Chill­blast He­lios i5

Tech Advisor - - REVIEWS - An­drew Har­ri­son

This lap­top from Chill­blast starts at a tup­pence short of £700, with a sim­i­lar spec­i­fi­ca­tion and an at­tempt at du­pli­cat­ing the all-me­tal case­work. The He­lios i5 is a 13.3in ul­tra­portable weigh­ing un­der 1.4kg, mea­sur­ing 19mm thick, and pack­ing the latest Broad­well In­tel pro­ces­sor, plus full-HD dis­play. This has IPS-like tech­nol­ogy for im­proved im­age over cheap­est TN types.

Chill­blast uses the Topstar U731 lap­top and makes it avail­able in the UK with 2.2GHz In­tel Core i5-5200U for £699; or with 2.4GHz Core i7-5500U for an ex­tra £99. The chas­sis is sim­i­lar to that of Ap­ple’s MacBook Air, sides that ta­per to­ward the front to give the il­lu­sion of a wedge. There are two USB ports, but only one USB 3.0, even if the left port is er­ro­neously la­belled ‘SS’ for Su­per­Speed. The DC power in­let is too close, so you may have trou­ble in­sert­ing thumb drives. There’s an up­side-down HDMI and an SDXC card slot, along with a rar­ity in ul­tra­books – built-in eth­er­net. This has a hinged flap that flops down, even when not re­quired.

With lid closed, the Chill­blast He­lios i5’s top and bot­tom are plain, in un­fin­ished alu­minium, and while there are no de­fects in man­u­fac­ture it feels flim­sier than we would like. Chill­blast has stuck a thick plas­tic logo in one cor­ner.

The key­board works sat­is­fac­to­rily but we had trou­ble with the track­pad, a bud­get com­po­nent with poor sen­si­tiv­ity – it would take sev­eral taps to register a click, for ex­am­ple, and steer­ing was not par­tic­u­larly pre­cise. You can se­lect 250- or 500GB mSATA SSD, a Sam­sung 850 EVO, while Wi-Fi sup­ports 11ac net­works with a sin­gle-stream adap­tor from In­tel.


With the help of up-to-date Core i5, the He­lios i5 didn’t want for speed – 2652 points in Geek­bench 3, ris­ing to 5269 in multi-core mode. PCMark 8 Home scored the lap­top with 2812 points, about right for a midrange ul­tra­portable. Gam­ing was less cer­tain, just 27fps at the low set­ting of 720p/Low in Bat­man.

The AAS dis­play is a bud­get at­tempt at IPS, here able to cover 97 per­cent sRGB and 670:1 con­trast ra­tio. Colour ac­cu­racy was dis­ap­point­ing, Delta E av­er­age 3.12.

Bat­tery life was good though, at nine hours 46 min­utes in the wire­less video-stream­ing test.


The Chill­blast He­lios i5 trumps the MacBook Air in screen res­o­lu­tion and im­age qual­ity, but it’s let down by cheaper-feel­ing build. If you can live with these is­sues along with the op­er­at­ing sys­tem, you can save over £100 on the real thing.

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