Let’s Talk About the XPG Xenia Xe
The XPG Xenia Xe is a great laptop, or lifestyle ultrabook as it’s officially called. It has won several awards and been praised by many. It has even been referred to as the Windows equivalent of a MacBook. So we thought it would be interesting to talk to the people who made the product to get a better understanding of what the Xenia Xe really is and the inspiration behind it. We were fortunate enough to be able to sit down with one of the key members of the team that helped develop this product for an interview.
Alec Lin is the Team Lead of Systems Program Management at XPG. He has a long history of experience in the PC hardware industry with past positions at noteworthy companies including MSI and GIGABYTE. He was an instrumental part of Xenia Xe product development.
1. Where did the inspiration for the Xenia Xe come from?
A: The project started with a desire to create a laptop that would compete with Macbooks. We also knew going into the project that we would be collaborating with Intel. Really the Xenia Xe happened because we were already looking to do a project with Intel.
Our specific goal for the project was to create a Windows laptop that would deliver a large display but an overall thinner and lighter unit. We also wanted to make sure that it met the needs of laptop users today. That meant vivid colors, long battery life, and the ability to do at least causal level gaming and content creation.
2. So gamers were part of the target audience for this product from the beginning?
A: It’s hard to define the term gamers in 2021. Who isn’t playing some form of video games today? We certainly weren’t trying to target hardcore gamers. That’s what our component products are for. But we definitely wanted to create a machine for people who want to be able to play some games on their work system. That’s why we were really happy to be able to get Intel Core i5 and i7 SKUs for this product. It’s also why we decided to go with the Intel G7 Graphics core instead of an NVIDA GPU. You can do a lot for a much lower price point and still do some gaming.
3. Let’s talk about the display. How did you decide which specs to go with?
A: The Xenia Xe has a 15.6 inch touch panel display. The color gamut is close to 100% sRGB and 72% NTSC. The specs for this display were extremely important to us during preliminary development discussions. We wanted to create something that wasn’t necessarily geared towards gamers but that gamers, or at least casual gamers, would be really happy with. If I had to identify the specific target audience for the display we wanted to develop, it would probably be working professionals who like to game on their work laptop during their lunch break and after work.
4. Why did you decide to go with the Iris Xe G7 Graphics Core?
A: So we could have a name for the product. Just kidding. Truth be told, a lot of that decision came from Intel’s side of the discussion. They really believe in that graphics platform and we don’t disagree with it. We wanted to make sure we had something that was competitive in the market based on performance. It outperforms the GeForce MX250 and MX330 in 3D Mark by about 30%. For a graphics unit that isn’t expressly built for gaming, like with the Xenia 15, the G7 performs very well.
5. So it seems like XPG is on the fence about whether or not this is a gaming laptop? Should gamers buy this machine or not?
A: Well it’s called a gaming lifestyle ultrabook, so it’s definitely meant for gamers. But for the sake of transparency, this is not a hardcore gaming machine. If you want a full scale gaming laptop, you should buy the Xenia 15. It comes with an RTX 3070 and 32GB of handpicked DDR4 RAM. That’s a gaming laptop. But if you don’t need to run your games in ultra settings and just want to play them smoothly with at least console level visual quality, then the Xenia Xe is definitely the right move. It runs the games people are playing today and runs them well.
The Iris Xe Graphics core outperforms the GeForce MX330 and MX250 in Valorant, FIFA 21, Apex Legends, and Battlefield 5. You can run your games in 1920x1080 resolution and get very respectable performance numbers. So is it a gaming laptop? I’d say yes. Is it the absolute best gaming laptop you can buy in 2021? No. That would be the Xenia 15.
6. XPG claims this laptop is fast. But where does all that speed really come from?
A: It’s no secret that XPG has major roots in the RAM and SSD space. Our parent company, ADATA just celebrated their 20th anniversary. As a long standing world leader in that market, of course we take advantage of our connection the best SSDs and memory available on the market. The Gen. 4 PCIE SSD is lightning fast with read speeds up to 3600 MB/s and write speeds up to 3200 MB/s. We needed to make sure that this laptop was great for work or play. While those uses may differ slightly, they both require lightning fast performance, so we made sure to deliver that. When compared to other Intel EVO laptops, Xenia Xe is one of the fastest on the market.
7. This laptop promises up to 16 hours of battery life in a market where up to 12 hours is the standard. Why go the extra mile?
A: The use case we developed for this product was a person would charge their laptop overnight, use it all day for work, go somewhere other than home for leisure, and then take it home at the very end of the day. In this scenario, we wanted the user to be able to go the entire day without charging their unit. Certainly that’s dependent on how you’re using it. If you’re doing rendering or gaming for extended periods of time during that day with the settings at max quality, you’re not going to get the same amount of battery life. But that’s exactly why we wanted to push as far past 12 hours as possible. If the work day takes 9 hours, you should at least be able to do that without charging while running at higher settings.
8. Is there a specific reason you went with an aluminum chassis over various other materials that can and have been used for laptop chassis?
A: Chassis material is actually a big topic of debate in laptop design. Consumers might not think about it too much but we spend a lot of time comparing materials and different vendors in order to pick the perfect material for the specific product we’re trying to make. And that’s an important thing that needs to be acknowledged. When designing products, the idea is not to get the absolute best specs available in the market. It’s to get the best specs for the best price for the specific product and target user base we’re trying to build a particular product for. There’s a reason we used CNC aluminum for Xenia Xe and Magnesium alloy for Xenia 15.
What we specifically wanted to accomplish with Xenia Xe was an ultrathin, ultralight lifestyle machine with a focus on balanced use for any and all types of users and use cases. CNC aluminum was necessary to deliver the light weight we demanded of the product, which in this case was a key feature of the product design. There are certainly lighter materials we could have used, but we concluded that CNC aluminum was the best material for what we wanted to do.
9. If you had to sum up the Xenia XE in one word, what would it be and why?
A: Balance. The major selling point for the Xenia Xe was always meant to be balance. We wanted to create a laptop that any user could make work for any practical use case in today’s technology driven world. The performance is great, but admittedly not the absolute best available in the market in most features. But the selling point of being able to do pretty much everything well makes it the perfect laptop for everyone. The Xenia Xe is about balance. Even the price point was targeted based on where it would fall in the market as a balanced alternative to going for something low budget that could barely do anything well and something super high-end for ultimate gaming performance. When you buy the Xenia Xe, you’re buying balance.
10. Are there plans for another Xenia Xe model in the future?
A: Well we’ve already released the Xenia 14 and announced the second generation of the Xenia 15. We definitely plan on continuing the Xenia laptop line and hope to do more collaborations with Intel and NVIDIA. But I’m not at liberty to say if there will specifically be another Xenia Xe model at this time. What I can tell you is that you can go buy a Xenia Xe at your local store right now and that shouldn’t change for a while still.
We hope you enjoyed this look behind the curtain of the XPG Xenia Xe. Let us know if there are other products you’d like to see interviews about or if you have any additional question about the Xenia Xe in the comments. You can find out more about the XPG Xenia Xe, and other laptops from XPG, at xpg.com.