Eurocom Shark 3 (Clevo W355SS) Quick Review

Discussion in 'Sager/Clevo Reviews & Owners' Lounges' started by Ramzay, Jun 26, 2014.

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  1. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    NBR already did a review of the Shark, but I thought I’d add my own take on it. I’ve included the links to the NBR review and the image gallery from Eurocom’s site, rather than posting even more images here.

    Eurocom Shark 3 (Clevo W355SS) Review
    Eurocom Model Images

    Specifications and hardware
    Intel i7-4710MQ
    nVIDIA GTX 860m 2GB (Maxwell)
    8GB DDR RAM
    1920*1080 TN display
    500GB Hitachi 7200rpm HDD
    Windows 8.1
    This configuration costs $1,128

    Build quality/styling
    A lot of people confuse build quality with style/finish. They are two different things. Build quality refers to how sturdy it is, if it is well put-together, if all the parts connect properly and so forth. Finish is how it looks, the feel/look of the material, the style.

    The build quality is good. It is sturdy with little flex. There are no protruding edges, the parts all fit together snuggly and perfectly. It is also surprisingly light, given how thick it is. I was actually taken aback by its weight (or lack thereof), especially coming from a dual-fan Clevo.

    The finish, however, leaves something to be desired. As mentioned, I came from a Clevo P151SM. The finish on that laptop was a textured plastic that was premium-feeling, and left no smudges or fingerprints at all. After two weeks of using that laptop, there wasn’t a single fingerprint on the machine. The Shark has a generic smooth plastic finish on the lid (which attracts fingerprints) with a slightly better finish on the palm rests, which don’t attract fingerprints much.

    Overall, the finish isn’t bad, but I don’t understand why they didn’t give it the same textured finish of the P151SM. The Shark’s finish is not much different from any other consumer-grade laptop, though the build quality definitely feels better. It is thicker than a lot of laptops out there, but for my tastes it was just fine. I’m not looking to win any fashion contests, and I much prefer function over form. Besides, there is a very real benefit to this thickness, which I will touch upon shortly. That being said, for the more fashion conscious, the styling may not be appealing.

    Cooling/temperatures/noise
    The Shark has a single fan connected to both the CPU and GPU’s heat sinks, and expels it from the back. Due to the thickness of the chassis, this fan has relatively large blades, and is virtually silent when the laptop is idle or under normal use (not stressed). Seriously, at one point I thought the fan wasn’t running while I was surfing the web – that’s how quiet it is. In fact I’m not even sure if it was running. When under medium load, the fan speed picks up and you can notice it, but it’s a very subdued, low hum and if there is any ambient noise at all, you probably won’t even hear it. Only when under maximum load will you really notice the fan, and thankfully it isn’t a high-pitched whine like you would get from fans with smaller blades.

    EDIT: I had a look at the fan, and it actually wasn't running at all when the laptop was idle. Impressive.

    Some had expressed concern that a single-fan setup would not be enough to cool this system. Thanks to the new Maxwell architecture, that isn’t a problem at all.

    I recorded the following temps (in degrees Celsius, stock clocks). Load was after playing about 30 minutes of Diablo 3 at high settings.

    Idle
    CPU: 40
    GPU: 40

    Load
    CPU: 70 (hit a max of 80 at some point, for some reason)
    GPU: 67

    15-minute FurMark burn-in test max GPU temp: 68C (which is 5C more than the Y50, FYI).

    In terms of subjective surface temperatures, the track pad and palm rests remained cool. The WASD area of the keyboard also remained cool. The middle-right side of the keyboard gets noticeably warmer, even when idle, but never gets hot. The middle section of the speaker bar, however, does get hot. Not warm, hot. Overall, Clevo did a good job of keeping the heat away from areas that you actually touch (who touches the speaker bar?).

    Performance
    The performance is what you’d expect given the specs.

    Fire Strike: 3839
    Cloud Gate: 15734
    Ice Storm: 102777
    Diablo 3 FPS (high settings , 1080p): 80-110

    The Fire Strike score seems low, I’ll look into that. Maybe some driver issues.

    To give you an idea, my previous Clevo had a Radeon HD 8970m. It got a 16531 on Cloud Gate and 66294 on Ice Storm. It also couldn’t get more than 90 FPS in Diablo 3. Impressive results from the GTX 860m.

    Thankfully, the Shark shipped with 1x8GB RAM stick installed, so it will be cheap and easy to upgrade (as opposed to other laptops which sometimes ship with 2x4GB).

    Keyboard
    They keyboard is adequate. I like the spacing and general layout, though the keys could use a bit more feedback. It isn’t as sensitive as I’d like – I type rather fast and therefore have a lighter touch, and this keyboard requires that you hit the keys a bit harder than I’m used to. Luckily it doesn’t matter if you hit the keys dead-centre or on the sides, so long as you hit them hard enough. I missed a few keys here and there, but given time I’ll adjust.

    The back light has two settings, and is a generic white colour – really not much to say about it. Thankfully, this keyboard has mute, play, pause, and other important keys missing from certain other gaming/medial laptops.

    Overall I like the keyboard, even though it isn’t the best I’ve used. One of my biggest gripes is the material they used – it picks up finger prints quite easily. You typically won’t see any palm/finger prints on the palm rests, but you’ll definitely see them on the keys.

    Screen
    Ah, the screen. You were all probably waiting for this. Eurocom offers an upgrade to a nice 95% gamut screen, which I didn’t take (would’ve cost an extra $150). And overall, I’m rather pleased with the display on the Shark. The panel is a Samsung TN panel, hardware ID is SEC5448.

    The colours are acceptable, though will definitely need some calibration (I have a SyperExpress at home, so I can do some hardware calibration). The matte finish isn’t too grainy, though it’s definitely grainier than my Dell Inspiron 17R’s display.

    The viewing angles are quite good. Horizontal viewing angles are very wide and generous. Vertical is decent, but if you tilt the screen all the way back as far as it goes, you’ll definitely notice colour shifting. Overall I’m happy, as the “sweet spot” where you get no colour shifting anywhere is somewhat generous. You can move a bit in your chair, tilt your head around in various directions somewhat and you still won’t get colour shifting.

    Brightness is decent – screen gets bright enough to use under any indoor conditions, and dim enough to use in bed without disturbing anybody else too much.

    Speakers
    The speakers aren’t anything special. They get the job done, but like most laptops, you’ll want to plug in your headphones.

    General hardware
    The Shark comes with a standard DVD/RW drive in the optical bay, and has a second HDD slot as well as an mSATA slot. Like any Clevo-based laptop, it is extremely easy to upgrade hardware.

    I wish they had put the HDMI port on the back, where the VGA port is. I have no idea why they put it on the left side. I like that the power jack is on the back too, as it keeps the power cord out of your way. In my opinion, as many of the ports and connectors should be on the back of a laptop as possible. That’s what I liked about the old Dell Precision workstations – they had lots of their connectors at the back. I like to keep the sides of the laptop (especially my mouse side) free of any connectors. But that’s just me.

    The thicker chassis is nice in this area, as you have a nice, roomy interior to play in. This helps with cooling, and makes it easy to put in extra HDDs, SSDs, RAM sticks, etc.

    Pros and cons
    The display is good for a basic option, with good viewing angles. Cooling and noise levels are also good, and I especially like that the WASD keys remain cool even under load (unlike certain other manufacturers, who had the brilliant idea of placing the CPU/GPU right under the most used keys in a gaming laptop). Performance is right where it should be, given the i7 and GTX 860m.

    My main dislikes are the finish, particularly the lid, which attracts fingerprints and is no better than most consumer laptops you can get at Best Buy. I also think cooling could have been even better. My previous Clevo P151SM didn’t get warm at all – neither the keyboard nor the palm rests changed noticeably between idle and load, while the centre-right portion of the keyboard on the Shark is a bit warm, even when idle. Not hot at all, but slightly warm.

    Conclusion
    Overall I like this machine, especially at the configured price of $1,128 CAD. Eurocom offers a student/education discount, so you can potentially get this exact same configuration for $1,015.

    If you can live with the styling and finish, you get a machine where the price/performance is only matched by a few select machines (the Lenovo Y50 and MSI GE60 Apache Pro are the only other machines that I know of at this price/performance ratio) while having very good and easy upgrade options and an overall quiet machine. You also get a screen that, while not the best on the market, is very good for a basic, non-upgraded laptop display and offers good viewing angles.
     
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  2. technoboy

    technoboy Notebook Consultant

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    Hi Ramzay, Nice review! I have one question. I can't see the pictures on line and was wondering about the keyboard? Is there a space between the qwerty and numberpad keys? If not, are the arrow keys at least separated from the rest and full-sized? I hate when manufacturers of laptops mash all the keys together! Thanks!
     
  3. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    I have the Canadian bilingual keyboard, since I ordered it in Canada.

    Link to a picture of the Canadian bilingual keyboard.
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/ide...ovo-y50-owners-information-thread-53.html#522

    Picture of the US English keyboard
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2015
  4. silv3r

    silv3r Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks so much for the extra review. I'm looking into either this or the Electra 2 and wanted some extra input. Do you think the laptop is too bulky for day to day travelling? I need it for school and needless to say I'll be taking it around a lot. Also, how's the battery life of this thing? How long would it last with just web surfing? Finally, would this be bright enough to use outdoors? Have you done any benchmark tests on the screen like contrast or black value? Thanks so much!
     
  5. Support.3@XOTIC PC

    Support.3@XOTIC PC Company Representative

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    Thanks for the review! We always like and ask for people to post their thoughts once they get the computer. Awesome that you took the time to do so, and put effort into it.
     
  6. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    I personally don't think the laptop is too bulky. It isn't much heavier than other laptops with the same specs (it is only 280g heavier than the Lenovo Y50 - that's about the equivalent of 6 Oh Henry bars). I typically put it my laptop bag, so the extra thickness compared to thinner laptops isn't really noticeable. But that's a matter of personal preference - some people might find it to be too bulky.

    I haven't done a battery test run-down, but NBR did in their review. According to them, you should get 6-7 hours of light use (such as web surfing), and 3 hours of heavy use (such as gaming and watching video). That seems about right to me.

    I haven't used it outside in bright daylight, but once I get some sun here I'll test that. As long as you aren't in direct sunlight it should be ok.

    I haven't done any hardware-based benchmark tests on the screen.
     
  7. kneehowguys

    kneehowguys Notebook Evangelist

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    What configuration would you get if you wanted to do heavy web browsing and downloading and you do not want to self upgrade?

    I noticed the reviewer did not get an SSD or 16 GB of ram, and I am wondering if those won't be a significant difference. Another thread I was on someone said that having an SSD made a big difference in their computing experience.
     
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