Quick Review: Eurocom M5 Pro (Clevo P650SE)

Discussion in 'Sager/Clevo Reviews & Owners' Lounges' started by Ramzay, Jan 25, 2015.

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  1. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    I ordered this machine from Eurocom, which is a Canadian reseller based in Ottawa, Canada. They will, however, ship almost anywhere, and will provide you quotes in various different currencies. If you're a student, they provide a 10% discount.

    Specs
    Core i7-4720HQ
    nVidia GTX 970M
    8GB Crucial DDR3 RAM
    500GB 7200rpm HDD
    15.6” 1920*1080 matte display (IPS)
    Killer 1525 AC wireless card

    Build and style
    Compared to my previous Clevo, this thing is downright sexy. Slim, with a good use of metal. There are two fans used for cooling the GPU, helping to keep temps down. I really like the fact that they put the power jack at the back of the laptop, and the HDMI port to the left. My opinion is you should have as few ports as possible on the right side of the laptop, so as not to interfere with your mouse. Sadly, the ethernet port is on the right side, but that isn’t too much of a concern, as I usually use a laptop with a WiFi connection.

    It is advertised as being a laptop you can open with one hand, and it’s true - the screen opens quite easily with just one hand. The laptop does catch fingerprints and smudges easily, but that tends to be true of most laptops these days. However, there is some easy flex if you push down on the back of the screen. Having become accustomed to the sturdy frame of my ASUS ROG G75VX with its rock-solid display, this felt flimsy.

    Overall, while it won’t win any design awards, it is definitely a step up from a typical Clevo chassis - slim and light. Nobody will make fun of you for having a bulky, heavy, ugly Clevo.

    Screen
    Ah, the screen. The M5 Pro comes standard with a high-quality matte AHVA panel (some manufacturers call this “IPS-like”), the AUO B156HAN01.2 panel. It has good viewing angles, good contrast ratio (700:1) and it is quite bright. This is one area where Eurocom adds value - the base P650SE from most other resellers comes standard with an average TN panel.

    Subjectively, I don’t really have any complaints about this panel. It obviously isn’t the best panel out there, and could have better colours and brightness. But for a base panel, it does the job beautifully. It really is refreshing to have the basic panel on a laptop be a high-quality one like this.

    20150121_163659.jpg 20150121_163713.jpg 20150121_163724.jpg 20150121_163734.jpg 20150121_163857.jpg

    After calibration (using a Sypder4Express) I got the following values:

    sRGB: 99%
    NTSC: 72%
    AdobeRGB: 77%

    Here's the link to the ICC profile for the display panel.

    Noise/heat/cooling
    It is quite remarkable how efficiently the M5 Pro cools its components. While playing games, the fans aren’t too loud, the temps are reasonable, and the chassis gets, at most, lukewarm in certain areas. That such a thin laptop manages to cool an i7 CPU and a GTX 970M so well while keeping the chassis relatively cool is a testament to good cooling design. I would have preferred if the CPU fan also exhausted out back rather than to the left however, but I guess this is due to internal layout restrictions.

    While under heavy load, the fans do spin fast and get a bit loud. This is to be expected of such a thin laptop, and is one area where bulkier machines have an edge - their thicker frames mean they have larger fan blades, so they don’t have to spin as fast, and therefore generate less noise under load.

    If you do a lot of work that heavily taxes the CPU, you will have to deal with a fan spinning very fast and generating some noise that is clearly audible, even with the speakers playing. That being said, it was never too loud, and certainly not loud enough to detract from the gaming experience.

    After playing Diablo 3 for some time, I recorded the following max temperatures (ambient temp around 24C):

    CPU: 65C
    GPU: 57C

    Intel XTU stress test (ambient temp of 24C)
    Stock: 80C
    -70mv undervolt: 75C

    Furmark (GPU max temp)
    10 min run: 70C

    Here's a breakdown of surface temps under gaming load (Diablo 3 at high settings). These readings were taken with a SainSonic Infrared Thermometer, at an ambient temp of around 24C.

    [​IMG]

    For general purpose use, the machine is silent. For gaming, it is reasonably quiet. For my personal uses, it is quite satisfactory in terms of noise.

    Keyboard and track pad
    The M5 has a full keyboard layout, with a two-level white backlight. It’s a decent keyboard, easy to read and ok to type on. But compared to a Lenovo, ASUS ROG or Alienware, it falls short. It is a bit flimsy, and has noticeable flex. Even typing normally produces a bit of flex. Lightly tapping the keys produces a bit of a “clicky” noise, as the keys are a little bit loose. And the reduced size of the 0 on the number pad to accommodate the arrow keys has never been a favourite of mine. That being said, it is a decent keyboard - it just isn’'t as good as some of the others that show up on laptops in this price range.

    The track pad is quite good. A large Synaptics pad with two physical buttons for the right and left mouse buttons, both with good travel. While I don’t use the mouse pad much, I don’t really have much to complain about. It is much better than some other pads out there. The surface is relatively smooth and your finger glides along very well.

    After having used the keyboard on the Alienware 17 (both R1 & R2) I must say the Clevo is pretty bad in comparison. I get annoyed typing on it. This is one area where a premium keyboard, such as the one found on Alienware machines, really makes a difference.

    Sound/speakers
    Laptops aren’t typically known for their awesome sounds, and this machine is no different. The speakers are better than the last Clevo-based laptop I had, and are decently loud. Still, you’ll probably want to wear some headphones. But they’re good enough that I don’t mind using them to play games.

    Performance
    Well, we’re dealing with a Core i7 and a GTX 970M, so performance is right where you’d expect it.

    3DMARK 11: P8841
    3DMARK FIRE STRIKE: 6512

    Games run smoothly at high/ultra settings (the ones I play, anyway) and the machine doesn’t tend to get too hot or loud. I tried Dragon Age: Inquisition, Bioshock Infinite and Diablo 3. No issues at all.

    On Bioshock Infinite with Ultra settings, FPS only rarely dropped below 60 (I play with vsync on). The lowest I personally recorded was 44 FPS.

    Eurocom Experience
    I personally had no issues dealing with them. They responded quickly (and often) to my email queries, and at one point I even got a phone call from their sales department to discuss various options and promotions. While I know that everybody has different experiences with the various resellers, based on this interaction, I have no complaints at all. I ordered my machine on Friday afternoon, it shipped Monday evening and I received it at my door by UPS Tuesday evening. Quick turnaround time.

    Conclusion
    Overall I'm rather impressed by this machine. My previous experience with a Clevo-based laptop (Eurocom Shark 3) wasn't bad, but that laptop definitely had its shortcomings. This new Clevo model is thin, light, has good cooling (relatively speaking, given how thin it is), a good display, and the build quality has gotten better.

    The gaming performance is good, sound is acceptable, the keyboard is decent, the track pad is good (and improved, I've found, from the Shark 3) and while it isn't as easy to upgrade as past, thicker Clevo models, it still provides you with (relatively) easy access to the internal components. Not as easy as prior models, but definitely easier than other thin laptops.

    My complaints are few, and not very significant. The keyboard could be better, with stiffer keys, made from a material that doesn't catch fingerprints as easily. Given that these machines run close to $2000 CAD (after tax and shipping), a slightly more "premium" build would be nice (there is still a decent amount of plastic on this thing, though the palm rest, lid and the bottom plate are all metal). I would've liked to see the HDMI and ethernet ports put on the rear, much like the power jack. I'm also not too happy with how much flex the back of the display exhibits. Anybody who has ever owned a ASUS ROG laptop will know how secure you feel with that very stiff and well-reinforced lid. Also, while I recognize that a thin laptop will have small fan blades, I'm a huge fan of how quiet bigger machines like the ASUS ROG line are, even under full load. If Clevo could find a way to increase the size of the fans to make them quieter under load, I wouldn't mind at all.

    In short, this is a fantastic laptop for the price, and the performance is just stellar, especially when compared to prior generations of thin gaming laptops. Part of that is due to the new Maxwell GPUs, but Clevo deserves credit for assembling everything in a relatively thin, light and stylish package. Unlike an ASUS ROG or Alienware 17 machine, people will likely have no clue this laptop is a powerful gaming machine. It's a gaming laptop ninja.

    So unless you require a 17" screen (in which case the P670SE is available) or desire a quieter/cooler experience (the ASUS ROG line or Alienware), I can't see a better pick for you right now. Highly recommended.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
    xenth, Quikster, nanobeast and 5 others like this.
  2. zachary77

    zachary77 Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks for the analysis. My Mythlogic version of this laptop arrives tomorrow, and I've been concerned with build quality (past Clevos look generic/cheap) due to also owning an Alienware 14 and 18. It sounds like a decent package, except for the keyboard flex. I just received a new XPS 13 with the infinity display, so I'm also worried that those big a@@ bezels on the clevo will be a turnoff.....
     
  3. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    The keyboard flex isn't that bad. It's just that after being used to the ASUS ROG and its rock-solid keyboard, anything less seems flimsy to me. Compared to other laptops that aren't an Alienware or ROG, the flex is fine/barely noticeable.

    The bezel is quite large, but thankfully, it is no longer a glossy bezel.
     
  4. IKAS V

    IKAS V Notebook Prophet

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    Nice review Ramzay.
    Now about that screen which actually looks pretty good did you notice and motion blurring/ghosting when gaming?
     
  5. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    Yeah the screen is nice, those shots I uploaded don't do it justice - nice viewing angles.

    I personally didn't notice and ghosting or blurring, but then again, I don't play any fast-paced, intense FPS-type games.
     
  6. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    Updated with an ICC profile link for the display, as well as colour space coverage values.
     
    octiceps and bernieyee like this.
  7. bernieyee

    bernieyee Notebook Evangelist

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    Thank you for posting it!
     
  8. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    Another update with keyboard surface temps.
     
  9. xenth

    xenth Notebook Guru

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    Thanks for the great review. It's good to see a good description on noise levels.
     
  10. djinferno806

    djinferno806 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Nice review, I'm about to go pick mine up from the UPS depot right now :)

    Also thanks for the ICC profile. Only thing that sucks about the profiles is they don't always stick in full screen programs. Unless windows 10 has fixed that.

    Also I was under the impression the AUO panel is actually a type of IPS panel. Well a PLS variant that is. The AHVA name doesn't actually imply a full VA panel. As its pixel behaviour is more IPS than VA.

    Regardless anything that's rgb and not TN is fine for me ;)
     
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