After the recent bombshell that it was being acquired by peripheral and PC parts giant Corsair, Origin is a company in transition. While both companies produce their own desktop prebuilts (Origin's i160 is currently featured in our best gaming PC roundup, for instance), Origin provides some expertise in the laptop space that was previously absent from Corsair's portfolio. If Corsair's on the hunt for evidence it made a smart call in expanding its laptop offerings, the EVO16-S is a pretty convincing argument, an immediate competitor for the best gaming laptop crown.
Probably the most interesting feature about the EVO16-S is its mid-range 16.1" of screen real estate. Perched between the more traditional 15- and 17-inch form factors, a 16.1" display feels novel, but not in a gimmicky way. It's a unique middle ground for those that find a 15.6" screen restrictive but who don't have space in their bags for a full 17-inch model. That said, Origin's decision to buck the shrinking bezels trend and go with thicker screen borders means you're not saving quite as much space as you might expect compared to a 17-inch alternative.
Processor: Intel Core i7-9750H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
Memory: 16 GB G.Skill Ripjaws 2666MHz (2 X 8GB)
Display: 16.1-inch IPS 144Hz
Storage: 500GB Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD, 1TB Seagate 2.5" FireCuda SATA SSD
Connectivity: 2x USB-C (Thunderbolt and DisplayPort), 2x USB Type-A 3.1, Mini DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, 2 x 3.5mm mic/headphone jacks, 1 x UHS III card reader, Ethernet
OS: Windows 10 Home/Professional 64 Bit
Dimensions: .78 x 14.9 x 9.9 inches
Weight: 5.09 pounds
Warranty: One year
Despite chunkier bezels, the EVO16-S is an attractive machine. It's got just a touch of rounding at the edges, and some aggressive ridges around the lower exhaust ports add just a bit of edge to its svelte design. The review model we received from Origin also featured some UV printed art from Doom Eternal on its lid and, while it's not the aesthetic I would've personally chosen, it's a good illustration of the range of custom graphics and level of detail available. UV printing utilizes ultra-violet light to instantly dry and cure ink on a surface, so it's possible to lock in fine details before the ink spreads or blurs. Origin offers a number of preset designs you can decorate the lid with (at an additional cost of $149), or you can submit your own, custom image. Alternately, you can add $175 to the purchase price and get a solid metallic sheen in a number of colors, or stick to the default black or red for no additional cost.
For a machine this broad, the EVO16-S feels surprisingly light at only 5.09 pounds, little more than most 15-inch laptops. Lid up, the interior design is all matte black, with a carbon fiber-looking print on the lower bezel, centered on which is the Origin logo (which also replaces the O on the keyboard). The keyboard features the per-key RGB lighting that's become a prerequisite for the modern gaming laptop, and the spectacle of light works well as a contrast to the otherwise unrelieved black.
The keycaps are slightly raised inside a recess where the board lives, but unfortunately they've got an antiquated, membrane feel. If you're a mechanical switch enthusiast the keys will feel a little too soft, but the edges and spacing do ensure that each key feels distinct, and you're unlikely to accidentally actuate multiple keys at once.
The slightly disappointing keyboard is offset by an excellent trackpad, one of the best of any modern gaming laptop. The surface is smooth and responsive, and is complemented by a pair of dedicated left and right click buttons. The buttons are fully distinct from the trackpad and each other, and require you to intentionally press them in a way that mimics an actual mouse. The experience is much more satisfying than most laptop trackpads and resulted in considerably fewer misclicks.
The EVO16-S is also generous on the connectivity side, featuring a welcome pair of USB-C ports (one of which is DisplayPort compatible, the other Thunderbolt) as well as two USB 3.1 slots. It's still rare to see a laptop (or desktop PC, for that matter) with two C ports, but with the growing field of peripherals that require that high transfer ceiling, it's a trend I'd be happy to see catch on. The sooner I can do away with the last USB-A cable/adapter in my desk, the better.
One area where the EVO16-S falls a bit behind its competitors is battery capacity. In what was surely a bid to reduce the overall weight of the machine, Origin has loaded it with a 62Wh battery, which in my testing yielded a little over two hours of productivity. Gaming will, of course, reduce charge time to a fraction of that. A 62Wh battery is just not enough to power the high end performance parts in the EVO16-S for long, at least not in the spec Origin provided me for review, which included a Core i7-9750H and RTX 2080 Max-Q.
Performance and verdict: Should I buy the Origin EVO16-S?
The EVO16-S makes excellent use of its hardware and performs as expected. It's a great machine for 1080p gaming, whether you want to drive high frame rates and take advantage of its 144hz refresh panel, or play games with DXR support by taking advantage of the RTX card's ray tracing hardware. You could even plug in a higher resolution monitor and run games at QHD or 4K (with perhaps a few of the settings reduced).
The Max-Q 2080 in our review rig will never match the power of full size desktop 2080, of course, but it's still a beast in a 1080p machine, and the 9th Gen Core i7 will manhandle your day-to-day productivity tasks. This is even a competitive machine for content creators and editors who don't want to leave their work at home.
Cinebench R15: 180cb (single-core); 1,301cb (multi-core) CrystalDiskMark Q32 Sequential (Read): 3515.4MB/s CrystalDiskMark Q32 Sequential (Write): 3211.8MB/s PCMark 10: 5471 points
Shadow of the Tomb Raider: 78fps
Total War: Warhammer II: 52fps
Tom's Clancy's The Division 2: 88fps
Metro Exodus (RTX enabled - High): 54fps
3DMark Fire Strike: 16,771 points
Battery Life (productivity): 2 hours and 3 minutes
Because of the EVO16-S's unusual form factor, it's slightly more challenging to make a direct, apples-to-apples comparison between it and the competition's gaming laptops. That said, this is a competitively priced machine for the hardware you're getting, and in many cases you'd pay as much or more for a 15-inch equivalent from another manufacturer. Origin's offering is also broadly customizable—if you don't need all that high end hardware, you can adjust everything from the CPU and GPU to the amount of RAM and storage. The EVO16-S isn't sold as a handful of preconfigured specs, it can be widely customized to suit your specifics needs.
For anyone looking for a new laptop in the 15-inch range this is a compelling machine, and even those in the market for a bigger 17-inch equivalent might be tempted by the EVO16-S's feature set and chassis. While it loses points on account of its underpowered battery and wider bezels, the overall package here is a great value proposition, a balance for those looking for a portable machine that still has the raw horsepower to handle modern games.