Schenker XMG U505 – Keyboard and Trackpad
The keyboard mimics Alienware hardware in eschewing a Scrabble-tile design for a more traditional layout. That works well for gaming, since the keys have more travel than those on the Gigabyte machine. The area under the highlighted WASD cluster is allegedly reinforced, but we didn’t find any hint of weakness throughout – the surface beneath the U505’s keys is rock-solid.
The keys pair their impressive travel with rapid, reliable movement, which means it’s easy to game with speed and accuracy. The layout is good: full-sized return, space and cursor keys, plus a numberpad.
The trackpad is just as sensible. Its surface is smooth, which means cursors can be whipped around at speed, and the buttons are two independent units. This means they’re snappier and more reliable than the buttons built into the Gigabyte and MSI trackpads.
Other Things to Consider
The U505 has one of the most versatile specifications we’ve seen. It’s configured through Schenker’s website, and comes with a baffling array of options. The screen is available in resolutions of 2,880 x 1,620 and 3,840 x 2,160 for £58 and £225 extra, and cash can be saved by opting for GTX 965M or GTX 970M graphics cores.
Seven possible processors range from Core i5 to Core i7, and even more memory configurations are available – from 4GB to 32GB, and with several different types of DIMM. Single or dual SSDs and hard disks can be installed, and there are different wireless chips.
Our sample costs a hefty £2,044, but that isn’t the most expensive U505 configuration. If you want this machine with four SSDs, a 4K screen and a top-whack desktop processor then you’ll have to shell out a mighty £3,758. If that’s at bit much, then the low-end specification costs a more modest £1,048.
The warranty is decent. By default, the U505 comes with a two-year deal with collect-and-return, parts and labour coverage; this can be extended to three or four years by spending an additional £116 or £233.
Should I Buy the Schenker XMG U505?
The latest XMG notebook makes an effort to function like a desktop – something that comes with numerous pros and cons. It’s the most versatile gaming laptop we’ve tested, with many components that can be changed, including the processor.
It’s lightning-fast, too. The desktop processor delivers a modest speed bump over laptop rivals, and the top-end graphics core is the fastest we’ve yet seen in a laptop. The storage is top-notch, and this machine is ergonomically sound because of the great keyboard and trackpad.
The high-end components and versatile design mean the U505 is thicker and heavier than almost any other 15.6in gaming notebook, and it’s more expensive, too – although, obviously, this is somewhat configuration-dependent. Battery life, not surprisingly, is poor.
The U505 is an excellent product, but the downsides mean it has only niche appeal. Most gamers just won’t need this level of versatility, and many more simply won’t be able to afford this level of luxury.
The “U” in U505 stands for “Ultimate”, and this machine lives up to that moniker in many categories. However, its appeal is limited by its chunky design, poor battery life and stratospheric price – all of which mean it’s likely to remain a niche product.
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Score in detail
Screen Quality 9
Build Quality 8
Heat & Noise 6
Battery Life 4