​Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review

This cheap, ulatraportable notebook offers great value

Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop
  • Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop
  • Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop
  • Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Lightweight
  • Good screen, keyboard and trackpad

Cons

  • Mediocre battery life
  • Speakers are poor

Bottom Line

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.

Would you buy this?

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?

Key specs

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.

Ports

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.

The important ports are present.
The important ports are present.

Design

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.

Minimalist design. But it looks good and the plastic lid doesn't attract fingerprints.
Minimalist design. But it looks good and the plastic lid doesn't attract fingerprints.
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 laptop looks good and the screen is high quality.
The laptop looks good and the screen is high quality.

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 Scrabble-tile keys are light and comfortable to use.
The Scrabble-tile keys are light and comfortable to use.
Read more: ​Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review

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.

Performance

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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