Disclaimer: We received a near-final build of the game in exchange for an honest preview. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and not influenced by Future Friends Games, and/or its affiliates, in any way.
It's been a while since I've played an endless runner - the last one I remember being Subway Surfer or some other Canabalt clone. So when the opportunity to check out Gibbon: Beyond the Trees arrived, I expressed my interest and boy, I was glad I did. Gibbon is the latest game from Broken Rules, an indie development studio known for the award-winning Old Man's Journey back in 2017, and I gotta say it lived up to my expectations. I received access to a near-final build of the game to give my impressions and here are my thoughts.
Right off the bat, we are treated with gorgeously stylish graphics that the devs are known for. The game has some of the most luscious greenery I've ever seen (until the destruction set in and even then it also looked stunning). Playing the game felt like watching the pages of a masterfully illustrated picture book come to life, Gibbon is a treat for the eyes. The animation for the colourful apes was also well-executed - swinging from tree to tree looked and felt great.
In terms of gameplay, Gibbon is pretty straightforward. There are no points to score in this game - you move from left to right of the screen, jumping, sliding and somersaulting along the way to avoid obstacles in your way. By paying attention to the changes in the background, you can deduce the story of what's going on around you. You play a lost (pink) gibbon who embarks on a dangerous journey into unknown lands and uncover the plight of creatures around the world. Yes, it isn't all fun and games - the story contains some very real issues faced by the animal kingdom. Following the story isn't mandatory but it adds to the experience of the game.
The controls took a while to get used to (coming from other endless runners) and eventually felt adequate and "right" to use. Tap and hold one finger to swing from branch to branch, release your finger to let go of your branch and fling yourself forward, tap and hold with two fingers to slide down branches/trunks, or run on the ground, and swipe any direction to perform a somersault while in the air (gaining speed once it completes).
Gibbon reminded me a lot of Skate City (another Apple Arcade game) despite having completely different subject matter, they both have breathtaking visuals and are easy to pick up but hard to master. Yes, don't let its charming appearance fool you. Gibbon gets challenging at times, and it is possible to fail. There are sections in the game where you are required to jump across an obstacle - be it a huge ravine or a stretch of wildfire - and failing to do so leads to your death.
This brings me to my main gripe with the game: checkpoints. Since they aren't very frequent, it can make the game feel a bit repetitive as you'll have to swing for a bit before reaching the obstacle you have to retry. It would have helped if your character moved a tad faster but I guess it was done this way so you could enjoy the scenery at the same time.
Once you're finished with the story, there's an endless mode for you to play around with if you can't get enough brachiation action on your phone. All in all, Gibbon is a fun and entertaining endless runner that's worth checking out for the brilliant visuals alone. If you're expecting something more complex, this game isn't for you. However, if you want something that's light and easy to pass some time, I'd recommend it. Gibbon: Beyond the Trees is available now on Apple Arcade.
Disclaimer: We received review units, courtesy of Armaggeddon Malaysia in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and not influenced by Armaggeddon Malaysia, and/or its affiliates, in any way.
It's been a while since we got our hands on Armaggeddon's audio products and it looks like they've been hard at work pushing out new designs for their lineup. I received the Hornet-7 Pro 3D and Nuke 5 a couple of weeks ago, and since then I've been putting them through the paces and here are my thoughts.
These wireless earbuds are very similar to the Hornet-3 Wireless Earbuds I reviewed last year, and upon first glance, I couldn't tell them apart from each other. However, when it comes to the case, it has a very different look. Where the Hornet-3 had a more subdued look, the Hornet-7 goes all out with the gamer aesthetics. It features an Armaggeddon logo badge and an LED strip around the opening. The lights come into play for checking the battery life remaining for the case (flashing red for under 10%, blue for fully charged). They also light up while the case is being charged through the USB C port in the back. Take note if you do charge it next to your bed at night - the lights are bright and constantly shift colours, with no way to disable them. I found this out the hard way during the first time charging the case.
Functionally, there seems to be no difference - you get the music mode, game mode, and the ability to answer calls and use your voice assistant. The lack of tactile feedback when 'pressing' the earbuds remains - it looks like they are here to stay.
Pairing the Hornet-7 Pro 3D was straightforward and hassle-free. I did experience the buds unpairing themselves occasionally but a simple case reset was enough to fix the issue. I used them with my laptop and smartphone without any problems.
In terms of audio quality, I have no complaints here. The Hornet-7 features a triple driver setup which is a step up over the Hornet-3. When testing it out with music, I found it pretty balanced with subdued mids and lows and highs taking precedence. Since the main purpose of these earbuds is to let you hear your teammates yell at you over voice comms, it makes sense. The issue with the audio clipping from the Hornet-3 is gone.
Comfort-wise - they are the same as the Hornet-3. The earbuds fit snuggly into my ears and remained comfortable even after wearing them for many hours.
Testing the quality of the onboard microphone (raw recordings, no adjustments done):
Quality-wise, there's not much difference between it and its predecessor - considering how it packs the same microphone, it's no surprise. Its noise cancellation is also effective at removing background noise. All in all, it's nothing amazing but definitely good enough for gaming and voice/video calls.
Battery life has been reduced to 28 hours (8 hours earbuds, 20 hours of juice from the case) - less than the Hornet-3 on paper but in practice, I didn't notice the difference. There wasn't a situation where I felt the pinch of not having the extra 4 hours. In fact, I managed to last over a week on a single case charge based on my listening habits. I know it's not the same for everyone but I think most people will be satisfied with the Hornet-7 Pro 3D's battery life.
One thing I realized about using the earbuds in 2021/2022 is that the lack of wires makes them great for use with face masks - no need to worry about any tangling. The Hornet-7 3D Pro has an RM169 price tag, which is pricier than the Hornet-3 but the improved audio experience makes it the better choice of the two if you're trying to decide between them. Shopee Link.
Sitting in the middle of Armaggeddon's PC gaming headset lineup, I found the Nuke 5 a bit harder to review. For context, on my home desktop, I use a Superlux HD668B headset running through a Behringer U-PHORIA UMC22 audio interface. For my voice, I use a Shure 55SH Series II also running through the same interface with a Klark Teknik mic preamp. While my own setup costs much more than just buying a pair of USB-powered headphones, I feel that it is absolutely worth the money especially since I use them for more than just gaming. Regardless, I'll try my best to give an unbiased review.
In terms of setup, the Nuke 5 does a great job here. It pretty much plugs it into your computer and you're good to go. If you have multiple audio devices, make sure you have it selected as your default output/input and adjust the levels accordingly. Most games will just use Windows' default settings for audio.
Comfort-wise, I found them a bit tight for my head. Not sure if my head is too large but I think it would be suited for somebody with a smaller skull. And since I wear thick-framed glasses, the stock earpads pressed them against my face causing a lot of discomfort after an hour. It was hard to keep them on for extended gaming sessions. I've found this to be the case with most stock headsets (I've replaced the earpads on my own headphones with soft memory foam ones) so I wouldn't fault Armaggeddon. However, when I took the headset apart to see if I could replace the earpads, it looks like you'll need to puncture holes in your third party earpads to get them to fit. Seeing how Armaggeddon doesn't sell their own earpads, it's something to take into consideration if you wear thick frames like me. The PU leather also gets pretty warm after a while.
Audio quality was passable. Music sounded pretty flat by default (without changing any software equalizer settings) - highs, mids and lows all blended with each other. I thought it sounded better when listening to instrumental music compared to songs with vocals, with its deficiencies becoming more obvious with the latter (especially with heavier music). Vocals lose depth and sound thin. If you're not picky, it's fine but it's definitely not winning any awards for sound quality.
However, when using it for its intended purpose: listening to teammates over voice chat, it gets the job done. Stay away from this headset if you plan on mixing or mastering music. Surround sound worked well enough but considering how good surround sound is mainly dependent on software these days, it's not much of a selling point.
Like the WASP-7, the microphone is on this headset is great. I was quite surprised at how well it captured my voice during testing even when I wasn't in a quiet environment - the onboard noise cancellation impressed me. My voice came through loud and clear without having to make any adjustments. It's probably the biggest selling point of this headset. Check out the samples below (raw recordings, no adjustments done except for the last one):
One thing to take note of is that the mic will easily get bent out of shape if you frequently move a lot or take your headset off. The fact that the mic is non-retractable means there's no way to hide it if you're not planning to use it. Then again, you wouldn't buy this if you didn't want to use all of its features.
The non-detachable USB cable is braided (a nice touch) and features an inline remote - one dial for the headset volume, and a switch to mute/unmute the mic. Great for when you don't want to fiddle with onscreen or your PC volume controls while gaming.
However, being a USB device means the headset has some limitations. You can't plug it into an external DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) if you want to improve the audio quality of the headset. You're stuck with the headset's onboard DAC. On the plus side, this means that you'll be able to use it with any computer even if it doesn't have a soundcard (though that's pretty rare these days).
To plug it into a tablet or smartphone, you'll need to use a converter or USB hub. I tested it on a Pocophone F1 and it worked flawlessly, but my friend's phone (a Redmi Note 2) couldn't seem to recognize it even though it was powered (the lights were on). Results may vary depending on your device. But because of how bulky the headset is, I wouldn't recommend you pair it with your smartphone anyway, there are more suitable alternatives (like the Hornet-7). I also tested the Nuke 5 on a Mac Book Air (2020) and it worked with no issues.
If you're a fan of RGBs, you might like the design of the Nuke 5 - both sides feature a rotating light pattern that heavily screams 'gamer'. Unfortunately, there's no way to tweak or adjust the lights on the headset - they stay on as long as they are powered. If you're not a fan of bling on your headsets, you might want to skip this one.
Overall, the Nuke 5 is a decent way to spend RM85 if you're looking for an easy to use, bright and flashy, gaming headset with a good microphone. Not recommended if you have a large skull and/or wear thick-framed glasses. If possible, I would recommend saving up a bit more for better, more customizable headphones and a dedicated mic instead. Shopee Link.
Over the past week, I’ve sunk a number of hours into the Diablo Immortal beta, and I’ve gotta say I’m impressed. I don’t regularly play many games on my phone besides Wild Rift, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, PUBG Mobile, and the occasional puzzler, so dipping my toes into an online action RPG was a fresh experience. The last time I tried one of those was some Diablo clone which couldn’t retain my attention past the tutorial chapter.
For context, I’m currently not the biggest fan of Diablo-style games. While they were fun at times, especially with friends, the whole loop of slaying monsters for loot so you can kill tougher ones for more loot isn’t my favourite kind of game anymore (as evident in my Diablo II: Resurrected beta impressions). Back in the day, I’ve played my fair share of Diablo and many other action RPGs that followed but these days I avoid 'grindy' games. And after seeing all the bad press that Diablo Immortal got during its announcement, I didn’t have high hopes for the game. However, I booted up the game with an open mind because I wanted to see how well Blizzard/NetEase could translate Diablo to smartphones.
In short, I was not let down. The game is fun and satisfies the criteria for a well-designed mobile game. Is it a great Diablo game? I’ll leave that for the hardcore fans to decide but personally, I think it’s an enjoyable action RPG title that makes good use of Blizzard’s IP.
Getting into the game was easy. All I had to do was log in with my battle.net account and was almost good to go. Character creation was merely selecting a class and typing in a name. A short tutorial followed and immediately after, I was thrown into the world of Sanctuary with quests to tackle.
It’s easy enough to understand what you have to do and even if you don’t pay attention to the dialogue, the quest markers make it straightforward for you to accomplish all your tasks. I never felt lost playing the game despite the large, sprawling map.
Quests are also broken down into bite-sized chunks. It was very easy to pick up your phone, finish a quest or two and put it down, which makes it great for quick sessions. You’re not committed to spending too much time on your phone (unless you’re dungeon-questing with a party). You can also quit the game at any time to resume right where you left off. The quests themselves are nothing unique to the genre - a lot of "go to location X to kill Y and bring Z back to me" type of missions.
The UI is decent. It might be a tad too cluttered for smaller devices, but you can close most menus for a cleaner look. Game controls are also easy to use and figure out. If you’ve ever played a MOBA on a smartphone, you’ll feel right at home. Dragging to aim your spells feels great and I never encountered any problems doing it.
While the graphics aren’t mind-blowing, they’re good enough and it looks and feels like a Diablo game. The characters, world, monsters and spell effects are cohesive, I haven’t noticed anything out of place yet. However, this could change in the future, depending on how wild Blizzard/Netease decide to go with the cosmetics. The game runs fine on a Pocophone F1 but i’m sure it’ll be smoother on newer or more powerful devices.
Inventory management - the bane of my existence (one of my least favourite things about games in general) is bearable here. You’ll pick up and replace a lot of your gear throughout each session so it’s something to get used to. The pros: it’s easy to identify when you have better gear - there’s a green arrow signifying an item is better than what you have equipped, so it makes sorting your trash quick and easy. On the plus side, you only seem to get drops for your class so you won’t have unusable loot. Cons: you have limited inventory space so you’ll need to clean out your inventory every now and then (not as frequent as in Diablo II) but it’s not something you can ignore. You do this by either destroying the item from your inventory screen or going to a blacksmith to salvage them for upgrade materials. Upgrading your items require a lot of materials, so this will be what you’ll be doing with most of the loot you pick up.
Since Diablo Immortal is played online, you’ll be encountering random people every now and then in your world. The best part is, you don’t even have to party up with them to work together - you can fight alongside anybody, clearing mobs in an area without initiating any sort of friendship. The other night, I cleared a quest line together with a total stranger. I bumped into them on the way to an objective and we helped each other out without saying a word. This silent cooperation worked all the way until the final quest which had to be completed solo. After the dungeon ended, they were nowhere to be found.
There are dungeons in the game where cooperation is recommended and the game makes it easy to find a party. Just hit queue on the in-game party finder at the dungeon entrance and wait for the slots to fill up - it’s that simple.
I experienced lag spikes once in a while but nothing game-ruining. I suspect it was because I was connected to the Australian server for the beta (the alternative was Canada which had double the latency) so I can only hope that such issues disappear once we get SEA servers.
You’ll have plenty of reasons to play Diablo Immortal if you enjoy the core gameplay loop. There are many quests, challenges and a battlepass to keep you busy ala typical mobile game ‘incentives’. Monetary wise, I haven’t spent any but here are the price of things:
Blizzard has mentioned that they want to keep things fair for everyone. All purchases made during the beta will be refunded when the game launches (beta progress isn’t saved) so we’ll have to see how they handle it when the game is in the public’s hands.
The game is huge - it currently takes up over 7 GB of storage and this is only the beta. I can only imagine how large it will be when it is finally released. Fortunately, you can start playing it without downloading the whole game. If you don’t have a fast and unlimited data connection, it’s something to keep in mind.
In conclusion, I think Blizzard and Netease have delivered a solid action RPG title that’s bound to satisfy most mobile gamers out there. Because the game is free to play, the only thing you’ll lose is time (and phone storage) if you give it a shot. I think it's worth checking out for that point alone. Personally, I feel Diablo Immortal does a great job of introducing the gameplay loop of the series to a wider (and more casual) audience. It could possibly serve as a gateway for folks to get into the console/PC mainline titles. No word on when the official release date is yet, but if you’ve pre-registered, keep an eye out on your notifications for a beta invitation.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a copy of the game and had no obligation to write a review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and not influenced by Activision, and/or its affiliates, in any way.
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to check out the latest instalment in the Call of Duty franchise, Vanguard, and after finishing the single-player campaign, here are my thoughts on the game. Firstly, I have to give credit to Sledgehammer Games for optimizing the game - on my desktop, which struggles to play CoD: Warzone at a decent frame rate, I could run Vanguard perfectly. Sure, it was on performance mode at 1080p, but it looked and ran a lot better than the CoD battle royale. I was able to finish the whole game with no issues or slowdown in performance. It was that well optimized.
Now onto the game itself - it's been a while since I last played a CoD campaign (if I'm not mistaken it was probably the 2010 Black Ops or older) so it felt refreshing to jump into a story-driven shooter again. The story kicks off right in the thick of things - hijack a train that is on its way to Hamburg to steal some files. As usual, things quickly escalate and you find yourself embroiled in a plan to put an end to the Third Reich. I won't spoil the rest of the story, but let's just say it's nothing out of the ordinary regarding World War 2 and Nazis.
Throughout the campaign, you'll get to play backstory/introductory missions as each of the characters, which eventually cumulates into the present day where you use everything you've learnt to complete the final task. As Arthur Kingsley, the British leader of the group, you get to play a typical FPS with a special ability to command your allies to attack designated hotspots. Wade Jackson, the American pilot, you get to fly a plane and a special detection mode that slows enemies down and shows their outline wherever they are. Polina Petrova, the Russian sharpshooter, is great with a sniper rifle and has the ability to move quickly while crouched. Lastly, as Lucas Riggs, the Australian demolitions expert - you get to blow up a lot of things.
I'm no history buff so I can't tell you how accurate the various battles and locations were - but seeing how Vanguard is a game and not an army simulator, it shouldn't be of much concern. With the unique gameplay elements of each character and mission, the game felt fresh from start to end without overstaying its welcome. I played the game on Regular difficulty and felt it was challenging enough - most of the game was a breeze but there were sections I had to replay quite a few times before figuring out what to do.
The worst part of the game was the plane mission. I don't know if this was intended to convey how difficult it was to fly and shoot at the same time, or me being terrible with plane controls, but it was the only mission where I felt glad when it was finally over. The rest of the campaign was typical CoD: shoot enemies, run to cover, collect ammo/weapons, rinse and repeat. The only difference is how you accomplish those tasks. Not complaining here - people expecting a CoD game won't be let down.
The final mission was a fun and short excursion which ended a bit too soon (it also wraps up in the most convenient way possible) but I guess it's a good way to introduce people to multiplayer before they can get burnt out by the game. I tried a single match of Free For All multiplayer and was quickly reminded why I stopped playing multiplayer shooters in the first place - I don't have the reflexes that I used to for these kinds of games. Overall, CoD: Vanguard was a decent way to spend six and a half hours of my weekend.
In conclusion, CoD: Vanguard's single-player campaign is nothing groundbreaking in terms of its story or mechanics, but it is an entertaining ride. Treat it like an introduction to the multiplayer component of the game - where I believe most CoD players will be spending their time. Based on the official road map, there's tons more content to come so this can be a game that you play for a whole year. Props to Sledgehammer for the graphical optimization - hopefully, we can see that tech carried over to Warzone one day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Processor||11th 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 Logic||Intel® Tiger Lake H|
|Display||14″ 90Hz iRIS WQXGA 16:10 Anti-glare IPS sRGB 100% INFINIVISION Display (400 nitts)|
|RAM||Supports 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 Card||Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics, 400 MHz – 1300 MHz|
|Storage||Two M.2 2280 SSD, PCIe Gen3 x2 and PCIe Gen4 x4 interface (RAID 0/1 support)|
|Sound System||Built-in Dual Digital Microphone|
Built-in High Definition Audio (2 Channels)
Two 2 Watt Amplified Speakers
THX® Spatial Audio
|Keyboard||Ultra-tactile Keyboard with White Backlit (USA International)|
|Pointing Device||Integrated touchpad with Microsoft PTP multi-gesture and scrolling function|
Double-tap ON/OFF Feature
|I/O Ports||1 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
|Slots||2-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
|Communication||Intel®️ Wi-Fi 6 AX201 + Bluetooth v5.1|
|Other Features||Magnesium Alloy with Protective Coating|
Large Glass Touchpad
Windows Hello Camera (Top Webcam)
|Power||Embedded Polymer 53Wh Battery Pack|
Full Range AC-in 100~240V, 50~60Hz, 90W AC Adapter
|OS Support||Windows® 10|
|Certificate||11th Generation Intel® Core™ i5/i7 Logo|
Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics Logo
|Physical Characteristic||1.04kg with Battery|
308.8 (W) x 215 (D) x 13.6~15.6 (H) mm
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.
Illegear has been stepping it up with their high-performance laptops recently, and one of their latest machines to join the fray is the Selenite X with GeForce RTX 30 series graphics.
We had the opportunity to play around with the machine for a couple of weeks and boy, it sure delivers - at least on the performance front. In terms of being a portable computer, I would chalk that down to personal preferences because this isn't for me.
Firstly, the laptop is massive. It has a large footprint thanks to its 17.3" 165Hz display and isn't what anyone would call lightweight, at 2.4kg. Throw in the massive power brick (because the battery life on this machine isn't great - I managed to squeeze slightly over an hour on high-performance mode) and you've got a recipe for backache. I tried lugging the laptop around as a daily driver and while I eventually got used to the weight, it made me appreciate the weight of my Ultrabook (ASUS UX430UA) when I switched back.
That being said, the Selenite X delivers on all other fronts. In terms of performance, you won't be disappointed. The machine can run all games, watch HD films, stream, and anything else you can throw at it. Unsurprising for a laptop of this caliber, but just thought I'd point it out in case you were wondering. The review unit I had was powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H, 32 GB of RAM, RTX 3070 and SSD had no issues keeping up for the most part.
Yes, I shall point out one of my main issues with the laptop - the CPU/GPU combo on my review unit does not take full advantage of the 165Hz display. Sure, the display is gorgeous and has no issues pumping out high-resolution visuals, but I had trouble getting games to run at that frame rate. By no means the games are unplayable - I ran a multitude of tests at different settings, with and without overclocking the hardware and I could never get Fortnite or COD: Warzone to run at 165 FPS. I was definitely getting above 100-120 FPS in most situations, and even 140 in certain areas, but I could never get the games to make full use of the display's capabilities. At this point, it's probably a CPU restriction because the equipped RTX 3070 is no slouch, but I thought I'd point that out.
In my opinion, if the laptop came with a 120Hz display instead, I probably wouldn't be too bothered by this point. With that being said, I'm not upset about the laptop's performance, just that the display might be more suitable when paired with the higher-end configurations (you can purchase the Selenite X with an R9 5900HZ if you top up RM3,800).
With a base price of RM7,299, it's nowhere near a budget friendly machine, so what else does the Selenite X bring to the table? For one, the laptop is massive for a good reason - it makes full use of its real estate. Because of its huge footprint, Illegear has managed to fit a keyboard with a numpad and a gigantic touchpad below it. If you ever found yourself complaining about the size of your touchpad, this laptop might be for you.
The touchpad is so big that users have the ability to disable the right half of it (or you can disable the whole thing, but what would be the point?). While I don't see it making a difference when it comes to gaming (I'd rather plug in an external mouse or use a gamepad), it was great for day-to-day usage. Having a larger touchpad made it easier to use without having to constantly lift and reposition my finger. Dragging things around was so much easier to do.
In the beginning, I found myself constantly making accidental moves on the touchpad because my palms were resting on it (where I imagined the empty portion of the laptop should normally be). Disabling one half of the touchpad somewhat solved the issue, but that meant I would absentmindedly use the disabled section instead, which led me to think that it was not responding, so I left it enabled. After a few days of adjusting, I got used to the positioning of this humongous touchpad.
One thing I applaud about the design of the laptop is its thermals. I didn't open up the laptop, but I assume the large base allowed them to put larger fans or at least space out the components more for better airflow. There are vents on the side and back of the laptop to let hot air out. Even when overclocked, the laptop did a great job of getting rid of the heat from the device. I had no issues using its keyboard during my gaming sessions, it never got hot enough for me to be uncomfortable or worried, which is a step up from other gaming laptops I've reviewed in the past. The fans still go pretty loud but one step at a time, I guess!
The Selenite also features plenty of ports on the side - great if you have a lot of accessories to plug in. Three USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader and separate headphone/mic ports on the left. This means if you have a dedicated mic cable on your headset you'll be able to make use of the microphone port, though I suspect most people will have USB mics these days. On the back, you get an ethernet port, a full-sized HDMI port, and a USB C port.
In terms of appearance, the laptop definitely has some sleek and subtle hints to its gamer pedigree but is professional enough to be used in an office setting with no judgement (you'll probably have to turn off the keyboard RGB). No complaints from me - it's a decent-looking machine.
To conclude - if you need a high-end desktop replacement that features a super large trackpad, an almost full-sized keyboard, has good thermals, the Selenite X is probably right up your alley. Since there are competing models within the same budget, it'll be up to you to decide what kind of features you are looking for when shopping for a similarly specced laptop. You can buy one from the official Illegear website, starting at RM7,299.