The Eurocom Fox 4.0 offers top-of-the-line performance with not-so-impressive build quality or battery life.
This 15.6-inch multimedia notebook features an Nvidia graphics card powerful enough for gaming, two hard drive bays and an anti-glare full HD screen starting under $900. Here's our teardown.
Eurocom, a custom notebook reseller specializing in gaming notebooks and high-performance mobile workstations, is no stranger to a multimedia laptop like the Fox 4.0. Eurocom has been building custom PCs since 1989. Companies such as Eurocom are commonly referred to as "resellers" since they purchase notebook chassis from manufacturers like Clevo and them heavily customize the components (processor, graphics, storage, wireless cards, etc.) and sell those built-to-order notebooks to their customers.
Build and Design
The Fox 4.0 is a built-on Clevo W150ERM customized by Eurocom. Clevo notebooks have a reputation for offering no-frills designs and powerful performance but not much else.
The W150ERM has a bland exterior made of all plastic which gives it a low quality feel. The plastic rattles when tapped and just doesn't inspire confidence. Chassis strength is average; it bends somewhat when twisted. The lid fares somewhat better and unless extreme pressure is used, ripples don't appear on the screen. Fit and finish is satisfactory - there are no rough edges or excess gaps between parts.
The W150ERM is chunky at 1.7" tall though light enough at just over six pounds. Design-wise is by-the-book utilitarian; no accommodations were made for style. Fortunately glossy plastic is absent from most of the chassis save for the screen surround.
Those looking to upgrade the W150ERM will be satisfied with the large access panel on the chassis bottom offering access to the RAM and storage drives - that's right, this notebook has two storage drive bays. This is one of the only 15.6" notebooks on the market with more than one bay (natively). Eurocom offers a third storage drive by replacing the optical drive with a storage drive caddy.
Input and Output Ports
This notebook has an abundance of ports including USB 3.0 and eSATA. While this isn't as many ports as you'll find on larger 17-inch Clevo notebooks the total number of ports is pretty impressive for a 15-inch laptop. Photo descriptions are left to right.
Front: Status lights
Back: Kensington Lock slot, battery pack
Left: AC power jack, cooling exhaust vent, VGA, Ethernet, 2x USB 3.0, media card reader (top), HDMI (bottom), eSATA/USB combo jack
Right: Headphone and microphone jacks, S/PDIF, USB 2.0, tray-load DVD burner
Another thing Clevo notebooks haven't been known for is their input devices. The W150ERM has a Chiclet-style keyboard with extra spacing between the keys. While I had no issues typing as I normally do, I certainly wish the tactile feedback was improved. It feels much too light and loose and sounds cheap.
The keyboard has a separate numeric keypad though it's a three-column layout; it takes some getting used to. It's disappointing that the home, end, pgup and pgdn keys are not dedicated.
The Synaptics touchpad is actually quite nice; it has a smooth surface and is appropriately sized for a 15.6" screen. The two dedicated buttons have good feedback and are quiet; I find the latter extremely important. The biometric fingerprint reader is situated between the buttons. I found the touchpad to be a little too sensitive; sometimes the cursor would jump while I was typing. This is correctable via the included touchpad software, though.
Screen and Speakers
Eurocom equips the W150ERM with a full HD (1920x1080 resolution) display. Several variants are available; our version is the base one with the anti-glare coating. It's a good quality unit with ample brightness and satisfactory but not impressive saturation. Eurocom offers a 95% gamut display which should be much more colorful.
The anti-glare coating is greatly appreciated since unlike a glossy surface, there are no reflections from light sources. The 1920x1080 resolution is excellent for productivity - it has 50% more viewing space than the 1366x768 resolution found on most 15.6" notebooks. This means less scrolling and the ability to use two windows side-by-side without squashing them.
The two stereo speakers located under the palm rest are a letdown; they sound tinny and have no bass. In the past I haven't complained about poor speakers on notebooks but as of late, most mainstream 15.6" notebooks in this price range include name-brand speakers that are much more usable.
more than 100 focused websites providing quick access to a deep store of
news, advice and analysis about the technologies, products and processes crucial
to the jobs of IT pros.
All Rights Reserved, Copyright 2000 - 2013, TechTarget | Read our Privacy Statement