AVADirect's Clevo W860CU: Mobility 5870 vs. GTX 285Mby Dustin Sklavos on June 3, 2010 11:25 PM EST
AVADirect Clevo W860CU Overview
The Clevo W860CU units graciously provided to us by AVADirect are certainly heavy, sturdy beasts, and they have to be to cool hardware that powerful. These are thick, well-built machines, with nicely understated looks: black with silver accents may be the de facto standard for notebooks at this point, but there's a good reason for it. As a result, the notebooks are physically notable more for their size than their appearance. The dearth of glossy plastics is much appreciated given the sea of fingerprint magnets populating the notebook marketplace today; only the screen bezel and the indicator region above the keyboard are glossy.
Chiclet-style keyboards and number pads are becoming more and more common these days, and the W860CU is no exception. This is always going to be a matter of preference for individual users, but for what it's worth, the keyboard is comfortable enough to use although the layout does leave something to be desired. Dedicated Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys would have been greatly appreciated; people who intend to use this notebook for any kind of serious word processing are going to have to adjust to using Fn-key combinations. There aren't any hard switches either; screen brightness, volume, and wireless toggles are all handled by Fn-key combinations. It isn't a tremendous nuisance, but when you're paying well over a grand for a notebook, a hard wireless switch at least would be nice.
The one good—albeit initially confusing—touch is the placement of the power button on the right side of the screen hinge. Port placement and variety is also excellent, with the W860CU featuring all major modern ports, including dual-link DVI, HDMI, eSATA, FireWire, and four USB 2.0 ports. If there's one disappointing omission, it may be the lack of DisplayPort. This is more of a nitpick than a legitimate beef, but the inclusion of DisplayPort might have made Eyefinity on the Radeon-equipped unit a nice pipe dream.
At the end of the day, the W860CU isn't going to win any beauty contests but it's not liable to flunk out either. The general lack of glossy plastics in favor of more comfortable and smudge-resistant matte black plastics goes a long way towards keeping the generally rugged-feeling unit looking pristine and new. If you want to feel like you're at the helm of a big box of power, Clevo's design will certainly do the trick.