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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  • CAndrews - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    Is a review of the W520 coming? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    Sadly, no. Lenovo has not sent any review samples to us for a couple years. Reply
  • TotalLamer - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    Oh really... ? What did you guys do to piss in their Cheerios? Haha.

    But on another note... any chance of a review on the 3830TG you mentioned? It's a nice looking machine and seems like the only notebook that can even come close to competing with everything you can get in a Sony Vaio SA (except for the 1600x900 display) but I've heard not-so-nice things about the heat dissipation
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    Yes, I'm working on the review. And it really *is* a nice looking machine with no major issues so far. I haven't tried stress-testing it for heat yet, and that may be the one area where it has some problems. We'll see. Reply
  • TotalLamer - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    Yeah... I've heard there's throttling. Lots and lots of throttling. BAD throttling. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    I thought I saw something stating the GPU speed was 600MHz at one point when I was messing around (instead of the normal 672MHz of the GT 540M). Considering the dimensions of the chassis, I was actually quite shocked that they have the 540M in there. Reply
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    I briefly had the lowest-end config with the 2310 cpu and it throttled down to 1.3GHz under Prime95 without anything stressing the GPU, so I'm pretty sure I know what result you'll get, Jarred.
    Still, at $600 you get a really good feature set and hardware for the money but the quality control is non-existing. Of the 3 I had, 2 had corruption in HDMI output that made it unusable and 1 had half the keyboard keys not working. Going to play the lottery some more today to try and get a working one...
    Reply
  • rallstarz - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the review! I am trying to decide between the W150HR and the Dell XPS 15. Since I don't much mind for limited battery life and don't mind so much the nonstandard keyboard, it seems that the Clevo gives the best bang for the performance buck. My only concern is the longevity of the laptop. Do you know if pushing the thermal specs will significantly decrease longevity? Also (and I know you touched on this) for general use/gaming, does the system hit max cpu load for an extended period of time, or is your "worst-case" scenario truly a situation that the system does not generally hit? Reply
  • mythlogic - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    Hey, I carry around one of these for my own use. It only gets REALLY hot (and never ever really hits 100 under "normal use") when i'm gaming on it, but just sitting on my lap its never too bad, or on a desk. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    Playing a game for a couple hours, you can expect to hit CPU temperatures of around 90-94C, which is hot but not quite 100C. Reply

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