After my rather unfavorable experience with my Yoga 730 (15″), I was more than happy to start looking elsewhere for a daily driver laptop. When looking around and finding little to no luck with my aesthetic preferences, I came across a little-known laptop being sold by a small company in Delaware called the MB-15. Looking at the listing on their website felt like a godsend more than anything else, and at the surface it looked like the perfect machine for me. However, would those specs be choked by an insufficient chassis? Or would this machine actually perform like its price and specs might suggest?
Eluktronics – Support & Sales
My experience with Eluktronics was actually pretty good. Whenever I had a question, I tended to get a definite answer within a day or so, if not almost immediately. I have yet to try out their phone service, but talking with reps and Winston specifically on Discord proved to be a good way to get support for the machine. Before I bought the MB-15, I had asked quite a few things about it, and all of the things they told me turned out to be true. When the machine arrived with a bad Liquid Metal application, I sent over some video clips and screenshots of the issue and was immediately sent a RMA shipping label. Just make sure to keep your box until your warranty is up, in case of incident. They’re a small company, so everything’s very personal and they’re generally very helpful. If you need any help working with them, I’d suggest joining the r/suggestalaptop Discord, as there are some representatives on the server, as well as some knowledgeable people who own their units.
I configured my MB-15 with an i7-8750h, a 4GB GTX 1050ti, and the 1080p 144hz display. Those options are ones that you’re locked into, likely due to the lack of interest in this machine overall. I don’t have an exact reason, but it makes a fair bit of sense that they’d do this. I didn’t configure my unit to come with a Windows install (I had a key already), or any RAM or storage, so I won’t be reviewing their out-of-the-box software experience. I have to do that all manually. Besides the basics, I got it with the Liquid Metal cooling upgrade on the CPU, as well as the Maker Pro on the GPU (which should be the $35 cooling upgrade, last I checked).
Construction / Build Quality
The build on this machine is largely plastic, besides the metal on the lid. Unlike the very similar Mech-15 G2 from Eluktronics, this laptop has a plastic palmrest, making it a bit closer in terms of finish to the Mech-17 G2. This isn’t exactly a bad thing, but if you’re a bit texture-sensitive (like me), you might find yourself getting irritated over the slight grip of the coating on the plastic on your wrists. I’m personally planning on covering the palmrest with a bit of vinyl just to improve comfort. It’s worth nothing that using this machine can actually be a bit unpleasant at times. For some reason the palmrest gets rather warm while using the machine on a charger. It’s likely just the battery charging, but even on the side without the battery the unit gets warm. I feel nitpicky in saying this, but it just isn’t all that incredibly comfortable.
The laptop overall feels rather sturdy. I haven’t ever touched a Mech-15 G2 to be able to compare, but as far as I can tell it’s just about as sturdy as a Mech-15 G2 would be. Due to the plastic in the palmrest, there is a bit more flex in the middle of the keyboard when pressing on it than there would otherwise be, but it’s not by any means an alarming amount. The laptop might slightly creak when placing and removing your wrists from the touchpad, but it’s a very quite small sound. You wouldn’t notice it while using the laptop by any means. The laptop also sits very flat on its feet, and because the chassis is largely made out of plastic, it’s unlikely to get bent out of shape and start doing that.
The display in this unit is an LGD05C0, which is the same panel you can find in the Gigabyte Aero 15x v8’s 1080p model. If you need more information about that panel or even some calibration profiles for it, I’d suggest hopping over to NotebookCheck’s article on the 15x v8, since I don’t exactly have the equipment to properly test displays.
What I can say, however, is that the display looks awesome, and the 144hz definitely improves visual smoothness when gaming. But, that shouldn’t be anything new if you’ve been in the tech space for very long. The panel’s also pretty bright, and I’ve had yet to find a scenario where max brightness wasn’t adequate for viewing. Then again, I don’t really work outside on my laptop, so your mileage may vary.
Again, seriously, check out NotebookCheck’s article on the Gigabyte Aero 15x v8, and go to the section on the display. Pretty much all that information should apply to the 144hz model of this laptop.
The keyboard of the MB-15 is a pretty bare-bones mesh keyboard with a partial keypad, as well as four-zone RGB backlighting. It’s pretty unmentionable in terms of wow-factor, given that it’s just a bare-bones RGB keyboard without even any kind of tactile switches. Plus, the RGB LEDs aren’t quite “balanced” in terms of brightness, so a white doesn’t quite look white. Plus, with the stock software, you can’t even make the touchpad anything but a hue of a color. That’s likely because the accuracy of the RGB is pretty bad, but I’d still like the option.
The touchpad on this unit is pretty good. It’s called a glass touchpad by Eluktronics, and that seems to be the case. It uses precision drivers and supports gestures as a result, but there are a few slightly annoying deadzones near the top. One is on the top left due to a “touchpad disabled” indicator light, which I actually find is quite handy. On the top right you find the fingerprint sensor, which takes up a decent portion of the touchpad as well. I feel that these features would work better up on the top with the rest of the indicators and buttons (like the office/game mode button), but that isn’t something Eluktronics themselves can control.
Speaking of the fingerprint sensor, it’s a little awkward to use. The rubber lip around the sensor makes it hard to make good contact with it, and when you do, sometimes the sensor doesn’t exactly read your finger right. That’s one of the downsides with these weird skinny fingerprint readers sometimes. When it works, it works quick, but when it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I did have that rubber lip tear off while using the machine, so be careful with it. However, when the rubber is trimmed down / removed, the sensor works way better. I was able to get this fixed by Eluktronics, however.
The performance of this laptop is crazy good. If you wanna see details on that, go here: MB-15 Thermal Testing
After about an hour I was down to 52% after moving between Discord and Microsoft Word, with the screen at 80% brightness and with the performance profile set to Performance in Rev.Center 2. The high clocking in Performance mode and the high brightness was likely to blame, so for the last 50% I set the brightness to 50% and set the performance profile to Power Saving. That brought power usage from about 1% every 50 seconds to 1% every minute and 50 seconds, effectively doubling the battery life from around 2 hours to around 4. That’s without attempting to optimize Windows, or using Throttlestop to limit turboing or enable SpeedShift for even lower speeds. With the 4-cell battery upgrade, you should expect to see a little under 5 and a half hours of battery life on this unit, but you’ll have to do that yourself. There used to be a listing for a 4 cell battery for the Mech-15 G2 on Eluktronic’s website, but for now you’ll have to contact them directly for information on that.
Overall, I’d say this laptop is a pretty good buy if you can get a good price on it. It’s a little steep compared to some similarly priced options (with potentially better specs), but if you’re a stickler for subtle black laptops, you’ll probably like this one.
Build Quality: 4/5 Construction: 3/5 Performance: 5/5 Connectivity: 5/5 Overall: 4/5
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