Meet the MYTHLOGIC Pollux 1400, aka Clevo W150HR

Today we get to meet a newcomer to our laptop reviews. MYTHLOGIC (yes, the name is supposed to be in all caps) is one of several boutique computer vendors that sells rebranded whitebook notebooks, along with companies like AVADirect, Sager, and Eurocom to name just a few (Eurocom is probably supposed to be all caps as well). MYTHLOGIC sells customized desktops as well, but today we're looking at their Pollux 1400 notebook. One thing you can always say about Clevo designs: they're distinct. We've reviewed plenty of Clevo models over the years, and even without knowing the ODM it would be obvious that this is a Clevo. The keyboard is the first giveaway, but superficially the W150HR looks almost like the P150/P151 we've looked at this year. When you start delving a little deeper, though, there are plenty of differences. First, let's hit the spec sheet.

MYTHLOGIC Pollux 1400 Specifications
Processor Intel Core i3-2310M (dual-core 2.10, 35W)
Intel Core i5-2520M (dual-core 2.50-3.20GHz, 35W)
Intel Core i5-2540M (dual-core 2.60-3.30GHz, 35W)
Intel Core i7-2620M (dual-core 2.70-3.40GHz, 35W)
Intel Core i7-2630QM (quad-core 2.00-2.90GHz, 45W)
Intel Core i7-2720QM (quad-core 2.20-3.30GHz, 45W)
Intel Core i7-2820QM (quad-core 2.30-3.40GHz, 45W)
Chipset Intel HM65
Memory 2x1GB DDR3-1600 (Patriot)
2x2GB DDR3-1600 (Patriot)
1x4GB + 1x2GB DDR3-1600 (Patriot)
2x4GB DDR3-1600 (CL9)(Patriot)2x2GB DDR3-1866 (Kingston HyperX)
2x4GB DDR3-1866 (Kingston HyperX)
2x8GB DDR3-1333 (Samsung)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 540M 1GB DDR3 Optimus
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 555M 2GB DDR3 Optimus
144 SPs, 590/1180/1800MHz Core/Shader/RAM clocks
Display 15.6” LED Glossy 16:9 1080p (1920x1080)
15.6” LED Glossy 16:9 1080p 95% NTSC Gamut
15.6” LED Anti-Glare 16:9 1080p 95% NTSC Gamut
(AU Optronics B156HW1-v4)
Hard Drive(s) 250, 320, 500, 640, 750GB 7200RPM HDD
1TB 5400RPM HDD
40 to 600GB SSDs from various vendors

120GB Intel 510 SSD
(Intel SSDSC2MH120A2)
Optical Drive 2nd HDD/SSD via caddy (See above list)

8X Tray-Load DVDRW (TSST Corp TS-L633F)
8X Slot-Load DVDRW
Blu-ray Reader/DVDRW Combo
Blu-ray Writer/DVDRW
Networking Gigabit Ethernet (JMicron JMC250)
Intel Advanced-N 6230 (No Longer Available)
802.11n WiFi (Killer Wireless-N 1102)
802.11n WiFi (Killer Wireless-N 1103)
Audio Realtek ALC269
Stereo Speakers + THX TruStudio Pro
Three audio jacks (Microphone, Headphone, Line-Out)
Capable of 5.1 digital output (HDMI/SPDIF)
Battery 6-Cell, 11.1V, 5.6Ah, 62Wh
Front Side N/A
Left Side Memory Card Reader
2 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 2.0
1 x USB 2.0/eSATA Combo
HDMI
Gigabit Ethernet
VGA
Exhaust vent
Right Side Headphone/Microphone/ Line-Out
1 x USB 2.0
Optical Drive
Back Side Kensington Lock
AC Power
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 14.72” x 9.84” x 0.98-1.46” (WxDxH)
374mm x 250mm x 25-37mm
Weight 5.73 lbs / 2.60kg (with 6-cell battery)
Extras 2MP Webcam
Flash reader (SD, MMC, MS)
Fingerprint Scanner
98-Key keyboard with 10-key
Warranty 4-year labor warranty
1-year parts warranty
Life-time technical support
Up to 3-year extended warranty available
Pricing Starting Price: $1000 (4GB + 500GB HDD)
Price as configured: $1637

There are plenty of configuration options available, and we've bolded the components in our test units. Yes, that’s plural “units”—we tested Bigfoot's Killer Wireless-N 1102 recently, with a competing Intel Advanced-N 6230 in an otherwise identical notebook. MYTHLOGIC teamed up with Bigfoot to get us the test hardware, and while performance in most areas is the same, wireless performance and battery life are potentially different. We'll get to that later, but let's run through the other specs

Starting with the CPU, we've got what is arguably the most cost-effective high performance Sandy Bridge offering in the i7-2720QM. Depending on the task, the 2720QM ends up anywhere from 10 to 20% faster than the i7-2630QM, thanks to a higher base clock and more aggressive Turbo Boost modes. There's nothing wrong with the 2630QM, of course, and you can shave $25 off the price if you're willing to downgrade that component. The next step up, the i7-2820QM, is another 5-10% faster for a $205 increase, which is why we see so many 2630QM and 2720QM notebooks—and we have yet to test anything with the i7-2920XM; hardly a surprise given the $1000 price tag. The GPU is no slouch either; while the GT 555M 2GB card can't keep up with the GTX 560M, it's still a healthy upgrade from the next step down, the GT 540M. Also note that this is the DDR3 version, thank-you-very-much; we wouldn't want the castrated GDDR5 version that's really just a higher clocked GT 540M with more memory bandwidth..

With a fast CPU and a decent GPU, you'll want good components elsewhere and MYTHLOGIC doesn't disappoint. Storage comes courtesy of Intel's 120GB 510 SSD, and what it lacks in capacity it makes up for with impressive performance. For maximum performance you would want a 240GB SandForce 2200 25nm SSD, or potentially a 120GB SF-2200 with 34nm NAND, but the jump from an HDD to any modern SSD is so significant that the differences between SSDs pale in comparison. There's also a healthy 8GB of DDR3 memory, a couple USB 3.0 ports, eSATA, and all the other modern conveniences you might want (other than Firewire).

And how about the display options: 1080p all around, but you get to choose between a standard 1080p glossy display, or you can pay $120 more and get a 95% NTSC gamut in either glossy or matte finish. I'm a sucker for matte panels, and outside of IPS-equipped laptops like HP's DreamColor EliteBooks, this is this best laptop LCD I can recall using. You do get some oversaturation with sRGB content, so outside of imaging professionals the default LCD might be better, but I'd rather get oversaturation and matte than undersaturation and glossy.

Needless to say, with a loadout like our test units, the price ends up being pretty steep. As configured the MYTHLOGIC Pollux 1400 checks in at $1637 (with a free Bluetooth upgrade)—$240 of that goes to the SSD. It's reasonable for the components you get, but we're definitely not in the mainstream market anymore. The starting price for a base Pollux 1400 (i5-2520M, GT 540M 1GB, 4GB RAM, 500GB 7200RPM HDD, and a glossy 1080p LCD) is a far more palatable $1000, but then such a notebook won't be as fast or as snappy as our test system. Checking out other similar vendors, MYTHLOGIC's pricing is right for the Clevo W150HR—AVADirect’s W150HR costs $1600 but without Bluetooth, making it an ever so slightly less expensive option (Bluetooth adapters usually go for around $20); Sager’s NP5165 comes out to $1639 with Intel’s Advanced-N 6230 wireless card, and Eurocom is at $1717 USD for an identical setup. Alienware’s M14x lacks a 120GB SSD option, but with a 750GB HDD and otherwise similar specs (and a lesser LCD, though it’s not bad), you’ll pay around $1700—so around $1850 if you do the 120GB Intel 510 SSD upgrade on your own.

It’s difficult for us to rate customer service, but MYTHLOGIC’s support page shows they provide reasonable contact and help options. They’ve got a perfect score on ResellerRatings.com, but unfortunately they only have 17 lifetime reviews, most within the past five months. The company has apparently been around since 1999, and with our experience in chatting with them throughout the process of the Bigfoot and this laptop review showed that they were very knowledgeable and eager to help out. If you’re in the market for a notebook like the Clevo W150HR, they’re certainly worth a look.

Clevo W150HR: Like the Clevo P150/P151, Only Thinner and Lighter
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  • chinedooo - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    my hp dv6t blows this thing outta the water. Its thinner lighter, and the 6770m is a better card than the gt 555 Reply
  • bji - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    The HP dv6t is several hundred dollars more expensive at a comparable configuration, and I don't know if the screen is as good as the Clevo (not saying it isn't, I just know that the Clevo screen is one of the best, and I don't know anything about the HP). So I wouldn't say it 'blows the Clevo out of the water', it's better in some areas and worse in others (like price).

    That being said, the Clevo sucks for many reasons (see my previous comment) so it may be that in useability the HP does blow the Clevo out of the water; I don't know as I have never used the HP.
    Reply
  • lolthisisfunny - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    Just made an account so I could tell you that you are way wrong. The dv6t has REGULAR 30% coupons that bring the price of a 6770m laptop to as little as 800 bucks.

    I used to have a dv6t, sold it, but for 1000 bucks with tax I got:

    1080p matte screen
    quad core 2630qm
    amd 6770m

    You won't find a better deal for raw specs anywhere else.

    This mythlogic costs 1637. LOL
    Reply
  • bji - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    You are right, that is a better price. However, is the screen the same quality as the Clevo's screen? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - link

    Take your dv6t price, add $250 for the 120GB Intel SSD, another $150 to upgrade the CPU from the 2630QM to the 2720QM, and an additional $120 to upgrade from the AUO B156HW01 v1 to the v4 -- both are matte, but the v4 is 95% NTSC gamut with slightly better viewing angles and better overall color.

    You're at $1674 for the basic setup, minus a 30% coupon (if you wait around for one to show up), and you still have to pay $250 for the Intel 120GB SSD since you can't configure it from HP that way. Or, you can take the Clevo, drop the SSD, downgrade the LCD and CPU, and you'd be looking at closer to $1200.

    Basically, it's the same price minus the 30% coupon you mention, which isn't always available. As for the graphics... well, that's a whole different can of worms. 6770M is faster than GTX 540M, but against the 555M it's a toss up. NVIDIA's Optimus versus AMD's discrete graphics however ends up woefully lopsided in favor of NVIDIA, unless you don't care about battery life?
    Reply
  • GSNorby - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    Nice review on the Pollux 1400.
    I would point out one fundamental difference between the other Clevo customizers and MYTHLOGIC: The Phoenix Upgrade Policy is unique in my experience.

    What this policy does is to assure people like me, who often agonize over component choices, that they won't be left in the cold when newer, better components come available. (In my previous experience, that happens about 26 seconds after the sale is final.) With MYTHLOGIC, you can upgrade very inexpensively, for the life of the system.
    From their webpage:
    ----
    You will be responsible for all shipping and handling charges (to and from MYTHLOGIC), plus our component cost plus 5% (limited to MYTHLOGIC approved hardware). All labor and testing is on us as part of owning a MYTHLOGIC computer.
    The PHOENIX Upgrade process also includes your MYTHLOGIC computer going through the assembly, pre testing, software configuration, benchmarking and recovery disk creation quality checklists.
    In addition your MYTHLOGIC computer will also receive extra pampering via interior and exterior case cleaning, software updates, driver and firmware updates and a fresh OS install topped off with a brand new Recovery Kit (At your option of course).
    ----

    I have never seen this sort of policy offered by any other vendor. It really adds value to the system, and is the difference between investing in a system and paying over and over for the base unit when new stuff comes along.
    Reply
  • bji - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    The shell and most of the components are identical to several other Clevo models; I bought and sold a very similar Clevo W150HN laptop recently. I bought it because, like the review mentions, it is hard to get better bang-for-the-buck value than with this generation of Clevos. The cost of the entire laptop is not much more than the cost of the constituent parts, and you are getting lots of horsepower and a great display for your money.

    I agree that the display is just incredible (I also got the 95% color gamut matte display and agree that it is among the best laptop displays available). And the laptop itself was fairly well built.

    However, that's just about all that I can say that is good about this generation of Clevos. They run a bit hot and have very annoying fan noise (although it is my understanding that the W150HR has better fan controller firmware and runs the fan quieter and less often than the ridiculous W150HN). The keyboard is TERRIBLE. I know these things are subjective but seriousy, I could not imagine a more flexy, squishy, looser and more awkward feeling keyboard than that on these Clevos. Also they have a really dumb number pad layout that is nearly useless and wastes real estate (from what I understand; I never use number pads anyway but I did find the placement of several keys that I do use like delete and page up/down annoying). The speakers are regarded as some of the worst available on any laptop. And the headphone jack, at least on my unit and running under Linux, was not able to drive my headphones more than maybe 1/2 normal volume at the highest volume setting. The touchpad has a very unpleasant feel and is so super sensitive that just having your palms above it while typing is enough to send your pointer randomly off into no man's land frustratingly often.

    Make no mistake, these laptops are ALL FUNCTION, and absolutely ZERO FORM. Meaning, that if you just need raw horsepower in the most ungainly package possible, then these are a really great value. If you care at all about the experience of using the laptop, then move on. These just suck. I was so disappointed that I sold mine after 2 months at a $400 loss. I was lured by the specs and excited to receive it but my excitement quickly wore off in the face of all of the useability issues with the laptop I found myself almost never using it, because it was so unpleasant.
    Reply
  • sablar - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    I bought the MSI GE620DX which is very similar in terms of specification (555m, 144, 128-bit, 1080p) and in being kind of a budget gaming notebook.

    Pretty happy with it overall. Mine settles in the low 80C and isn't very loud but I got the i5-2410 instead of i7 version for a good price so that kind of explains it. GPU is clocked higher and around same temp. Also has a good screen. Bad part is the touchpad which is awful with hard-to-press buttons and poor scrolling, you can't open it without voiding warranty if adding RAM or so, Could be an option for those looking at the clevo.
    Reply
  • JLM - Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - link

    Had three criterea for a laptop. 15.6 inch FHD display. Fast graphics and a solid chassis.

    Bought an HP dv6t and returned it for a horrible flex on the keyboard and cheap tin-can design and material joins.

    Bought an XPS15 and returned it for a whimpy graphics card.

    Looked at Alienware and rejected immature design.

    Finally bought a Sager (this model) from xoticPC and could NOT be happier. Fast graphics, perfect display, no flex on the keyboard, no bloat, port positioning...

    As far as build, better than the HP by far, about on par with the XPS. Design is completely understated and businesslike. Pressing down on all spots of the keyboard there is no flex like the HP...

    Best of all, totally understated design. This thing could belong in an office environment no problem.

    I bought three years parts and labor warranty and had them put on arctic silver. I guess if it gets too hot they will have to fix it. I can play games with it on my lap. It does heat up on the left side, but doesn't burn.

    Highly recommended. Check out the notebook check review as well.
    Reply
  • bhima - Thursday, August 25, 2011 - link

    I have the 540m MYTHLOGIC version of this machine and its been running strong. You can't beat that 95% gamut matte screen, I don't think I'll ever go back to a crappy base-model panel again. Reply

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