Some people like their gaming laptops to resemble silver space vessels, complete with metallic trims and flashing RGB lights that evoke images of afterburners in the night. Others care more about the components inside, as they are going to affect your games’ frame rates more than fancy buttons at the end of the day.

With the U507, XMG is appealing to gamers who buy a laptop for its specs above all else. The U507 is one of the least visually appealing models doing the rounds but, on the plus side, it houses Nvidia’s GTX 1070 inside its sizable frame – and you can choose its internal parts, like with most boutique PC builders.

This particular graphics card is based on the new Pascal architecture, and it’s powerful enough to play the latest titles (including VR games) on their highest quality settings.

Even in the absence of fancy stylings, the U507’s incredible power means that it still costs a pretty penny. As configured on XMG’s website, the unit we were sent isn’t far off £2,000 ($2,500, about AU$3,395), which places this particular spec out of many gamers’ reach.

On that note, it’s worth bearing in mind that the U507 has much more competition today than when it launched a few months back. Thinner and prettier contenders packing GTX 10-Series graphics include XMG’s own P507, the new Alienware 13 (alongside new 15- and 17-inch models), and Gigabyte’s P57X .

If you do fancy what the U507 has to offer, on the other hand, here’s what to expect.

Drab design

As mentioned, the U507’s design is a little on the drab side. It’s reminiscent of a black gaming tank, decked in shades shades of grey – from the lid to the keyboard base and on the underside. XMG’s stealthy logo is positioned slap bang in the middle of the lid, and it becomes hard to spot when viewed from certain angles.

The lid is made from aluminum and remains rock solid in place on its two hinges after being moved into position. Open it up, and you’re presented with a soft touch material on the keyboard base that almost feels like rubber.

This material is everywhere apart from the display’s bezels which are made of plastic. And, it feels lovely to wrest your hands on.

All said, there isn’t a great deal to point to here, save for a row of three trapezoidal buttons above the keyboard that light up green to indicate when power, flight mode and storage drives are in use. On the bottom left-hand side of the base is a set of stickers that feel unnecessary; thankfully they are at least positioned in line to spare our neuroses.

The sea of black material is broken up by white lettering on the keyboard, which is modestly back-lit with blue lighting that bleeds from around its edges.

At 38mm (1.49 inches) in thickness, you’re going to need a large backpack to cart the U507 around – this machine is massive. It tips the scales at 3.4kg (7.5 pounds), so you’ll definitely be aware that it’s in there, too.

While it may be big, the U507 won’t bruise easily. Its build quality is excellent, and we could detect very little flex in its keyboard or wrist rest, something that you’re likely to come across with thinner gaming laptops.

We even managed to drop the U507 from a tall desk onto the floor (sorry, XMG). Rather than damaging the laptop, it merely placed a big dent in the wood where it landed on its corner.

The star of the show is the U507’s Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics chip, which is more powerful than the entry-level GTX 1060 but not quite as muscular as the GTX 1080 above it.

On the storage front, it goes all the way up to 2TB of SSD storage – just pre-warn your wallet beforehand.

If you do have the money, opting for a 4K display on the U507 would make sense, as it features a graphics chip capable of powering games at Ultra HD resolution with decent frame rates. However, the 1080p display boasts impressive colors and good color saturation that makes both gaming and working on the desktop enjoyable enough.

Sticking to Full HD also guarantees that you’ll be able to hit high frame rates in all modern titles for at least the next couple of years.

Performance

The XMG U507 delivers excellent gaming performance, thanks to the GTX 1070 inside. Its Fire Strike score of 14,137 is consistent with the performance of other laptops, including the Gigabyte P57X (13,063), and the MSI GT62VR Dominator Pro (12,744).

It means that titles such as The Division can be played at frame rates exceeding the golden 60fps mark while played on Ultra settings and at 1080p resolution.

Even GTA V, a notoriously demanding title that taxes modern graphics cards and demands a good amount of video memory, runs at 60 fps with every graphical setting on maximum.

Battery life

Predictably, one area where the U507 doesn’t deliver is battery life. Even gaming laptops that take advantage of Nvidia’s power-friendly Pascal architecture aren’t going to run for too long away from the power socket.

At just short of two hours on PC Mark 8’s battery life test, don’t expect to get to the end of any of the Lord of The Rings films in a single sitting away from the plug socket.

So, the U507 can game without too many issues. When it comes to other uses, it’s not so hot. Its keyboard is actually fairly usable despite featuring and old-school keyboard layout.

Its keys have sufficient travel and are soft-cushioned to touch. But, for some reason, the backspace key became increasingly squeaky over time to the point where it sounds like a small mouse is trapped under it.

We liked

The U507’s GTX 1070 means you won’t have to worry about whether the laptop can chrew through the latest titles. As a 1080p gaming machine, it’s future-proof.

Plus, you could hook it up to a 4K monitor to game in higher resolutions and max out that GTX 1070’s potential. Games look great on the U507’s fairly bright display, and the machine has all of the ports that you would need – including USB-C.

We disliked

There’s no getting around it – the U507 is massive, and heavy to boot. If you’re looking for a Pascal laptop to slip into a bag and take round to your friend’s house on the regular, then there are much more portable options out there.

And, while its keyboard is comfortable enough to bash out long documents, it’s scuppered by a less-than-stellar trackpad which is overly sensitive. And don’t get us started on that squeaking backspace key.

Final verdict

If you’re seeking a desktop replacement with a graphics card that will do the job for some time to come, then the XMG UX507 is an unattractive yet highly capable offering.

Instead of an alluring chassis, you’re getting one that’s thick enough to house top-tier components, and its extensive customization options might be enough to sway you if you’re looking for a specific configuration.

It won’t come cheap, however, and you’ll want to add a decent gaming keyboard and mouse the setup due to the U507’s poor built-in inputs.

Ultimately, unless you need 2TB of SSD storage and 64GB of RAM, or some other unusually high-end configuration, there are many other laptops out there that are more portable, practical, and simply do the same job for less.

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