- Thin and light for a gaming notebook
- Excellent performance for reasonable price
- Good battery life
- TN display with poor viewing angles
- Flexible chassis exterior
- Weak built-in speakers
The Digital Storm Triton delivers performance and portability, but you have to decide if you can live with the less-than-spectacular screen.
If you’re looking for a high-performance gaming laptop packed with the latest hardware yet manages to be “travel friendly,” then the Digital Storm Triton might be exactly what you need. This 15.6-inch highly customizable notebook features a fourth generation Intel Core i7 processor, massive amounts of memory, cutting-edge Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M graphics, and multiple storage options all at a starting price of $1,422.
Let’s take a closer look and see if the Triton lives up to its name as a god among gaming notebooks, or if the promise of this high-performance thin-and-light gaming laptop is just a myth.
Build and Design
The Digital Storm Triton is an all-black customizable gaming notebook built on the Clevo P650SE chassis. This particular thin-and-light design tips the scales at around 5.5 pounds and is less than one inch thick (25mm). This might not be a MacBook Air or the latest Ultrabook, but the Triton is among the thinnest and lightest notebooks available with the latest high-end Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics.
The Clevo P650SE chassis was crafted in direct response to the growing number of gamers demanding more “mobile friendly” notebooks for serious gaming on the road.
In terms of build quality, the Digital Storm Triton is the textbook example of “be careful what you wish for.” The plastic shell and metal accent panels on the exterior of the Triton look amazing but are as thin as possible in order to minimize bulk and weight. While that’s exactly what you want in a travel-friendly laptop, the thin chassis has a great deal of flex.
To be blunt, almost every flat surface of the Clevo P650SE chassis used on the Triton will bend almost like a plastic clamshell package if you apply pressure. We could feel the chassis exterior flex every time we picked up the notebook regardless of where we held it. The screen lid is likewise extremely flexible; allowing you to create “ripples” of distortion on the screen if you press on the back of the lid.
We want to point out that the “core” of the chassis is still strong; the chassis doesn’t flex to the point that the motherboard and internal components are compromised, but the outer panels are so thin and flexible that we worry about damage if this laptop is repeatedly exposed to regular travel abuse. At the very least, the flex is an annoyance in what’s supposed to be a “high-end” gaming notebook.
As with most thin-and-light notebooks, the Triton sacrifices convenient “quick access” panels on the base of the chassis … so the only way to upgrade components is to remove the entire base plate. Inside, you’ll find space for both M.2 SSDs as well as standard 2.5-inch drives, two DDR3 RAM slots, and access to the internal 4-cell battery.
Ports and Features
The Triton includes a nice variety of useful ports and options for external expansion that you won’t find on budget laptops, but the thinner chassis design means you’ll find fewer ports here compared to some older 15-inch Clevo gaming notebooks.
On the left side the Triton includes a CPU heat vent, a full-size HDMI out, a single USB 3.0 port, and two mini DisplayPort connectors.
On the right side you’ll find the S/PDIF output jack, one microphone jack, one headphone jack, a full-size SD card reader, a SIM card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, RJ-45 Ethernet, and a Kensington lock slot.
The rear of the Triton includes a dedicated GPU exhaust vent, the AC power jack and an eSATA/USB 3.0 combo port.
Screen and Speakers
While the Triton excels at delivering a travel-friendly design, it falls short in terms of the visual and audio experience. For starters, this notebook comes with only one screen option; a full HD non-touch panel with an anti-glare display surface. While we’re happy about the 1080p resolution and matte surface that eliminates distracting reflections, this screen is a lower-cost TN panel with limited viewing angles and poor color reproduction.
The horizontal viewing angles are relatively good out to roughly 45 degrees on either side but contrast and colors are distorted at wider angles. Vertical viewing angles are even worse; you’ll see obvious distortion on the screen as soon you move the screen forward or back just a few degrees off being centered and parallel with your eyes.
The real-world contrast is only about 80:1 at the display’s maximum brightness setting of 225 nits. Color accuracy is similarly poor and rated at just 58 percent of the sRGB gamut and 43 percent of the AdobeRGB gamut. In short, this is the lowest quality FHD screen we’ve seen on a gaming notebook in quite a while.
Unfortunately, the built-in Onkyo speakers don’t do much to improve the multimedia experience. The stereo speakers located just above the keyboard and between the screen hinges produce acceptably loud volume levels, but the sound quality if exceptionally flat with little range between the highs and lows and no real bass. Thankfully, the audio signal from the headphone jack worked perfectly for delivering quality sound to a high-end gaming headset.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Triton uses a standard “Chiclet” or island-style keyboard with full-size keys and a dedicated number pad to the right of the keyboard. The entire keyboard features LED backlighting to make it easy to see the keys in a dark environment.
If you take a closer look at the keyboard you’ll notice there are red arrows printed on the WASD keys (for those gamers who don’t already know those keys are commonly used to control movement).
As with the rest of the Chassis, the keyboard suffers from quite a bit of flex when under heavy pressure. Key spacing is a little cramped compared to a dedicated gaming keyboard due to the inclusion of the number pad, but users shouldn’t have trouble getting used to this after a day or two. Individual key travel is shallow, so some users will make typos when typing quickly and catching the edge of another key.
The touchpad is a large, gamer-friendly traditional touch surface with dedicated left and right mouse buttons and a fingerprint reader located between the left and right buttons. The touchpad in our review unit was not running branded touchpad drivers and was instead running on generic PS/2 mouse drivers.
Cursor movement accuracy was “satisfactory” for general use but gamers will almost certainly choose to use a dedicated gaming mouse instead.