The Cyberpower Fangbook Evo HX6-100 is a performance laptop with distinctive design cues that make it stand out from its competition. It may be a bit much for some people; indeed, buyers looking for an understated laptop should look elsewhere, because the Fangbook Evo looks like a slightly unrefined Alienware laptop.
The lid of the MSI-designed chassis is covered in a honeycomb-effect black and silver sticker with silver lines surrounding a red Cyberpower logo sitting in the middle. There’s also a red plastic accent that runs around the edge of the laptop, dividing the palm rest and the bottom of the chassis. The palm rest, meanwhile, is made from a black brushed-metal and plastic composite that’s cool to the touch. It looks good, although it picks up dust and grease with relative ease. The Chiclet-style keyboard is backlit by red LEDs that match the laptop’s overall colour scheme and there are also red highlights behind the speaker grille below the screen. It’s a consistent look, but it’s a shame about the ugly sticker on the lid.
The usual complement of connection ports can be found around the edge of the chassis. The right side has a VGA port, USB2 port and DVD drive, while the left side has another three USB ports (two USB3), a full-size HDMI output and two 3.5mm audio jacks.
There’s plenty of room for media files and games on the laptop’s 1TB mechanical hard disk, although there’s no separate SSD or any SSD cache on this particular disk. You can upgrade using Cyberpower’s online system configuration tools, if you’re prepared to pay extra.
The keyboard is excellent. The keys are chunky and they offer plenty of travel and feedback. Our only minor gripe is that the layout is slightly unusual, with the Windows key located on the right of the spacebar rather than the left and the return key being a half-height button. There’s also a gap between the keyboard tray and the rest of the chassis that looks rough and cheap. The touchpad, which is an all-in-one affair with no separate physical buttons, is mostly responsive, although it felt a little flimsy with even light taps making it rattle. Multi fingered gestures work well, though.
The Fangbook Evo HX6-100 isn’t short on processing power, thanks to its quad-core, 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710MQ processor and 8GB of RAM. With these components desktop levels of performance are possible from this laptop. It raced through our multimedia benchmarking tests and finished with an overall score of 93. Its best performance came in the multitasking test which require it to play and convert video files and render photographs simultaneously, scoring 101. A whoosh of fan noise was audible but we didn’t find it to be a distraction.
There’s also an Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M graphics card with 2GB of video memory. This mid-range card is capable of some giant-killing performances but we’ve often found some tweaking is required to get things running smoothly on the most graphically advanced games. Dirt Showdown at Full HD resolution and Ultra graphics ran at a smooth 49.9fps while Crysis 3 at High settings was somewhat less smooth at 28.6fps.
Games and movies will be well represented by the laptop’s Full HD 15.6 display. It’s one of the best we’ve had on test at this price, managing to display 91.3% of the sRGB colour gamut with reasonable contrast levels of 629:1.
The built-in speakers aren’t up to much and, if you’re going to be stationed at a desk with this laptop, you should buy some desktop speakers for when you’re watching movies or playing music. Headphones would be a great idea if you were going to be playing games, too.
We were fairly pleased with the 5h 20m we were able to extract from the Fangbook Evo HX6-100 during the battery rundown test; if you were to take this laptop out and about you could definitely survive a few hours without a nearby charging point. If you’re gaming, though expect this figure to drop significantly.
Overall, the Cyberpower Fangbook HX6-100 is a well-rounded desktop replacement laptop with an interesting, albeit divisive design. It has a powerful processor and a good dedicated graphics card and matches its 15.6in rivals in terms of specifications and price. Its screen is better than most, which is a notable selling point. It’s not a well built as the thin and beautiful Acer V15 Nitro, though, although that laptop is £50 more expensive. However, if you were looking to spend £800 on a powerful laptop, the Cyberpower Fangbook HX6-100 is a great choice. Our only minor point is that the collect and return warranty only lasts a month, after which point it turns into RTB cover that requires the buyer to pay for return postage.