Clevo/EVOC PA71ES-G Review

Discussion in 'Sager and Clevo' started by LeiEn, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. LeiEn

    LeiEn Notebook Guru

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    Hey everybody - found some time to slap together some thoughts on my recent purchase, in case anybody has their eye on this one. Lemme know if there's any other details you want, and I'll try to accommodate when I have time. Churrs!

    Specs are as follows:

    EVOC High Performance Systems PA71ES-G 17.3"

    FHD 144Hz (AUO319D - B173HAN03.1 w/ color calibration)

    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 w/ 8GB GDDR5 + Intel UHD 630 (user switchable MSHybrid mode via CCC 2.0)

    Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut on CPU + GPU, and Stock thermal pads

    16GB Crucial DDR4-2400 (CT16G4SFD824A.M16F) Single Channel SDRAM

    (OEM) Seagate ST1000LM035-1RK172

    (Aftermarket) WD Blue 3D NAND SATA SSD M.2 2280 (500GB)

    Intel® Wireless-AC 9260 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n 2x2 NGFF w/ Bluetooth 5

    RGB Per Key illuminated full size keyboard with numeric pad

    Windows 10 Pro

    66600 mWh Battery

    VIDEO REVIEW



    WRITTEN REVIEW
    Great performance in an affordable package, with a few caveats. Benchmarks are at the end of the bottom.

    SCREEN
    The 144hz G-Sync ready IPS screen may not offer the best NTSC coverage at 72%, bu it looks pretty flaunting what it’s got. Having owned this machine for 2 weeks now, I’m happy to say that I’ve been very content with everything I’ve experienced on the display thus far. Design work, gaming, and general daily use all look fine straight out of the box. A bit surprisingly, there was no discernable difference between the professional color calibration profile and the default calibration after OS reinstall. Being an IPS though, you may want to minimize backlight bleed via your reseller if they offer it, as I bypassed that option and definitely have noticeable bleed in the top left corner which may annoy me into a screen upgrade in the future. It’s also worth mentioning that the inner panel cover is plastic, and the back is aluminum. The hinges feel smooth and sturdy and you CAN open this laptop with one finger, if that’s your thing.

    WEBCAM
    It’s a 2MP 1080p 30fps webcam, and it does the job fine. Most other options on the market have 720p, so I’m glad Clevo remembered it was 2018 and went full HD.

    SPEAKERS
    Stock speakers are invariably ‘meh’ unless you tweak them thru driver or software mods. I opted for the easier of these routes, and after some TLC via EqualizerAPO, they got noticeably louder, clearer, and more well-rounded in their frequency response. No matter what though, you will not get bass out of these things, so if you really want an upgraded audio experience, the addition of any kind of external speaker will be a (major) improvement. Don’t get me wrong, EQ APO + Viper4Windows working in conjunction make a great team, and squeeze a lot more performance out of them, but they’re still just tiny drivers at the end of the day, so just keep expectations low and you’ll be alright. My config files for both programs are available at the bottom.

    KEYBOARD / TOUCHPAD / LEDS
    The full RGB per-key backlighting looks nice, but as mentioned in the one line review, it is somewhat crippled by the (laughable) Clevo Control Center module used to control it. There’s no way to save configs, and the sleep timer has severe amnesia. The typing experience is OK: A little more stiffness/clickiness in keypress would be nice, but the travel feels good and typing pretty natural after an hour. What I really like about the per-key lighting is you can light the lettered-keys and arrows differently than the rest, so a quick glance down will allow you to (re)orient yourself if your fingers start to wander due to the full keyboard layout being offset from center. Also nice: ZERO flex thanks the structural integrity of the Al-alloy body. I typically use an external mouse, but the touchpad does just fine in a pinch, with gesture recognition and pleasantly clicky buttons below.

    There’s also a group of 8 status-indicator LEDs on the front that add to the angular spaceship look + feel of this model, though no more than 4-5 of them are typically lit up during normal usage.

    HEAT / FANS
    The whole aluminum body stays cool enough while doing everything except gaming, in which case it heats up pretty quickly; especially the top-left corner. I never found it uncomfortable, but it was certainly noticeable, and that may detract from your gaming experience.The aluminum body + fans dissipate heat well enough, so the CPU/GPU temps are back down to idle range within a minute after ending your session, but the top left area of the faceplate will stay warm for much longer. On that note, the aluminum gets warm on the left side while using the keyboard after an hour or so of work too, so I’ll probably be using my external keyboard most of the time to avoid sweaty palms.

    With fans on auto, they’re generally pretty quiet, but will ramp up to 80% as soon as you get into your game. For whatever reason, Clevo doesn’t allow for the customizable fan profiles to be set at 100%, so it’s 80% on auto or manually selecting 100%, which is a dumb caveat. I game-tested BF1 with all settings on high, and although my GPU never got above 72C, the CPU was at 85C after 30mins, at which time I threw the fans on maximum*, and the CPU + GPU dropped a few degrees and hovered around 80C / 65C, respectively for the rest of my session. All that said though, I did go with the TG Conductonaut re-paste from HID, so I imagine temps might be too high without, since they are packing all this power in such a thin chassis. I should also mention I have my laptop on a stand (https://amzn.to/2xKFU76) for max air flow, so your experience may vary. If anybody else is looking into stands, keep in mind the screen only opens to about 45 degrees, so you’re pretty limited in how much can angle it.

    *I’ve heard lots of talk of unbearably loud/high-pitched Clevo fans, and maybe I’m blissfully ignorant due to not having anything to compare to, but even at maximum, the fans didn’t get in the way of my BF1 experience. If it does for you, some headphones or an external speaker will cover that distraction up with ease.

    PORTS / LEDS
    The PA71’s have a great selection of ports finding another machine at this price point with TB3 is nigh impossible without compromising something else. Nothing is future-proof, but at least you have the option for an external GPU or 4K monitor with this one in addition to 2 mini-display ports. I’ve had my FHD external graphics monitor taking up the HDMI + 1 of the USBs, and have yet to feel wanting for more. With my calibrated speaker software in place of the included SoundBlaster X suite, the headphones + bluetooth speakers sound great, and there’s even another 2-1 audio jack besides the dedicated headphone + microphone jacks, so it should have you covered on all fronts. There’s an SD card slot as well, but I didn’t have anything on hand to test with, apologies photog friends.

    BATTERY
    I think the battery on this beast is respectable enough considering it’s mid-range 66wH size. I put it to the test doing some light work in Photoshop, had a dozen tabs open in Opera browser, a music mix playing on Youtube in the background at 35% volume, display at 75% brightness (until battery hit 50%, then brightness down to 40%), dual displays running, keyboard lit up on lowest brightness setting, battery saver clicked on 25%, and I ended up squeezing out a little over 2 hours. If you were just browsing or movie watching, I’d figure you could get at least another half hour on that or more. Recharge time is about 1hr 30mins from 1%.

    SERVICEABILITY / GENERAL PERFORMANCE
    One of the main reasons I ended up going with this model besides the obviously attractive hardware, was the ease of access to the guts. I had all the screws out in a few minutes (HID even removed the screw under the keyboard for me ;), and the base plate popped off with zero hassle. A lot of the other big name-brand models I had this stacked up against didn’t seem as serviceable, so for those of you who like to switch out components, do DIY repairs, or just keep it clean, that’s all easily accomplished with the PA71 series. Only thing I couldn’t see was the speakers, as those are front firing on the top, which I actually think is a good design decision...if only they’d use slightly better materials or drivers in the first place.

    The 6-core Coffeelake chomps through most tasks with aplomb. It handles my daily design routine (3 Adobe apps, a dozen browser tabs, and a handful of windows apps) like a champ. While the 8750U is not overclockable, you can undervolt it, which I may try down the line, and will update this review if I do. Judging from my gaming experience thus far, the laptop 1070 (NOT a Max-Q, mind you) in this machine handles heavy lifting dutifully, and will hopefully be sufficient for light forays into VR. If not, having that TB3 as a fallback option is real nice, I gotta say. My closing thoughts are that this thing is a great buy for the money, IF you get it repasted, can live with the sloppy Control Center AND the VERY VISIBLE FINGERPRINTS. It’s an absolute magnet, so keep your spray + cloth nearby. Benches are below - let me know in the comments if there’s something else you want me to run; if it’s free and I have the time, I’ll update as soon as I can. Thanks for reading~!

    BENCHMARKS
    https://imgur.com/a/5vgDfyU

    EQUALIZER APO CONFIG
    https://bit.ly/2slNRu7

    VIPER4WINDOWS CONFIG
    https://bit.ly/2IYZPV7
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  2. Dr. AMK

    Dr. AMK The Strategist

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    Nice review.
     
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  3. NierALaptop

    NierALaptop Notebook Enthusiast

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    I just bought the same laptop it in payment review complete now. Also for the drivers I heard that OBSIDIAN-TOOLS is good.
     
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  4. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Prophet

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    Sorry you took away your own credability away by simply showcasing your very biased view towards your clevo notebook.

    Not even a minute into the video and you say the clevo is quiet and cool, yet all I hear is how the fans are ramping up, while even showing how the GPU Fan is at friggn 3203 RPM (50% Fanspeed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) while doing absolutely NOTHING. It's even clocked at 139mhz. The CPU is also still at 38% fanspeed while having 2487RPM while the CPU does nothing, it's at 7% @ 2.4ghz.

    As you pointed you're not a guy who is sensitive to noise, which I respect but you're misleading people who actually are sensitive to it by saying it's quiet and cool.

    Also the speakers are garbage no matter if you go for stock or APO. Sure you improved the sound and I appreciate the fact that you do help people out by showing them how to improve their sound quality by fixing the broken sound processing software from clevo, but when you say "Making the speakers alive" you're implying they are getting good, which again, they really arent.

    Also about bluetooth speakers and laptop speakers, depending on notebook and bluetooth speakers you're wrong. There exists notebooks who crushh many low - medium range bluetooth speakers, some of them are the Dell L702X, Toshiba Quasimo series with Harman Kardon, GT line from MSI etc. As you pointed out, you simply lack the experience to know this, you never had one of those notebooks.

    This review has to be the weirdest review I've seen in a long time, you bought a clevo and showcased its weakness while saying it's good. Clevo is cheap because it has so many shortcomings but offers good performance to buck ratio. Due to the nature of Clevo it is very barebones, since the finetuning phase doesn't exist, which other brands such as Asus, MSI, Acer etc.do have.

    I know you're an amateur and you clearly stated that and you mean no harm when making the review, but giving out very unprofessional subjective oppinions while not having anything to compare it to, does only mislead people. If someone actually went out and bought that clevo because you said its temps are great, speakers were fine with APO and it runs cool and quiet, but then people realize that a crappy 700USD HP notebook crushes it in terms of speakers and noiselevel, then you will only do them a disservice.

    I'm very happy for you that you got yourself a notebook which you are happy with, but please don't mislead people into buying something they would not have wanted to.
     
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  5. Support.3@XOTIC PC

    Support.3@XOTIC PC Company Representative

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    Thanks for posting!
     
  6. Prostar Computer

    Prostar Computer Company Representative

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    So Clevo. Much thorough. Very review. Wow. (Very nice & in-depth, @LeiEn)
     
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  7. Meaker@Sager

    Meaker@Sager Company Representative

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    Showcasing bias? Throwing stones and glass houses there. He posted his opinions next to the evidence he collected. Saying that destroys his credibility is silly.
     
  8. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Prophet

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    Are you implying 50% fanspeed of the PA71ES is quiet?
    Are you implying that the software of the PA71ES is great and flawless?
    Are you implying that the speakers of the PA71ES are good?

    If you cannot refute even 1 point I'm making, then don't bother. I clearly pointed out the flaws of his video review. I know truth is bad for your business, but it's truth nevertheless. His bias is clearly coming from inexperience and the fact that he is happy with his notebook, which I don't mind, only problem i have is that he potentially is misleading people who search for something that is not that clevo. He even fixed some of his video mistakes in his text, for instance on the speakers. He even described how the CPU temp would go on 85c on BF1 with normal fan profiles and would go down to low 80s on max fan profile, that is with liquid metal and max fanspeed on a game like BF1 (60-70% CPU usage on avg). This means that if he actually started doing something CPU intensive such as rendering his CPU would easily hit 90s with max fan speed, which I do not consider cool and quiet.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
  9. Meaker@Sager

    Meaker@Sager Company Representative

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    In his opinion then yes it was just fine and the software did what it needed to. I'm also waiting for your response on multiple posts you have been directed to refuting your opinion on other machines.

    Also battlefield 1 is known for being a very stressful load, more so than the CPU usage indicator would sometimes let on (this is getting a more useless metric to rely on as time goes on). If you are doing rendering the load on the CPU will be higher but the GPU likely lower.
     
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  10. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Prophet

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    So we are going to ignore the fact that he showcased how buggy the control center is by saying "i guess it will fix itself later" and that "fan control" is basciially broken. Also he substituted the audio processing for a freware audio processing tool. I call that NOT doing what it needed to do.

    So I guess people who want to stream their gameplay are supposed to deal with the 90+ C because Clevo reseller wants to talk the temps nicely, great.
     
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