XPG Xenia 15: This Intel-designed laptop is light and fast

The Xenia 15 proves you don't always need the "newest" parts to be fast

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Xenia 15 Performance 

Performance lies at the root of most users’ suspicion over older parts. We ran the laptop using two of its three available performance modes—pressing the little speed-gauge button to the left of the power button will cycle it through Battery Saver, Balanced and Performance. There’s even more control in the XPG Prime utility, which lets you select the fan mode along with the System Power Mode.

The System Power Mode is what interested us most. The key actively changes the performance profile of the CPU and the GPU. For the CPU, it’s expressed as the amount of heat it can generate—the more heat it can make, the more performance you get.

xenia 2 Gordon Mah Ung

This button will in real time, let you toggle through three performance settings for the CPU and GPU.

On battery saver, the CPU is limited to a long boost of 35 watts and short boost of 65 watts. The GPU takes one for the team, limiting itself to 32 watts, a maximum core clock of 990MHz, and a maximum memory clock of 202MHz (yes, really). 

On the more typical Balanced mode, the CPU will boost up to 65 watts for a short period of time, with longer boosts of 45 watts. The GPU perks up, pushing 83 watts and clocking up to 1,783MHz, with memory spiking to 1,250MHz.

Set it to Performance, and the Xenia 15 will boost the CPU to 100 watts for a short period of time and fall back to a still-blistering 65 watts for a longer boost. The GPU core clock and TDP remain the same as in Balanced mode,but the memory will peak at 1,500MHz. On paper, this should mean a lot of speed.

First up is Maxon’s older Cinebench R15. This is a multi-core benchmark based on the company’s 3D rendering engine from Cinema4D. It’s a good approximation of how well a laptop will perform under applications that can scale with the number of CPU cores.

You can see in the results just how much performance XPG is able to squeeze out of the six-core Core i7-9750H. It doesn’t magically make it an eight-core CPU, but it gets darn close to the very similarly-sized MSI GS66 Stealth, which packs an eight-core Core i9-10980HK chip. Only when the MSI GS66 Stealth is pushed to its own “Extreme” setting does it pull away. We should also point out that when set to Performance, the Xenia 15 pretty much leads all other 6-core Intel chips.

xenia 15 cinebench r15 nt IDG

We also look at single-threaded performance as a way to approximate behavior in most of the applications we use every day, such as Microsoft Office, Chrome, and even most functions in Photoshop.

The result is solid for the Xenia 15. It closely follows most of the pricier Core i9 chips and the Dell XPS 15 9500 eight-core Core i7, and it again outpaces most of the Intel six-core chips. The actual difference between most of these laptops is minimal—you’d be hard-pressed to notice in real life.

xenia 15 cinebench r15 1t IDG

We also ran the Xenia 15 using the current Cinebench R20 version, which uses more advanced instruction sets. It also takes about three times as long to run, so laptops that rely on short boosts tend to give up the most ground. The Xenia 15 stays on top of the six-core laptops and again steps up really close to the MSI GS66 Stealth with its Core i9--until that laptop is pushed to its Extreme setting.

xenia 15 cinebench r20 IDG

Next, we push a modern-day laptop enough to heat up its CPU, using the free utility HandBrake to convert a 30GB file using the Android Tablet preset. The test today takes about 20 minutes, which is an improvement over the 60 minutes it used to take. Under this test, we can see the thin XPS 15 9500 shed performance. The Xenia 15 at stock Balanced speed is about average, but its Performance setting helps push it to the front of the line for a six-core laptop and close to some of the more heat-sensitive eight-core models. 

xenia 15 handbrake IDG

Moving on to graphics, we see once again that shifting from Balanced to Performance helps the Xenia 15 punch well out of its weight class. We also see the memory clock increase enhancing performance in this synthetic DX12 benchmark. The Xenia’s plain RTX 2070 Max-Q is actually able to outrun the RTX 2070 Super Max-Q in the Gigabyte Aero 17

xenia 15 3dmark timespy gpu IDG

A GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q is still just a GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, though, and it can't out-muscle the GeForce RTX 2070 Super. Using the older Rise of the Tomb Raider, for example, the RTX 2070 Super in the Gigabyte Aero 17 outperforms the Xenia 15’s RTX 2070 by about 8 percent.

xenia 15 rotr IDG

The last game we’ll show you is Quake II RTX, which is a fully path-traced version of the classic game. It’s basically a tour de force of DirectX Ray Tracing features that we likely won’t see fully implemented in AAA games for several more years. Applied to an ancient classic though, it’s possible. We don’t have as many laptop results for this test but it does show you that in DXR, these laptops are very close in performance—Super and non-Super. We also see a decent performance bump for the Xenia 15 going from its Balanced mode to Performance mode.

xenia 15 quake ii rtx IDG

Our last test is perhaps one of the most important for a laptop: battery life. For that, we charge the laptop to full and run in airplane mode, with earbuds plugged in and the screen set to 250 to 260 nits' brightness. We then loop a 4K movie using Windows Moves & TV until the battery taps out.

In this case, because movie watching is actually a Battery Saving mode, we switched it on. The result quite good, at about 7.5 hours--just slightly more than the rest of the pack, and good compared to the current crop of thin-and-light gaming laptops.Watching a movie is a low-key task, however, so expect closer to 5 hours in mainstream productivity work. Crank up a CPU-heavy chore such as video editing, and be happy to get 2 to 3 hours. Playing a game, you shouldn’t expect more than 1.5 to 2 hours. 

xenia 15 video run down IDG

Value

Before we wrap this up, we do want to talk about the cost. This unit as configured is $2,000 on Amazon. You’re not getting a huge price cut for this less-established brand,  but we found other gaming laptops that bracketed the Xenia 15 by offering similar 6-core CPUs and 2070-class graphics at the same price or higher. Generally, the Xenia 15 offered either more storage or more RAM, as well as Wi-Fi 6, compared to most of the competition.

Conclusion

Overall, we’re very impressed by the Xenia 15. We’ve long thought 4-pound, 15.6-inch gaming laptops with large batteries are just large enough to be usable, and the weight is reasonable too. Unfortunately, gaming laptop weights have recently trended upward to 4.5 pounds or more. It’s nice to see a laptop this light is still able to crank out decent performance.

Ultimately what may stop people from buying the XPG Xenia 15 is the lack of name recognition. If you can get past that, this is a fair value, with very respectable performance. It's also perhaps the lightest 15.6-inch gaming laptop in town that also has a decent battery.

This story, "XPG Xenia 15: This Intel-designed laptop is light and fast" was originally published by PCWorld.

At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Fairly lightweight at just over 4 pounds
    • Good CPU and GPU performance
    • Low-profile mechanical keyboard

    Cons

    • Audio quality from speakers is sub-par
    • Body feels a bit thin
    • Power brick is too thick
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