- Excellent performance
- Beautiful 1080p display
- Good keyboard and touchpad
- Good battery life
- Plenty of ports
- Average build quality
- Relatively thick
Quick TakeThe Shark 3 is actually a more value-oriented notebook based on its starting price relative to other Eurocom offerings (for gaming notebooks). We're pleased to recommend the Eurocom Shark 3 to gamers and anyone seeking a high-performance 15.6" desktop replacement with a priority on function over form.
The Eurocom Shark 3 is a built-on Clevo W355SS chassis. Intended as a desktop replacement, it features all the power necessary to play the latest games including an Intel quad-core processor, Nvidia GTX 860M graphics and 16GB of RAM. It has a good keyboard, 1080p display with 95% NTSC gamut and even respectable battery life. The plastic design leaves something to be desired but otherwise the Shark 3 represents a solid value for its intended audience.
The Shark 3’s plastic exterior is the norm for Clevo-based notebooks; it has a no-frills black and gray color scheme with slightly rounded edges but an otherwise blocky shape. This notebook is thicker than the typical 15.6-inch notebook at 1.68 inches; we’ll see later in the review that this helps cooling, allows the inclusion of more than the usual number of input/output ports and improves upgradability. It’s still relatively light however at 5.95 lbs.
The overall build quality is about average; the plastics used are of reasonable quality and have little flex. Mild flex is evident in the chassis itself but nothing alarming. Fit and finish is good with even spacing between parts. The lid is surprisingly strong; this is one of the few notebooks I’ve tested recently where I had trouble getting ripples to appear on the display while applying pressure from behind. This is a positive indicator of ample protection for the display should the notebook be placed in a bag or items placed on top of it.
The Shark 3 is easy to upgrade thanks to user-accessible panels on the bottom of the chassis; they provide access to the storage drives (there are two dedicated bays; most 15.6-inch notebooks have only one), three memory slots, the processor, graphics card and wireless card. Having the option to do “at home upgrades” is one of the key benefits of purchasing a beefy Clevo-based notebook. The battery is also removable, so you can drop in a spare or easily replace a failing battery.
Input and Output Ports
The Shark 3 has a plentiful selection of ports including USB 3.0, HDMI and even some less common ports like S/PDIF and eSATA. All picture descriptions are left to right.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Shark 3 features a full-size Chiclet keyboard with a dedicated numeric keypad. It features white LED backlighting with two levels and can also be turned off completely by pressing the [Fn] + [F12] keys. This keyboard has a pleasantly neutral characteristic; it’s not rubbery but also not plasticky as would otherwise be expected. Key travel is about perfect and the actuation pressure (the amount required to depress a key) is just right so the act of resting fingers on the keys won’t accidentally depress them. The keyboard makes relatively little noise and has excellent support.
One of the biggest surprises with the Shark 3 is that Clevo has finally started using a more standardized keyboard layout; this one has dedicated Home, End, PgUp and PgDn keys as opposed to having them integrated as secondary functions into the arrow keys. It should be noted that the numeric keypad keys are slightly smaller than the standard keyboard keys though the difference is slight. Overall the Shark 3’s keyboard is very good and enjoyable to use for extended periods.
The Synaptics touchpad is situated to the left of the chassis (centered with the keyboard). It’s actually a different material than the surrounding palm rest with a slightly granular texture that helps finger tracking. The touchpad is sufficiently sized for a 15.6″ screen but just; personally I think it could be a tad larger. The two dedicated buttons provide tactile feedback but make an audible sound when depressed, loud enough to announce to people in the immediate vicinity that you clicked on something. If quietness is important, simply tap the touchpad surface to perform a click (the sensitivity of this can be set via software).
Screen and Speakers
The Shark 3’s 15.6-inch display has an anti-glare surface, 1080p resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) and high color gamut with 95% of NTSC coverage. Compare that coverage number to most notebook panels which display around 70%. Nearly anything with color has a more vibrant look to it; the high gamut is especially beneficial for photo editing since more colors can be displayed. The display’s brightness is very good as is contrast. Backlight uniformity is also good with minimal bleed.
The anti-glare surface hides reflections from surrounding light sources, a common problem with glossy/reflective coated displays. The only real downside of this display is that it uses TN (Twisted Nematic) technology which has inherently limited viewing angles. There is an ideal range to view this display from (dead on works best); the picture slowly distorts moving beyond that. For what it’s worth, this display appears less sensitive to that tendency than cheaper TN panels.
There are two stereo speakers installed above the keyboard. The benefit of this setup as opposed to placing them below the palm rest is that the sound is better directed at the user. The speakers have a relatively tinny sound with minimal bass but do in a pinch.