Purchasing a midrange gaming notebook in this day and age is no easy feat. Not only is there an abundance of models for you to choose from, you will also need to diligently analyze their respective strengths and weaknesses to ensure that you’ll be getting the most bang for your buck.
Tough work, no doubt. But fortunately, you can save yourself the trouble of having to compromise on hardware with the highly customizable ILLEGEAR Raven. If budget permits, you can have this bad boy decked out with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ, a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and terabytes of solid-state storage.
But even if you decide to play it relatively safe, and opt for a more sensible hardware configuration as per our review unit (Intel Core i7-7700HQ, a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB HDD), you will still be getting a RGBbacklit mechanical keyboard as standard – something you won’t normally find on a midrange gaming notebook. With that said, it might take some time to get used to its key feel, especially if you’re accustomed to mechanical keyboards with Cherry MX switches. We’d say that they are rather reminiscent of regular chiclet keys, but with a more pronounced tactile bump and audible click. They might not feel as crisp and satisfying to type on as keys with Cherry MX Blue switches, but we would certainly prefer them over ordinary chiclet keys.
Keep your expectations of the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti that is powering the Raven in check, and you will undoubtedly be pleased with its performance. While it could handle Overwatch and Far Cry 4 at their highest graphics settings with comfortable average frame rates of 60.2 and 49.2 fps, it did struggle with more graphically-demanding titles like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, judging from their average frame rates of 25.2 and 21.5 fps, respectively.
Speaking of gaming, you might want to keep in mind that the 15.6-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) display isn’t particularly bright, even at its maximum brightness setting. While it’s not going to be that much of an issue with movies that are visually bright like say, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, you are very likely to end up
CoNCLusioN The iLLEGEAr raven is a refreshing alternative to the crop of mainstream midrange gaming notebooks.
squinting your way through Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The raven’s rGB-backlit keyboard has 14 different lighting modes.