15.6 Inches of 1080p-ness

It's a fact: we gripe incessantly about bad screens around here, and with good reason. The screens that go into notebooks are almost consistently terrible across the board, even by woefully cheap TN panel standards. Dismal viewing angles, dire color gamut, mediocre contrast and brightness...these are the problems that consistently plague the review units that pass through our hands. Which is a large part of how Dell wound up snaring our Gold Editors' Choice award with the XPS 15: that notebook had an awesome screen.

That said, there are other 15.6" notebooks with 1080p screens, and though they're rare, the Clevo B5130M is one of them. Upgrading from the stock 1366x768 screen to this 1080p panel is a paltry $56 from AVADirect, making it pretty much a slam dunk if you plan on ordering from them. But how well does it perform?

So it's not the best screen we've reviewed here. That said, the 1080p Hannstar panel in the Clevo B5130M does come awfully close. Even subjectively it's a nice screen with good viewing angles and a fairly wide "sweet spot," but the numbers back it up. When doing battery testing, our standard 100-nit brightness is the second-lowest setting in Windows for the screen, and believe me when I say it goes way up. If there's any disappointment here, it's that Clevo doesn't use the same AU Optronics panel that Dell does, but this screen also doesn't have the benefit of the kind of backlighting Dell's does either. The result is a great contrast ratio but only better-than-average color gamut.

Battery, Noise, and Heat Conclusion: Good but not Great
POST A COMMENT

25 Comments

View All Comments

  • Hrel - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    You said if you want to up performance AND have storage capacity you'd have to spend 500+ on an SSD. But Clevo offers the Seagate Momentus XT all the way up to 500GB. Based on your review I gather that hard drive is plenty fast AND much better bang/buck. SSD's are still WAY too expensive for most people. Personally I simply refuse to spend more than 100 bucks on any single hard drive, no matter what the speed is.

    I've said it before, when something good like the sandforce controller is paired with 128GB ish of storage capacity for less than 100 bucks, that's when I'll take the SSD plunge.

    P.S. Personally, I like the look of the glossy around the screen. I'm not sure why you hate it so much, I guess I just don't open laptops in a way that my fingerprints end up there. I'm just glad the palm rest isn't glossy.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    Done: Well I'm sold. Dell forces you to upgrade the CPU, even if you don't want to, if you upgrade the GPU. That pisses me off AND it's stupid in no small part because they claim it's a "compatibility issue". I'm impressed with the performance numbers here, and the screen. I like the thermal headroom and would probably overclock the GPU a little. I do wish the speakers were better, like in the Dell. In the end I think this offers a better Bang for Buck ratio.

    I asked several times for you guys to review the Clevo unit Cyberpower.com sells, I asked them to let you review it too. My friend ended up buying it, the screen looks a lot better than my 1.5 year old Dell Stuido screen, 1080p. Has the HD5650 in it, a Core i5 560M. The thing lasts 4 hours while he's playing Civ 5 on it. It's CRAZY hot though. All in all I think this Clevo unit is the new best bang for buck laptop out there. I like that the GPU is Nvidia instead of AMD cause my video rendering is sped up my Nvidia, but Cyberlink doesn't support AMD. And Optimus is always good. I do really wish you guys could get one of those in house though from Cyberpower. The design of that one is glossy and worse than this one; not a deal breaker though. I kinda like the minimalist design of this laptop.
    Finally, I like that avadirect offers the Momentus XT out the gate. Cyberpower doesn't so we had to buy one and swap hard drives then re-install everything. Anyway, I've carried on too long now, Great review!
    Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    I meant compal from cyberpower, not Clevo. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    I've sent in another request... with SB coming so soon, we may or may not get a chance to look at the Compal, but we shall see. Reply
  • coldfoot - Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - link

    Jarred, why not the Asus N53Jf-XE1? It's just over $1k at Amazon, and has the same screen and GPU as this laptop. Reply
  • Hrel - Saturday, December 4, 2010 - link

    I agree, that laptop is 999 on newegg and it looks pretty amazing. Includes blu ray for under 1K? Wow. Jarred, you know if you guys ever need any help reviewing stuff I'm available, haha, but seriously. Reply
  • Diosjenin - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    Since I'm writing this from my B5130M (Sager-branded as an NP5135), I suppose I'll throw in a few thoughts re: comparison to the XPS 15.

    * Yes, the numpad sucks. But this is in comparison to the XPS 15, which doesn't HAVE a numpad. If having one is a must for anyone, regardless of the specifics of its implementation, then the Clevo wins, period.

    * Port placement along the Clevo is unquestionably better. The ports on the XPS 15 are spread out all over the place, whereas all but the DC port (rear) and a single USB 2.0 port (right) are along the left side - a godsend to any right-handed users who connect any external drives/monitors/etc. and don't want wires getting in their way while they're using the mouse next to the right side of the laptop.

    * If memory serves, the Clevo is about half a pound lighter, as well as a quarter to half an inch smaller in both width and depth.

    * The screen is beautiful, but could definitely stand a matte plastic border (as you well noted).

    * I'm not sure where you got your price figures from, but I have to say that I got mine far cheaper. I only have an i5-460M, but with a 1080p screen and 500GB hard drive, mine only cost ~$844 (before shipping, which was an extra $28). Considering that was an extra ~$75 less than an equivalently specced XPS 15 (which was itself discounted about 9%), the choice for me was quite simple. I'm rather curious to know if your $930 base price figure comes from Clevo or somewhere else...?
    Reply
  • Diosjenin - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    "Edit": Re-read the article a bit more closely; I assume the price comes from AVADirect (though do correct me if I'm wrong). So I went back to my vendor (XoticPC): base price of $769.00, price as yours is configured of $1044.00.

    http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np5125-built-clevo-b1...
    Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    Their price also probably included an OS, which I always take out so I can do it myself. Reply
  • Diosjenin - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    Yeah, first thing I do to a new PC is wipe it, too. :P

    Even if I *do* include 64-bit Home Premium with the XoticPC configuration, though, it *still* holds a ~$75 lead over the equivalent AVADirect...
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now