- Good quality screen
- Relatively high performance
- Wide variety of ports
- Looks and feels cheap
- Poor keyboard and touchpad
- Weak graphics card
Not everyone wants a mainstream notebook with the same big-name branding. Today, we look at custom notebook seller AVADirect’s new W765CUH, a 15.6-inch multimedia notebook sporting a Core i5 processor and ATI graphics card.
Our test notebook of the AVADirect Clevo W765CUH has the following specifications:
- 15.6-inch 720p (1366 x 768) display with LED backlighting
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Intel Core i5-540M processor (2.53GHz, 3MB L3 cache)
- ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570 512MB DDR2 graphics card
- 4GB DDR3-1333 Kingston RAM
- 500GB 7200RPM hard drive (Seagate Momentus 7200.4/ST9500420AS)
- Realtek RTL8191SE 802.11n Wireless LAN adapter
- Built-in Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
- 8X DVD Super Multi drive
- One year limited warranty
- Weight: 5.82 pounds
- Dimensions: 14.75” (W) x 10.13” (D) x 1.5” (H)
- MSRP: $1,147
AVADirect allows full customization of the Clevo W765CUH. It is available with the quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, up to 8GB of RAM, and a variety of SSDs. Our test notebook has a more mainstream configuration although still a good performer in its own right.
Build and Design
The W765 has a generic look with no outstanding features. The notebook was clearly designed without aesthetics in mind. The W765 masks its somewhat chunky 1.5-inch high chassis with inward-cut sides, making it appear slimmer.
The W765 is constructed entirely of plastic and build quality is acceptable. The plastic exhibits little flex, however, feels somewhat second-rate and makes a cheap rattling sound when tapped. We like that the chassis is nearly devoid of glossy plastic; matte plastic is more durable and easier to clean. Only a thin screen surround is glossy plastic. The matte plastic on the visible surfaces of the notebook has a metallic sparkle to it, which shows up under light.
While the notebook feels cheap, it is actually quite strong. The chassis is just as stiff as other notebooks in its price range; it does not twist willingly, indicating a strong internal frame. The display is stronger than expected and resists twisting very well. Additionally, pushing in on the back of the display does not yield ripples on the screen. Two strong hinges anchor the display to the chassis. One minor annoyance with the notebook is that the screen does not tilt back far, only about 15-20 degrees past vertical. While using this notebook in my lap, I wished it tilted back another 20 degrees. Overall, while the notebook feels and looks generic and cheap, it has above average construction and a strong internal frame.
Screen and Speakers
AVADirect offers the W765 with two different screen resolutions: HD (1366 x 768) and HD+ (1600 x 900) and our review unit has the former. The display is LED backlit and has a glossy surface. The display’s quality is top-notch, with excellent brightness and ample contrast. Horizontal viewing angles are good, exhibiting little distortion. Vertical viewing angles are narrow; colors quickly shift if the display is viewed more than 15 degrees off center either up or down.
The 1366 x 768 resolution is low for a 15.6-inch screen. We would have preferred 1600 x 900 (which is available on this notebook), which is more productive to work on since it has more screen space. A higher resolution means less scrolling and easier multitasking.
The W765’s two speakers are located in the bottom of the display, not a place where speakers are typically found. Sound quality is poor, even for a notebook; it’s very tinny and has no tangible bass.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The W765 has a full-size keyboard with separate numeric keypad. It has a “Chiclet” or island-style keyboard, where the keys are raised above the keyboard’s surface and have more spacing. The keyboard has a hollow and unsettled feel even though it exhibits little flex, echoing the feel of the chassis. The key action is unsophisticated, yet direct, so typing accuracy is a nonissue. The key spacing and throw is spot-on. We like the matte key surfaces, which should wear well over time.
The downside of the keyboard is a lack of dedicated home, end, page up, and page down keys, which are integrated as secondary functions in the arrow keys. If number lock is disabled they can exist as dedicated keys, but then the functionality of the number pad is lost. Speaking of the number pad, it has an odd three-column layout (as opposed to the standard four-column), however all standard keys are present.
The touchpad is a mixed bag. While it is responsive, this is the first touchpad I tested where I felt the surface was too textured. It feels overly rough to the touch and is not something I would care to use for extended periods. On the positive side, we like the touchpad buttons, which are quiet and give responsive feedback.
Ports and Features
The W765 has a wide array of input and output ports, including HDMI and eSATA. All picture descriptions are left to right.