Adata’s First Gaming Laptop Nails It

Adata’s First Gaming Laptop Nails It
Photo: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Gizmodo Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

I find it exciting when a new laptop brand enters the gaming market. The space is a little crowded at the moment, sure, but it can be refreshing to review something new. In my experience, there’s usually some feature or some hardware combination that I haven’t seen before, or the thermals are as pleasant as my grandma’s minestrone soup — not too hot but just right. Adata’s XPG Xenia gaming notebook, the first gaming notebook the company has ever made, checks a lot of the right boxes. It was originally released in April 2020, which is quite some time ago, but I’m happy I was able to finally spend some time with it. It’s a near-perfect gaming laptop that I would not mind owning myself, but I hope it can keep the same quality consistency where thermals are concerned should Adata choose to release a refreshed version with a newer processor in the future (which I hope they do!).

It’s a solid machine with everything I expected from a company that makes SSDs, DRAM modules, CPU coolers, peripherals and more. Adata knows the gaming space. It’s well-versed with the all too familiar balance of packing a rig with the right specs at a reasonable price while keeping the PC cool — and the XPG Xenia shows off Adata’s expertise in those areas beautifully. Even though some components are last-gen or soon to be last-gen thanks to all the laptop announcements were about to get over the course of CES, the XPG Xenia is still worth a solid look.

This gaming notebook is outfitted with an Intel Core i7-9750H, Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti GPU, 32 GB DDR4 2666 MHz DRAM, and a 1 TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD. The IPS FHD display is 15.6-inches with a 144Hz refresh rate and a 72% NTSC colour gamut. That colour gamut range is, for the most part, average on gaming laptops under $US2,000 ($2,570), but the 85% screen to body ratio makes this laptop fit right in with all the other sleek-looking notebooks that are stealth gaming machines.

Adata XPG Xenia Gaming Notebook

WHAT IS IT?

Adata's first ever gaming notebook

PRICE

$US1,700 ($2,185)

LIKE

Design, components, thermals, keyboard, Ethernet port

NO LIKE

Non-sale price is steep compared to similarly specced gaming and creator-focused laptops

The battery life is above average for a gaming notebook, nearly six hours. Not quite the 10+ hour battery life Adata advertises, but battery life is always going to vary based on what programs you’re running, the brightness of your screen, and how much RGB you have enabled. The XPG Xenia’s battery life is actually longer than a few other more expensive gaming laptops we’ve previously tested, like the Acer Predator Triton 500 (3 hours 20 minutes), Razer Blade Pro 17 (3 hours 36 minutes), and the Asus Strix Scar G15 (4 hours 45 minutes). It comes within a few minutes of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and the Acer Nitro 5.

The overall design is subtle and professional, which is definitely nice for gamers who want to use their laptops for both work and play. Pre-pandemic, I’d always feel weird taking my three-year-old gaming laptop to a coffee shop to work because the sharp lines etched into the lid totally stood out — not to mention the display bezels were thick and awkward looking. It looked aggressive, so it’s nice to see companies making more subdued and mature-looking gaming laptops these days.

While the plastic keycaps feel a little on the thin side, the low-profile mechanical keyboard is wonderful to type on. My fingers seemed to naturally adapt to the layout, and the click of the keys was pleasantly quiet. There’s also a slight bump at the actuation point, so those of you who prefer silent and tactile keys might like this one as much as I do. The XPG Xenia got it spot-on. The RGB lighting is per-key as well, so if you wanted to make the WASD or other commonly used keys while gaming stand out, you can do that.

This gaming notebook is a surprising powerhouse, too, thanks to that 32 GB of DRAM and how cool the Xenia keeps all its components, which I’ll get to in a bit. In our gaming benchmarks, it definitely held its own against many of the other higher-specced laptops we’ve tested — laptops with an Intel i9-10885H and an RTX 2070 Max-Q, or an AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS and an RTX 2060 Max-Q, for instance, averaging: 87 frames per second at 1080p ultra on Far Cry 5; 63 fps on Total War: Warhammer II; 79 fps on Shadow of the Tomb Raider; and 42 fps on Metro Exodus.

Photo: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo Photo: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo

Even compared to the Acer Nitro 5, which has the same CPU but a RTX 2060 and 16 GB of memory, the XPG Xenia cranked out the same number of frames in all the same games. It was even faster than the Nitro 5 rendering a 3D image in Blender, around 11 minutes and 30 seconds compared to around 13 minutes, and faster transcoding a 4K video to 1080p in Handbrake, about 11 minutes to 12 minutes and 30 seconds.

But here comes the caveat, and it’s not Adata’s fault: Intel decided to discontinue its 300-series chipset, which includes the QMS380 laptop chipset. The Intel Core i7-9750H in the XPG Xenia uses that chipset. As of now, you can still get devices with the compatible motherboard, but July of this year is the last chance for anyone to place orders on anything that needs a 300-series chipset. Adata could potentially place its final orders then so it has stock of this model through the end of 2021, but after that it has to use Intel 10th (or 11th-gen) CPUs, which worries me because of the thermal demands.

Nearly all the 10th-gen Intel laptops I tested over the last year have run warmer than anyone concerned with the longevity of their machine should be comfortable with, the i7s and i9s in particular. Max CPU temperatures reached over 90 degrees Celsius (over 194 degrees Fahrenheit), often coming within a few degrees of Intel’s max temperature rating of 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit.) Skin temps could easily reach 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher in certain areas around the keyboard or above it.

But the 9th-gen chips run so much cooler, and Adata’s cooling solution for the XPG Xenia is one of the best I have seen in a gaming laptop — even with the naturally cooler-running 9th-gen chip. The Xenia’s max temperatures only reached into high 80s (Celsius) compared to the Nitro 5’s low 90s. Average temperatures remained in the mid-60s, which is the perfect spot for a CPU under load to be.

Photo: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo, In-House Art

Photo: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo, In-House Art

Photo: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo, In-House Art

Photo: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo, In-House Art

Photo: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo, In-House Art

Photo: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo, In-House Art

Photo: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo, In-House Art

Photo: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo, In-House Art

Skin temps remained in the high 30s to low 40s, except for one localised spot above the keyboard that got as hot as 48 degrees Celsius. I could feel the air from the spinning fans coming through the keyboard, which kept my hands (well, left fingers) nice and cool while gaming. There are also more air vents on the sides, bottom, and back of the laptop, so this thing is well-ventilated.

Of course, the fans were 747-take-off-loud since the laptop was in Turbo mode while I ran these tests, but I was so happy to see much more cooler temperatures I didn’t mind as much. In balanced mode, there wasn’t much difference to temperatures, and there was a small drop in frame rate, about 2-3 frames. The fans were a little quieter, too, but not by much.

That’s all to say that Adata might have a good shot at taming Intel’s 10th-gen chip thermals, but if you’re looking for a good 1080p gaming laptop now and have a little over a grand to burn, the XPG Xenia is one to seriously consider. Yes, new laptops are around the corner and there are laptops with newer parts. Yes, the 300-series chipset is on its way out. But for $US1,250 ($1,606) as it’s currently priced on Adata’s site? Yeah, that’s a good price for a professional looking, well-specced, gaming laptop.

README

  • Good performance, runs surprisingly cool
  • Loud fans
  • OK battery life
  • Normal price is steep compared to similar gaming laptops, but it’s on sale as of this review’s publication for a more reasonable price.
  • Lots of ports, weighs just over four pounds

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for local Australian pricing and availability.