AVADirect Clevo TN121R Review

by Reads (13,515)

The Clevo TN121R is an interesting convertible tablet notebook. It came customized from AVA Direct, with its 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 200GB hard drive. This 12.1″ tablet is a tiny powerhouse, great for college students or business professionals who need a travel companion.

AVA Direct Customized Clevo TN121R Tablet PC specs:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 2.5GHz processor
  • Intel GMA X3100 Graphics
  • 12.1″ 1280×800 WXGA Glossy LCD with touchscreen
  • Corsair, 2GB PC2-5300 DDR2 667MHz SDRAM SODIMM
  • Seagate, 200GB Momentus 7200 RPM, hard drive
  • Optical drive, Super-Multi DVD±RW (Built-in)
  • 56K V90/92 Fax/Modem (Integrated)
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
  • Built-in 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet, LAN Card
  • 802.11a/b/g Wireless card
  • Bluetooth V2.0 + EDR
  • 7-in-1 Card Reader
  • 3x USB port
  • Headphone and microphone ports
  • VGA-15 pin
  • Weight: 4.7lbs. with battery
  • Price as configured: $1,458 (Starting price: $976.80)


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Design and Build

The Clevo TN121R is a solid tablet. The chassis feels sturdy and there is no flex in the body. The casing underneath feels a little cheap, but this isn’t a huge problem. It weighs in around 4.7lbs. and is the perfect size for traveling. It does look a little odd though since it doesn’t have any branding. It is a Clevo, but it came customized from AVA Direct so the badges are gone.


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It has a black glossy finish, which is a fingerprint magnet. I mean the entire tablet is glossy even the palm rest area, so it doesn’t hide dirt and smudges at all. It looks fancy and appealing, but you need to have a cloth handy to keep it clean. I wasn’t impressed with the hinge for the screen because it wasn’t very sturdy at all. When I shook the tablet lightly the screen would fall backwards. The screen rotates fine, but the hinge needs to provide more resistance.


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Display

The 12.1″ (1280×800) WXGA glossy LCD touchscreen and passive digitizer is nice. The touchscreen is really accurate and I didn’t have any problems navigating with my fingertip. The pen was not so great in than it reminded me of a stylus from a PDA. Taking notes is fine, but the passive screen is a little delayed.


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The screen gets plenty bright and does have a little glare, but this didn’t bother me much. The viewing angles weren’t that great though. As you can see from the pictures above at certain angles the colors get that weird inverted look. Looking straight at the screen is great and there is no color bleed. So no worries because most users don’t push their screens that far back. In tablet mode the screen doesn’t automatically change orientation, which is a pain because then you have to keep pushing the button to get the screen the way you need it.

Performance and Benchmarks

The TN121R was surprisingly fast. It booted-up in seconds and I had no problems surfing the Web or running benchmarks. It sports a 2.5GHz Intel T9300 processor and a 200GB, 7200 rpm hard drive. The graphics aren’t the best, but gaming is possible. Just don’t expect to play Crysis or any other cutting-edge 3D game on this machine. For college students or professionals on-the-go, you will have no problem doing work, taking notes, checking email or even editing your high-resolution digital photos.

Comparison Results for PCMark05

PCMark05 measures the systems performance as a whole.

Notebook PCMark05 Score
Clevo TN121R (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 4,697 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T5010 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz, Mobile Intel 4500 MHD graphics) 4,864 PCMarks
HP tx2500 (AMD Turion X2 Ultra 2.4GHz, ATI HD 3200 graphics) 3, 873 PCMarks
HP tx2000 (AMD Turion 64 X2 2.3GHz, Nvidia Go 6150 graphics) 3,738 PCMarks
Asus R1E (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz, GMA 965 chipset) 4,679 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T2010 (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 2,334 PCMarks
Gateway C-140x (Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz, ATI X2300 HD graphics) 4,342 PCMarks
HP Compaq 2710p (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 2,453 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 3,473 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 4,171 PCMarks
Gateway E-155C (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.06GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics) 2,205 PCMarks
Toshiba R400 (Intel Core Duo ULV 1.2GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics) 2,187 PCMarks
HP tx1000 (AMD Turion X2 2.0GHz, Nvidia Go 6150) 3,052 PCMarks
Toshiba Tecra M6 (1.66GHz Intel T2300E, Intel GMA 950) 2,732 PCMarks

 

Comparison Results for 3Dmark05

3DMark05 tests the overall graphic capabilities of a notebook.

Notebook 3DMark 05 Results
Clevo TN121R (2.5GHz Core 2 Duo, GMA X3100 graphics) 778 3DMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T5010 (2.26GHz Core 2 Duo, Mobile Intel 4500 MHD graphics) 1,520 3DMarks
HP tx2500 (2.4GHz AMD Turion X2 Ultra, ATI HD 3200 graphics) 1,622 3DMarks
HP tx2000 (2.3GHz AMD Turion 64 X2, Nvidia Go 6150 graphics) 636 3DMarks
Asus R1E (2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, GMA 965 chipset) 923 3DMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T2010 (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo, GMA X3100 graphics) 566 3DMarks
Gateway C-140x (2GHz Core 2 Duo, ATI X2300 HD graphics) 1,956 3DMarks
HP Compaq 2710p (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo, GMA X3100 graphics) 634 3DMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA X3100 graphics) 812 3DMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA X3100 graphics) 925 3DMarks
Gateway E-155C (1.06GHz ULV Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950) 500 3DMarks
LG C1 (1.2GHz Intel Core Duo, Nvidia Go 7300) 1,392 3DMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook S2210 (1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52, ATI x1150) 810 3DMarks
PortableOne UX (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950) 590 3DMarks
Toshiba Satellite A135 (1.73GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950) 519 3DMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB) 2,092 3DMarks

 

wPrime results:


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HDTune results:


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Keyboard/Touchpad/Pen

The TN121R has a great keyboard and I was impressed. It is better than some HP and Fujitsu tablet notebook models I have reviewed. The keyboard is solid and has no flex. The keys are easy to push and give the perfect amount of feedback. The only problem with the keyboard is it is small and the keys are the size of my fingertips, so if you have bigger hands you might have some typos. For as much space as there is inside, I would think the keyboard wouldn’t be as cramped.


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The touchpad is your basic touchpad. Nothing fancy, it is indented into the palm rest so your finger doesn’t lose its place and it is accurate like a mouse. The right and left click buttons have a chrome finish, which is another fingerprint magnet, but they work as expected. Just like the keyboard though the touchpad buttons are a little small.


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The included pen used for the tablet touchscreen interface is a solid piece of plastic that I could only use for a few hours of work. If you plan on taking notes or writing a lot, I recommend getting another pen. The Clevo pen is small and just like the stylus from a Palm Treo. There is no eraser, no buttons or anything. It’s a very basic pen, but it does work for navigating and is responsive with the screen.


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Heat and Noise

The TN121R didn’t get hot. In fact it barely got warm. This tablet ran at a normal temperature even when running the benchmarks and multiple applications. The left side by the fan got a little warm, but that is expected. I was never uncomfortable typing on it or holding it in tablet mode.

It wasn’t loud either. The TN121R ran quietly. The fan kicked on during benchmarks, but it wasn’t that noticeable and it definitely wasn’t annoying. This tablet is safe to bring to presentations or class.

Ports

The Clevo I reviewed came with a good array of ports and features. Remember if you go through AVA Direct you can always customize your tablet to your liking and get the features you need most. That is a bonus.

Front view of the TN121R:


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Left view of the ports:


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Right view of the ports:


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Rear view of the TN121R:


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Bottom view of the TN121R:


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Speakers

The speakers are located on the bottom of the screen. They are your standard tablet speakers. The location is prime because the speakers never get covered even when in tablet mode. They’re not great for listening to music, but they do put out decent sound and work perfectly with a set of headphones.

Battery

The TN121R battery life is average. It is a small tablet, but it also has a small battery. It has a 4-cell battery that gets an estimated three hours on “Balanced” mode. That is give or take a few minutes depending on how much work you are doing. I didn’t do much beyond benchmarking in “High Performance” mode, but as you can imagine the battery life drops dramatically and you will definitely need your AC adapter. Still, when I first received the tablet I was shocked when I saw the battery on the back because it is small … but actually it provides “acceptable” power despite its small size.


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Wireless

The wireless works as expected. It also has a built-in 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet LAN Card. I didn’t get the best signal strength at home, but I think it’s the coverage at my house. In my office it worked fine. Download speeds were fast, uploading larger files like pictures though did take a little time, but nothing to blink an eye at.

Conclusion

The Clevo TN121R is a solid tablet with a nice touchscreen display and a fast processor. AVA Direct lets you customize this tablet to your liking and needs, which is a bonus. It is easy to take notes on and quick at surfing the Web. No complaints with the processor or hard drive. Battery life could be better and you definitely need a spare pen because the included stylus is basically just a small stick of plastic. The design is sleek, but the glossy plastic exterior gets covered in fingerprints, so have your cleaning cloth handy. Starting price is good for what you get and remember you can add whatever features you need to this Barebone tablet.

Pros

  • Peppy processor
  • Nice touchscreen display
  • Customizable features
  • Solid design and keyboard

Cons

  • Hinge not sturdy enough
  • Cheap pen
  • Fingerprint magnet
  • When in tablet mode screen doesn’t automatically change

Pricing and Availability

For more information on this customized Clevo TN121R tablet check out AVA Direct’s website. The TN121R that I reviewed is priced at $1,458.


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