Mech 15 G3R
So, I'm not a newbie to the gaming laptop scene. A brief look back at the rigs I've owned as it might shed some light on what brought me here:
2009 HP DV7T: i5 and some midrange AMD GPU
2011 Asus G75VX: i7 3630MQ and a GTX675
2018 Aorus X5 V7: i7 7820HK and the venerable GTX1080
2018 Alienware 15R3: i7 7700HQ and the GTX1070
2019 Alienware M17 R1: i7 9750H and a RTX2070 MQ
The HP was my starter, and it was absolute garbage. I believe it killed nerves in my left hand due to the heat this thing would kick out. That led to my next pick, the G75VX. I selected it based completely on thermals. It had an LGA CPU and MXM GPU, that Asus never did anything with. It also weighed a metric ton (ok, really like 12 lbs with the adapter, or roughly 6 kilos for you metric folk) but ran super cool. When my upgrade window opened, I wanted something with more performance and lighter.
Enter the gaming laptop paradox; we all want something powerful and doesn't snap your shoulders when you go to work or school.
My Asus was bought through XoticPC, which was a great buying experience (and no sales tax at the time). For the Aorus, I went with HIDEvolution which didn't go so well. It wasn't that HIDEvolution was the problem, they weren't and I'd recommend them if you want a more personal touch with a mainstream laptop. The Aorus was the problem. It was junk. Expensive junk, but junk none the less. I had the laptop for two weeks when the motherboard died. This was at the end of a long string of other nonsense so rather than dive into the rabbit hole of RMA hell, I returned it and bought the Alienware.
This purchase led to the first step towards the Mech 15 G3R - the Alienware Graphics Amplifier. In my opinion, this is one of the best peripherals ever made for gaming laptops. This is a contentious point, the whole eGPU debate, given there is a measurable performance loss when you use TB3, TB4, or event the x4 lanes Gen 3 PCIe adapter Dell cooked up for the Alienware platform. However, one thing you can't argue about is what it does for the thermal solution in the laptop.
See, by offloading the GPU work to a device outside of the laptop, the thermal solution now only has the CPU to be concerned about and it can now handle that with headroom to spare. When I had the chance to grab the M17 R1 on sale, I did.
Fast forward to late last year when Schenker/Eluktronics announced the Oasis/LPP alongside the buzz surrounding Alder lake. When Linus and Dave 2D did their little demos of the product, I was excited because it meant that at someone has been paying attention to what is possible and how to achieve it. Alder lake is another toasty chip and Nvidia doesn't seem too concerned with putting small fusion generators in either desktops or laptops. The novel cooling solution proposed by Eluktronics supplements the thermal solution and removes excess heat from the laptop. This, and again in my opinion, is a step better than an eGPU for a couple of reasons:
No need to purchase an enclosure or desktop GPU
No driver issues associated with using an eGPU (which aren't a huge deal, but can be)
Allows the hardware you purchase to run as designed
This last bullet is a big deal. For the last 5+ years, manufacturers have been deliberately gimping totally overpowered hardware for the explicit purpose of cramming them into thin and light laptop designs. Really, this has gotten so nuts that Intel has set the TJmax for it's CPUs at 100C and every manufacturer is totally okay with letting your $2K+++ laptop hit that limit, all day long, and not only will they tell you that's okay, but a lot of people that own gaming laptops now think this is acceptable. In fact, OEMs now give you, the owner, the power to gimp your own hardware through crap like TCC offset. Laptop getting too toasty? Go ahead and set an artificial throttling point so you feel better and our service advisors don't have to keep repeating the same script that everything is okay. Win-win.
This solution by Eluktronics means your laptop can run at full tilt, without throttling, which is what you paid for.
Anyway, enough with the soapbox. On to the actual review.
Purchasing Experience - 8/10
I ordered my laptop in mid-February with a target ship date at the end of March. I understood early on that this had a very real possibility in being a bumpy ride, and bumpy it was. The end of March came and went with no laptop in sight. I fully realize all the headwinds facing me; the global shortages, shipping infrastructure issues, pandemic still in swing, and various geopolitical issues conspiring to slow this down. And they did. However, there are some things that could have been managed better, some of which have been touched on in this subreddit:
Website - There are graphical issues on the website that are confusing. For example, when you sign into your account and navigate away from your account page, when you click on the little human symbol that represents your account, a blank flyout appears that I believe has two options, "Account" and "Sign Out". I think they are in white text on a white background. For a website where users regularly make purchases in the thousands of dollars, attention to details matter.
Updates - I called about every two weeks up to the end of March and then started calling every week. Each time I did, the folks that responded were extremely polite, professional, and responsive. They updated my order status to reflect the conversations we had and to that end, I have no complaints. However, the order statuses that I saw on the website were "Awaiting Fulfillment", "Awaiting Shipping", and "Shipped". I would highly recommend adding an "In Production" status to let customers know that Eluktronics is actively preparing the unit according to whatever was ordered. This would save some phone calls. Awaiting Shipping can lead someone (like me) to believe the unit is ready to go and is waiting for a clerk to slap a label on it so a brown truck can pick it up.
Communication - The Mech 15 G3R is apparently a very new laptop. So new that there was a BIOS update that kept mine from shipping because Tongfang was still cooking the code. Prior to that, all those factors I mentioned earlier frustrated the target delivery date. These would be fantastic things to put in a customer newletter sent to folks that have money on the table, waiting for what they bought. It lets us know that you're thinking about us as a team and goes a long way towards fostering effective communication. Yes, there's a likely concern that some buyers might cancel if they catch a whiff that there's a problem with their purchase. I'd argue that if they are at Eluktronics' doorstep, it's because they already know what they want.
This might all seem nitpicky or overly critical. It isn't. The fact I'm here with this review is testament that I believe in what Eluktronics is offering and I'm putting my opinions out there in a hope to improve this brand.
So, in the end, I ordered my laptop on February 18th, was notified that the unit was awaiting shipping on March 31st, and the unit actually shipped on April 11th. I was notified by email on April 8th that the LPP half of the order had been delayed but I could request to have that sent when it was in stock. I elected to have the Mech 15 G3R sent separately. I also ordered it with the 2-day shipping and Eluktronics upgraded that for free due to the delays to overnight shipping. I'm giving the folks in Delaware an 8 out of 10 for the free upgrade, giving folks options, and generally being approachable and accessible throughout the pre-shipping process. I'm talking two points off for the website having a little bit of jank and not leveraging better status codes (which would have saved a couple of phone calls).
The laptop was sent via UPS overnight, which is in my opinion only topped by FedEx overnight. What happened next wasn't Eluktronics fault but UPS showed a "before 7 PM" arrival time at my doorstep. I decided to grab a bite to eat with my wife around 11 AM and no sooner had I got to the eatery of our choice, my Ring goes off with UPS at my doorstep. UPS worked with me and I grabbed the laptop from their distribution hub later the same day.
The outer box was in pristine condition, UPS handled the package with care. The inner box was suspended by mid-density foam corners and was also in flawless condition. Word to you folks looking to buy, save the box in case you need to ship it back.
Build Quality 9/10
The Eluktronics Mech 15 G3R is based on the Tongfang IDW laptop for 2022 and is identical (save for one important new feature) to last year's IDW and Mech 15 G3. Construction is mostly aluminum with a plastic base. The laptop is not branded in any garish or gamer-y way, meaning it will easily sneak into a boardroom or office setting without raising an eyebrow. In fact, I would say it looks like any other business notebook, if a bit on the chunky side. At just a hair over 1 inch tall, it won't set any records for thinness, but that girth packs the goods.
The laptop is definitely lighter than my last one, but the power brick is a honking chunk if I ever saw one. It's a 330w unit and is massive.
The keyboard, in my opinion, is a real highlight of this machine. The opto-mechanical keyboard is crisp, light, and very comfortable to type on for extended periods.
On top of the 3K screen is a 1080P webcam with IR sensor. This gives you access to Windows Hello, which I had on my older 15R3 and actually missed that feature with the laptops that replaced it. The webcam, while of a higher resolution, was grainy in the fairly well lit room I was using at the time. I'll investigate more, but I think you'll need to either play with the settings or have a lot of ambient light to get a good image.
The laptop's display is a BOE CQ NE156QHM-NZ1, which I can't find any information on as far as color gamut coverage. It's the same one notebookcheck.net had with the preliminary model XMG sent them for review. According to that pre-review, the display wasn't properly configured and appeared to underperform. I can say that it appears to be quite bright, there's minimal backlight bleed, no dead pixels, and seems to be working quite well.
Windows 11 Home comes standard and here's where the first and only issue popped up. The license key provided on the laptop was invalid and the error noted that it was in use on another machine. I found this to be more of an annoyance than anything; a quick visit to one of the many software vendors out there and I secured a Pro key for what it would cost for two people to stop at Starbucks. While this isn't bloatware (the laptop had none, other than Windows), it is the only glitch I've encountered so far.
This thing is a monster. While I was typing this, I ran Cinebench R20 with priority set to real-time; it came back with a score of 7185 while in Beast Mode. According to notebookcheck.net, that puts it on the same page as a desktop locked 12th gen i9, a Ryzen 9 5900X, a friggin second-generation Threadripper, and nearly 25% faster than a desktop 11900K. That is an unbelievable accomplishment from Intel and a great decision by Eluktronics to make this part available for purchase. Now, I'm not particularly happy that we can't get the i9 12900H with the standard RTX 3080, as I don't necessarily see the 3080ti as a huge step up.
Now, I'm still in the process of investigating this issue but the CPU does not allow me to undervolt. Throttlestop shows the register is locked which might be due to Windows nonsense (virtualization settings) but wasn't terribly off-putting due to the insane performance I saw out of the box. I might add that the R20 score was with temps in the low 90s. HWinfo did detect throttling, so there is some tweaking that can be done here. I'll dig into it more and report back in the comments. Further investigation tells me that Intel has this chip locked out as they believe undervolting is unnecessary. I disagree and will explore using PowerMonkey in the future.
With LPP, this machine turns into the ultimate expression of beauty and the beast. It is a light, portable office laptop that can game harder than many desktops at the same price point. It is whisper quiet to boot.
I'm still in the process of getting this laptop all set up the way I want it and have yet to start gaming on it. I'll be trying out some games this afternoon along with Timespy to get an idea of how potent the mobile 3080ti is. As it stands, I'm impressed. This is a great laptop that is, unfortunately, at a cost-prohibitive price point. I would say, if you can afford it, this should be on your shortlist.
Also worth mentioning is that the BIOS is from Premamod, a very nice touch indeed.