Well I have had my new Christmas present for quite some time and really I should give my honest review about it. For those who don’t know I treated myself to a System 76 Galego UltraPro over the Christmas period. I essentially gave a really big Christmas present to myself! 🙂
First the specs:
- Processor – 4th Gen Intel® Core i7-4770HQ – 2.20GHz.
- Display – 14.1″ 1920×1080 IPS, Matte Finish.
- Graphics – Intel® Iris Pro 5200 – 128 MB eDRAM.
- Memory – 8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 @ 1600 MHz.
- Storage – 250GB mSATA SSD
- Expansion – 3× USB 3.0, SD Card Reader.
- Input – Multitouch Clickpad, Chiclet Keyboard.
- Networking – Gigabit Ethernet, Intel® Wireless-AC WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0.
- Video Ports – HDMI, Mini DisplayPort.
- Audio – Stereo Speakers, Stereo Mic, Headphone Jack, Mic Jack.
- Camera – 1.0 Megapixel Webcam.
- Security – Kensington® Lock.
- Battery – 6 Cell Smart Li-Ion – 53.28 Wh.
- Weight – 4 lbs. (1.81 kg.).
Before I delve into this review I did notice although quoted on the website as including an Intel 4760HQ 2.0GHz processor my build has an Intel 4770HQ 2.20GHz included. ( not complaining at all 😀 )
So unlike lots of Ultrabooks and Macs out there this is not a fully aluminium constructed machine which may or may not be a big deal for you. The laptop is a combination of good quality nice looking metallic grey plastic and a magnesium metal in certain areas. Despite this I think it has a very solid build quality, everything is well put together and nothing creaks or feels cheap in any way.
The keyboard which im typing on right now is a neat chiclet style keyboard packed into the small 14″ space available. You won’t find a numpad on it but if you have lots of numbers to input you can enable the numpad mode which will turn an area into a numpad for you in the meantime. For most good typists/coders like myself a missing numpad will not matter at all. Across the F keys is a nice selection of all the keyboard shortcuts, everything nicely setup for Ubuntu out of the box.
The display on this machine is absolutely stunning and one of the best features of this wonder. Imagine a fully HD IPS screen crammed right down into 14 inches of space. So sharp your eyes cannot be anything but in awe of it. (this picture doesn’t do it any justice – checkout System 76 official pics)
On top of being great to look at this display is really thin, as you can only appreciate from a proper angle like below.
To cool this beast down there are fan vents coming out the back. Although I have yet to really push this machine enough for the vents to come on for very long. Overall this machine stays very cool, unlike my netbook which always has the fans going.
To conclude im very happy with the build quality and appearance of the machine.
Faster than both my netbook (easy) and my 3.1GHz i3 desktop. Since this machine is a combination of i7 and SSD really there is no contest. This will do everything in blazing fast times and its especially great for startup/shutdown times, installing software, running heavy apps or games. Can’t say a bad thing about the performance in any way. Its awesome!
I love this machine but lets just say it won’t win awards for battery life. Then again it doesn’t set out to do that. As made clear on the System 76 website, this is not an Ultrabook but more of an Ultra powerful laptop. Battery life will range from 3 – 4 hours usually, of course depending of what you are doing. My usual activity would be coding/web browsing and some music in the background.
So its 14 inches in size. Not quite the Ultrabook 13 inches but not quite the normal 15 inch laptop size either. I definitely wanted a smaller machine than 15 inches but with a screen this sharp I don’t think I would like this to be any smaller. The keyboard has more room to space out the keys nicely, so really I think this size is decent. The weight sits at 1.81Kg (4 lbs) and while not like some of the super light 1.3Kg Ultrabooks you need to remember this carries lots more power under the hood too.
Decent stereo speakers, lacking a bit on the bass but its alright for laptop speakers considering most laptop speakers are simply not worth talking about. Doesn’t matter too much since most people use earphones or headphones these days. You can always have a portable speaker or speaker bar with you in your laptop bag if sound quality is that important to you.
I thought I will touch on this a little. After all it does have an interesting graphics chip built in. The Iris Pro is something I haven’t heard of but I gave it a good run through many games.
Team Fortress 2 – 60FPS on Medium settings.
Counter Strike Global Offensive – 60FPS(unstable framerate at times) on Low settings
Metro Last Light – 30 – 40 FPS on Medium settings.
So there we go. Not a complete test of everything out there but enough to get an idea. You can at least run most modern games at good frame rates. A little tweaking will be required for some but its only a few minutes of changing settings and you are good to go. It ran games much better than I expected for a laptop.
A laptop capable of almost anything you throw at it, a true powerhouse. A developers dream, enjoyable for games and fun too. Pretty much everything you do on this is instantaneous and really only held back by how fast you can type those keys.
- Extremely fast for everything.
- Portable to carry on the move.
- Very appealing outer shell.
- Plenty of ports for everything.
- Battery life is not the best.
- Lightweight but maybe not if you’re used to 1.3Kg machines.
- Game performance may disappoint some hardcore gamers.