Origin’s smallest laptop is fast, but – well – small.
The death of the Alienware M11x seemed as if it might leave a hole in the market – or not. As it turns out, that discontinuation of the world’s smallest gaming laptop coincided with the introduction of a new generic 11.6” gaming laptop chassis from Clevo. You can still get your netbook-sized game on.
Origin was kind enough to send us the EON11-S – one of several laptops based on the Clevo chassis – for review. If you’re in the North American market, the EON11-S is going to be one of the most attractive variants simply because of the company behind it. Origin is an established and well-known company with a great reputation.
The Alienware M11x, which you can still purchase (while supplies last!) ended its life at the tail end of the Sandy Bridge era. It also always relied on Intel’s low voltage processors instead of the standard models – something I noted as a disadvantage when we reviewed the M11x in 2010. The lack of an optional quad-core processor made the Alienware feel half-baked as well.
Origin’s EON11-S, on the other hand, is the full enchilada. Base models come with a Pentium dual-core, but our review unit arrived packing an Intel Core i7-3720QM. All EON11-S laptops come with an Nvidia GT 650M as well. Let’s check out the full specifications.
While the base model is priced at $999, our review unit rings up at $1,626. That’s quite a chunk of change – for the same money you could have a nicely equipped ASUS G55 or G75. Those laptops aren’t nearly as portable, however – so does gaming on the go justify the premium? Let’s find out.
The Origin EON11-S doesn’t make a great first impression. It’s much thicker than most modern 11.6” laptops and also made largely of matte plastic, two traits that combine to make the EON11-S look like a museum piece rather than a new laptop. Origin does ship the laptop with an optional back panel similar to that found on the Origin EON17-S we previously reviewed, but that will only do so much. The fact is that small, chunky laptops aren’t cool and this laptop can’t help but to feel thick.
Fortunately the functional elements of the laptop are more promising than the aesthetics. Plastic may not be in vogue but, when properly done, it feel just as solid as metal. That’s certainly the case here. All the materials are thick and the touch-points are coated with a soft-touch finish that is pleasing to touch. There’s virtually no chassis flex, the display hinges are tight and panel gaps are mostly kept out of sight because of the laptop’s design.
Connectivity includes two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, HDMI, VGA and individual headphone/microphone jacks. Almost all of the ports are located on the left side of the laptop, which is a good choice (so long as you’re right handed) because it keeps peripherals and cords from interfering with your mouse hand.