Chillblast Defiant 2 Mini review
Portable, powerful and affordable are three words that rarely go together when one thinks of gaming laptops, but that’s exactly what Chillblast has served up with the Defiant 2 Mini. Like squeezing the engine of a supercar into a hatchback, the Defiant 2 Mini unites a quad-core Intel CPU with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 860M and shoehorns the pair into a compact 13.3in laptop that costs only £899 inc VAT.
See also: The best laptops of 2014
The Defiant 2 Mini isn’t technically one of Chillblast’s own creations. Instead, Chillblast has employed a barebones laptop chassis from Clevo – the 13.3in W230SS – and outfitted it with a gaming-capable specification and a two-year collect-and-return warranty.
Chillblast Defiant 2 Mini review: design and specification
As is so often the case with generic laptop designs, the W230SS’s plastic shell doesn’t thrill like the best of the big brands. However, the chassis’ aggressively contoured figure is definitely more stealth bomber than supermarket special. Although the lid flexes rather too easily, the base feels sturdy and, best of all, the whole package is eminently portable by the standards of most gaming laptops – weighing 2.1kg and measuring 34mm thick, this isn’t a laptop that requires a suitcase-sized bag to be transported to and fro.
What really excites, though, is what’s on the inside. The CPU in question, an Intel Core i7-4710MQ, is one of Intel’s tweaked “Haswell Refresh” chips, which trumps its predecessor (the Core i7-4700MQ) by bumping the stock and Turbo Boost speeds up by 100MHz. Alongside it, Nvidia’s top-of-the-range GeForce GTX 860M makes a perfect ally for the Intel quad-core CPU, and to round off the specification Chillblast has employed 8GB of DDR3 RAM and a 1TB hybrid SSHD.
Chillblast Defiant 2 Mini review: performance
The Chillblast’s specification is almost identical to other recent gaming laptops that have passed through the PC Pro labs, but that small clock-speed increase helps push it out in front of the rest. In our Real World Benchmarks, the Defiant 2 Mini scored an impressive 1.02; enough to put it just ahead of its closest rival, the Gigabyte P34G v2.
Gaming performance is startlingly quick for a 13.3in laptop. Even with our Crysis benchmark cranked right up to Full HD resolution and Very High detail settings, the Chillblast turned in a smooth average frame rate of 42fps. It was only once we started playing more demanding titles, such as Crysis 3, that we needed to nudge the detail settings down or drop below the laptop’s native Full HD resolution.
Regardless of whether you’re working or gaming, though, that Full HD display provides sumptuous image quality. Brightness peaks at a gleaming 352cd/m[sup]2[/sup], contrast tops out at 895:1 and, since the IPS panel covers 86.2% of the sRGB gamut, images drip with rich, saturated colours. The satin anti-glare finish is great, too, giving images a similar punchiness to a gloss panel without the aggravating reflectivity. The only thing that isn’t exceptional is colour accuracy. The panel’s average Delta E of 3.7 is perfectly acceptable, but the maximum Delta E of 7.8 testifies to the panel’s tendency to darken colours and crush the very darkest tones into black.
|Dimensions||330 x 227 x 32mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i7-4710HQ|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,920|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,080|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Graphics chipset||Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M|
|Graphics card RAM||2.00GB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk||Seagate hybrid SSHD|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|USB ports (downstream)||1|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Camera megapixel rating||0.9mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||6hr 52min|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||1.02|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 8 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 8|