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Illegear Arté 14 Review - Not Another Gaming Laptop

Posted by George Wong on July 19, 2021

Disclaimer: We were loaned a review unit, courtesy of Illegear in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and not influenced by Illegear, and/or its affiliates, in any way.

When Illegear reached out to us to review their latest laptop, I jumped at the chance. It wasn’t a typical gaming laptop that they’ve been producing for years now, instead, they were looking to enter a new space - a laptop for creators. Now that might seem a bit broad since “creators” can apply to so many different kinds of users and based on their description and the Arté 14’s specs, it’s targeted at visual/graphic designers who can make full use of the laptop’s opulent display and portability. The way I interpret the laptop - it’s Illegear’s answer to the MacBook Air.

Since I am not a graphic designer, I’m not the intended audience of the device but I still put it through the paces of my own workflow to see how well it would hold up. After all, I can appreciate a lightweight laptop with a fancy screen and I do create content.

A Workhorse

I’ve been using the Illegear Arté 14 as my daily driver for the past week, and my routine consists of using Chrome for a lot of my tasks - writing in Google Docs, updating spreadsheets, Facebook, emails, and blogging in WordPress. Outside of Chrome, I used Photoshop for some image editing.

In this regard, the device performs admirably. I have no complaints at all. Everything ran smoothly, without a hitch (as I expected it to, thanks to its beefy specs). The laptop boots up in seconds, applications load instantly, and I never encountered any slowdowns or crashes. From the responsive trackpad and keyboard to the brilliant 90Hz display, the Arté 14 was a joy to use.

I also appreciated the laptop’s weight (or lack of - at 1.04kg). Even though I didn’t leave home during the testing period, I shifted it about my house many times, and it never was a hassle to do so. I think this can translate to bringing your laptop around for meetings or appointments outside when the world goes back to normal.

Another thing I like about the Arté 14 is the number of ports available on the laptop. You get: USB 3.1 Type-A (x2), USB 3.1 Type-C, Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C, 2-in-1 audio jack, HDMI 2.0 output and an SD Card reader - it’s not common for super-slim devices like these to have so many ports available, good on Illegear for addressing that need. Personally, I could have done away with the SD Card reader since I don’t use it but I can see how it would be useful for people who want to transfer photos/videos from their cameras.

Speaking of cameras, the webcam on this laptop isn’t great. The quality of the built-in mic is adequate, and the speakers are loud, clear and balanced. I enjoyed listening to music and watching movies on the laptop.

Gaming

Since I’ve never had a chance to play with an Iris Xe-powered laptop before, I decided to install COD: Warzone to see how it would fare. I had the rendering at 1440 x 900 and upscaled to its native resolution (2880 x 1800) and it was barely playable at a very choppy 45 FPS. All the other settings were turned to the lowest or off when possible.

While it was not unplayable, it’s definitely not ideal and it caused the CPU/GPU to heat up to about 90 degrees C while running. A real shame, since we had a gorgeous high resolution and refresh rate display, that couldn’t be used for intensive gaming. Running Warzone also caused the top of the laptop (near the hinges) to heat up terribly, which is definitely not something you want to put your laptop through for extended periods of time.

If you plan on playing smaller 2D indie or old/retro games, you won’t have any problems there, but this is definitely not for you if you’re into hardcore gaming or the latest triple-A titles. I did some digging around and it seems that the GPU might work better with different titles and graphics APIs. Regardless, I would not recommend this laptop if you’re looking for a gaming machine, and since it wasn’t marketed as one, we can let it slide. However, it’s still something to note when considering a purchase.

Battery Life

Based on what I’ve written so far, you must be thinking - this laptop seems perfect for a work machine, what could be wrong? It has great specs, a reasonable price tag, and a lovely form factor. 

Well, if there’s one thing I was let down by in this device, it’s the Arté 14’s battery life. Throughout my week of testing, I used the laptop at different brightness levels and performance settings to see how much they would affect my experience.

I used the laptop at max brightness and max performance, 50% brightness and better performance mode, 50% brightness and better battery mode, 50% brightness and best battery life mode, and 10% brightness and best battery life mode. Here’s what I encountered: 5-6 hours of battery life despite the setting I was at. 

It seemed like the brightness or performance mode didn’t matter at all - I couldn’t squeeze any extra life out of the battery. On the plus side, this meant I could use the laptop at max brightness and performance with no drawbacks since going down to lower settings didn’t improve the battery life. On the downside, there was no way to extend the battery life. I am not sure if this was a hardware or software issue and I have brought it up with Illegear who responded that they will look into it.

5-6 hours of usage isn’t terrible, but for such a portable device, I wished it could at least last a full day because it brings me to the next issue - its massive power brick. If you aren’t using this laptop as a desktop replacement, you’ll need to lug around this bulky accessory with you since the laptop won’t last a full day of use.

Conclusion

If the laptop had better battery life, it would have made this machine an easy recommendation from me. It does everything that Illegear set out to do with their Creator-focused line in a sleek, attractive, and lightweight package with a reasonable price tag. However, I wish the battery life could have been a tad better, or at least extendable when I set it to battery saving mode. Maybe if the charger wasn’t so cumbersome, I could have overlooked this issue.

That being said, if you’re looking for a portable high-performance laptop (not for gaming) and you don’t mind the 5-6 hour battery life or lugging around a large power brick, the Illegear Arté 14 is right up your alley.

The Illegear Arté 14 is available now on their official website, with prices starting at RM4,599 (before discount). If you purchase one before 31st July, you are entitled to a free Samsung 512GB SSD upgrade, free Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut, and free colour calibration.

Specs

Processor11th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-11300H Processor (Four Core, Eight Threads, 3.1GHz to 4.4GHz), 8M Cache
11th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-11370H Processor (Four Core, Eight Threads, 3.3GHz to 4.8GHz), 8M Cache
Core LogicIntel® Tiger Lake H
Display14″ 90Hz iRIS WQXGA 16:10 Anti-glare IPS sRGB 100% INFINIVISION Display (400 nitts)
RAMSupports Dual Channel DDR4
Two 260 pins SODIMM sockets, support for DDR4 3200MHz
(Real operation frequency depends on processor)
Expandable up to 64GB, depends on 8GB/16GB/32GB SODIMM module
Graphics CardIntel® Iris® Xe Graphics, 400 MHz – 1300 MHz
StorageTwo M.2 2280 SSD, PCIe Gen3 x2 and PCIe Gen4 x4 interface (RAID 0/1 support)
Sound SystemBuilt-in Dual Digital Microphone
Built-in High Definition Audio (2 Channels)
Two 2 Watt Amplified Speakers
THX® Spatial Audio
KeyboardUltra-tactile Keyboard with White Backlit (USA International)
Pointing DeviceIntegrated touchpad with Microsoft PTP multi-gesture and scrolling function
Double-tap ON/OFF Feature
I/O Ports1 Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C port
- Support Type-C Fast Charging
- Support Power Delivery
- Support Data Transfer
- Support DisplayPort 1.41
HDMI 2.0 output Port
1 USB 3.1 Gen. 2 Port (Type-C) (Support Display Output)
2 USB 3.1 Gen. 1 Ports (Type-A)
1 2-in-1 Audio Jack
1 DC-in jack
Slots2-in-1 Card Reader
Three M.2 Card Slots
– 1st for WLAN Combo M.2 2230 Card with PCIe and USB interface
– 2nd for SSD M.2 2280 Card with PCIe Gen3 x2 interface
– 3rd for SSD M.2 2280 Card with PCIe Gen4 x4 interface
CommunicationIntel®️ Wi-Fi 6 AX201 + Bluetooth v5.1
Other FeaturesMagnesium Alloy with Protective Coating
Large Glass Touchpad
Windows Hello Camera (Top Webcam)
PowerEmbedded Polymer 53Wh Battery Pack
Full Range AC-in 100~240V, 50~60Hz, 90W AC Adapter
SecurityKensington® Lock
OS SupportWindows® 10
Certificate11th Generation Intel® Core™ i5/i7 Logo
Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics Logo
Physical Characteristic1.04kg with Battery
308.8 (W) x 215 (D) x 13.6~15.6 (H) mm

Highlights

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