The Eluktronics N850HK1 Pro delivers unparalleled performance for single-card laptops for much less that high-end competitors. Its feature-set is very robust, and offers tasteful customizable lighting and forward-looking features.
- Top-notch customization options
- Solid gaming performance
- Aptitude array of ports
- Would do with more memory and RAM
- Middling battery life
- No optical drive
Eluktronics may not be an attention-grabbing gaming laptop brand, but they have always taken-on the ‘big boys’ like the Acer Predator Series and the ASUS ROG Series with affordable, yet formidable gaming laptops in the market. Case on point: the Eluktronics N850HK1 Pro, a reasonably priced premium gaming laptop that combines the top-notch design as its 15-inch siblings with cutting-edge components, a full HD screen, and plenty of extras than most rivals.
With the latest Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti graphics card and plenty of processing power, the Eluctro Pro is among the top performers among single-card laptops. It offers generous configuration options that allow you to build a machine that fits your needs. While it isn’t the most travel-friendly laptop around, it does exude enough raw power that will keep you excited. Still, the Acer Predator Helios 300 remains our Editors’ Choice entry-level gaming laptop for its features and equally unmatched raw power.
Modern, Familiar Look
The Eluctro N850HK1 is a replica of its recently launched stablemate, the Eluktronics N850HP6 Pro-X Premium, in just about every way, including an excellent, black sturdy construction. The lid is black, and so is the rest of the laptop, a good contrast to the many LED lights that adorn the keyboard. Looking at it, you may think that the keyboard lighting is exaggerated, but the brightness is adjustable, which is just enough restraint for it to look striking and flashy as per your needs.
The system isn’t very svelte, measuring 1.06 by 14.88 by 10.51 inches (HWD) and weighs 5.6 pounds, which is at par with most entry gaming laptops including the Acer Aspire VX 15 (1.14 by 15.31 by 10.45 inches; 5.51 pounds) and Acer Predator Helios 300 (1.05 by 15.35 by 10.47 inches; 5.95 pounds), while the Alienware AW15R3-3831SLV (1 by 15.31 by 12 inches; 8 pounds) comes in as rather bulky, and not conveniently portable. If you need something portable and lightweight, both the ASUS ROG GL502VS-DS71 and ASUS FX502VM-AS73 fare well in this regard, at less than an inch thick with a premium feel, and at 4.9 pounds, they are an embodiment of portability.
As with most 15-inchers, you’ll have to do with the maximum 1080p screen resolution. For this review, I tested the 15-inch model whose screen doesn’t for all the way to UHD (though the option is there when ordering), particularly, the Eluktronics N850HK1 4K Ultra HD that does pump up to 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution. Still, the screen is sharp, as we’ve always seen in that resolution, and the picture quality is stellar. It benefits from wide viewing angles since it’s an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel, and color reproduction is impressive. Overall, the picture isn’t stunning as you’d get in some gaming screens, like the Razer Blade and ASUS ROG laptops.
The keyboard and touchpad are sturdy, well-constructed and perform reliably. It uses a full size RGB Backlit keyboard with a 10-key numeric keypad, and the WASD gaming keys are well set. The main highlight here must be the capability to change the colors and glow effects on the fully-illuminated keyboard. A control Center application lets you adjust the brightness to any level of light you might need while working in the dark, display brightness, keyboard backlighting and power options. The keys have a good feedback and nice bounce, that facilitates rigorous gaming sessions. The Sound Blaster Cinema 3 with Onkyo speakers is loud enough for any gaming and media consumption.
Rich Features and Customization
A larger chassis does offer plentiful of real estate for customization, the Eluctro Pro offers plenty of connection options. It gets future proof ports including: two USB 3.0 ports; one USB 2.0 port; one USB 3.1 (Type C), one HDMI (with HDCP), two Mini DisplayPorts, an Ethernet port, a headphone jack, a microphone jack and an SD card reader. Extras include a Fingerprint Reader, TPM 2.0 and a Kensington Lock. It doesn’t have an optical drive, which is now a common trend among modern laptops. Wireless connectivity comes via Intel Dual-Band AC 8265 and Bluetooth 4.2. It also gets a 2.0 MP full HD webcam and an array mic for online gaming sessions.
Storage comes via a 256GB SSD, which isn’t much but you can opt to choose a configuration with more storage or upgrade the system as is. If you decide to upgrade, the system has one empty RAM slot, one 2.5” 7mm HDD/SSD slot, and a SATA III interface for seamless expandability. The fact that you can order any configuration prior to buying makes the system even more interesting, as it allows you to change select your display of choice ranging from 1080p up to 4K, graphics card from GTX 1050 to GTX 1080, RAM goes from 8GB to 16GB, as well as an array of storage options.
The Eluktronics N850HK1 Pro is powered by a 2.8GHz (Turbo 3.8GHz) Kaby Lake Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core processor with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics and 4GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM, which yields excellent graphics and multimedia benchmark results, as well as impressive work performance. To that, add 8GB DDR4 system memory and you have in your hands a beast for a gaming laptop that will perform productivity duties like video conferencing with ease, even better than most midrange gaming laptops.
The Eluctro Pro excels in graphics applications, thanks to the Pascal-based GTX 1050 Ti graphics card. Despite the lack of G-Sync technology, the graphics-sipping Far Cry 4 played smoothly at native resolution, looked vibrant, and was very responsive. However, it should be noted that the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1050 are the Pascal architecture’s equal of the older GTX 970M and GTX 965M, so they are just entry-level gaming GPUs. The real ball starts to roll when you bring GTX 1060, 1070 & 1080 into the picture, as they yield better frame rates per second (FPS) on even the most graphic-intensive modern titles.
For gaming, the GTX 1050Ti will give you: The Witcher 3-37FPS, Fallout 4-54FPS, Battlefield 1-56FPS and FIFA 17-123FPS, all played at native (1920-by-1080) resolutions. This is slightly on the lower side that what you’d get, let’s say, from the MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro-408, that comes with Nvidia GTX 1060. The MSI does crunch the numbers on most games at 1080p settings–Hitman average 61FPS, GTA 5 average 60FPS and 62FPS on Rise of the Tomb Raider, although you expect more numbers as you reduce the settings. Even though the 1060 isn’t the top of the new graphics line, the entry of Pascal provides a clear boost in gaming muscle over previous generation’s graphic cards.
Battery life is never a strong point for gaming laptops. All you expect from the 6-Cell 62WH is an average 3 to 4 hours battery life, which isn’t a surprise. The high resolution, powerful components, and keyboard lighting drain the battery quickly. It won’t stay too long from the charger, especially when playing games.
ASUS TUF Thin & Light Gaming Laptop PC (FX504) 15.6” Full HD, 8th-Gen Intel Core i5-8300H (up to 3.9GHz), GeForce GTX 1050 2GB, 8GB DDR4 2666 MHz, 1TB FireCuda SSHD, Windows 10 64-bit - FX504GD-ES51
Solid performance, For Less
Ultimately, I can recommend the Eluktronics N850HK1 Pro Premium Gaming laptop based on price, solid components and build quality. It does deliver on expectations with some premium extras, but you have an option to configure it with more storage and RAM which sweeten the pot.
Alternatively, you can order a configuration that meets your needs and budget, but the system as is, offers nearly unmatched performance with nearly future-proof components, while costing a few hundred dollars less than top competitors. That said, our Editors’ Choice the Acer Predator Helios 300 offers a generous feature set, offers more memory and solid performance, it’s tough to beat thus value.