- Excellent gaming performance
- Great display
- Good keyboard and touchpad
- Solid design and quality
- Decent battery life
- Options add up quickly
- Fan is loud at full tilt
- Glossy display surface creates reflections
Eurocom is Canada’s largest seller of Clevo-based notebooks; the M4 we’re reviewing is based on the Clevo W230SS model. We like almost everything about this 13.3″ powerhouse including its excellent gaming performance, beautiful QHD+ display, good input devices, solid 6-hour battery life, and fair price point. A quieter fan is about the only thing we could wish for with this laptop.
The M4 has a nondescript exterior of gray and black plastic. It’s relatively chunky for a 13.3-inch notebook at 1.28 inches tall, but it does its best to hide that fact with the base of the chassis angled sharply inward. The M4 isn’t no lightweight at 4.4 pounds but this notebook packs considerably more power than the majority of 13.3-inch and even 14-inch notebooks. It’s certainly more portable than any notebook that’s 15.6 inches or larger.
The Eurocom-embossed lid has a rubberized surface that’s pleasant to the touch and provides a good grip for carrying. The gray plastic surfaces have a smooth, anti-glare finish; the black chassis bottom is a hard plastic that may have been better had it been rubberized.
From a build perspective, the M4 feels solid; picking it up with one hand or pressing down on it doesn’t yield significant flex, creaks, or groans. The lid resists flexing as well as the better-quality consumer notebooks but isn’t quite business class in that respect. The display has sufficient protection, requiring abnormal force for ripples to appear.
Those looking to upgrade the M4 down the line will find easy access to the two memory slots, mSATA slots, and traditional 2.5-inch storage drive by removing the bottom chassis cover.
Input and Output Ports
The M4 packs a respectable array of ports including four USB (three of which are SuperSpeed 3.0), HDMI, legacy VGA, and a multimedia card reader. As right-handers, we wish three USB ports weren’t all clustered together on the right front side of the chassis. DisplayPort is the only major exclusion.
All picture descriptions are left to right.
Screen and Speakers
A major selling point for the M4 is its available 3200×1800 (QHD+) resolution display. A standard 1080p resolution (1920×1080) has just 36% of the pixels by comparison. The QHD+ display is a treat for the eyes, with excellent brightness, vivid color reproduction, and stark contrast. We found ourselves using the M4 at 7/10 brightness most of the time.
Another great attribute of this display is its unlimited viewing angles – you can look in at any angle and see the same picture without distortion, thanks to IPS technology. The only potential downside is its glossy surface coating because it produces reflections in well-lit areas, especially if the lighting sources are overhead or behind. It’s also troublesome when using the M4 outdoors.
If you get a Windows operating system preinstalled on the M4, Eurocom sends it with scaling set up so text is legible – the text looks like it does on a 1600×900 display of the same size (13.3″). Overall we’re impressed with and highly recommend the QHD+ display.
The M4’s two stereo speakers are integrated into the chassis. They have a respectable volume level but realistically sound no better than typical notebook speakers. Fortunately the headphone jack on the left side of the chassis is static-free.
The M4’s full-size keyboard has a Chiclet-style layout with extra spacing between the keys. The white LED backlighting has three levels: high, low, or completely off. The keys have plenty of travel for good tactile feedback, while also staying pretty quiet. The anti-glare key surface should wear well over time, and is a nice touch. Finally, we appreciate the desktop-like layout with a dedicated function key row, home, end, pgup, and pgdn keys arrayed down the right side with left and right Ctrl and Alt keys. The keyboard is flex-free and overall a pleasure to use.
The Synaptics touchpad is appropriately sized for a 13.3″ display; it sits centered with the spacebar slightly left of the chassis center. It has a smooth anti-glare surface that’s easy to glide fingers across. The two dedicated buttons make an audible but subdued click with good feedback as well. Overall we found almost nothing not to dislike about the M4’s input devices.