The Gaming XVI Essential is a thoroughly competent 1080p gaming machine. It breezes through less demanding esports titles like Apex Legends, and even Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – known for being particularly hard to run – still averages over 60FPS at 1080p.
You could probably step up to 1440p if you had to – but for me, the experience there is not always the best. Frame rates can drop into the 30FPS region, so it is still playable but gameplay is noticeably less smooth than at 1080p. I think anyone buying a £699 PC is likely to be using a 1080p panel anyway – it doesn’t make sense to me to buy a system like this but then spend more on a 1440p panel.
As for our CPU behaviour, we already mentioned the A320M means no overclocking for the Ryzen 5 2600 – but it will still boost as far as thermals/power allows. Accordingly, we saw the chip running at 3.65GHz across all cores when gaming – about 250MHz faster than stock speeds, which is not bad. The GTX 1660 ran at over 1900MHz, too, which is another good result.