The Alienware M11x is disappearing from gamers’ consciousness, but there’s no shortage of OEMs eager to fill the void. Such tip-top 11-inchers as the Maingear Pulse 11, and Origin EON11-S are now joined by the Clevo WS110ERF – an 11-inch beast of a notebook which also goes by the name of the Eurocom Monster 1.0. It may look diminutive with its 11.6-inch display but the Eurocom Monster 1.0 is a big boy in the benchmark world with its Core i7-3720QM Ivy Bridge CPU and NVidia GT 650M discrete GPU pairing. All weighing under 4 pounds.
The Eurocom Monster 1.0 is essentially a customized version of the no-frills Clevo W110ERF. The exterior is unprepossessing gray, constructed from plastic, but for all that it feels compact and durable, well able to withstand the occasional knock as it’s lugged from gaming session to gaming session. The rubberized lid and palm rests add to the aesthetic appeal, and overall workmanship is good.
The glossy 1366 x 768 pixel 11.6-inch screen gives only average contrast, thanks to not-very-inky blacks, and viewing angles are nothing special – though bear in mind the Eurocom Monster 1.0 is built primarily for single-person gaming, for which its display is fine. Any deficiency in contrast is compensated for by the glossiness of the display.
The two speakers situated at the rear deliver tinny sound – gamers should hook up some externnal speakers or headphones for more thrilling revving or gunfire noise. Volume is surprisingly loud for a notebook this small, and there’s even a suspicion of base in there.
The keyboard offers 90% full-size keys, chiclet-style, and the spacious layout of the keys means fast, accurate text input is possible, with a very crisp pressure point, and the ample travel adds to the suitability of the keyboard for gaming. The Synaptics trackpad is also adequate, and its rubber surface enables pinpoint bombing and general good cursor alignment. The two trackpad buttons are just as well-suited to gaming, with stiff feedback adding decisiveness.Nevertheless the pair of USB-3 ports will doubtless often be used to connect with optimized gaming peripherals – the Monster 1.0 can’t offer the sort of mega-macro functionality available from today’s gaming keyboards and mice.
Connectivity options are good, with a pair of USB-3 ports, one USB-2 port, 9-in-1 card reader, media card reader, and VGA and HDMI interfaces. Obviously the form factor does not support an optical drive.
The review unit featured a solid 8GB RAM, upgradable to 16GB, teamed with an ultra-snappy 120GB SSD. Together with that 2.6GHz Ivy Bridge eight-thread processor those specs keep the Windows 7 Ultimate OS humming along, and will keep even power users happy, good for some pretty heavy video-editing too. But that’s the level of capability consumers expect from a $1625 outlay. Win 7 Home Premium and a spinning disk for storage will cut the ransom to $1100 or so for less damanding users. The base model sells at $900, but this rig was kitted out for hardcore gaming use, and doesn’t disappoint.
Performance is, not surprisingly, fabulous – that 22nm architecture and NVidia GT 650M card enable the Monster 1.0 to turn in monstrous frame rates – most current games run at native 1366 x 768 resolution on high settings without a hitch. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 plays smoothly at high settings – what more can you want from an ultraportable?
The copper cooling heatsink keeps the internals racing along without throttling and makes true laptop gaming possible, and four hours of moderate use is quite acceptable for such a powerful notebook. And all in a trusty chassis weighing less than four pounds. The display is perhaps below par for watching movies, but syncing with a full-sized display will resolve that little problem. Worth every cent, especially for people willing to take the performance hit of slightly reduced specs for the $1000-1200 dollar versions.
Clevo WS110ERF netbook comes in different hardware configurations.
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