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> Illegear LAGUNA Review, A photographer/student's opinion

Jeremy Schee
post Jul 20 2017, 10:57 AM, updated 9 months ago

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DISCLAIMER
Not a sponsored post. First time writing a review, do point out my mistakes as you read along, and I will be happy to answer your questions.


TLDR;
Pros: Great value(especially during promo period), great performance
Cons: Random fans noise, soft speaker, heavy



As a uni student and a freelance photographer, I need a laptop which is powerful enough to run photo editing and programming software, some casual gaming, a color-accurate IPS screen, generous choices of ports and small in size. LAGUNA checks all my needs. Compared to the aged Z5, LAGUNA is smaller, has better thermal management and has a sleeker look. (I have never owned a Z5, but on paper, it seems to be so)


Exterior
Ah, how I wish it comes in black, but the almost black, gunmetal anodized aluminum finish is low-key enough to me. The aluminum finish is cool to touch and conduct heat away easily too. The keyboard is good to type on which requires slightly more force to register a key, hence reduces typing mistake. The touchpad is huge and it is ALSO FREAKING RGB. The lighting mode of both keyboard and touchpad can be configured using the Control Center software that comes with the laptop. Sadly, the colour of 2 strips of light on the lid and at the front of the laptop is unchangeable(just light blue, can't be turned off too). Besides, the Illegear logo does not light up as the illustration in the website does.
It is not as thin as I thought it would be judging by the illustration from Illegear website and weighing at 2.75kg, LAGUNA is definitely not a lightweight laptop as well. However, do note that it packs an 86Wh battery, 4 heat-pipes, 3 vents and dual-fan cooling.


Specification
Display: 15.6" Full HD Antiglare Display featuring IPS / AHVA Wide Color & Wide View (1920 x 1080)
Tune Your Screen: Professional Color Calibration (FREE)
Processor: 7th Gen. Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ (6MB Cache, 2.80GHz to 3.80GHz)
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 with Optimus (Pascal)
Thermal Compound: IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU & GPU (FREE)
RAM: Crucial 16GB Dual Channel DDR4 RAM 2400MHz - 2 X 8GB (FREE)
1st 2.5" SATA Drive: 1TB 7200rpm Hitachi Hard Drive
1st M.2 Solid State Drive: 256GB Western Digital Black M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive (upgraded from free 120GB option. A great steal since it is sold at USD110 on Amazon)
Wireless Network Card: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 2x2 M.2 - WLAN & Bluetooth 4.2 Combo
Operating System: Windows 10 Home Single Language 64-Bit Edition
Warranty: ILLEGEAR Onsite Service/Pickup Warranty 2 Year Labor Parts & Lifetime Technical Support
Accessories: ILLEGEAR Backpack & Velvet Sleeve

Definitely a great deal during promotion period as you get free RAM upgrade, free colour calibration, free thermal compound upgrade, and free 120GB M.2 SSD and I am pretty sure there will be another wave of promotion for National Day so do not miss it!


Performance
Photoshop and Lightroom run well and responsive. The Witcher 3, Battlefield 1, Batman Arkham Knight and Doom all run steadily at 60fps on 1080p HIGH setting(max GPU temperature of 67°C). So there you go, who still cares about benchmarks.


Audio
Not an audiophile, but overall it is good enough to me. I wish the speaker is louder as it is firing upwards. Bass is good, maybe it is the subwoofer. Weak at mid and very high-pitched at high, some software tweak can easily solve these.


Some Issues...(and rants)
It could just be my unit, but here are some glitch/ issues on my laptop:
1. IPS glow. Yes I know, I know, IPS glow is common among all IPS panel. But for my case, it is slightly more "eye catching". At the top left corner of the screen, there was a very harsh transition of total black to yellowish white glow spot while displaying dark background. I believe this was because the bezel was clipped a bit too tight. I discovered this problem on the first day and quickly reflected this to Illegear's representative. Luckily, they are kind enough to replace my panel for free(took another 1 week of shipping to them, repairing, and shipping back, which is very quick).

2. Random fans noise. Random, but at an acceptable volume.

3. The laptop could never wake up properly from sleep, it just shuts down and restarts. Could be Windows 10 issue, perhaps someone can enlight me?

4. Battery life is not as good as promised. The 86Wh battery is definitely bigger than most other gaming laptops, but still, it only lasts for a maximum of 3 hours of casual web browsing. Turning on battery saver would help to extend the battery life. Again, I do not expect the laptop to tahan longer than that, besides how many gaming laptops on the market right now can do that anyway?

5. Breathing lighting mode of the keyboard is inconsistent. That is why I use "always on" mode.

6. Illegear, please upgrade the velvet sleeve as it is so thin and slippery.

7. Black color option for future laptops please.


Configure your LAGUNA here

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This post has been edited by Jeremy Schee: Jul 20 2017, 10:10 PM
y888c
post Jul 20 2017, 11:11 AM

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thunderbolt ada? this is the new z5 right?

This post has been edited by y888c: Jul 20 2017, 11:11 AM
Jeremy Schee
post Jul 20 2017, 11:15 AM

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QUOTE(y888c @ Jul 20 2017, 11:11 AM)
thunderbolt ada? this is the new z5 right?
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Yes, this is the Z5 replacement. No thunderbolt as far as I know, but who still need an eGPU for this machine.
dinbk90
post Jul 20 2017, 11:29 AM

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The only bummer thing about Laguna is that it doesn't have g-sync feature despite having the GPU option up to gtx 1070. Luckily, 120hz display option is available & still can compensate the high fps when playing games. Heck, even gtx 1060 can get more than 60 fps in high setting in many games. I'm still skeptical if 120hz display can totally eliminate the screen tearing issue when playing games with high ingame fps. AFAIK, only g-sync can totally eliminate screen tearing issue though...
Prince J
post Jul 20 2017, 11:42 AM

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Nice review Jeremy, glad you are comfortable with the replacement screen smile.gif

In Laguna, we have completely disabled the Nvidia Optimus and it is forced using the dedicated GPU all the time. We made this decision because we planned to integrate Gsync feature into it. We are still finalizing the agreement with Nvidia as there are too many T&C that we have to follow. The 86Wh might not last long because of the lack of integrated graphics switching feature.

However, we have had some users claim they can achieve 5 hours in normal surfing on Laguna, may I know what brightness and other settings are you using?

The ILLEGEAR logo is not a LED logo.
Jeremy Schee
post Jul 20 2017, 11:42 AM

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QUOTE(dinbk90 @ Jul 20 2017, 11:29 AM)
The only bummer thing about Laguna is that it doesn't have g-sync feature despite having the GPU option up to gtx 1070. Luckily, 120hz display option is available & still can compensate the high fps when playing games.  Heck, even gtx 1060 can get more than 60 fps in high setting in many games. I'm still skeptical if 120hz display can totally eliminate the screen tearing issue when playing games with high ingame fps. AFAIK, only g-sync can totally eliminate screen tearing issue though...
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Yes G-Sync might be important for some users, but for someone who is only playing at max 60fps, I can live without G-Sync nod.gif
Jeremy Schee
post Jul 20 2017, 11:46 AM

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QUOTE(Prince J @ Jul 20 2017, 11:42 AM)
Nice review Jeremy, glad you are comfortable with the replacement screen smile.gif

In Laguna, we have completely disabled the Nvidia Optimus and it is forced using the dedicated GPU all the time. We made this decision because we planned to integrate Gsync feature into it. We are still finalizing the agreement with Nvidia as there are too many T&C that we have to follow. The 86Wh might not last long because of the lack of integrated graphics switching feature.

However, we have had some users claim they can achieve 5 hours in normal surfing on Laguna, may I know what brightness and other settings are you using?

The ILLEGEAR logo is not a LED logo.
*
5 hours should be possible if the display is dimmed to around 10% and with battery saver turned on. I was using mine at 75% brightness, which is how I usually use my laptop for net surfing.
Tachikoma
post Jul 24 2017, 11:18 AM

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So... no G-SYNC and no Optimus? Is there a way to reactivate Optimus? or at least switch to integrated graphics in bios when I need the battery life more than I need power?

The specs are attractive at the price, but the permanent "gaming look" lights and shit battery life are major issues.

Also, why bother with GSYNC and 1080p screens anyway? The 1060 will run most games at 60fps all the time.

This post has been edited by Tachikoma: Jul 24 2017, 11:25 AM
y888c
post Jul 24 2017, 03:49 PM

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QUOTE(Prince J @ Jul 20 2017, 11:42 AM)
Nice review Jeremy, glad you are comfortable with the replacement screen smile.gif

In Laguna, we have completely disabled the Nvidia Optimus and it is forced using the dedicated GPU all the time. We made this decision because we planned to integrate Gsync feature into it. We are still finalizing the agreement with Nvidia as there are too many T&C that we have to follow. The 86Wh might not last long because of the lack of integrated graphics switching feature.

However, we have had some users claim they can achieve 5 hours in normal surfing on Laguna, may I know what brightness and other settings are you using?

The ILLEGEAR logo is not a LED logo.
*
Hi Prince J, how can we update the Control Center software? Do you mind to share here, I think I have problem with the automatic Fan setting. Think of updating the software.
dinbk90
post Jul 24 2017, 04:40 PM

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QUOTE(Tachikoma @ Jul 24 2017, 11:18 AM)
So... no G-SYNC and no Optimus? Is there a way to reactivate Optimus? or at least switch to integrated graphics in bios when I need the battery life more than I need power?

The specs are attractive at the price, but the permanent "gaming look" lights and shit battery life are major issues.

Also, why bother with GSYNC and 1080p screens anyway? The 1060 will run most games at 60fps all the time.
*
You seems to be misinformed about how g-sync actually works. G-sync is meant to solve the screen tearing issue by limiting the fps to the monitor's refresh rate and at the same time help to fix or reduce stuttering ingame due invariable fps, resulting a smooth gameplay. G-sync actually will not benefit from high fps that can be achieved ingame (especially for high end gpu like gtx1060& above) becoz it limits the fps to function as intended. I do have g-sync capable laptop & I can say the gameplay experience is waay smoother from non-g-sync PC. If u really want to get the benefit of g-sync and at the same time wanna get the best high fps ingame, u have to get a laptop with 120hz panel with g-sync to get the both mentioned benefits. However there will be some sacrifices if u wanna both benefits at the same time in gaming laptop ( which I dont want to discuss yet here).

Regarding the battery life, it is indeed a commonly known issue that gaming laptops usually will have short battery life due to the high powered components inside draining the battery juice quickly & small battery capacity to compensate for the other internals. However, there are some gaming laptops out there albeit not that many, which have good battery life like gigabyte aero lineup & razer blade lineup. As u can see, these are slim premium gaming laptops which cost quite a lot than the mainstream gaming laptops. Usually, people using gaming laptops are well aware that they always need to plug in & will use the battery in some situations. Gaming laptops basically are designed to be as powerful and portable as possible at the same time with the sacrifice of the battery life.

Regarding the optimus & g-sync being absent on Laguna, prince J oredi mentioned that they are going to implement-sync feature, hence the reason why they disable optimus since g-sync & optimus can't exist at the same time. The only alternative to optimus for g-sync laptops is Mshybrid or Mux feature which AFAIK only available for clevo-based laptops like the illegear s-series.

Regarding the 'gaming look' that dis-tastes u, why not have a look at the illegear s-series? I think the s-series aka clevo p670/p650 series have the best low profile look that still can look professional without being too gaming oriented.. Heck, even the new S5x is very nice & sleek and not really that gaming-ish... Just my opinion though.. tongue.gif
Tachikoma
post Jul 25 2017, 02:06 AM

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QUOTE
G-sync actually will not benefit from high fps that can be achieved ingame (especially for high end gpu like gtx1060& above) ).


I'm sorry, but how is this different from how I understand g-sync again? My point was that the 1060 GPU was already enough to max out the 1080p screen all the time.

Just because a gaming laptop is not meant to have good battery life doesn't mean it has to go out of its way to cripple itself. An 87 WHr battery should have been enough to keep a laptop going for 6+ hours under normal usage.

Also, if you need to leave a computer on all night to do something (downloads, whatever), do you want a bright "gaming" LED that can't be turned off?

My annoyance at this laptop isn't because I dislike it. The specs are so promising, but it just has to have these annoying drawbacks.

This post has been edited by Tachikoma: Jul 25 2017, 02:17 AM
dinbk90
post Jul 25 2017, 04:47 AM

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QUOTE(Tachikoma @ Jul 25 2017, 02:06 AM)
I'm sorry, but how is this different from how I understand g-sync again? My point was that the 1060 GPU was already enough to max out the 1080p screen all the time.

*
Hmm.. the way I see it, u seem not to know that if games can achieve high fps, like more than 60 fps (in case if your monitor is 60hz), u may get screen tearing issue which to some people, really ruin the gaming experience despite of the fluid high fps gameplay. To some people, screen tearing is no bummer since they oredi live with it. However, in some games like Doom 2016, the screen tearing is really bad though... it isn't the usual horizontal or vertical screen tear pattern, but some sort of triangle line screen tear.. which is really annoying to play with like that. So, G-sync feature is meant to counter this screen tear issue by making the game to run at fix fps similar to your monitor refresh rate. Not only that, g-sync also will help to reduce stuttering due to invariable fps that may occur from time to time, hence making the gameplay smoother. This is the reason why g-sync is really useful for high end gpu like gtx1060 & above.. Becoz of this as well, u will only see g-sync feature will be available for higher end gaming laptop with gtx1060 & above, not in mid range to low range gpu.. ( gtx1050 ti & below). This screen tearing issue while gaming only occur with high end gpu while low end gpu will rarely have this issue.. Thus, thats why I think g-sync should be a norm feature to all gtx1060 & above laptop but nvidia still wanna make it a premium feature to reap more $$$. bangwall.gif


QUOTE(Tachikoma @ Jul 25 2017, 02:06 AM)

Just because a gaming laptop is not meant to have good battery life doesn't mean it has to go out of its way to cripple itself. An 87 WHr battery should have been enough to keep a laptop going for 6+ hours under normal usage.

*
Again, as I mentioned before, Laguna lacks optimus feature. If Illegear can bring back optimus, I'm sure the battery life will be better in Laguna. The way I see it, gaming laptop with optimus & high battery capacity will have long battery life, given if users know how to tweak the settings to save more power. icon_idea.gif

QUOTE(Tachikoma @ Jul 25 2017, 02:06 AM)
Also, if you need to leave a computer on all night to do something (downloads, whatever), do you want a bright "gaming" LED that can't be turned off?

*
This one is something that many gaming laptops have like msi, alienware, acer & aourus have... Those flashy, shiny, bling-bling lighting on gaming laptops which are meant to show off others that u r 'bangsawan' gamers.. sweat.gif LOL.. Hahahaha... Nothing can be done with it. U have to live with it. If u cant, perhaps u can get the gigabyte aero lineup which has more professional look but it is a bit pricey for its specs. Or even razer blade.. which is even super expensive..

QUOTE(Tachikoma @ Jul 25 2017, 02:06 AM)
My annoyance at this laptop isn't because I dislike it. The specs are so promising, but it just has to have these annoying drawbacks.

*
Usually when u r looking for gaming laptops, u sometimes need to make sacrifice in some aspects becoz rarely there is a perfect option to cater every single preferences & needs. (if such perfect option exists, it usually will cost a fortune) I have been in gaming laptop market quite a while ( like since 2++ years ago until now ) & oredi own several laptops before; no laptop which I own actually is perfect & catered my every preference.. There always will be at least a drawback somewhere... ( shitty sound quality, cheap build material, difficult to disassemble for upgrade, mediocre thermal management, not so good track-pad.. etc.. & the list can go on & on) This situation is unavoidable though when buying stuff... Unless u r super rich and can afford to buy anything u like... Haha.. brows.gif


Tachikoma
post Jul 25 2017, 06:00 PM

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I definitely fall in the "already live with it and don't care" camp for high FPS screen tearing. To me, it falls in the category of things that "you didn't know you needed until a big company said so".

Low FPS g-sync for getting rid of screen stutter, that I can understand.

In any case, I hope the Illegear people are reading this thread for feedback. Having massive battery life can be a huge differentiator in the gaming laptop market, and only Alienware seems to have decent battery life in their gaming laptops.

This post has been edited by Tachikoma: Jul 25 2017, 06:02 PM
AZIM@ILLEGEAR
post Jul 25 2017, 06:29 PM

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QUOTE(Jeremy Schee @ Jul 20 2017, 11:46 AM)
5 hours should be possible if the display is dimmed to around 10% and with battery saver turned on. I was using mine at 75% brightness, which is how I usually use my laptop for net surfing.
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Hi Jeremy, after performing a full charge on the LAGUNA, the battery lifetime can reach around 4.5 hours as per our testing, kindly refer to the screenshot below:

user posted image

This post has been edited by AZIM@ILLEGEAR: Jul 25 2017, 06:55 PM
Jeremy Schee
post Jul 25 2017, 11:06 PM

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QUOTE(AZIM@ILLEGEAR @ Jul 25 2017, 06:29 PM)
Hi Jeremy, after performing a full charge on the LAGUNA, the battery lifetime can reach around 4.5 hours as per our testing, kindly refer to the screenshot below:

user posted image
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Hi Azim, appreciate the clarification, I believe the software cannot simulate real-life usage(eg: Chrome and music player) right? Would you mind to share with us is there a possible way to enable Optimus back?
Tachikoma
post Jul 26 2017, 12:13 AM

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Nevermind optimus, can we at least switch to integrated graphics in BIOS?
Prince J
post Jul 26 2017, 11:47 PM

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QUOTE(Tachikoma @ Jul 25 2017, 02:06 AM)
Just because a gaming laptop is not meant to have good battery life doesn't mean it has to go out of its way to cripple itself. An 87 WHr battery should have been enough to keep a laptop going for 6+ hours under normal usage.

Also, if you need to leave a computer on all night to do something (downloads, whatever), do you want a bright "gaming" LED that can't be turned off?
*
4.5 hours are considered very long battery life in a GTX1070 gaming laptop which doesn't utilize integrated graphics (graphcis switching technology) at all. The absence of Optimus also means better dedicated GPU compatibility in gaming.

The keyboard and touchpad LED can be turned off in Control Centre. For the two LED strips at the back cover, you can turn it off with a secret hotkey combination.

QUOTE(Tachikoma @ Jul 26 2017, 12:13 AM)
Nevermind optimus, can we at least switch to integrated graphics in BIOS?
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It's not possible, the LAGUNA is designed to utilize dedicated GPU all the time.
Jeremy Schee
post Jul 27 2017, 10:37 AM

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QUOTE(Prince J @ Jul 26 2017, 11:47 PM)
4.5 hours are considered very long battery life in a GTX1070 gaming laptop which doesn't utilize integrated graphics (graphcis switching technology) at all. The absence of Optimus also means better dedicated GPU compatibility in gaming.

The keyboard and touchpad LED can be turned off in Control Centre. For the two LED strips at the back cover, you can turn it off with a secret hotkey combination.
It's not possible, the LAGUNA is designed to utilize dedicated GPU all the time.
*
Oooooohhhh so what's the secret hotkey combination? confused.gif
AZIM@ILLEGEAR
post Jul 28 2017, 07:38 PM

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QUOTE(Jeremy Schee @ Jul 27 2017, 10:37 AM)
Oooooohhhh so what's the secret hotkey combination? confused.gif
*
Here you go:

FN+3 - Toggle rear led strips
FN+9 - Toggle touchpad light
FN+0 - Toggle touchpad light, screen display & led lights
Jeremy Schee
post Jul 28 2017, 10:57 PM

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QUOTE(AZIM@ILLEGEAR @ Jul 28 2017, 07:38 PM)
Here you go:

FN+3 - Toggle rear led strips
FN+9 - Toggle touchpad light
FN+0 - Toggle touchpad light, screen display & led lights
*
FN+0 is the hot key that I was searching for! Thanks Azim rclxms.gif

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