an affordable and serious laptop

an affordable and serious laptop

Thomson has decided to go upmarket with the M15 EVO, an affordable but serious 15-inch touchscreen laptop, far from the low-cost models offered so far. An encouraging first step in changing the brand image.

It’s been several years since Thomson entered the laptop market. The brand, once known for its TO7 and MO5 computers that accompanied millions of college students in the 80s, its televisions, other radios and its household appliances, no longer has much to do with the company – French! – of the “great era”: it is now nothing more than a license granted to several manufacturers, even if its owner, Technicolor, ensures quality control of the products marketed.

Previously producing entry-level PCs at very aggressive prices, Thomson is moving upmarket this time. Its new M15 EVO PC therefore separates itself from this low-end computer image by pushing the manufacturing quality a notch above. It benefits, as its name suggests, from the Intel EVO certification which draws up precise specifications and imposes certain constraints on manufacturers who wish to take advantage of it. For example, the computer must have at least a Core i5 or i7 Tiger Lake processor and an Intel Xe graphics chip, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage space, a 12 to 15.6 inch screen. Full HD definition (1920 x 1080 pixels), backlit keyboard, biometric identification system and solid battery life (16 hours of video playback). These few imposed figures (and all the others introduced by Intel) are indeed present here. Normal, since Thomson’s PC is an exact copy of a other model signed Intel. It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to come and rub shoulders with well-established manufacturers in the segment such as Asus, Acer, Dell, HP or Lenovo, whose reputation is already well established in the computer field.

© Thomson

Thomson M15 EVO: a sober design

Let’s be clear: Thomson has not chosen to play the originality card for this laptop. The M15 EVO comes as a classic, all-black device. A very professional look, a little austere perhaps, but which has the merit of remaining sober and therefore less sensitive to fashion. An appreciable detail, the chassis is entirely made of metal, which suggests that it will hold up well over time. And if we appreciate the flat-sided design MacBook style, very elegant, we regret however the choice of material – or rather the absence of coating – which quickly leads the cover of the device to collect fingerprints.

After a few days of use, fingerprints accumulate. © CCM

In terms of weight, the M15 EVO displays 1.65 kg: a very classic value for this format these days. With its 15.6-inch screen, it has fairly reasonable dimensions (355 x 230 x 14.9 mm) and fits easily in a backpack. Once opened, it reveals a black keyboard too but obviously, backlit on three levels. Typing is quite comfortable with a key travel neither too long nor too short. Below is a large touchpad without a physical button. Small detail: nestled at the top left of this touchpad, a small white dot allows you to deactivate it by pressing it. A strange location since it can happen to press it by mistake and therefore disable the handling of the mouse pointer.

The white dot at the top right of the touchpad is not dust but allows it to be deactivated. © CCM

For the screen, Thomson chose a 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS touchscreen, which offers good contrast and wide viewing angles. The edges are relatively thin (4 mm) and leave a nice impression. However, this PC is not a convertible model. The screen can tilt 180° (understand flat), but no more. It cannot therefore be rotated 360° to transform the PC into a large tablet, which could have been an advantage in certain situations – but that is not its vocation either.

The Thomson M15 EVO opened to 180°. We do not quite understand the interest. © CCM

Finally, the connectivity is rich to deal with almost all uses. On the left edge, the PC offers a USB-A port (USB 3.2Gen 2), an HDMI 2.1 socket and a Thunderbolt 4 port for charging and connection to a DisplayPort screen. On the right side, a second USB-A port (USB 3.2Gen 2), a USB-C socket and a mini-jack socket for audio complete the picture. For a PC cut for work, especially in 15-inch format, we would have liked to find an Ethernet port. The thinness of the chassis is probably the cause of this absence. You will have to turn to an adapter or use the Wi-Fi 6 connection to connect it to the network.

© Thomson

Overall, the M15 EVO is comfortable in the hands and under the fingers. It is quite light to transport and we appreciate the metal chassis and the very clean finishes which suggest good performance over time.

Thomson M15 EVO: very decent performance for work

This M15 EVO is powered by an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor supported by 16 GB of DDR4 RAM (soldered) and a 512 GB M2 SSD drive. This 11e generation is certainly neither the most recent – ​​it dates from two years ago – nor the fastest, but it is still highly prized by manufacturers and it holds up well for all day-to-day operations. We didn’t experience any slowdown or latency when using it for basic operations like office automation, web surfing, or photo editing. If we ask him a little more, like a little video editing, he can be more winded. But as long as you don’t have the ambition to become the new Steven Spielberg, he knows how to deliver.

On the graphics side, the device is based on an Intel Iris Xe chip. A fairly basic circuit again which removes it from any claim to play greedy 3D games. On the other hand, for parts of small occasional games, it can respond.

We also appreciate the touch screen. Admittedly, it makes the screen extremely shiny with very present reflections. An aspect that can be annoying during outdoor use when the sun is at the rendezvous. Nevertheless, it brings an additional touch and facilitates the use of the PC.

At the top of the screen is a webcam with simple HD definition (720p). Good point: it allows Windows Hello biometric identification thanks to its infrared sensors. In full light, the restored image is very correct for participating in a videoconference. But when the ambient brightness decreases, the digital noise (characterized by a multitude of multicolored dots) invites itself very quickly. Make sure you always have a good lamp nearby.

The Windows Hello IR camera activates at the top of the screen. © CCM

Finally, on the autonomy side, Intel’s EVO certification is respected. The M15 EVO thus lasted just over 11 hours of streaming video playback. A great performance due to the low CPU consumption, good energy management and the comfortable 73 Wh battery. Note in passing that the latter is not welded and can be changed when it reaches the end of its life. The device also comes with a small format fast charger to recover 80% charge in 30 minutes. Very well !

Thomson M15 EVO: a competitive price

This M15 EVO has a few advantages for anyone looking for a comfortable PC to work with. A sober and solid chassis, a beautiful touch screen, a processor that is both fast for all office work and economical, a generous battery… It has enough connectivity to connect a wide range of peripherals and sports a look quite pro that leaves no room for eccentricity. And on the price side, it is also well placed. Lightweight touchscreen laptops are not legion in this price bracket. The biggest difficulty will remain for Thomson to find a place alongside market leaders such as Asus, Acer, HP, Lenovo or even Dell in the professional world, all of which have a solid reputation and inspire confidence. All ultra affordable PCs and a little cheap produced by Thomson so far may not make it easy for him to achieve this.