A gaming laptop that's a great bang for your buck, the CyberPower FangBook Evo HX7-200 packs everything you probably want and more into a sturdy boutique body for a reasonable price. You get the latest Haswell processor, powerful Nvidia graphics, Blu-ray Disc drive and more, but size suffers. Prepare to haul around more than 10 pounds of notebook to get your gaming fix.
Outpaces older gaming notebooks. The FangBook Evo HX7-200 was already one of experts' favorite gaming laptops before it got a Core i7-4700MQ Intel Haswell processor. "Our Worldbench 8.1 benchmark suite is still relatively new, so we haven't amassed a large collection of scores that we can compare to the FangBook Evo, but a Notebook Worldbench 8.1 score of 417 indicates the FangBook is clearly in a different league," PC World writes. The only way to get a better gaming laptop? Drop $3,000 to $4,000 or so on one with even more powerful graphics. That'll get you higher frame rates at max settings, but rest assured, the FangBook can handle any title you throw at it. Of course, you can always configure your Evo HX7-200 for more power when you buy it. Battery life isn't great with the last-gen processor -- just over two hours, about average for a gaming laptop -- but the energy-efficient Haswell chip should improve that (however, while the Evo has now been out a while, no expert review we could spot directly addresses that).
"As elegant as a water buffalo." This is one of those old-school, 2-inch-thick gaming cinderblocks. It tips the scales at 8.5 pounds, plus the 2.2-pound power brick you'll haul wherever you go, and looks "about as elegant as a water buffalo," PC World says. That's not unusual for a serious gaming laptop, but the 4-pound Razer Blade (Est. $1,800 and up) , our Best Reviewed choice, is sleek by comparison. There's no touch screen and the trackpad isn't multi-touch, but gamers will probably use the keyboard and an external mouse, anyway. A full array of ports includes wired Ethernet, as well as a memory card reader and Blu-ray Disc drive, all of which the Razer jettisons in the name of skinniness.
Big screen, nice speakers. Unlike the Razer Blade, which could almost pass for a MacBook, there's nothing subtle about the FangBook's design. "CyberPowerPC wants the FangBook to stop traffic," HotHardware.com says, so it's wrapped in "what looks like space-age armor." Reminiscent of RoboCop, angular black and silver panels surround a glowing red CyberPowerPC logo on the lid. Inside, the Evo HX7-200's 17.3-inch, full 1080p HD screen is perfect for gaming and watching Blu-ray movies. Even the audio sounds really good for a laptop, thanks to stereo speakers with an integrated subwoofer.
Most improved (for desktops). In 2011 and 2012, PCMag.com surveyed its readers to find the most reliable computers. The first year, CyberPower desktops had "by far the worst repair rate of any company," but by 2012 it had soared to second place among all brands. At the time there weren't enough CyberPower laptop owners to make the ratings, and the brand doesn't appear at all in the 2013 survey. The FangBook comes with a standard one-year warranty, plus lifetime tech support.
Do you mind buying in bulk? If you're a gamer, the FangBook Evo HX7-200 has all the features you probably want. If you're looking for the most powerful gaming laptop under $2,000, look no further. But it's gargantuan. If you can do without the Blu-ray Disc drive and a few ports, you can get competitive power from the Best Reviewed Razer Blade in a 4-pound, Ultrabook-thin package that you can actually carry around.
1. PC World
PC World counts the FangBook Evo HX7-200 as one of its two favorite gaming laptops, along with the Best Reviewed Razer Blade. The FangBook is big and heavy, but its Haswell-powered performance is outstanding in benchmark and real-world gaming tests. However, Hachman doesn't compare it directly to any other Haswell gaming laptops.
Review: Review: CyberPower FangBook Evo HX7-200 Taps 4th-gen Core for High-end Gaming, Mark Hachman, June 1, 2013
PCMag.com tests the FangBook X7-200 (now the HX7-200) with a last-gen Intel processor even though the new Haswell processor is already out. It earns an Editors' Choice award anyway, showing impressive performance in benchmark and gaming tests even when compared to gaming laptops that cost twice as much.
Review: CyberPower FangBook X7-200, Brian Westover, July 3, 2013
3. Computer Shopper
The FangBook X7-200 with its last-gen Intel chip is an Editors' Choice here, too. It's competitive with much pricier gaming laptops in most benchmark tests. Although its battery life disappoints, the new Haswell processor may help that.
Review: CyberPower FangBook X7-200 Review and Ratings, John R. Delaney, April 19, 2013
Even with its last-gen processor, the FangBook is a favorite here as well. Colaner runs extensive benchmark and gaming tests, and comes away impressed. He says the laptop is quiet and solid, with high-quality components throughout, and comes at a reasonable price.
Review: CyberPowerPC FangBook X7-200 Gaming Notebook, Seth Colaner, April 4, 2013