Chillblast’s 15.6in Jupiter desktop replacement laptop uses one of the plainest chassis we’ve come across, with just a single company logo on the lid breaking up the monotony. While it’s not the most attractive laptop, the chassis doesn’t feel too badly made and there’s very little cheap-feeling flex to it, but we still can’t wait for the day where the suppliers of these chassis put a little more thought into their creations.
At 3cm thick, there’s plenty of room for connectors around the Jupiter’s edges. A DVD drive, two 3.5mm audio jacks, and a USB2 and a USB3 port sit on the right while the left side has HDMI and VGA outputs, a Gigabit Ethernet connector and two more USB3 ports, one of which doubles up as an eSATA connector.
The laptop runs almost silently when idling but the fans immediately kick in as soon as it has to do even moderately taxing tasks such as installing programs, but they’re still unobtrusive. Things get louder when playing graphically demanding games, but even then it’s just a moderate whooshing noise that’s easy to ignore. The keyboard tray and wrist rest are warm most of the time but don’t feel uncomfortably hot even when playing games, which is a relief.
Battery life in our light use benchmark, which involves playing videos and scrolling through web pages was fairly short at 4h 17m, but not surprising for a powerful laptop you’ll probably keep stationed at a desk for most of the time.
The keyboard isn’t backlit and its keys don’t have a huge amount of travel to them, but they’re reasonably responsive and aren’t uncomfortable to type on. The touchpad is responsive, with clicking, dragging and two-fingered scrolling all easily accessible. The physical mouse buttons aren’t pleasant to use and feel rather harsh when pressed, but it’s otherwise fine.
Desktop replacement laptops typically prioritise processor performance above other features, and Chillblast has plumped with the tried and tested 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-4710MQ processor. This chip can Turbo Boost to 3.5GHz when thermal conditions allow, giving it desktop levels of performance in previous benchmarking tests we’ve conducted on other laptops. In the Jupiter and paired with 8GB of RAM, it managed an overall score of 97 in our benchmarking tests, peaking in the multitasking test where it scored 105. Anything above 100 beats our Intel Core i5 desktop benchmark machine so these scores equate to lightning quick performance in basic tasks and decent data crunching ability in more complex tasks.
This is all helped along by the 120GB SSD, although it’s only really big enough to store your most accessed programs and files. A 500GB mechanical hard disk with 8GB of SSD cache is also included for the rest of your files.
The graphics card inside the Jupiter is the mid-range Nvidia GeForce GTX 850M. This puts it a step below other £800-£900 laptops we’ve tested, which is a shame. The 850M is perfectly competent but it’s ever so slightly hamstrung when compared to the 860M, a stalwart of more gaming focused laptops. Still, we were able to get some decent gaming benchmark scores out of it: Dirt Showdown, which represents moderately challenging modern games, ran at Full HD resolution and Ultra detail at a smooth 41.7fps.
We had to be a bit more crafty with Crysis 3, though: determined to get it to run at Full HD resolutions we turned the graphics settings to Low, with anti-aliasing at 1x. At these settings we were able to improve its frame rate to a playable 37.9fps. At High settings, 19fps was as good as it got, so this is a marked improvement.
We weren’t bowled over by the Jupiter’s screen. While of course its 1,920×1,080 pixel resolution is very welcome, colour performance was disappointing. We measured the screen as able to produce just 69.7% of the sRGB colour gamut, meaning more vibrant colours appeared slightly washed out. It’s a very bright screen, at least, and we measured its peak brightness at 318cd/m2. There was a small amount backlight bleed visible from the bottom of the panel, but otherwise the brightness was fairly even. Contrast levels were good at 917:1, which meant plenty of detail in more subtle shading was visible in our tests.
The Chillblast Jupiter is a good 15.6in multimedia and gaming laptop, especially when you consider the presence of an SSD for speedier application performance. The extremely generous two-year collect and return warranty and five years parts cover is also not to be sniffed at. However, the impressive Cyberpower Fangbook Evo HX6-100 is just £50 more with a better graphics card and more storage.