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Novatech X1 GTX review

Verdict

A decent gaming laptop but it's overshadowed in almost every area by stronger competition

Review Date: 21 Aug 2009

Reviewed By: Mike Jennings

Price when reviewed: £1,646 (£1,893 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

The folks at Novatech are obviously an ambitious bunch. As soon as they saw that we'd reviewed the superb Alienware M17x, they crammed the X1 GTX into a box and dared us to line it up against Dell's finest.

Haul the Novatech from its box and it certainly looks the part, combining a glossy black exterior with silver-effect edging and an illuminated Novatech logo. That gleaming finish obsessively collects fingerprints, but there's no denying it looks suitably expensive.

Open the lid and the air of extravagance continues, with clean lines and uninterrupted wristrest instantly reminiscent of the Alienware. As with the M17x, there are plenty of blue lights, with the row of media buttons, touchpad and neat touch-sensitive volume control all illuminated.

The X1 GTX holds its own when it comes to build quality too, feeling as solid as any laptop we've seen, with hardly any give in the wristrest and a respectable lack of flex from the screen. Also worth noting are the X1 GTX's dimensions: it's 68mm thick and weighs 5.7kg before you factor in the 1.1kg power brick, so it won't be leaving the mains in a hurry.

Ergonomics

The colossal 18.4in panel isn't an edge-to-edge screen, despite looking the part. The wide expanse of glass gives way to a thin plastic bezel near the edge of the lid. The Novatech's screen can't match the Alienware's panel on a technical level, either, offering a less generous but still Full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 and variable quality: while detail is sharp and there's no sign of backlight bleed, definite graining can be seen in swathes of white and colours just aren't as vibrant as they were on the M17x.

Novatech X1 GTX

The keyboard, meanwhile, is a Scrabble-tile design, similar to that seen on expensive machines such as the Sony VAIO VGN-AW21XY/Q and current-generation of MacBook Pros. The Novatech's keyboard offers comparable quality, with a rock-solid base, comfortable typing action and full-sized numberpad. We'd have preferred a little more travel on the keys, but it's hardly a deal-breaker.

There's even enough room to the left of the keyboard for a column of eight customisable buttons. Using the X1 GTX's GameKey software you can record and assign macros to these keys, and although you don't get the sophisticated profiles or options that specialist keypads offer, it's a touch that keen gamers will appreciate.

The trackpad, on the other hand is, a distinctly acquired taste, proving slow and sluggish when prodded forcefully - we found it worked slightly better with a lighter touch. The rocker button offered a bit too much resistance for our liking too.

As you'd expect from such a monster of a laptop, the X1 GTX is well-endowed in the ports department. You get four USB and one eSATA, HDMI and DVI-I outputs, a 3-in-1 card reader and even a CATV port, although there's no DisplayPort output, which the Alienware included.

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