Review | Is the Samsung Odyssey 15 the Next Great Gaming Laptop?
The Samsung Notebook Odyssey line was first unveiled at CES 2017 to a moderate response. With Samsung having thus far put out minimalist gaming laptops that appear to deliberately fail to catch the eye, the Odyssey is the company’s first attempt at competing with their rivals both in hardware and design, with the Samsung Odyssey 15 representing the entry level of the new line next to the premium Odyssey 17. The end result is a mostly positive if somewhat mixed bag.
Criticisms have been leveled at the Samsung Odyssey 15’s design, and while it’s true that it’s not exactly a looker, it’s inoffensive and not nearly as garish as some of its competitors. Its backlit keyboard glows red (customizable colors are available in the Odyssey’s 17-inch model) along with the hexagonal logo adorning its chassis, while the curves of the rhombus design outlining its touchpad also light up. I was less impressed with the cheap plastic that Samsung has used for its case, with it below the standards I’d expect from a $1,200 laptop, but at 5.58 lbs it keeps it relatively light for a laptop of its size considering the technology packed into it. While I wouldn’t call it a compact machine, it’s not too taxing to carry around.
Samsung Odyssey 15 performance
But its the Odyssey 15’s performance that really helps it come into its own. Samsung’s HexaFlow ventilation system, located at the bottom of the laptop, does a great job of keeping it cool no matter the task, with Samsung stating that its internal components are positioned in such a way that they benefit the most from the system. This certainly seems to be the case, with the Odyssey 15 turning on and loading up games in a flash.
Powered by a 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU and 16GB of RAM, the Odyssey 15 is more than capable of multitasking, allowing the user to Alt+Tab out of a game and then open up a slew of Chrome tabs while barely breaking a sweat. Its fans do have a tendency to get a little loud, though, but it’s nothing too distracting. The 1TB HDD and 128GB are also more than enough to get you started before you’re inevitably forced to purchase external storage, with there also being a white model with a 256GB SSD for $1,399.99. Though we never got to try out this model, judging by product images the black Odyssey 15 is the more attractive of the two.
Samsung Odyssey 15 graphics
The Odyssey’s 15.6-inch screen is crisp and clear (the Odyssey 17 has a 17.3-inch screen), running games at 1080p with its GTX 1050 GPU. Though not the best GPU on the market, the GTX 1050 more than holds its own and can run more-or-less any game in your Steam library smoothly, albeit not necessarily on the highest quality. I found myself having to turn down the graphics options on poorly optimized games such as Metro: Last Light and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, though in general the Odyssey 15 was able to handle the vast majority of my collection at around 50 fps at mid-range settings. You can also completely remove the bottom of the laptop in order to easily upgrade its SSD and RAM, which is a nice touch.
The lack of 4K is disappointing, even if the 1080p screen looks good for what it is, but I’d have rather Samsung opted for an inferior CPU in order to fit a more advanced GPU into the Odyssey. Though its Full HD display is crisp, it fails to fill out the sRGB color spectrum, with it mainly opting for warm hues that combine to overshadow some of the finer details in games such as gunfire. Its brightness level is also an issue, as I found myself having to routinely turn it up to its maximum setting. However, its anti-glare screen is a welcome inclusion, preventing both screen glare and reflections on its display while gaming or watching media.
The keyboard features 0.3mm ergonomically curved keycaps, with highlights outlining the W, A, S and D keys for higher visibility. I’d have preferred the keys to have been raised a touch more, as I sometimes found that my fingers would slip between inputs, but it’s perfectly functional and I didn’t have too many issues with switching to it from my favored Apex M500. The 2.6 x 3.9-inch touchpad is more impressive, with it being super responsive and picking up all swipes and clicks with immediacy. I did have to slightly increase its sensitivity, though I was impressed at how accurate it was at responding to my two-finger and three-finger inputs, with the latter allowing the user to quickly swipe between tabs. Combined with the high-speed performance of the laptop, this makes multitasking on the Odyssey 15 a breeze.
The Samsung Odyssey 15 isn’t the best gaming laptop on the market, and at $1,200 there’s other hardware out there with GPUs more capable than the GTX 1050, but for those who are looking for a machine that specializes in performing multiple tasks at once then this is a decent option. Its easily upgradeable SSD and RAM is a nice selling point, its touchpad is precise and I liked the clarity of its display, but its price tag may be too high an asking price for what’s on offer here.