Pioneer Dreambook PC70 review

Pioneer DreamBook PC70 review

We reported on the launch of the Pioneer Dreambook PC70 back in February but here we are reviewing the beast. Unlike the several-kilo, Clevo breadbaskets of yore, this is an impressive-looking, almost-svelte machine that’s packed with power. But should you buy it?

Table of Contents

Key specs of the Pioneer Dreambook Power PC70

17.3-inch, 3840 x 2160, non-touchscreen, IPS LCD; 2.2-5GHz Intel Core i7-10870H processor; 32GB RAM; 1TB NVMe HDD; Nvidia RTX 3080; 73Wh battery; 2.3KG. SKU: DreamBook Power PC70 RTX3080. Full specs here.

Design and Handling

The Pioneer Dreambook PC70 looks like a regular laptop (as opposed to a gaming beast) and the DreamBook decal’s appearance is rather classy. However, it wasn’t just a fingerprint magnet, we struggled very hard to get any kind of streak-free finish on it after almost-perpetual polishing. We actually polished so hard that we dislodged the ‘k’ in DreamBook, so be careful. Nonetheless, when clean, the black, wedge-shaped chassis looks stylish and solid.

We were a little concerned by the lid. It wobbles a bit much when nudged and flexes a little too much (when a lateral, twisting force is applied) for our liking – we wouldn’t want to accidentally bash it lest the screen got damaged. It appears that ruggedness has been slightly compromised to keep the weight (and price perhaps?) down.

Nonetheless, the UHD screen gets bright and is evenly lit. Ours came with a 3840 x 2160 resolution although a Full HD variant is available, too. The screen is capable of displaying vibrant colours although some details can get lost in highlights. In our dark, Darkest Hour test the bright screen displayed impressive detail in shadows but there were some artefacts in areas of uniform colour.

Our main issue, however, is that the screen only sports a 60Hz refresh rate. That’s fine for Creator-designated laptops which eschew speedy screens for colour accuracy, but this doesn’t support professional-grade colour accuracy either. As such, the beefy hardware inside is somewhat hamstrung by a screen that’s not fast enough to handle its potential. You can certainly play games on it, but the motion performance is too blurry (with slow pixel-response ghosting) for the competitive gamers who represent the target market.

The Pioneer Dreambook PC70’s keyboard is a full-sized, Scrabble-tile affair. It’s accurate for gaming and comfy to type upon for long periods. It includes full-sized arrow keys (yay!) and a number pad, although the latter uses thinner keys. It’s uniformly back-lit and offers four levels of brightness. It uses Clevo’s Flexikey software for recording macros.

The large trackpad is smooth and accurate with soft accurate buttons. It also has a fingerprint reader with an optional TPM 2.0 security chip.

PC70 open.
Full frontal.

The webcam on our review model is a $39 option but we were pleased to see that it offers a Full HD resolution and Windows Hello support for quick, face-recognition log-in.

The twin, 2W speakers get loud but they’re a bit tinny. Treble can top-out a bit early and there’s not much bass. Still, these are laptop speakers so we don’t expect much.

Connectivity

On the Left is a MicroSD slot, a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port and two 3.5mm audio jacks. On the right are two, similar USB-A ports plus Gigabit Ethernet. It’s interesting to see the rear made use of too. At the back is HDMI 2.0, miniDP 1.4 and a USB-C port that supports Thunderbolt 3.

Left view
To the left…
Right view
… To the right.
Pioneer Dreambook PC70 rear view
Taken from behind.

Performance

We expected great things from the Pioneer DreamBook PC70 when it came to performance. While the 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10870H octa-core processor is getting a little long in the tooth, it’s still very powerful. Flanked by two sticks of 16GB DDR4-3200 RAM and a 1TB NVMe drive (there’s space for a second), it scored 5,385 in PCMark 10. This is a bit disappointing, frankly. It’s fast, but could do better and is behind the likes of the Razer Blade 15 Base Model which has lesser hardware.

We hoped for better in the 3DMark tests and saw it score 8,724 in Time Spy (an average of 57fps) and 11,758 in Fire Strike Extreme (an average of 56fps). These are good scores but arguably under-performing considering the top-end Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU.

Underside.
There’s plenty of ventilation on this Dreambook, but we suspect there was still some thermal performance throttling.

The Clevo Control Center app offers-up four power modes: Quiet, Power Saving, Performance and Entertainment. We ran all of the tests using Performance. It’s worth noting that the fan-speed control app (which enables fans to be set to Automatic, Custom or Max) was also set to Max when benchmarking. Under heavy-load, we were pleased that the swooshing sound generated by the fans remained constant, wasn’t overly loud and didn’t get too annoying compared to rivals *cough*Acer Predator Helios 300*cough*.

Portability

At 2.3KG it’s heavy for a regular, modern laptop, but not for a beefy, 17-inch gaming laptop. The battery life of 6hrs 21mins is also impressive considering the components. We do worry about the protection provided by the lid when lugging it around, though.

Should you buy the Pioneer DreamBook PC70?

The Pioneer DreamBook PC70 starts at a hefty $3,999 but you can up-spec it significantly. Our review model came in at a whopping $5494. To be frank, that’s not great value. While it’s still early days at High Performance Laptops we’ve already tested many rivals and not yet posted all of the reviews: there will be better-value and better-performing, 17-inch gaming laptops coming to this website soon.

Pros

Fast

Cons

Overpriced
Slow screen

Results

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