Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
This cheap, ulatraportable notebook offers great value
- Good screen, keyboard and trackpad
- Mediocre battery life
- Speakers are poor
It wasn't long ago that an ultraportable would come with all manner of compromises and cost a fortune. Yet Kogan's $799 UltraSlim Pro is extremely useable and offers great value.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
Only recently we were looking at Venom's Blackbook Zero 14 – a laptop designed to be fast, lightweight and with few distractions. Venom is an Aussie manufacturer globally-selling computers that have a serious attention to detail on the insides: ensuring that they can reliably work at optimum speeds. Now here's Kogan offering, what on the surface appears to be very similar, but for less than half the price. So which should you buy?
13.3-inch, matte screen, 2560 x 1440, non-touchscreen IPS LCD; 900MHz-2.2GHz Intel M3-6Y30 processor; 8GB RAM; 256GB SSD; Intel HD Graphics 515; 802.11AC WiFi; 37.1Wh battery; 1.15KG. Full specs here.
On the left is a standard USB 3 port, a USB-C and the power port (both can be used for charging phones). On the right is a USB-2 port, micro HDMI and headphone jack.
Whereas the Venom was a monolithic black the Kogan is a cool, uniform space grey. There's no Kogan branding on the lid – we suspect that the company itself recognises that the brand doesn't quite share the cachet of Apple or Sony quite yet. Impressively, the lid doesn't hold fingerprints too badly. As our recent photoshoot illustrates, despite the lack of design flourishes, the minimalist design looks understated and cool. However, while there's no much flex in the lid, the metallic-looking plastic doesn't offer as much protection to the screen as the aluminium, carbon fibre and other materials that we've seen elsewhere.
Read more: 5 Best Australian Laptop Deals
The screen is impressive. The UHD 2560 x 1440 resolution is crisp, clear, colourful and well lit. Movies are very watchable and colour reproduction is respectable. Watching the 4K Costa Rica showreel confirmed this although some tracking shots could looks a little juddery. It wasn't distracting though.
The keyboard is a scrabble tile affair and we liked it a lot. The travel is just right and the keys aren't too stiff. While it doesn't feel quite as high-quality as the Venom, the lighter feel meant we found it more comfortable to type on. It's a similar story for the mouse pad which is very responsive and simple to click without being too stiff.
The laptop also doesn't get too hot – there's no annoying fans making sound and even when under load the base didn't get too hot.
All in all this laptop is a joy to use, save for one area: the speakers. If you're going to watch video on this laptop you'll need earbuds of some distraction. The speakers are best descibed as a pathetic token inclusion that struggles with anything more than Windows pings and beeps. They are very quite when maxxed out and provide the sort of audio punch that an particularly-misguided MMA-fighting moth might manage. As to how important such a feature is on an ultraportable, will vary from person to person.
The processor is one of Intel's last-generation mobile models – an M3-6Y30 which runs at 900MHz with a boost up to 2.2GHz when needed. This, when flanked by 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD scored 2089 in PC Mark – some way behind the Venom but then this isn't trying to be a 2D power house. In the PC Mark Work 3.0 score, which we reserve for ultraportables it scored 2365, which is some way behind both the Venom and the likes of a Surface Pro 4. Typists won't care but people compiling code and doing multimedia work will struggle. All in all we found it very responsive for office tasks and that's its main function.
Read more: Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
While it's not designed for 3D gaming, it did score 4,005 in the Cloud Gate 3D Mark test which shows it will play older generation games. Indeed, it actually outdid the Venom here which scored 3,691.
Next: Battery Life and Conclusion
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Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
I highly recommend the Dynabook Portégé® X30L-G notebook for everyday business use, it is a benchmark setting notebook of its generation in the lightweight category.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
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