So, about that new laptop…

I told y’all that I would give you guys a review of my new Origin custom EVO15-S laptop computer, and so, that’s what I’ll be doing today. Overall, I’m quite pleased with the device. The screen is very nice, it responds extremely quickly, and has thus far handled the tasks I have asked of it…

… Mostly, anyway. But when it fails, it has failed spectacularly!

First of all, let’s talk about the headphone jack. The laptop includes a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, right next to a matching microphone jack. Nothing unusual there. I tend to use my Bluetooth headphones when I’m streaming, but when I’m just playing a game without streaming, listening to music, or recording my podcast, I prefer my standard, wired, noise-cancelling headphones.

Well, when I plugged these headphones in last Sunday morning, the Soundblaster soundcard (yes, it really has a Soundblaster card in it) literally went nuts! Suddenly the volume on my headset went up roughly 2000% (it has no onboard volume control of its own, by the way), and I had to turn down the volume to under 10 in Windows to not go completely deaf! Meanwhile, my USB condenser microphone volume became extremely loud, as well. Basically anything volume-related went into overdrive, and had to be turned down almost completely, to be of any use at all!

Of course, this then caused Discord to have issues, and at random either I couldn’t hear my brother (who is my co-host on the podcast), he couldn’t hear me, or neither of us were getting through! This went on for the better part of an hour, until I unplugged the headphones and rebooted the machine again. I had tried rebooting multiple times while trying to figure out what was wrong, all to no avail, until the last one after disengaging the headphones. Thereafter, everything was fine, so I suspect the headphone jack has a short.

At least the laptop didn’t catch on fire, so that’s good.

Anyway, what else can I complain about? How about the unscheduled, unexpected, and unauthorized reboots? More to the point, Blue Screens of Death.

Yes, my brand new custom Origin EVO15-S has had two BSOD events in the last day! Once early Monday morning, and once around Noon on Monday. The first time was during a Livestream event, and I chocked it up to a memory leak in one of the programs I had been using. But then it happened again, when I unplugged something from a USB 3.0 slot, specifically a WIFI dongle I was testing for a friend. I chocked this up to User Error, because I forgot to switch my internet back to the built-in WIFI before I took the dongle out. Whoops! But that said, it seems off for the laptop, especially a new one, to crash like that.

So, that’s been most of my frustrations with the new laptop. The only other issue thus far has been heat-related. This is an aluminum-cased machine, and shortly after turning it on, I noticed it gets really hot, on the left half of the device. But I got a six-fan laptop table/cooler, and it has helped. It isn’t perfect, the left side gets rather uncomfortable while playing games, but at least I can tolerate it.

With all this in mind, I have considered returning the laptop to Origin. I’ve had it less than a week, and considering all of the weird problems that have occurred thus far, I believe I would be well within my rights to ask for service under its warranty. What if there is a fan that isn’t working? What if there really is a short in the soundcard? What if something else is causing the BSODs?

I’m going to wait and see, at this point. The laptop itself is really, really sweet, and I think that maybe the majority of these issues have more to do with asking too much of it in too short of a time. The headphone jack issue does concern me, but I have bluetooth headphones I can – and usually do – use instead, so I can live with that, for now. If the other issues, especially the BSODs persist, then I’ll be shipping it back to Origin for service or replacement.

But don’t let my poor first weekend with the EVO15-S sour you on the brand. The laptop does precisely what I have asked of it, and more, at least so far. When I’m really taxing the system, it is running or processing no less than:

  • Open Broadcasting Software Suite
  • Discord
  • Chatty
  • ChromaCam by Personify
  • and some game, on Ultra graphics settings (“Lord of the Rings Online”, “Rift”, “The Secret World”, or “World of Warcraft”, most likely)

… Plus it is broadcasting the Livestream from OBS Suite over WIFI, communicating with my Bluetooth headphones, and processing my condenser mic to multiple software packages, all at the same time. That’s a lot to ask of it, so I can almost understand BSODs… Except my other laptop didn’t have these problems. It had its own, unique issues, but not BSODs. So that has me a bit worried, as you might expect. I’m going to give it another week, test some things out, and see if I can determine what the problems are, and if they will require technical assistance to fix.

I’m hoping not. That all said, I’m giving this laptop a 4/5, based upon its performance when playing games and conducting other, normal tasks. If it turns out that I have to return the unit, then this score will be revised.

UPDATED review here

I’m giving the EVO15-S a 1 out of 5 now. It is a complete trainwreck.

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