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Top 5 Premium Refreshed Laptops

Many shoppers confuse refurbished laptops & computers with inferior quality merchandise. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. In a very large number of cases, computer shoppers buying a refurbished computer can make a money saving purchases. More often than not, consumer hesitations associated with purchasing a refurbished computer are overblown. These computers are very often factory re-engineered and re-tested to the same rigorous manufacturing standards as brand new computers.

Today, I have come up with my top 10 premium refreshed Laptops and where you can purchase them.

1. AORUS X7 PRO V5

Processor : Intel Core i7-6820HK (Intel Core i7)

Graphics adapter : NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI – 2x 6144 MB, Core: 924 MHz, Memory: 2500 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 359.33 (364.72 für Games)

Memory : 16384 MB  , 2x 8 GB DDR4-2133, 2 of 4 slots filled, max. 64 GB

Display : 17.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 127 PPI, LG Philips LP173WF4-SPD1 (LGD046C), IPS, Full HD, G-Sync, glossy: no

Mainboard : Intel Sunrise Point HM170

Storage : Samsung SM951 MZVPV512 m.2 PCI-e, 512 GB  , SSD + HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630, 1000 GB HDD @ 7200 rpm; slots: 1x 2.5″, 3x M.2 PCIe/NVMe

Weight : 3.264 kg ( = 115.13 oz / 7.2 pounds), Power Supply: 782 g ( = 27.58 oz / 1.72 pounds)

What’s New

Fundamentally, the X7 Pro v5 is very similar to the previous review sample, with minor differences in some places. For example, the elegant Aorus logo now adorns the relatively sensitive touchpad. The casing’s underside and the interfaces have also been reworked. As appropriate for a modern gaming platform, the 17-inch device is now equipped with an HDMI 2.0 port (4K @60Hz) and a USB 3.0 port (but without Thunderbolt).

The most important innovation is the support for Nvidia’s G-Sync technology that is a further development of the classic V-Sync, which ensures a more stable image without screen tearing. However, G-Sync was disabled in the benchmarks in order to retrieve the maximum from the system. We selected the fan management in the “Command & Control” according to the application scenario (Quiet = idle; Gaming = load).

2. ROG GL703GM-E5100T

Processor : Intel Core i7-8750H (Intel Core i7)

Graphics adapter : NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop) – 6144 MB, Core: 1404 MHz, Memory: 8000 MHz, GDDR5, 398.11

Memory : 16384 MB  , PC4-21300 DDR4

Display : 17.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 127 PPI, Chi Mei CMN1747 M173JJE-G32, TN LED, glossy: no

Mainboard : Intel HM370

Storage : Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP, 256 GB

Weight : 2.872 kg ( = 101.31 oz / 6.33 pounds), Power Supply: 608 g ( = 21.45 oz / 1.34 pounds)

The Asus ROG Strix GL703VM Scar Edition we reviewed earlier this year gets the Coffee Lake-H treatment and now features an i7-8750H hexa-core processor and unchanged Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics. In addition to the obvious CPU upgrade, Asus appears to have revamped the motherboard layout and the cooling system – at least when compared to the “regular” GL703VD we reviewed in 2017. Both previous editions were hot and too noisy under load, so we can only applaud this design change.

The GL703GM might look near-identical to the predecessor, but there are several key differences:

  • revamped cooling system / heat pipe design + modified exhausts
  • Chi Mei 120 Hz TN panel vs. 120 Hz IPS panel by AU Optronics
  • increased battery capacity
  • different speakers

There is no shortage of competitors and we’ll compare the GL703VM to other 17.3-inch notebooks like the GTX 1060-equipped Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE with previous-generation i7 CPU, Asus’ own GL703GE with i7-8750H and GTX 1050 Ti, or higher-end notebooks like the MSI GE73 8RF Raider with Coffee Lake-H CPU and higher-end GTX 1070 graphics.

3. ROG ZEPHYRUS M

Processor : Intel Core i7-8750H (Intel Core i7)

Graphics adapter : NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop) – 8192 MB, Core: 1443 MHz, Memory: 8000 MHz, GDDR5, ForceWare 389.04, Optimus

Memory : 32768 MB  , 2x 16 GB SO-DIMM DDR4-2666, Dual-Channel, both slots occupied, max. 32 GB

Display : 15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, AUO B156HAN07.1 (AUO71ED), IPS, Full-HD, G-Sync, 144 Hz, AHVA, glossy: no

Mainboard : Intel HM370

Storage : Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e, 512 GB  , NVMe-SSD + Seagate FireCuda ST1000LX015, 1 TB SSHD, 5400 rpm. Slots: 1x M.2 Type 2280 & 1x 2.5-inch

Weight : 2.51 kg ( = 88.54 oz / 5.53 pounds), Power Supply: 630 g ( = 22.22 oz / 1.39 pounds)

While the ROG Zephyrus GX501VI, which we tested in July 2017, did not convince us entirely despite its fancy and very slim metal case (low battery runtime, steep price, high temperature development, …), Asus has now produced the significantly cheaper ROG Zephyrus M GM501GS, just in time for the launch of the Intel’s Coffee Lake series. The device also offers various optimizations ranging from Nvidia’s Optimus technology, which can be activated instead of G-Sync, to well-positioned and better-quality input devices.

In order to lower the price, the manufacturer has not included the GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, as it did in the GX501VI, but “only” a GTX 1070, which offers almost identical performance results since it is not a Max-Q version. One big disadvantage is the high noise development, as you will see later on. The GTX 1070 Max-Q would have also meant better power consumption and less waste heat.

The most important changes are in the processor, however. As Intel has now made its new CPU architecture available for mobile devices, the GM501 is one of the first Gaming notebooks to be equipped with the six-core CPU (the already tested Coffee Lake laptops Schenker XMG Ultra 17 and Ultra 15 use the desktop version). To avoid limiting the processor, our UK sample is equipped with 32 GB of DDR4-RAM (2x 16 GB @2666 MHz) and a combination of 512-GB SSD and 1-TB SSDH. The device offers a matte AHVA/IPS panel with 1920×1080 pixels and 144 Hz.

4. ASUS TUF GAMING FX504

Most gaming laptops, even at the entry level, are around $1,000. But starting at $699, the Asus TUF Gaming FX504 seems like a downright steal. Its 8th Gen Intel Core i5 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics can play games on low or medium settings, and the audio is decent. But the laptop’s solid-state hybrid-drive (SSHD) storage is slow, and its 1080p display doesn’t show off games and other media well because it’s dim and bland. You get what you pay for, so there are sacrifices you’ll have to make with this affordable machine.

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Design

The TUF Gaming FX504 ain’t exactly pretty. It’s a black hunk of plastic with faux-aluminum blushing and red paint in an angular, lined pattern that suggests Asus really wants you to think of “the cyber” when you look at it. Asus’ own logo is in reflective red in the center of the lid. The lid has a small cutout, so you can see the status lights even when the laptop is closed, which is a neat feature it steals from the premium Zephyrus line.

Lifting the lid reveals that the inside is pretty much the same. The 15.6-inch display is surrounded by a chunky bezel, and the deck is the same plastic with ugly red lines. The keyboard is backlit, also in red.

At 5.1 pounds and 15.1 x 10.3 x 1 inches, the FX504 is thicker than competitors but in the middle of the pack on weight. The Acer Nitro 5 Spin is a lighter 4.9 pounds and 15 x 10.2 x 0.7 inches, and the HP Pavilion Power 15t is a heavier 5.6 pounds and 14.9 x 9.9 x 1 inches.

The left side of the laptop houses the power jack, Ethernet jack, HDMI output, USB 2.0 port, a pair of USB 3.0 ports and a headphone jack, while the right side has only a Kensington lock slot.

Display

Asus definitely cut corners with the 15.6-inch, 1080p display on the FX504. It’s dim, bland and lifeless. I watched a 1080p trailer for Ant-Man and the Wasp and was bored by the dull colors, like the yellow accents barely popping off of the Wasp’s blue suit or the sordid-looking red of Ant-Man’s costume.

On the bright side, the screen was sharp, and I could make out every shard of a shattered glass window. When I played Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, there was a loss of detail in dark areas, and Talion’s red outfit was muted.

5. ASUS VIVOBOOK X411UF

Processor : Intel Core i5-8250U

Graphics adapter : NVIDIA GeForce 940MX – 2048 MB, Core: 1083 MHz, Memory: 1000 MHz, GDDR5, 22.21.13.8284 (ForceWare 392.84)

Memory : 8192 MB  , DDR4-2400, single channel

Display : 15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, LG Philips LP156WF9-SPK2, glossy: no

Mainboard : Intel Kaby Lake-U iHDCP 2.2 Premium PCH

Storage : 1 TB HDD, 5400 RPM

Weight : 1.62 kg ( = 57.14 oz / 3.57 pounds), Power Supply: 220 g ( = 7.76 oz / 0.49 pounds)

“A notebook for all situations,” this is exactly what Asus aims to achieve with the VivoBook. It is not the first time that we have seen a laptop of this series in our test lab. As an affordable alternative to the higher-quality ZenBook series, the VivoBook targets the price-range below 900 Euros (~$1124). Nonetheless, this everyday device should be equipped for all multimedia applications.

In order to prepare it for this vast application area, Asus has built-in a quad-core processor, 8 GB of working memory, a dedicated Nvidia graphics card, and a 1 TB HDD. The configuration of our test package costs around 750 Euros (~$937; note that the available configurations differ in the US).

It was only a few months ago that we tested the VivoBook S15 extensively. In terms of the visuals and equipment, the S15 model is similar to our test unit here. However, that model had a metal case and SSD storage in the configuration we tested. Despite that, we were not satisfied in our test at that time. In order to evaluate whether Asus has overcome the analyzed weaknesses with the VivoBook 15, we want to incorporate the VivoBook S15 into our current test comparison.

Other manufacturers also want to join the competition in this notebook category and price range. For this reason, we will include the following competitors. The HP Pavilion 15is almost equipped similarly, aside from not only having a hard drive, and it currently costs around 800 Euros (~$999). The comparison to the Dell Vostro 15, which has to make do with merely a TN panel, is similarly interesting. Lenovo also offers a device which is similarly equipped: the IdeaPad 320 for 800 Euros (~$999).

If you are interested in buying a laptop which comes with the same warranty but does not make a hole in your pocket. You can browse the wide range of Gaming laptops here.

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