Chillblast Helix 2 17in review: Plenty of power, less of the bulk

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Chillblast Helix 2 17in review: Plenty of power, less of the bulk


The Helix 2 may have rather unassuming looks for a £1,400 gaming laptop, but it’s clear that what you’re paying for here is performance, and it’s as powerful as you’d expect.

Thanks to its powerful 2.6GHz quad-core i7, it made mincemeat of our benchmarks, completing the image editing portion in just 89 seconds, the video editing part in just over 18 minutes and the multitasking tests in just under 29 minutes. While that’s certainly impressive, you don’t buy a laptop like this for editing images multitasking – it’s built for playing games.

Chillblast Helix 2 17in review: Head on

I tested it using the BioShock Infinite Benchmarking Utility, and the Chillblast Helix 2 fared reasonably well, but it was undermined by some sluggish moments dragging down its average frame rate. At the Helix 2’s native 1080p resolution, with all settings on “High”, it managed a respectable average of 53fps. With “Ultra” settings, DirectX 11 and diffusion depth-of-field enabled, the frame-rate fell to 36.7fps, which is still very respectable for a GeForce GTX 970M-powered device.

When it comes to longevity away from the mains, the Helix 2’s 60WH delivers emergency power and little else. It lasted around two and a half hours in our looping video test before giving up the ghost.

Chillblast Helix 2 17in review: Side on


In addition to the aforementioned USB 3 ports and SD card slot, the Helix 2 also has two mini display ports and an HDMI output for connection to multiple external monitors. If you fancy removing 19 screws, you can take off the Helix 2’s underside and access its guts. However, the super-slim profile comes at a cost as you can only make limited changes to the hardware. It’s possible to change the 1TB hard disk to something larger, and you can also upgrade the 120GB SSD or add another SSD.

However, it’s seemingly impossible to increase RAM, or change the GPU and CPU, because everything is encased and hidden away. That said, I’d be very surprised if you ever felt the need to upgrade from the 16GB of RAM included as standard.

Chillblast Helix 2 17in review: Side view


Chalking the Helix 2 up against its biggest competitor, the Dell Alienware 17 R2, it’s evident that the R2 is the more powerful machine in the graphics department, thanks to its slightly more powerful GeForce GTX 980M.

That said, the Helix 2 is still more than powerful enough to take on anything you can throw at it, and is also cheaper than the £1,922 Dell. Alternatively, if you want a 980M-powered laptop, you can pick up the MSI GT72 Dominator Pro for around £1,350 but, despite the added graphical heft, it comes with half as much RAM as the Helix 2, and is quite a bulky laptop.

In short, the Chillblast Helix 2 is a bit of a mixed bag. Despite its slenderness, it isn’t particularly pretty, and I’m unsure just how big a selling point an ultra-slim gaming laptop is when it’s a hulking 17in machine. No two ways about it, though – it offers a lot for your money.

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