little less saturated than what you see on higher end displays, but it will appeal to those looking for a more natural color tone on graphical work, but I personally won’t use this display for correcting colors on my photos.

User Experience

The 911SE thankfully isn’t a heavy laptop to transport around, even the power brick isn’t bulky like some other gaming laptops. I spent some time doing some gaming during the review, while most of my time on the laptop is dedicated to my editorial and video editing tasks, I’m glad to report that the laptop has held up well with no performance issues.

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THUNDEROBOT equips the 911SE with a 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7300HQ processor paired to 8GB of DDR4-2400 RAM, 128GB M.2 SSD and a 1TB 5400RPM hard drive, a speedy configuration that you won’t find in gaming laptops of the same price range, not to forget to mention it also has the GTX 1050Ti powering its gaming capabilities, so you will definitely be fine playing games like PUBG and Overwatch at medium to high graphics settings.

Comfort unfortunately isn’t the 911SE’s selling point here, as one of the issues I have with the 911SE is the placement of the laptop’s cooling vents, while I can certainly forgive if it wasn’t marketed as a gaming laptop, but having one of them located at the right side just doesn’t make sense, especially when most people use their right hand for holding a mouse when gaming, the hot air from the vents causes discomfort to the hand. On the other hand, the keyboard of the 911SE isn’t going to work well for large fingers with its small keycaps and key travel, which fortunately I don’t have an issue with, the trackpad uses Synaptic drivers which never failed to work well in our tests.

I didn’t use the 911SE to game while on battery, because you probably shouldn’t do that too if you care about proper gaming performance, hence when it comes to measuring battery life, the laptop managed to last 3.5 hours on a single charge when doing web browsing and video playback tasks, I expected it to be better but this is pretty standard for a laptop of its class.

Benchmarks

3DMark and PCMark 10

The 911SE performed average in both the 3DMark Time Spy and Fire Strike Ultra tests, which is expected due to the lower clock speeds and memory of the GTX 1050Ti, hence you shouldn’t be playing AAA games with high to ultra graphics on this laptop’s configuration.

CrystalDiskMark

THUNDEROBOT is generous enough to include a Liteon CV6-8Q128 SSD on the 911SE, we achieved a standard 512MB/s sequential read speed when tested on CrystalDiskMark, however sequential write speed isn’t up par to SSD standard with a mere 102MB/s, it is still fast enough for the basic stuffs, but you may want to get that SSD upgraded should you be doing tasks that require high write speeds, such as video editing.

Verdict

If you are looking for a gaming laptop that looks less flashy and have great performance without breaking the bank, the THUNDEROBOT 911SE is unarguably the best gaming laptop your tight bank balance could afford, that is if you can miss out the performance improvements on the 8th Gen Intel processors and forgive the laptop’s side thermal vents.

The Good

  • Great performance for price range
  • Lots of ports for extending displays
  • GTX 1050Ti
  • SSD comes as standard
  • Acceptable battery life

The Not so Good

  • Thermal vents causes discomfort to right hand
  • Keyboard isn’t great for large fingers