Samsung makes pretty good computers and it wasn’t until recently that they decided that the gaming laptop is something they should take a gamble on. With good reason. PC gaming has become more and more popular and the gaming laptop seems to be taking priority in PC gaming. This year’s Computex was a big indication of the ever increasing popularity of the gaming laptop with Asus, Gigabyte, Dell, MSI and just about every PC manufacturer coming up with a new take on the gaming laptop. It’s great to see but there’s one problem, you can’t afford it. Well, at least not the laptops most of us really want. Most of these laptops are packed to the keyboard with up to date high end hardware that work great for gaming but leave your pockets on E. Samsung felt it best to enter the gaming laptop market with an affordable gaming laptop. This can be tricky. When you talk affordable, what do you get? Big, ugly and gaudy, heavy? Probably. Samsung made a pretty good laptop that isn’t any of the aforementioned in my opinion. It’s goes for around $1200 which makes it fairly affordable but what do you get for that money?
The design of the Odyssey laptop is a fairly simple one. It doesn’t have a sci-fi movie looking appearance. The version that I have is a 15.6′ matte black with the Odyssey logo on the back cover that lights up bright red (It looks really cool). The keyboard is a standard QWERTY with number keys to the far right and a bright red backlight underneath which add to the gaming laptop look. The mouse pad below is a little larger than most (or at least it appears that way to me) and it’s got a cool looking border with some red RGB lighting in the top left and bottom right corners of the border and although it doesn’t have any purpose I thought it looked cool.
If there is one specific design quality that stands out then it would be the HexaFlow cooling system on the underside of the Odyssey. Samsung’s Hexaflow system is a really cool thing. Gaming PC and laptops will always have issues of temperature and overheating and even more so if you get into the more powerful GPU’s. HexaFlow does a good job of dispersing heat when you start gaming and it’s a needed element of the Odyssey since those fans start blowing once you start gaming. The Hexaflow cover also allows you ease of access to the RAM and hard drives with the release of just three screws so upgrading the Odyssey is quite easy.
If one decides to spend the money on an Odyssey, it won’t be for the design overall. A major issue that I have with the Odyssey’s look in that it struggles with looking cheap, and although $1200 isn’t too much to ask for a machine with the hardware that the Odyssey has, I can’t figure out why Samsung couldn’t make the Odyssey look a little more premium. The design also doesn’t differ in the 17″ model which is even more money and the white version isn’t as nice looking as the all black version. More and more PC manufacturers are using a variety of different materials in their machines to make them standout in their design. The addition of metals, carbon fiber, and plastics are combined in some way to give their machine a look that would separate it from the others. With the Odyssey we get a full plastic fingerprint magnet chassis design to where as just a few touches practically forces you to wipe down your laptop every time you use it. The most innovative element of the design on the Odyssey was with the HexaFlow system which is under the machine and you otherwise can’t see it. I can’t figure out the logic with this design choice and it really hurts what is otherwise a pretty good gaming laptop.
I don’t want to sound as if I’m being overly critical of the Odyssey but all that plastic and old school elements of the design would almost fool a potential buyer into thinking this laptop is older than it really is and pass on it.
The Odyssey does a pretty good job of giving you some quality hardware for the price. My version of the Odyssey came with:
15.6-inch Full HD (1,920 X 1,080), Wide-View Angle Display Anti-Glare Type
Up to 7th Generation Intel Core™ i7-7700HQ processor
16GB (DDR4, 2 SODIMM, Single Memory Door)
Up to 128GB PCIE SSD + 1TB HDD | SSD + HDD, Dual Storage
NVIDIA GTX1050 (40W Full PERFORMANCE) GDDR5 4GB/2GB
It’s a solid machine hardware wise. Most of the computers that I’ve used within this price point and similar specs performance all behave typically the same. The Lenovo Y720 and the Dell 15 7000 to give two examples are very similar to the Odyssey and the only major differences were in the GPU’s. The Y720 and the Dell 15 7000 both offer higher GPU’s with Lenovo offering a GTX 1060 and the Dell offering a 1050Ti but that’s really splitting hairs. The Odyssey gives you enough hardware to be productive with Windows 10 and give you a quality gaming experience. If you choose one over the other it be mostly based on brand preference and not so much the performance.
Gaming on the Odyssey is why you would buy this laptop in the first place. Gaming was pretty easy with the Odyssey. The GTX 1050 that comes with it gives you more than enough gaming power to play most of your games without too much issue. Having that super-fast 7700HQ i7 helps as well. I played a multitude of different games to put the Odyssey through the motions. I played Battlefield 1 and at the highest settings I was averaging about 51 to 55 FPS. Since the Odyssey does not allow for a higher resolution than 1920 x 1080, playing BF1 at the highest setting didn’t put much load on the GPU. Rise of the Tomb Raider was a little different. Every game I played, I played at the highest settings allowed. Since Rise of the Tomb Raider relies so heavily on the scenery and surrounding terrain it would stand to reason that I would suffer from some framerate hiccups from time to time on screen. It was nothing too bothersome and the games that I played all ran really smoothly between 48 – 52 FPS.
The Odyssey handles gaming very well in 1080p and lower than. Need for Speed, Civilization VI, Everspace, Dead Cells and The Walking Dead: The New Frontier where the games that I played for the most part during my time with the Odyssey and I didn’t have any problem but not being able to test settings past 1080p does somewhat limit how I perceive the performance. It’s hard to tell. The Odyssey software that comes bundled with the Odyssey doesn’t really allow for you to do any tweaking with the GPU. It’s only just a gauge of how the laptop is performing under load which is unfortunate.
The screen on the Odyssey has a 1920 x 1080p HD resolution with an anti-glare coating on it. The viewing angles on the Odyssey weren’t that great and the problem with the screen was that I always had to keep it at maximum brightness to be able to see some of the terrain and background elements in certain games. This isn’t a good thing. If you’re bringing your laptop on the go with you then you can rest assured that you won’t have much time to game because of the requirements between the game you’re playing and the max brightness of the screen that has to be maintained. That kinda sucks. The battery life isn’t too bad generally for most things but not so much when gaming because again, max settings are required.
Should you buy the Odyssey?
I love Samsung, they make my favorite TV’s, the Galaxy S8 and the monitor that I currently own is the CFG70 27″ (which I also reviewed). So, I’m not being overly critical as much as I am a little letdown. My impression of the Odyssey laptop is mixed. Although I did have a lot fun with the Odyssey as a gaming laptop, there are some things that I wish Samsung would have done to make this laptop more appealing. The design for starters. The design of the Odyssey is very basic and plasticky and a little thick and the thing about gaming laptops is that gamers don’t want them to look like any other laptop. We tend to want a futuristic look to them while being portable, after all, it’s a gaming laptop and nowadays you can add metal and other materials to make it unique and sleek. Samsung dropped the ball on this.
The gaming experience with the Odyssey was really good. I can say that I didn’t have any issues gaming. Every game I played ran smoothly from Steam to the games that I owned and installed. As long as you don’t wish to game in a resolution higher than 1080p you’ll be fine. The Odyssey made game play smooth and enjoyable and it behaved like you would expect a gaming laptop to behave. Samsung would have served the Odyssey better if they opted for the GTX 1060 as opposed to the 1050 since there are similar offerings for the same money from other manufacturers that give you that added bump in the GPU.
The screen on the Odyssey was a bit dull but not too bad. I wish Samsung would have opted for a better and brighter screen without so much emphasis on the anti-glare. As I mentioned previously, every game that I played had to be played with the screen at maximum brightness and that isn’t such a good thing if you want to take your laptop with you and game for a while and not have to lug your power brick with you. The screen being dull also didn’t allow for the games to really pop and look as beautiful as they should. If you’ve ever played Rise of the Tomb Raider or BF1 on a 4K TV then you know what I’m talking about. I’m not comparing the Odyssey screen to 4K but we could have gotten a crisper and brighter screen.
Would I recommend the Odyssey? Yes and no. I’m torn. I would say yes because Samsung does make good products and I do know that despite the Odyssey having some flaws I’m cognizant of the fact that this is really their first dive into the gaming laptop world and I’ve seen worse first attempts and overall the Odyssey is really not that bad. The hardware is good and you’ll be able to do some gaming with most of the games that you really want to play. I would say no because for $1200 there are some other options that offer nicer design, better screen and a slightly more powerful GPU.
All flaws considered, I did have a ton of fun with the Odyssey. It is a pretty good gaming laptop. It just could have been a bit better, but knowing Samsung they’ll figure out what they did wrong, correct it and then give us everything we need in the next version. Samsung is great at making devices so they know what they have to do here. I look forward to seeing what’s next.