Aftershock Forge 15 Pro.
Aftershock is generally known for its aﬀordable, no-frills devices, and there are few products that exemplify that approach as well as the Forge 15 Pro. Even though the Pro model is a higher-end version of the Forge 15, it’s part of a new series of value-oriented devices. This means the focus isn’t on having a super premium slim and light build or the best possible specifications. Instead, the fat has been stripped out in favor of what Aftershock thinks you really need.
The Forge 15 Pro is pretty attractively priced for its specs compared to the competition, but there are obvious compromises in areas like the design, build and battery life. The Forge 15 Pro isn’t going to impress in terms of how thin or light it is, and it also features a mostly plastic body instead of a more premium all-metal chassis.
That said, I personally don’t mind it too much. And if you really must add some personality to your notebook, you can always opt for Aftershock’s custom paint services.
There are HDMI, Ethernet, and USB-C ports at the rear.
Having said that, the Forge 15 Pro only really stands out when you look at its specifications and price. My review unit costs $2,080 with a GeForce RTX 2060, but the Forge 15 actually starts out at a mere $1,285 with a GeForce GTX 1050 3GB. That should give you an idea of what Aftershock is aiming for here, which is to give you as much performance for your dollar as it can. To put things in perspective, a similarly configured ASUS ROG Strix G G531 with the same 9th-gen Intel processor and a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti costs $2,198 on Lazada. Elsewhere, the Dell G5 15 with the same GPU retails for $2,399 on the Dell online store, and the G-series is actually Dell’s budget-conscious line-up.
I’m actually pretty happy with the configuration on the Forge 15 Pro. The GeForce RTX 2060 is quite a capable GPU, and the laptop also checks the right boxes with 16GB of dual-channel memory and a large 512GB SSD. More importantly, it features a 144Hz display, which is a nice inclusion at this price point. While the GeForce RTX 2060 may not be able to push the full 144fps in more demanding AAA games, it’s more than capable of doing so for less taxing esports titles like Overwatch, where having a high refresh rate is also arguably more important. As a result, I think there’s a case to be made for including a 144Hz panel even on a mid-range gaming laptop like this one.
There’s a 6-in-1 SD card reader on the right.
The 1,920 x 1,080-pixel AHVA screen on the Forge 15 Pro is pretty good, with reasonably vibrant colors and good viewing angles. However, as with many gaming notebooks, it could use a boost in brightness and you’ll probably end up using it with the brightness slider maxed out most of the time. Fortunately, the matte coating deals with pesky reflections pretty well, and I had no problems using the notebook even under bright overhead lighting. However, one thing that bothers me is the thick bottom bezel below the screen. It just makes the lnotebook look even more dated.
A speedy notebook that oﬀers great bang for your buck.
Elsewhere, the keyboard is quite pleasant to type on, with decent key travel and feedback. They don’t feel shallow, unlike on some slimmer notebooks, and they also feature RGB backlighting with a choice of 15 diﬀerent colors. There’s no support for per-key customisations though, and the entire keyboard is treated as a single zone.
The trackpad is a Windows Precision touchpad that feels responsive and accurate. The Forge 15 Pro still has two separate buttons for the left- and right-click though, which I think it really could have done away with. After all, integrated buttons just look better and cleaner, and they also free up more space and increase the usable area on the touchpad.
The 48.96Wh battery is also removable from the outside, and I have to say I haven’t seen this design in quite a while. The battery is on the small side, and there are actually Ultrabooks and convertibles with similar sized power packs, which doesn’t bode well for the Forge 15 Pro. Clearly, battery life is one of the luxuries you’ll have to forgo on the Forge.
However, the removable battery might let you get around its small capacity somewhat. Aftershock tells me that you can buy extra batteries for it, so you could just carry a spare around with you and swap it in when you need to.
AT A GLANCE
15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel 144Hz AHVA displ
Intel Core i7-9750H
NVMe M.2 SSD