Having specialised in making custom-made desktop PCs for several years, Dreamcore is now turning to the world of portability. Partnering with Intel, the company is launching the Dreambook Touch 15, their first-ever laptop.
But the Dreambook Touch 15 as a device is quite different to what the company is known for. Though it’s not all that they do, much of the Dreamcore DNA is about creating powerful PCs that can go the distance for gaming. Instead, the Dreambook Touch 15 is a more subtle performer — it’ll be geared towards working professionals with a focus on productivity rather than sheer gaming performance.
It’s an intriguing choice for the company’s first foray into the laptop market; no doubt made given the growing ‘work from home’ culture in Singapore. So how is it as a laptop device? Well, we were able to get our hands on the Dreambook Touch 15 and try out the machine for some time to give you a closer look at what to expect from it.
Minimalism At The Fore
When your eyes come to greet the Dreambook Touch 15, you’ll come to realise that there’s not much to the device in terms of looks. The laptop is free of any design quirks besides a circular logo printed right on the centre of the lid. In fact, if you are at all familiar with the laptop made in-house by Intel (NUC M15), it’s precisely that minus the logo.
Along with the Gunmetal Grey finish (there’s also a Midnight Black variant available) of the chassis combined in contrast to its black keyboard, the laptop also looks quite like a MacBook. But in general, the laptop is very nondescript-looking.
The simplistic nature of its aesthetic isn’t a slight against it though. Some may quite like the minimalist look and how it fits rather seamlessly into the home office, as evidenced by the marketing shots done for the laptop. It doesn’t stand out from the crowd, but it doesn’t necessarily need to.
Its build is solid for the most part, without showing too much flex on both the laptop lid and keyboard deck. And you’ll also be glad to know that it has a generous amount of port selection as well, with power-delivery enabled USB-C and USB-A ports on both sides of the Dreambook Touch 15 as well as an HDMI port.
Altogether, the Dreambook Touch 15 weighs in at 1.68kg, which isn’t as light as, say, a MacBook Air, but still is very portable considering the size of the laptop.
Speaking of the size, the display is a large 15.6-inch screen with tiny bezels at the top and sides for that sleek look, but it still contains a noticeable chin at the bottom. It looks decent with good colour vibrancy, and the display also can get really bright at a maximum of over 450 nits. The screen is also touch-enabled, which will be appreciated by those who like the feature. Finally, it also houses a 720p webcam at the top, which is unspectacular but will get the job done.
While there isn’t anything wrong with the keyboard on the Dreambook Touch 15, there also isn’t anything to really praise about it; it’s just a run-of-the-mill laptop keyboard. Key travel isn’t shallow but feels spongy and lacks tactile feedback when pressing down on them. On the plus side, the touchpad is of a decent size which is great for the extra space for your fingers to travel.
Speakers on the Dreambook Touch 15 sound decent enough. It can go quite loud, and you’ll also be able to hear a bit of a bass kick as well; it is entirely serviceable as a laptop speaker.
Does It Perform Like A Dream?
But of course, the most critical aspect of a laptop is how it performs. The Dreambook Touch 15 is equipped with the Intel i7-1165G7, a very capable CPU processor and one that also powers various premium ultrabooks. It also comes with 16GBs of memory and Intel’s Iris Xe graphics for the GPU.
Those specs are set in stone for the laptop, but you can configure the storage for it. And among the options is Dreamcore’s specialised PCIe 4.0 SSD offering, Hyperion Pro, which touts blazing fast read and write speeds that can go up to 7,100MB/s and 6,500MB/s.
To get this out of the way, the Dreambook Touch 15 isn’t specifically designed for gaming, but the Iris Xe graphics can run some bigger games on medium settings and still be very playable, like GTA V at close to 60fps. More casual games can go higher than that, but avoid graphically intensive games like Doom Eternal, as the experience will be less than stellar.
What the Dreambook Touch 15 does cater to is the working professional, and for productivity applications, they’ve been responsive and work without hiccups. For web browsing, the experience for most sites is similar, usually running fine even with multiple tabs or programs in the background.
But There Are Some Quirks
However, we ran into an issue with YouTube in particular. Watching a video in full-screen works fine at the start, but then it’ll start to stutter and drop frames quite severely — to the point where the video becomes unwatchable. It’s happened twice though I should also preface that they were spotted during battery tests and occurred after hours had passed. Preliminary checks have determined that it isn’t a YouTube problem, so what could have possibly caused this?
Well, maybe this somewhat links to another weird problem that I’ve encountered on the Dreambook Touch 15. Remember that special Hyperion Pro SSD I mentioned you could equip? That’s the one that came with our unit, and indeed, the speeds for it are lightning quick, with our test on CrystalDiskMark showing 6,800MB/s read speeds, for instance.
But upon checking the info about the SSD on Task Manager, we also noticed that the SSD was showing unusual spikes in the average response times and could go as high as 600 or 700ms, even though the laptop was idle and not running anything. This strange behaviour also comes with its own asterisk. If you plug the laptop into power, the spikes drastically decrease. It still has abnormal response times in the low hundreds (usually, the usual number should be in the single digits), but at least it’s an improvement.
So are these two issues linked? High average response times can lag systems, but other than YouTube, I’ve not noticed any irregularities on that front with the laptop, so I can’t say for sure; it could be an isolated incident. For the SSD problem specifically, I’ve spoken to Dreamcore about it, and they are aware of the problem and have been able to replicate it on their end. Dreamcore has relayed that so far, no users have reported the issue, so here’s hoping future batches won’t have it
Still an Excellent First for Early Adopters
To end on a more positive note, the Dreambook Touch 15 has really extraordinary battery life. It can handle around 11 hours of video playback, and with mixed usage, it gets about 9 hours before needing a charge.
It charges via USB-C as well, so if you happen to have those powerful GAN chargers, it’ll work, and you won’t need to worry about adding another wire to the clutter. If not, the 65W Type-C charger it comes with isn’t too big itself, so it isn’t that much of a burden should you need to add it to your setup or bring it outside with you.
As would be expected from a first try, the laptop isn’t perfect by any means — especially with the issues highlighted — but if you are looking for a decently powerful and fuss-free laptop for work and personal use, the Dreambook Touch 15 can be an option to look at considering the price it goes for.
What I will suggest first though, is to wait a little while for Dreamcore to weed out these lingering problems. Though they aren’t very serious problems to begin with, it still is better to have peace of mind knowing that they won’t be troubling you.
If you’d like to find more information about the Dreambook Touch 15, you can go on over to Dreamcore’s website, where you can also purchase directly.
Photos by Darren Chiong of the DANAMIC Team.