Schenker XMG P505

Tech Advisor - - REVIEWS -

XMG is the gam­ing sub-brand of Ger­man lap­top maker Schenker. And within the XMG range lies a choice of three lev­els – Ad­vanced, Core and Pro – which cor­re­spond to the en­trylevel, midrange and flag­ship se­ries.

So the XMG P505 is a gam­ing lap­top from the top tier that Schenker says can de­liver – un­less you want to step up to the Ul­ti­mate Se­ries. This takes a desk­top-class CPU and all the trim­mings, mak­ing it more of a fire-breath­ing desk­to­pre­place­ment PC; less of a notebook you’d want to place upon your lap.

This 15in gam­ing lap­top serves as a plat­form to host nVidia’s new­est 900 Se­ries mo­bile graph­ics pro­ces­sors, namely the GeForce GTX 965M, 970M and 980M. We tested a con­fig­u­ra­tion with the top 980M, al­lied with the lap­top moth­er­board’s sin­gle choice of CPU, an In­tel Core i7-4720HQ run­ning at 2.6GHz. This chip packs 6MB cache and can Turbo up to 3.6GHz.

Con­fig­u­ra­tions and op­tions

The start­ing price for the XMG P505 is £891, although at this price you don’t get any in­ter­nal stor­age, let alone an op­er­at­ing sys­tem to in­stall it on, nor any wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity. Visit the lap­top’s prod­uct page and you’ll find that Schenker UK has a base model with a 500GB hard disk and bud­get 11ac Wi-Fi card for a price of £939, although you’ll still need to pay £65 for Win­dows.

Mem­ory is fully con­fig­urable, from a sin­gle 4GB RAM card of Cru­cial Bal­lis­tix Sport, up to 32GB Kingston HyperX Im­pact. The given op­tions are for 1866MHz clock mem­ory, higher than In­tel’s of­fi­cial spec­i­fi­ca­tion for this pro­ces­sor of 1600MHz. Schenker UK tells us that even higher-clocked RAM can be used, up to 2133MHz, although this isn’t sta­ble.

We spec­i­fied 16GB of Cru­cial mem­ory. There’s a to­tal of four slots for SO-DIMM mem­ory mod­ules, with the pre­in­stalled RAM po­si­tioned on the re­verse side of the moth­er­board. There’s a way in through the key­board, to swap this out with­out a lengthy tear­down of the en­tire ma­chine. You can also add two more mem­ory cards easily to slots on the top side of the moth­er­board when the bot­tom plate is re­moved.

The stan­dard 15.6in screen is 1920x1080 res­o­lu­tion, IPS tech­nol­ogy, and fin­ished with a matt anti-glare coat­ing. You can also trade up to a 4K UHD panel of 3840x2160, although since even the world’s finest GPUs for lap­tops strug­gle at four-times the full-HD res­o­lu­tion, we sug­gested a 2880x1620-pixel panel as the best com­pro­mise, driven by the top GTX 980M graph­ics pro­ces­sor with 4GB of GDDR5 video mem­ory.

Stor­age op­tions get very in­ter­est­ing, as the P505 can ac­cept up to two tra­di­tional SATA drives, ei­ther 2.5in hard disk or SSD up to 9.5mm thick each, plus two M.2 form-fac­tor drives. One of the lat­ter can be a PCIe-at­tached flash drive, us­ing four lanes of PCIe 2.0, while the other is fixed to a SATA bus only. But this SATA-only M.2 card slot can also po­ten­tially take a cel­lu­lar data mo­dem, which is why chas­sis man­u­fac­turer Clevo in­cludes a SIM-card slot on the lap­top’s side. Our sam­ple was con­fig­ured with a sin­gle drive, a Sam­sung XP941 PCI3 2.0 x4 card with 512GB ca­pac­ity.

For wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tions, we added the op­tion for Qual­comm Killer dual-stream 802.11ac. De­spite the size of the lap­top, there’s no third an­tenna in the chas­sis to al­low a full 3x3 MIMO Wi-Fi card.

Build and de­sign

Like most cus­tomis­able lap­top de­signs, Schenker re­lies on pre­built and semi-stuffed chas­sis from Tai­wan maker Clevo, and here the XMG P505 is us­ing a Clevo P651G case and dis­play assem­bly.

This case is a heavy-duty chunky con­struc­tion, satin fin­ish black com­pris­ing an alu­minium lid back and top deck area, and a black plas­tic bot­tom on the model we tested. Iron­i­cally, if you choose the cheap­est nVidia GTX 965M graph­ics, you should get a me­tal bot­tom plate, too. The plas­tic bot­tom is re­served for mod­els with GTX 970M and 980M, which re­quire a more pow­er­ful cool­ing sys­tem. Cool­ing is un­der­taken by three fans, two on the GPU and one for CPU.

There’s no built-in op­ti­cal drive, and like many mod­ern lap­tops the bat­tery is not de­signed to be change­able by the user. In­side is a lithium-ion bat­tery pack with 60Wh energy ca­pac­ity. In our stan­dard video-run­down test, this let the P505 sur­vive off the mains for three hours 11 min­utes.

The lap­top weighs a not un­gainly 2.59kg in this con­fig­u­ra­tion, but you’ll need to fac­tor in another 1.05kg for the 180W mains power sup­ply should you need to travel far.

The key­board, track­pad and dis­play are all of a very high qual­ity, with spe­cial men­tion for the un­usu­ally pre­cise track­pad with its two real but­tons, and the first-class IPS dis­play on the model we tested.

Ports and com­po­nents

With such a ca­pa­ble graph­ics pro­ces­sor un­der the bon­net you may be in­clined to con­nect ad­di­tional dis­play, made easy by the choice of two Mini Dis­playPort v1.2, which can chan­nel up to 3840x2160 pix­els at 60Hz; and an HDMI 1.4 port good for 2560x1600 (or higher to 4K UHD but with slow re­fresh rate).

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