Although the P502 Pro uses the same generic chassis as Chillblast’s Genesis, Schenker has made a real effort to customize the laptop with some attractive extra features. See Group test: what's the best high-end laptop?

The P502 Pro looks almost identical to the Genesis, right down to the fingerprint scanner squashed between the buttons on the undersized trackpad. The keyboard feels a little more solid, though, and the Windows key has – thankfully – remained in its traditional location to the left of the Space bar. Take a look at Dell Alienware M11x review.

Even better is the fact that Schenker has opted for a 15.6in screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution and a non-reflective finish. The matt finish does make a noticeable difference, providing a bright, colourful image with none of the annoying reflections that mar all its shiny rivals. It even has a Blu-ray burner too, which might come in handy for backing up the enormous downloads when you buy games online via digital download. Battery life is about average for this group, at a little over 2.5 hours, and we experienced no problems with noise or overheating either.

The speakers were disappointing, though – the spec sheet says that the P502 Pro has 2.1 speakers with a built-in sub-woofer, but we didn’t find that the third speaker really made much difference to the rather thin sound.

Things are quite interesting on the inside, too. The build-to-order options on Schenker’s website mean that you can customize pretty much every aspect of your laptop – apart, perhaps, from the cheap and uninspired chassis – but we tested a model that costs £1441.20 with 2.4GHz quad-core i7 processor, and 4GB memory. Its 750GB hard drive was complemented with 256GB mSATA solid-state drive, and the GeForce GTX675MX graphics sported no fewer than 4GB of video memory.

There are a few other unusual extras too, such as a Qualcom Killer wireless adaptor that claims to automatically prioritise bandwidth-heavy tasks such as gaming for maximum performance. The laptop includes a Killer software utility so that you can fine-tune your network performance, as well as Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility for brave souls who want try a bit of overclocking.

The P502 Pro does pretty well with its basic set-up, though. It managed a strong score of 4765 points when running the PCMark 7 benchmark, and did well in all our gaming tests too.

It topped 100fps when running Stalker even at the highest HD resolution and quality settings, and hit a very respectable 40fps when running Batman: Arkham City in the same mode. It did, admittedly, fall a few frames behind the Radeon 7970M used by Alienware and Chillblast – but you can easily opt for any of several Radeon cards when you’re configuring the laptop.

Schenker Notebooks XMG P502 Pro: Specs

  • Processor: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-3630QM, quad-core (3.4GHz Turbo)
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 675MX, 4GB/Intel HD 4000
  • Display size and type: 15.6" (1920x1080), matte LCD
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • Storage: 750GB HD + 256GB SSD
  • Memory: 4GB DDR3 1600MHz
  • Ethernet: Gigabit
  • Optical drive: 6X Blu-ray writer
  • Video out: HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort
  • Wi-Fi: Killer Wireless N 1202
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 3.0
  • Webcam: 1080p
  • Speakers: Onkyo 2.1
  • Audio in: Built-in microphone, 3.5mm line in
  • Audio out: Headphone, SP/DIF
  • USB: 1x USB 2.0, 3x USB 3.0
  • eSATA: 1
  • FireWire: 1
  • Other ports: Security Slot
  • Card slot: 9-in-1
  • Trackpad: 86x46mm, two-button
  • Other software: Nero Essentials
  • Power adaptor: 180W mains adaptor
  • Battery: 76.9Wh, Lithium-ion, removable
  • Dimensions: 376x256x43mm
  • Weight: 3.3Kg
  • Processor: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-3630QM, quad-core (3.4GHz Turbo)
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 675MX, 4GB/Intel HD 4000
  • Display size and type: 15.6" (1920x1080), matte LCD
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • Storage: 750GB HD + 256GB SSD
  • Memory: 4GB DDR3 1600MHz
  • Ethernet: Gigabit
  • Optical drive: 6X Blu-ray writer
  • Video out: HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort
  • Wi-Fi: Killer Wireless N 1202
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 3.0
  • Webcam: 1080p
  • Speakers: Onkyo 2.1
  • Audio in: Built-in microphone, 3.5mm line in
  • Audio out: Headphone, SP/DIF
  • USB: 1x USB 2.0, 3x USB 3.0
  • eSATA: 1
  • FireWire: 1
  • Other ports: Security Slot
  • Card slot: 9-in-1
  • Trackpad: 86x46mm, two-button
  • Other software: Nero Essentials
  • Power adaptor: 180W mains adaptor
  • Battery: 76.9Wh, Lithium-ion, removable
  • Dimensions: 376x256x43mm
  • Weight: 3.3Kg

OUR VERDICT

It’s far from perfect – we’d do something about that unattractive chassis and its cramped trackpad for starters – but the P502 Pro is a powerful and versatile gaming laptop at a competitive price. The ability to fine-tune performance to your taste and budget on the Schenker website will make it particularly attractive to more experienced users who like to customize their system.

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