XMG Fusion 15 full review
The XMG Fusion 15 is a German-made laptop with an RTX 2070 graphics chip, a Core i7 processor and a mechanical keyboard – alongside one of the most customisable specifications on the market.
This machine also features smart physical design, future-proofed wireless internet and a 144Hz screen – so it’s well-specified to handle today’s toughest games.
Price & Availability
Dell’s Alienware m15, for instance, costs £1,999 for an an RTX 2070 Max-Q and a Core i7 CPU, but that rig only has 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD. If you want 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD, the price rises to £2,499.
It’s a lot to spend on a laptop regardless of which machine you’re considering, but the XMG Fusion 15 does have a supreme number of customisation options. Loads of different memory capacities and speeds can be picked, from 8GB to 64GB, and there are dozens of M.2 SSD options. A second SSD or hard disk can also be added.
Different wireless modules and keyboards can be fitted, and the standard two-year warranty can be improved or extended. The processor, graphics card and screen can’t be modified, though, and bear in mind that this laptop isn’t on sale in the US.
Check our chart of the best gaming laptops.
Design & Build
The XMG Fusion 15 is not a loud, ostentatious gaming laptop – it’s smart and unassuming. The chassis is built from magnesium alloy and finished in black, with a small, subtle logo – and that’s it for decoration.
The Fusion is less eye-catching than the outlandish Alienware, and it’s even more subtle than the Razer – that system stood out with its large Razer logo and green accents.
XMG’s machine competes well in other areas. Its 1.9kg weight makes it lighter than both competitors. Its 20mm thickness is a little higher than the Alienware and Razer machines, but the difference just isn’t noticeable.
Build quality is one area where the Fusion does fall behind slightly. The XMG is not weak, but there’s a little movement in all of its panels and in the screen – certainly more than in the rock-solid Alienware and Razer notebooks.
The XMG has three USB 3.1 ports and a Type-C connector with Thunderbolt support. It’s also got a card reader, two audio jacks and an HDMI output. The Alienware improvs on this with a mini-DisplayPort output, while the Razer offers USB 3.2 ports.
Keyboard & Trackpad
The Fusion is a rare laptop with a mechanical keyboard. The opto-mechanical switches on this machine combine the moving parts of a mechanical design with an optical laser for actuation – so, in theory, you get the extra heft and travel of a mechanical switch with the increased speed of optical hardware.
The hardware lives up to its billing: the buttons respond quickly, and their superb speed is paired with more travel than you’ll find on the chiclet units deployed on most rivals. If you crave the snap and weight of mechanical hardware, you’ll be really impressed.
The buttons have a slightly concave shape, which improves comfort and consistency and elsewhere there’s per-key RGB LED backlighting and n-key rollover. There’s no numberpad, though – unlike the Alienware.
The keys aren’t perfect. They’re fast and have good travel, but they wobble a bit too much. It’s not a ruinous issue for mainstream gaming, but it’s worth bearing in mind. The Alienware m15 is the best alternative – its keys are shallower than these, but they’re reasonably quick and more consistent.
The trackpad is solid, with a large, responsive surface and two crisp buttons. It’s serviceable for gaming, even if a USB mouse is always better for gaming.
Screen & Speakers
The Fusion has an IPS, Full HD (1080p) panel with a 144Hz refresh rate, albeit without any syncing. It’s a conventional laptop display specification.
Quality levels are reasonable. The contrast level of 1,139:1 is good – it delivers solid vibrancy and brightness levels across the whole range, which is important for making games look punchy and clear.
The brightness measurement of 319cd/m2 is ample for indoor play, and the black measurement of 0.28cd/m2 is decent. Games won’t suffer due to that latter figure, but other panels will deliver deeper dark shades.
The Delta E of 3.09 is fine, and the colour temperature of 7,006K is a little chilly. Both figures could be better, with the latter leaving the screen feel slightly cold – but neither are a huge issue. The display rendered 84.7% of the sRGB coverage level – another average result.
The Fusion’s display is good enough for gaming, but rivals are better. The Alienware has more punch, and it’s available with 4K and 240Hz options. The Razer had better contrast and colours, and it’s also available with 4K and 240Hz options.
The XMG’s speakers are middling, too, with loads of bass but muted treble and a tinny top-end. A headset is far better.
Specs & Performance
The combination of RTX 2070 Max-Q and Core i7-9750H is familiar – the Razer we reviewed was kitted out with those components, and the Alienware is also available with that hardware line-up.
The Nvidia GPU is a cut-down version of the conventional RTX 2070 core, and the Intel CPU serves up six multi-threaded cores alongside base and boost speeds of 2.6GHz and 4.5GHz.
XMG pairs this solid hardware with 16GB of 2,666MHz DDR4 memory and a 1TB Samsung 970 EVO SSD. Both rivals feature the same memory speed, and the SSD serves up exceptional read and write speeds of 3,256MB/s and 3,023MB/s.
Connectivity is provided by future-proofed, dual-band 802.11ax wireless alongside Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth 5.0.
The RTX 2070 Max-Q is reliably quick. It’s got enough power to play any tough single-player game at maximum graphics settings at averages around 60fps, so top titles will look smooth on this panel. It’s also got the grunt to play any esports game at 140fps and beyond, so these fast, twitchy titles can run smoothly alongside the 144Hz screen.
Modest VR output is just about possible here, too, and it’ll handle 1440p gaming and some widescreens. However, the RTX 2070 Max-Q won’t be able to run high-end widescreen panels, 4K displays or top-tier VR headsets.
The Fusion doesn’t manage to open a lead over its rivals, either. While its Ghost Recon: Wildlands average of 50fps is good, it’s two frames back from the Razer. Similarly, the XMG averaged 68fps in Total War: Warhammer, but the Blade was one frame quicker.
XMG’s machine fought back in theoretical tests: its Sky Diver result of 35,956 was slightly ahead of the Razer.
The Fusion 15 was a better performer in application benchmarks. In PC Mark 10 and Geekbench 4 the XMG scored 4,997 and 21,059. The former result squeaks ahead of the Razer, while the latter is several thousand points better.
The solid application results and fast SSD mean that this machine has ample ability for work. Office applications and browser-based tools will run without issue here, and multi-tasking will be handled smoothly. Photo-editing and some light video work is also possible on this machine too.
The Fusion pairs its decent performance with good thermal figures. The peak CPU and GPU temperatures of 82°C and 73°C are fine, and the XMG was impressively quiet – the fan noise is present during gaming, but this machine makes less noise than either rival.
The 93Wh battery offers longevity that easily outstrips the competition – no surprise when the Alienware and Blade have 76Wh and 65Wh power packs respectively.
In a video playback test with the screen at 120cd/m2 the XMG lasted for nine hours and two minutes. That’s superb – almost three hours better than the Blade and far longer than the Alienware. In PC Mark 10’s everyday work test the Fusion lasted for six and a half hours.
A gaming test saw the Fusion last for almost two and a half hours. That’s around an hour better than the Blade 15. This is a rarity, then: a gaming laptop that has enough longevity for a gaming session on the train. It’s also got enough life in it to handle most of a day at work.
You’re still going to have to plug in for a day of gaming, but the XMG is better than either rival here.
The XMG Fusion 15 offers consistent speed and a smart, subtle design – and the mechanical keyboard will sate gamers after a more traditional typing experience. Its battery life trounces rivals, too, and it's cheaper than the alternative options from the likes of Alienware and Razer.
The lower price comes at a cost, though: the screen is middling, the speakers disappoint, and rivals are both slimmer and more eye-catching.
If you're not fussed about looks or having the best screen going, though, the XMG Fusion 15 is a very good alternative – fast, unfussy and competent in many of the areas where it matters.
XMG Fusion 15: Specs
- Processor: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
- Memory: 16GB 2,666MHz DDR4
- Screen: 15.6in 1,920 x 1,080 IPS 144Hz
- Storage: 1TB Samsung 970 EVO
- Ports: 3 x USB 3.1, 1 x Thunderbolt 3/USB 3.1 Type-C, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 2 x audio jack, 1 x SDXC
- Connectivity: Dual-band 802.11ax WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit Ethernet
- Battery: 93Wh
- Dimensions: 356 x 234 x 20mm
- Weight: 1.9kg
- Warranty: 2yr RTB
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