Product: Victus 15 Gaming Laptop
Intended Use: Gaming
Most gaming PC talk is consumed by desktops, powerful GPUs, and sizeable RGB cases, but nowadays, gamers want more and more out of their games, where they play, how they play, and more.
Also, as technology improves, we can consider playing bigger games on the go, and yes, this leads me to laptops. I wouldn’t say I am a laptop junkie and fall into the “DIY builder” category. Still, Victus 15 shows hope in gaming laptops for the meager price of $799 USD.
Style / Feel / Build / Hardware
Let’s start with the specs. The Victus 15 hosts an Intel 12th gen I5, 8 core processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, upgradeable to 32GB using 2x 16GB sticks @ 3200mhz by opening the machine up, a Geforce GTX, not RTX, 1650 GPU. The screen features 15.6” of 144hz 1080p HDR and a 512GB storage SSD. The laptop comes out of the box with Windows 11, so say goodbye to Windows 10.
A few more selling points include a fully backlit keyboard, number pad, and function keys. On the exterior of Victus 15 is a prominent Victus logo to remind everyone what laptop you have. You can also find sleek touches with typography around the machine outlining some hardware internals such as the Bang & Olufsen speakers. These speakers cover the top section above the keyboard up until the screen, so add that to the selling point list.
Where the screen meets the keyboard section, we can see a huge bezel, at least for my tastes, and another V logo. This design choice comes from multiple factors, but it seems like it’s just adding size to the machine. The Victus 15 has an immense wrist rest section which was actually painful to use for long gaming sessions, as it somewhat indented my wrist, leaving a mark for hours. Furthermore, flipping the laptop over, we see a dual fan design larger than previous generations of Victus notebooks. This is supposed to provide higher performance due to more consistent internal temps, but we will discuss that a bit later.
One can also find pretty decent rubber grips beneath the laptop to resist slide while raging at your favorite game. Might I mention that the Victus 15 presents a unique shape compared to most styles out there? There are interesting geometric cuts and curves, especially near the screen mount. Additionally, the screen flexes and bends when pulling it up uncaringly, so be aware of how the laptop is opened. The device is decently thick, too, but that leaves space for the machine’s rear exhaust, so we can tell that Victus was really focusing on airflow to bring their line of products to a new threshold. The fans on the bottom take air in, and hot air exits from the back.
Finalizing the exterior of the build, which is plastic if anyone is concerned, we see many in & out ports, and that’s where the thickness comes in for the assist. There are 2 USB ports, a combo audio jack, a full SD card reader, 1 USB-C (non-charging and non-thunderbolt), one ethernet port, and one full-size HDMI. This opens this laptop to so much variety of purchase reasons for no extra cost. The versatility can be great for a student or entry-level designer who takes pictures and needs an SD card reader easily accessible, or they need to present to their class via the projector with HDMI hookup.
The Victus 15 leaves no one behind with full consideration of multiple buying groups. This laptop is not exclusively meant for professionals or serious gamers, but we will get into that. Let’s get more specific now. The trackpad is a bit sticky for my tastes, along with being quite large, and I find myself having to move my fingers a bit extra distance due to lack of registration. Sweaty palmers also have to take watch, as it becomes so difficult to use with moisture. The trackpad could be more sensitive and slicker.
The keyboard backlighting is nothing but sexy, with a slightly purple tinted white balance LED and intense brightness and clarity with the keyboard’s letters. Its brightness just missing a little more “oomph” to eliminate the imperfect white tint, but nothing is ever perfect, is it? Nonetheless, you can definitely see those keys at night, and they look much better in general, in any light, with the backlight on. I recommend keeping it on for style points if battery life isn’t a worry. Unfortunately, there is only one brightness setting for the backlighting. It’s all or nothing.
Further, although not the end of the world, there is no touch screen, so your newly developed habit of grabbing the screen with your grimy fingers is not to be found when using the Victus 15. On a second note, I love the gaming hub and calculator button, as they open up without hesitation, making customization less of a chore. Lastly, about the keyboard, it takes a bit of getting used to, as the low profile keys are a big contrast to desktop keyboards. The keys are also extremely quiet and comfortable to the touch. On the other hand, I can see someone getting cramps from typing on this for long periods of time simply due to how low the keys are and how long the laptop’s body is.
Overall, key spacing and size are within reason and suit someone who types without looking at the screen. I would also like to reiterate that the keyboard’s reach indents my wrists, so the trackpad and body should be closer. We hurtin out here…
Performance / Hands On Use / Features / User Experience / Analysis / Etc.
There is much to cover regarding the overall performance of the Victus 15, as I found many layers to this rig. Opening up, the Victus 15 was swift out of the box, with clean response time on clicks and keys feeling fluid throughout the experience. The initial boot lasted approximately 15 seconds, bringing you to the initial setup. After setting up, the boot to windows time was 1 minute and 20 seconds.
Upon first glance, you notice the laptop is preloading a bunch of software the general demographic for the machine won’t want, such as McAfee Virus Protection, tangent games (whatever that is), HP Support Assistant, and other free trial popup spam. It took some computer navigation, task management skills, and uninstalling to clear out the hard drive and maintain it. But, what I do like are the Omen Hub and the calculator buttons, as they offer a unique flavor to the board whilst making it quicker to customize the Victus 15.
The Omen hub will display computer temperatures, specs, and other specific tweaks open for change. I was also sure to update my drivers and download Nvidia Geforce Experience to ensure my base frame rate was 144hz. The high refresh rate makes this laptop feel premium, and every mid-tier laptop should have this, especially if you are gaming.
Before we dive deeper into performance, let’s talk about battery life and sustainability. I performed a test where I left the Victus 15 closed and on sleep mode and didn’t use it for 24 hours to open it up to see what the passive battery loss is like. On day 1 of leaving the laptop on, closed, and unplugged, it had 92% battery, only draining 8% of its total capacity. So we can say that this will last about 10 days closed, in sleep mode. However, I did have trouble with response time after opening it up after 24 hours. The laptop took more than a minute to “remember where it was,” with extreme delay and lag when opening up software, browsers, and more.
I also experienced significant typing lag and just overall poor performance after taking it out of sleep. On day 2 of leaving it closed and unplugged, the computer was somehow powered off when it should have been asleep. I couldn’t find any setting to specifically stop the auto shutdown. The computer booted up with about 80% battery life, which is on par with the day 1 math. On the other hand, the computer randomly drained another 10% dropping it to 59%. This was quite strange and reminded me of old laptops and phones when their batteries started to go bad. Not a good sign on a new machine.
I didn’t do anything to cause a vast battery loss, and battery drain continued to accelerate during this session of use, discrediting a 10-day battery sleep period and possibly lowering it to 3-4 days passive battery. Next, but still on the topic of battery usage, if using the Victus 15 for an entire 9 AM-7 PM day, expect a need for a light charge by mid-day or a full charge around 7 PM. I have more talking points about charging, but that leads me to speak about the Victus 15’s performance when put to the test.
If using this machine for editing, or design, expect major battery drain. Being wireless is essentially not an option. If this is your college education laptop for production, hopefully, an outlet is nearby. It’s generally highly challenging to edit on this machine, not because of lack of hardware performance, although this PC is on the budget side, but due to screen size. If you are a hardcore professional, you clearly wouldn’t be looking here, but for a student, young adult, mild gamer, or entry-level designer, the Victus 15 can serve as a place to start. To reiterate, video editing was a personal challenge on the Victus 15 simply because of a laptop’s screen size limits.
No laptop’s size is enough to compensate for what’s visually needed when making videos, so I strongly urge you to use another monitor with this laptop if possible. Also, I fried a good 30% of battery really quickly by just 20 minutes in Adobe Premiere Pro, so still not a good sign for the battery life. This is not to say this machine couldn’t be great for other designers at a lower price.
Moving on to external monitor use via the HDMI 2.1 port, the Victus 15 has various frame rates at different resolutions. The monitor used was the Omen 27U, which is HDMI 2.1. With 1920×1080, the max external frame rate is 100hz. When using 2160p, the max is 60hz, seeing the highest refresh rate with 1920×1200 @ 120fps. I was able to run 100hz-120hz with no performance lag on Apex Legends while using the external 4k monitor at 1080p, plugged into the Victus 15 via HDMI 2.1. Granted, the laptop is plugged into the charger, and I was playing the 3-on-3 mode. In the main battle royale mode, you see consistent frame rates of 60-80hz using an external display. The performance is much smoother with an external display, taking a load off the laptop’s power supply. This is the best way to take advantage of the Victus 15.
Let’s go even deeper, moving into the nitty gritty of game and framerate performance. I played 5 rounds of Apex Legends, in which the first 4 rounds were smaller 3 on 3 games. Each round was monitored for framerate with downloaded, on-screen software, which generated a text log file. The first round went smooth with no frame drop or performance lag on high settings, plugged in. In the second round, there were 2 or 3 bursts of frame drops to 20fps that lasted 5-20 seconds at a time, which wasn’t cool. I played the third game, tried running lower settings unplugged, and could not run more than 50fps consistently, mostly 30-40fps.
The laptop was also relatively warm at this point, while the fans remained loud, so I bet none of that helped. Still, we are here to put it to the test. I plugged it back in, and the laptop ran smoothly again while being pretty warm, at 80fps or more. The Victus 15 would sometimes be at 60fps, but overall above 60. I found the laptop to run best when plugged in, and some settings lowered a notch or two, especially on triple-A games. However, even though the laptop can handle max settings here and there on games like Apex Legends, I was sometimes hit with those pesky frame drop lag sessions.
On the fourth game, I did not log the frames to test to see if that was hindering performance, and no frames dropped at all while running smoothly, plugged in at high settings. During the 5th game, I played a larger main game lobby to test the limits further. While recording my frames, there were no lag or frame drops at high settings for most of the match. The further the game progressed, the more difficult it was to maintain frames above 45-50fps. That is when I officially believed you must lower the settings on triple-A games for this device. All you have to do is have the charger plugged in, and you’re golden, at least to hit 60fps. Since you will be overcharging most of the time, I feel like the laptop won’t have a long lifetime.
At the end of the day, I don’t expect this machine to last anyway, so you get what you pay for, and it performs one way or another with the help of the charger. Additionally, don’t expect to run 144hz on most games. Just because you have that refresh rate delight doesn’t mean the Victus 15 is cut out for max performance all the time. It is a budget build for sure. The last mention I’ll make regarding this stretch of testing on Apex is that the laptop fans were pretty loud. Still, while you can definitely hear them, they’re not overbearing enough to make you stop enjoying your favorite game on the go… with headphones on.
Finally, with less demanding games like League of Legends, you can run at 144hz max settings, although the frames vary between 100fps and 110, with lows of 85 and highs of 144. The PC runs quite loud while running these games as well. Low graphical-quality titles like Hearthstone, Teamfight Tactics, and even Rocket League are totally playable while the laptop is unplugged. Sometimes, in Rocket League, frames would drop, especially if the laptop is placed on a surface where fans are not getting proper ventilation.
For the most part, you will still need the device to be plugged in to have the best experience. Unplugged gaming is simply not consistent. One quick point about a better experience; adding a controller for gaming, either wired or using the wireless Bluetooth connection, works excellently and is worth giving a go. I also tossed on Forza Horizon for a RAM test, and 8GB is not enough. There were on-screen RAM warnings, so be cautious on high settings drivers.
You have to be cautious with multitasking on the Victus 15, as 8GB of RAM will be used up quickly, but at least most games can get away with it. With that said, browsers that eat up chunks of RAM must be closed to have consistent performance. So, Discord and your game of choice are all that should be running to preserve RAM.
The Victus 15 does have a great variety to offer to multiple buying groups and demographics, making it a versatile purchase. Out of the box, the machine will work for most games and all-around uses such as media consumption, web browsing, and other day-to-day work. The battery is manageable but could be far better for this type of configuration.
Growing up, I remember gaming laptops were always way too expensive, more expensive than just building your own PC. Now you can have a laptop made for gaming without even hitting the $1000 mark, making the Victus 15 a great product for those looking to expand their digital horizons. The issue is that this is branded as a gaming laptop, and for a serious gamer, you would not be purchasing this, as it slumps on high-end performance, battery life, and build quality (plastic). Instead, one should likely spend a little more for more RAM, higher-end chips, and most importantly, getting away from that 1650. In 2022, the 1650 shouldn’t even be considered by a serious gamer.
Noisy Pixel is giving the Victus 15 Gaming Laptop a C+. For the price of $799 and considering the demographic of gamers this is geared towards, along with a day-to-day laptop user or designer, this is a decent choice for the price. The hardware features many useful In and Out ports, leaving no one at the door. The body can just use a bit more style and a better GPU. Best Buy also doesn’t offer a 16GB model of the rig, making it more difficult to upgrade the RAM.
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