Thunderobot. A brand new player in the world of gaming laptops, and they debuted in the Malaysian market earlier this year. They have quite a number of laptops in the market right now – and we’re taking a look at the Thunderobot ST Plus – a rather budget-friendly gaming laptop with a light body.
Keeping it really clean and simple here with the box. Inside the box, there are lots of plastic bags covering the laptop. The packaging itself is nothing to talk about – it opens from the top and the laptop is suspended by two pieces of foam on the sides.
There’s another partition on the side of the box that houses the power brick and power cord.
Opening up, you find the usual slew of things included with a laptop. Of course, the only things we’re going to focus here is the laptop and the charger itself only. Other things don’t really matter. Everything just slides out from the top.
The Thunderobot ST Plus is rather simple in terms of design. It does have a few facet cuts here and there to make things look less bland.
From the lid itself, the matte acrylic Thunderobot logo and the two strips at its side looks good in orange. When the laptop is powered on, these strips light up in yellow. The Thunderobot logo resembles a Barbute helmet, by the way.
In terms of the build quality, it’s not that impressive as the entire laptop is made out of plastic. Though, that’s not really much of an issue as the laptop is sturdy and won’t flex much. It’s lightweight for sure, but does feel hollow.
Connectivity and ports
The ports on this laptop is fairly generous. On the left side alone, there is a power jack, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, two mini-DisplayPorts, one full-sized HDMI port, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C, another USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port, and an SD card reader.
The right side is where the Kensington lock is found. On the other side of those ports is where the USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port, a USB 2.0 port, and two separate audio jacks for headphone and microphone.
I wonder why there’s such a huge gap for ventilation, offsetting the USB ports to be clashing with your mouse. Also, the supposed openings behind the laptop area is closed off by the removable battery. Yes – the battery is removable.
The Thunderobot ST Plus also comes with 802.11ac WiFi and speakers are pointing towards the bottom.
The Thunderobot ST Plus comes with a pretty standard screen that is found on many other laptops. A 15.6-inch IPS LCD display with 1080p resolution at 60Hz refresh rate, the screen screen does the job well.
In terms of colors, the ST Plus is quite good. The white balance is good as well, though I do feel that its greens and yellows are a bit too saturated compared to other screens.
As for the brightness, I do wish that Thunderobot will bump up the brightness a little. I used the Thunderobot ST Plus outdoors while still being under the shade for quite some time – and the brightness just isn’t that good for outdoor usage.
Trackpad and keyboard
For the Thunderobot ST Plus, I have a few things to say about its trackpad and keyboard. Let’s start off with the trackpad.
The trackpad is using Windows precision driver and actually tracks pretty well. However, the trackpad itself is made out of a fine grain-like texture, making it feel a little ticklish on my fingertip. Both left and right clicks are separated from each other, but be sure to press it at the center of the clickers. If they’re pressed off-center, the button will tilt inwards before registering the click.
Overall, the trackpad is… usable. The texture is more towards personal preference, and I prefer something smoother than this grain structure. I doubt anyone actually uses trackpads though.
As for the keyboard, oh dang this keyboard is just sub-par. First of all, the keyboard doesn’t have per-key RGB lighting. Instead, it’s separated into 3 different and the number pad takes up one zone.
The typing experience on it is rather unimpressive either. This keyboard on the Thunderobot ST Plus has smaller keys compared to other keyboards in the market. My fingertips are larger than the keys themselves! Also, if the keys are pressed off-center, it’ll tilt badly and possible won’t even actuate the key. For touch typists, this might be an issue.
When it comes to the performance of the Thunderobot ST Plus, it’s actually quite commendable. The specs alone can speak for itself – an Intel Core i7-7700HQ with NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti 4GB VRAM, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB SATA III SSD. It performs really well. For games like Overwatch, CS:GO, PUBG, and even Fortnite easily. You can definitely play some AAA titles at medium to high graphics settings as well.
However, when it comes to the gaming experience itself, it’s another story. Because of the Thunderobot ST Plus is built, hot air exhausts out of the vents on the right side. For those who are using an external mouse to game with the laptop, be prepared to have your right hand roasted. This seems like a big oversight from Thunderobot’s engineers.
As for benchmarks, here are some of them.
The Thunderobot ST Plus that we have here is using the Lite-On CV6-8Q128 M.2 2280 SSD. Its performance isn’t the best. Even with just about 50% of its capacity occupied, the SSD only manages to muster up 142MB/s in sequential write speed with random fill. With compressible 0fill data, it performs slightly better.
Maintaining & upgradability
Looking at the Thunderobot ST Plus’s specs, it’s pretty okay – but what about maintaining it? The fan does run like a whirlwind and lots of air goes through it, so it’s natural for me to check on how easy it is to clean the cooling system.
To my disappointment, there’s a warranty sticker on one of the screws. Opening it up means voiding the warranty. That means you cannot upgrade your RAM or change your HDD and M.2 SSD during the warranty period. I can’t even clean the fans or reapply thermal paste!
In a way, it’s sort of like Thunderobot’s way to tell its customers to get the best specs configuration or bear with what you have until after the warranty period is over. That includes cleaning out the dust. Remember – there’s still a second RAM slot that’s unoccupied.
When it comes to the battery, the Thunderobot ST Plus does have a pretty good battery life. With just web browsing and typing documents with occasional YouTube breaks, the Thunderobot ST Plus can survive up to about 4 hours of continuous usage on a single charge.
Comparing the battery life on the Thunderobot ST Plus with the one that I currently have, it’s pretty good.
Wrapping up the Thunderobot ST Plus review
As a final conclusion, the Thunderobot ST Plus is a laptop that has a few flaws while still having some merit points. The screen is nice alongside with its lightweight yet sturdy plastic build, though feels hollow. Even the selection of ports are great.
My major gripes about the Thunderobot ST Plus are the keyboard and the vent facing the right side. There are a lot of other better laptop keyboards in the market, so just learn from there instead. As for the vents on the right side, I’m sure no one wants to get their hand roasted while playing games.
If you’re planning to upgrade or perform maintenance, remember that there’s a warranty sticker on one of the screws behind. It wouldn’t be an issue for most users. Just wait until the warranty expires before doing anything.
For the price of RM4,099, it puts the Thunderobot ST Plus in the “budget-friendly” range for a gaming laptop with these specs. Is it worth the price? Perhaps, depending on what sort of sacrifices you’re willing to take.