Gaming Laptop Build Quality/Quality Control Guide

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Galm, Nov 20, 2016.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Galm

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

    Reputations:
    1,228
    Messages:
    5,705
    Likes Received:
    2,949
    Trophy Points:
    331
    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
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    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 P6XX Series / MSI GS Series (Subtle)
    • 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 Series / Lenovo Y700 Series (Gamer)(Gamer)
    • Dell Inspiron 7559 (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...


    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    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 P6XX Series
    • Clevo P7XX/8XX 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 bend the heatsink makes it Tier 1)
    • 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 P7XX/8XX Series (From everywhere else)
    • G752 Series
    • Gigabyte P5X Series
    • Dell Inspiron Gaming Line
    • Asus GL553 Series
    • Lenovo Y700 Series
    • MSI GS(63/73) Series
    • MSI GE 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 Series
    • GS43VR
    • Acer Aspire Line
    • Gigabyte P3X
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    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
    • Asus GL502VS
    • Razer Blade/ Pro

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

    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 Series / Clevo P 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
    • Alienware 15/17 (Major known issues)
    • Gigabyte P3X/P5X series
    • HP Omen series
    • Dell Inspiron 7559
    • Acer Predator Series (Build is great, temps seem a little sporadic from great to poor)
    • MSI GL Series /Asus GL552 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.

    @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
    omgnasty, mjaKiani and neohopper like this.
  2. Galm

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

    Reputations:
    1,228
    Messages:
    5,705
    Likes Received:
    2,949
    Trophy Points:
    331
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
    hmscott likes this.
  3. Krowe

    Krowe Notebook Evangelist

    Reputations:
    88
    Messages:
    694
    Likes Received:
    326
    Trophy Points:
    76
    Aren't you gonna sticky this?
     
  4. Chronograf86

    Chronograf86 Newbie

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Lenovo Y700 Series got awesome design and build quality. IMHO
     
  5. Galm

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

    Reputations:
    1,228
    Messages:
    5,705
    Likes Received:
    2,949
    Trophy Points:
    331
    Haha I'm flattered you think I have that kind of power.

    I messed up the title first so it didn't get much attention. Thanks @Charles P. Jefferies for fixing that!

    I would probably not recommend stickying it until some clashing opinions come in. I doubt I got it perfect right off the bat.

    Maybe I should move it above the GE Series, but while design I'd agree, the actual build quality is really not better than the Gigabyte machines.

    I'm not classifying by the quality of the design. It's too subjective as some people love AW designs, and other people think it's awful. That doesn't change that it's built well though.


    I'll also give a S/O if any resellers actually respond to this thread via pm haha. I'm not counting on it.

    And I'll call @D2 Ultima, last time he had good criticism (like my Razer QC rank?)
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
  6. Murraydar

    Murraydar Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    12
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Great post idea. Would you consider taking the responses you get and listing the major strengths and weaknesses on each unit? As someone who just finished researching for a new laptop this would have been good info.
     
  7. Galm

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

    Reputations:
    1,228
    Messages:
    5,705
    Likes Received:
    2,949
    Trophy Points:
    331
    What do you mean by responses? If someone asks for a specific unit? Sure.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
  8. Galm

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

    Reputations:
    1,228
    Messages:
    5,705
    Likes Received:
    2,949
    Trophy Points:
    331
    I wanted to mention a few omitted machines. HP Omen's are not on the list yet, and the Gigabyte Aero is not yet on it. I should get around to them pretty soon.
     
  9. fiziks

    fiziks Notebook Evangelist

    Reputations:
    94
    Messages:
    480
    Likes Received:
    59
    Trophy Points:
    41
  10. Galm

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

    Reputations:
    1,228
    Messages:
    5,705
    Likes Received:
    2,949
    Trophy Points:
    331
    No I don't weigh very heavily on users here for build quality. Quality Control I do factor it in, as volume of problem complaints (keeping in mind total sales volume) is helpful.

    Build quality only a few users here have my attention. People like @HTWingNut because like myself he has used many many machines.

    For build quality I mostly take into account reviews and my own experience. I've used 90+% of the machines on my lists. So it makes it easy to directly compare them.
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page