PowerSpec is Micro Center’s in-house brand for a handful of products, focused primarily on pre-built gaming desktop computers and high-performance gaming laptops. Our goal has always been to provide you high-quality systems at a competitive price, with the support to back it up, and our most recent entry into the series is the PowerSpec 1530 laptop.
At first glance, the 1530 looks pretty standard, but there are some subtle hints you can pick up on that show what this system is all about. The orange trim around the sides adds a little bit of flair that you wouldn’t see on a laptop designed for business use. It’s thick and heavy when you pick it up, compared to other 15-inch laptops and everything on it just feels solid. Of course, the lightning-bolt P logo for PowerSpec is a giveaway that this isn’t your typical HP or Dell system.
We can’t talk about a high-powered gaming laptop without going over the specs, and the 1530 delivers. The i7-10875H is one of the most powerful consumer laptop CPUs that you can get, and the 2070 Super is a high-end GPU that should handle pretty much any game you throw at it. The 240Hz IPS panel is another big highlight here and will be fantastic for high refresh rate gaming. Top it off with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of NVMe SSD storage, and you have a blazing fast system front to back.
I/O is nothing to scoff at either. Three USB 3.1 Type-A ports, one USB-C, and one Thunderbolt 3 port give you many options for connecting a multitude of peripherals. The Thunderbolt 3, mini DisplayPort 1.4, and HDMI 2.0 ports provide a wide range of connectivity for monitors along with that. The SD card reader is a nice bonus, as well. Overall, connectivity is good, and you have a range of options available.
The display is one of the most critical parts of a system, and I think you’ll be impressed with the 1080p/240Hz IPS display on the 1530. IPS panels have become very popular recently as a general use monitor due to the good balance between picture quality, color accuracy, refresh rate, and response times for various scenarios. This one is no exception. Brightness is good, and I never felt like I was in a situation where I needed more. Picture quality was good as expected and matched my expectations for the display on a laptop like this. At 15 inches, I think 1080p is the right mark for resolution as well. Overall this is a high quality display.
The keyboard is pretty standard as far as laptop keyboards go and uses the typical chiclet membrane style keys. I can type 110-120 words per minute on my desktop keyboard and hit that mark on this keyboard pretty consistently. The keyboard is RGB backlit, and you can customize and control the lighting through the Control Center software included with the system. You can choose from several pre-set effects and individually set static colors for keys on the keyboard. The backlight can be very bright if you need it to be.
I was very surprised by the touchpad. It’s glass and incredibly smooth to the touch, and may be my favorite touchpad I’ve used on any laptop. The buttons for right and left click feel solid, and I never had any issues with weird sensitivity or inconsistencies when moving my mouse around. Palm rejection was also good, as I never found myself accidentally clicking and dragging the cursor while typing. There’s a built-in fingerprint reader if you want to use that feature to sign in to Windows.
The webcam is pretty standard as far as laptops go. It operates at 1280x720p resolution and can record video at 30FPS. It will work perfectly fine if you need it for zoom meetings and the like.
The speakers on the laptop are good for general daily use. They can get quite loud and I didn’t experience any distortion or issues with audio. Being laptop speakers they’re not going to have the same quality as a pair of dedicated desktop speakers or a pair of headphones, but they’ll work just fine otherwise.
For general daily use, it’s blazing fast with the hardware included. The main question you probably have is battery life. At max brightness on the display and keyboard, while set to the “entertainment” power mode in Control Center, I ended up with about 3 hours of battery life when running a handful of browser tabs open and playing YouTube videos in the background. With reduced brightness/backlight and battery saver settings on, you should be able to extend that further. At stock settings the fan can get fairly loud when it kicks in, so you may also want to consider setting a custom fan curve to help reduce noise during everyday use.
As you might expect based on the specs, this system should perform very well in games, and I’d say overall it did very well. All testing was conducted on “performance” power mode in the Control Center software, with fan speed control set to “automatic.” I tested a handful of popular titles to try and give a wide range of experiences. All temperatures and CPU frequency figures were obtained from Intel Extreme Tuning Utility running the background.
Response times in general were good and felt on par with the desktop displays I’ve used for gaming. The fan kicks up to 100% speed immediately once a game is open, which is to be expected. It comes with the territory on gaming laptops, but I’d definitely recommend using headphones if you’re gaming because the fan will be quite loud when running at max speed.
Modern Warfare was the first game to test on my list. Graphics settings were set to maximum wherever possible, with 100% render resolution and 100% field-of-view. Motion blur, ray tracing, and v-sync were all disabled.
In standard multiplayer matches (no ground war), I achieved anywhere from 110-130FPS, varying a bit depending on which map I was playing on. In Warzone, it was mostly the same, FPS generally hovered around 120FPS with spikes up or down depending on the specific area. The CPU hit 100C and throttled down to 3.6-3.7GHz in regular multiplayer, but throttled down to 3.4-3.5 in Warzone.
Overwatch was the second game on the list, representing a bit of a lighter but well optimized title in comparison to Call of Duty. Testing was done at Epic settings with V-sync disabled.
I was able to achieve 110-130FPS, with the CPU throttling down to 3.8-3.9GHz and hitting 80-90C. Keep in mind with Overwatch that “Epic” settings don’t have a drastic increase in visual quality over “Ultra” settings. You’ll be hard pressed to notice the differences and you can gain quite a bit of FPS by running at Ultra settings instead. On Ultra settings depending on the map/area FPS should be able to go over 200.
Valorant is the new kid on the block in the competitive FPS sphere, and as expected, it performed very well as it’s relatively light on your system, the lightest title of the games I tested. Testing was done at high settings with v-sync disabled, MSAA 4x, and 8x anisotropic filtering.
I could get anywhere from 220-300FPS, fluctuating frequently, but I did not experience any screen tearing or stuttering: everything was very smooth and responsive. The CPU hit 80C and throttled down to about 3.6-3.8GHz.
Apex Legends, the second battle royale on this list, is somewhere in between Call of Duty and Valorant with how heavy it is on your system. Testing was done at max settings with max field-of-view and v-sync disabled.
The CPU hit 100C in this title and throttled down to about 3.5-3.6GHz; I could get anywhere from 130-250FPS depending on what location of the map I was in. Like in Valorant, there was no stuttering or screen tearing, so the fluctuations in FPS didn’t have any detrimental effects on my gameplay experience.
Horizon Zero Dawn made it to PC recently on Steam and is more representative of a graphically intense title than the lighter competitive FPS titles. Plus, the game is just gorgeous, so I thought it’d be an excellent way to round out our testing. Graphics were set to the “favor quality” pre-set in-game, putting most of the settings at “high.” V-sync and motion blur were disabled.
During general gameplay, I achieved roughly 80FPS, fluctuating up and down depending on the specific area. The CPU only hit 2.5-3.0GHz in this title at 80C, which I found interesting. I’m not entirely sure why this occurred, but my experience was smooth, and I didn’t experience any weird stutters or frame drops during my play session. I assume that the CPU simply didn’t need to boost any higher with this game generally being more GPU bound, but I don’t know the specifics. Overall the gameplay experience was very good.
Overall, this is a powerful gaming system that I think anybody will be thrilled to have. It performed very well, and overall build quality is good. It also comes in at an excellent price compared to other laptops with similar specs. If you’re looking for a high-powered gaming laptop at a reasonable price, I recommend the PowerSpec 1530.
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