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Origin EON 11-S Review: Successor To The Mobile Gaming Throne

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Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Origin

Introduction, Design

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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.
 
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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.
 
 
Design
 
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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. 
 
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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.
July 18, 2012 | 04:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Nice last gen screen.

July 19, 2012 | 04:45 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

Er...there is no such a thing as a "last gen" screen.

July 19, 2012 | 11:13 PM - Posted by eastbayrae

Okay, how about a screen that was out 2 or more years ago? That panel should be at least 900p or 1080p. If Asus can put one a 13" Ultrabook, then I see no reason these guys couldn't do the same.

December 22, 2012 | 11:53 PM - Posted by Yvette (not verified)

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July 19, 2012 | 10:52 AM - Posted by jedibeeftrix (not verified)

i don't suppose some enterpising ODM will bring out a version of this chassis sporting an AMD A10-4655M APU?

July 19, 2012 | 04:45 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

No, probably not. I'm curious why you'd want that? It would be awful thick for a laptop with a 17w part.

July 19, 2012 | 06:19 PM - Posted by sotoa

Good timing on the article. Thank you for that.
I'm guessing this has Optimus switchable graphics.
I was looking for a tiny gaming laptop, but this still doesn't quite meet what I have in mind.
BTW, I'm 6'2" but my hands aren't chunky, so the keyboard would be more than fine for me.

July 20, 2012 | 10:01 AM - Posted by J_hernandez (not verified)

"is this a good laptop? No" = GOLD AWARD!.... huh? this makes no sence to me

July 20, 2012 | 11:57 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"My personal solution to gaming on the go was to buy a Nintendo DS"
WHAT?!?!
"I review super cars for a living but I prefer a Prius"

July 22, 2012 | 02:58 PM - Posted by Micah Ganske (not verified)

I just got a version of this laptop from XoticPC and I'll add some information to the mix.

First, there aren't a lot of options out there if you want something truly messenger-bag-portable and need to do pretty heavy 3D modeling and gaming while out and about. I had an M11x R2 and this is a pound lighter with triple the performance. The keyboard is small but I'm 6'5" and have adjusted to the size. It's not ideal, but a necessary evil for extreme portability.

The screen is not great, but if you get the matte option that most resellers are offering it's not bad and a HUGE improvement from the M11x. The panels have similar properties, but the M11x was super glossy with an extra glossy panel of plastic a few millimeters above the actual LCD. So even if you put a matte protector on the top plastic, you'd see double reflections in bright light. Terrible. The w110er with a matte option is pretty usable.

The power supply is huge, but you can find 120w ultraportable power supplies. I bought a Kensington for $40 on Amazon but everyone seems to be sold out of that one now.

Finally, the bios used in these laptops is pretty throttle-happy with the nvidia gpu active. If you download Throttlestop you can seriously increase your performance in a lot of games and 3D intensive apps though: http://forum.notebookreview.com/hardware-components-aftermarket-upgrades...

It's a fantastic machine with caveats. All in all, I'm quite happy with it.

July 23, 2012 | 10:33 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'd say the Eourocom Version is way better, It's cheaper and gives you better upgrades " glossy to matte screen". The Eourocom version even let's you put the $1000 unlocked Ivybridge CPU version of this little beast. I personally liked the version I said, also because you can buy it withought an Os so It's cheaper.

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