Aesthetic Quality / Build Quality and Quality Control Guide V2

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Galm, Mar 5, 2017.

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  1. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    This guide has been majorly updated to split aesthetic and build quality!

    Hey guys. Since this is the other most common question I get I figured I'd make a guide for the build quality of gaming laptops.

    There are going to be three components addressed here. Aesthetic quality, build quality and quality control. Aesthetics is fit and finish, how premium it feels. Build quality is how well designed it is for sturdiness and cooling. Quality Control is how much variance there is between machines (do they break or overheat a lot).

    So for instance a Razer has amazing aesthetic quality, but rather poor build quality and quality control. It'll look and feel great, but needs servicing at a higher rate than other machines, and throttles out of the box under load.

    There are going to be different tiers for both with Tier 1 being the best.
    Aesthetic Quality Note:
    (Parenthesis) denote what style the laptop is going for, subtle or gamer.
    Subtle would probably be fine in a business meeting.

    Note in general for build quality:
    Business Class > Gaming > Consumer Class notebooks
    Quality control is generally the same

    Note that these are ranked by best within each tier, so brands that are very very close will be next to each other. Let's get into it.

    Aesthetic Quality Tier List
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    Aesthetic Quality Tier 1
    Very premium feel. Great finishes and features.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Razer Blade (Gamery but can be more subtle with lights off)
    • Alienware 13/15/17 / Acer Predator Series / EVGA SC17 (Gamer, Gamer, Subtle)
    • Aorus X3/X5/X7 (Gamer)
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Aesthetic Quality Tier 2
    Very good aesthetic quality. Still feel like premium machines.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Asus G701/G752 Series (Gamer)
    • MSI GT Series (Gamer)
    • Clevo P650 and P670 Series (Subtle)
    • MSI GS 43/63/73 Series (Gamer)
    • Clevo P7XX/8XX Series (Not hugely gamery but huge)
    • Asus GL502 Series (Gamer)
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Aesthetic Quality Tier 3
    Acceptable aesthetic quality. Nothing special, but they feel like alright machines.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Gigabyte P3X/5X Series (Subtle)
    • MSI GE 62/72 Series (Gamer) / Lenovo Y700 Series (Gamer)
    • Dell Inspiron Gaming series (Gamer)
    • Asus GL552 Series (Mixed)
    • Acer Aspire Line (Gamer)

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Aesthetic Quality Tier 4
    Weaker aesthetic quality. They feel more budget minded. Not premium feeling
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • MSI GL Series / Clevo N/W series (Gamer) (Subtle)
    • HP Omen series (Gamer)

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Aesthetic Quality Tier 5
    Poor build quality. Don't look here for a high quality machine.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hopefully this one will stay blank...


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    Build Quality Tier List
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Build Quality Tier 1
    Exceptional build quality, extremely sturdy and well built. Cooling design is excellent.
    Cream of the crop, little to no modifications
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Aorus X3/X5/X7
    • MSI 16L13
    • Clevo P650 and P670 Series
    • Clevo P775, P750 and P870 Series (HID or Obsidian makes Tier 1)
    • Asus G701 (cpu fan is unplugged)
    • MSI GT62/72 Series
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Build Quality Tier 2
    Almost tier 1, but usually one small design choice screwed it up a little. Still great machines, flaws noted.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • MSI GT73VR (because of hard ram access)
    • Acer Predator Series (Heatsink design is only alright)
    • Alienware 13/15/17 (If you're willing to work on it makes it Tier 1 @iunlocks guide )
    • Clevo N series (Not high end enough to be top notch)
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Build Quality Tier 3
    Acceptable build quality. Nothing special, but nothing glaring wrong with it. Should not be thermal throttling or particularly weakly built.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Clevo P775, P750 and P870 Series (From everywhere else, but can be Tier 1 with some work)
    • G752 Series
    • Gigabyte P55 and P57 Series
    • Dell Inspiron Gaming Line
    • Asus GL553 Series
    • Lenovo Y700 Series
    • MSI GS 63 and 73 Series
    • MSI GE 62 and 72 Series
    • EVGA SC17

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Build Quality Tier 4
    Machines that function, but not well under load or are fragile.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Asus GL502VM
    • Gigabyte Aero 14
    • MSI GL 62/72 Series
    • GS43VR
    • Acer Aspire Line
    • Gigabyte P35 and P37 series
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Build Quality Tier 5
    Poor build quality. Don't look here for a high quality machine. These are a waste of money...
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • HP Omen series (hot and weak)
    • Asus GL502VS (Too hot)
    • Razer Blade/ Pro (Hot and poorly designed)

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    Quality Control Tier List
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    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Again these are ranked within each tier from best to worst

    Note that this means consistent expected performance. I.E. and Asus G752 is going to run cooler than an Aorus X5 on average, but the X5 is very consistent in its temps. It'll do what reviews say it'll do.

    Quality Control Tier 1
    These are the laptops that are unlikely to have issues, they work as intended a high percentage of the time. (Obviously this doesn't mean they can't have issues)
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Aorus X3/X5/X7
    • EVGA SC17
    • MSI GT 62/72/73/83 Series / Clevo P650 and P670 Series
    • Clevo N Series
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Quality Control Tier 2
    Average quality control. Nothing alarming, but not neccessarily known for reliability. The upper side of this tier is generally above average, and the low side a bit below.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • MSI GS/GE Series / Asus GL502 Series / Lenovo Y700 Series
    • Gigabyte P35/P37/P55/P57 series
    • HP Omen series
    • Dell Inspiron Gaming Series
    • Acer Predator Series (Build is great, temps seem a little sporadic from great to poor)
    • Alienware 15/17 (known issues getting better)
    • MSI GL 62/72 Series / Asus GL553 Series
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Quality Control Tier 3
    Poor. Either has a major known issue or fails a less than optimal amount
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Acer Aspire Line (Bad track record)
    • Asus G752/G701 (Known issues/ awful track record)
    • Razer Blade ("What even is Quality Control?" - Razer CEO)
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Note that Tier 3 QC machines aren't unbuyable, you can get one that will work and if it does you'll probably be fine. (Caution on the AWs though, I'd recommend power users only) But I strongly suggest buying through a reseller like Xotic, HID, Prostar etc... To give you an added layer of protection.

    I am very open to changing this I am sure it's not perfect. The point is to be generally correct and have users who know certain issues with machines come forward. I will definitely call out specific models if needed if say the AW 13 is better than the 15/17

    One example is EVGA is currently Tier 1 for quality control. I'm not aware of any of the (admittedly few) owners I know of with any issues and I couldn't find any online. That combined with EVGA easily have the best customer service of all the gpu/mobo/laptop makers gives them a Tier 1 rating for now. Even if something goes wrong they should sort you out very quickly.

    Special thanks to @D2 Ultima for bouncing ideas back and forth with me. He's a very helpful guy who knows his stuff!

    @Donald@HIDevolution @Tanner@XoticPC @Prostar Computer @John@OBSIDIAN-PC @Meaker@Sager @Eurocom Support @Ted@HIDevolution @Larry@LPC-Digital

    If any of you guys want to add or correct information from what you guys see (since you have high volumes of sales and RMAs to work with, especially Prostar, HID, and Xotic who offer many brands, please feel free to pm me) I'd love any kind of info with numbers to back it up if your allowed. (i.e. Asus is the most RMA'd or 1.2% of Gigabyte orders are RMA'd etc...) I won't be releasing those numbers if needed.

    Please note if your laptop works great and that's why it should be Tier 1 I will ignore you. Anecdotal evidence is useless.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
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  2. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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  3. Gursimran82956

    Gursimran82956 Notebook Consultant

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    Huge like in the sense of size?
    :vbconfused:
     
  4. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    Yeah like you can't enter a business meeting with a P870 because it's a brick, not because it's flashy. It would raise a lot of eyebrows at like 2".
     
  5. Critical Observer

    Critical Observer Notebook Enthusiast

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    Interesting that you place Aorus X3 into build quality tier 1, while Gigabyte Aero 14 dwells at tier 4; reading the opinions of those few people who have experience with both, I have been led to believe the exact opposite is the case between these 2 very similar machines. Could you explain their respective placements from your point of view?

    Thanks.
     
  6. D2 Ultima

    D2 Ultima Livestreaming Master

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    Says you, I would enter a business meeting with one. Anybody ask what's up with it I'll say "I need some power under the hood"

    Build quality being cooling, cooling subsystem, ease of access to parts and service-ability. Aero 14 is a very hot machine that can't handle very heavy loads. With liquid metal and being propped up on a stand, playing The Division capped at 60fps, a user was in the 80s on his 1060N (with only 80% utilization on it too) and in the 90s on his skylake CPU; and Kaby Lake is hotter).

    It's not good for being under simultaneous loads for any real length of time, but carries a rather hefty price premium for it. The Aorus models have impressive cooling for their size however, and at the very least, handle stock well (especially with a repaste; not even liquid metal).
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
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  7. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    Haha, it's not that you can't and obviously depends on context. But I've been in a fair share of meetings, and it would be noted if you had some weird huge laptop. At some places.

    Again depends on the context, and this is just for general reference. Something like looks is completely subjective so I'd advise just taking a look at the photos yourself.

    Also @Charles P. Jefferies I forgot to tag you, I'm always interested in your thoughts.
     
  8. iunlock

    iunlock 9900K @ 5.5GHz

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    I agree in that the the 7xx/8xx series of a clevo would be embarrassing in a professional environment.

    Different machines for different purposes.


    ::iunlock::
     
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  9. greenbean1234

    greenbean1234 Newbie

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    So where would something like the lenovo p50 or Dell precision 7510 fall in the Build/quality control lists? Are they in tier 1 or higher than that since they are business class?
     
  10. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies TG Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    Most people reading a guide will want to get an answer within a paragraph or two, e.g. just go out and say what is the best/worst. I think it's really hard to objectively quantify the information in this guide. Better off just to list facts, and then make a summary of it later on.
    So you might explain what aesthetic quality is, then give a few examples of notebooks in that context.
    This guide will also be hard to maintain since the available notebooks on the market is always changing.

    When I write a guide for NBR it's usually done with the idea of making it mostly generic e.g. without discussing specific models. Maybe a model line, like a Lenovo ThinkPad, but not specific models.

    Charles
     
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