One Chilly Beast

Aftershock Vapor Pro 15.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

It’s safe to say this laptop literally came out of nowhere, and it was a surprise to see Intel working with a smaller brand like Eluktronics to bring the MAG15 to fruition, instead of a more established player like ASUS or Razer. As it turns out, local PC builder Aftershock was also among the many partners Intel consulted with, so prepare yourself for the local flavour of the MAG-15. the Aftershock Vapor 15 Pro.

There are a few reasons why you should be excited, but the biggest selling point is probably the price. At $2,799, the Vapor 15 Pro is significantly cheaper than anything available on the market right now. Its closest competitor is probably the Acer Predator Triton 500, and that costs $3,198.

Now, you’re probably thinking, what’s the catch? As far as I can tell though, there isn’t one. This is actually a premium notebook with a budget price. Normally, if a laptop had a GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q and only cost this much, I’d expect some trade-offs; maybe the build quality isn’t the best; perhaps the display is lacklustre. Or maybe, it has a really tiny battery and runs super loud and hot. The good news is that the Vapor 15 Pro suffers from none of these problems.

Build quality is excellent and there’s barely any flex when pushing down on the palm rests or keyboard. The hinge opens in a single fluid motion, and it’s perfectly capable of being operated with one hand.

This is a high-end laptop through and through, and it comes with just about everything you could want, including a Thunderbolt 3 port, SD card reader, and an infrared camera for Windows Hello face recognition. It’s even got a glass precision trackpad with integrated buttons and an RGB backlit mechanical keyboard that supports per-key customisations.

No need to worry about battery life either, since it comes with a large 94Wh battery, rivalling the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XA.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the Vapor 15 Pro is a potential Razer Blade 15 killer. It even looks a lot like one, with its black magnesium alloy chassis and minimalist design. The Blade 15 has so far gone unchallenged in my books in terms of design, but the Vapor 15 Pro has come the closest to upsetting it.

What’s more, this is the world’s lightest GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q laptop at just 1.87kg. It features a full magnesium alloy body and is noticeably lighter in hand than the competition. I’ve gotten used to reviewing laptops that weigh just over 2kg, and the difference in weight is obvious.

Another important point to mention is that Intel has supposedly optimised the notebook for better thermal performance. Intel makes the chips that go into your laptop, so you’d expect that they’d know a lot about how to make the chip run better. The Vapor 15 Pro uses Intel’s custom BIOS and the bundled Control Center program off up three different performance profiles – Battery saver, Balanced, and Performance – each of which results in meaningful differences in power consumption and performance. Make no mistake, these modes aren’t just for show.

A dedicated button in the top right lets you toggle between the three modes, with helpful LED indicators to show what mode you’re on – two lighted LEDs for Performance, one for Balanced, and none for Battery saver.

The Vapor 15 Pro has just about everything you could need in terms of networking and connectivity options. It’s equipped with an Intel Wireless-AX200 for Wi-Fi 6 support and a Gigabit Ethernet port powered by a Realtek controller.

It also features a Thunderbolt 3 port round the back, in addition to an HDMI 2.0 output, Ethernet jack, and the power connector. I find the port placement quite thoughtful, since their location at the rear makes cable management easier when you’re connecting the laptop to a Thunderbolt 3 dock or outputting to an external monitor. Similarly, putting the power connector at the back means that the cable won’t bother you too much when you’re gaming or working.

On the sides, you’ll find one USB 3.1 (Gen 2) Type-A and two USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-A ports, along with the SD card reader on the right and dedicated headphone and microphone jacks on the left.
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The plastic cutout at the sides allow Wi-Fi signals to pass through.
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A dedicated button at the top right lets you toggle between different performance profiles.
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This tops any other laptop in giving you the most mileage for your money.



15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel 144Hz IPS display


Intel Core i7-9750H


16GB DDR4-2666


GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q


512GB PCIe M.2 SSD

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