Aftershock SM-15

Aftershock SM-15
Aftershock SM-15

I have had the privilege of trying out some of the priciest gaming laptops available. They typically feature dual graphics cards, fast processors and high-resolution screens.

Of course, I have to return them after the review. While they are excellent gaming machines, they are also way over my budget.

So, if I were to buy a gaming laptop, it would probably be something more affordable, such as the Aftershock SM-15.

The review set here costs $1,932, though the price can go as low as $1,559 (without Windows). What you get is a mid-range gaming system that will run the latest games at its native 1,920 x 1,080 pixels at medium to high settings.

In fact, Aftershock PC says that most customers choose the more affordable 15-inch models because they are good value for money.

Weight is another reason. The SM-15 is about 2.4kg and practically lightweight compared with the 17-inch models that go up to 5kg. But the SM-15 is not as svelte as the slim gaming laptops from Acer and HP. On the flip side, its chassis has sufficient space for a solid-state drive and a hard drive. It even has an optical drive.

Aftershock has tried to jazz up the chassis with rear exhaust vents and angular lines, but the SM-15 is not as attractive as its rivals. Still, you can pay extra for a custom paint job. For a fee, Aftershock's designer will even create a unique look for your laptop.

The laptop's matte display has very good viewing angles. Colours look good, though the screen could be a tad brighter.

By default, the keyboard backlight is white. But for an extra $20, you can have your choice of colour, or even multiple colours, for $40. The keyboard itself has decent travel, but, more importantly for gamers, a software app lets you create and assign macros for each key.

On Aftershock's website, you can choose the amount of memory and storage for your computer, though not the CPU and the graphics chip.

Powering this laptop is the mid-range Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M, which is slightly faster than the older GeForce GTX 860M.

The SM-15 scored 57.89 frames per second (fps) in Crysis 3 at medium setting compared with 46.83 fps for the HP Omen (with the GeForce GTX 860M). In Bioshock Infinite, the SM-15 produced a good 56.51 fps at the highest setting at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.

The machine lasted a decent 3hr 43min while playing a video at maximum brightness and volume.

Decent gaming performance at an affordable price. Customise it for a unique look.

This article was first published on May 27, 2015.
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