Design & Layout
The finish, however, is an interesting touch; both the lid and the keyboard area have a waffled design that resists fingerprints as well or better than anything we’ve seen. Further, it’s worth mentioning that for as dressed down as the Monster is in terms of style, that aesthetic will certainly appeal to some users, and the subtlety of the waffled finish adds a bit of stylish interest.
Unfortunately, that rough texture also covers the touchpad, which makes for a somewhat uncomfortable user experience. If rubbing your fingertips over a sandpaper-like pad isn’t bad enough, we found that the touchpad got rather hot after extended use, as well. Even though the multitouch pad offers nice amenities such as two-finger scrolling, users will definitely want to plug in an external mouse whenever possible.
The chiclet-style keyboard, though by nature not necessarily ideal for gaming, is well crafted considering how little space is available. The letter keys are sufficiently large, enough so that we found the WASD cluster to be reasonably comfortable, and the space bar fit naturally under our thumb. The Shift, Enter, and arrow keys are a bit small though, so users should be aware of that; it's also worth noting that the arrow keys are located in a somewhat inconvenient spot--tucked away at the lower right corner of the keyboard.
The Fn key grants users access to a numpad, basic media buttons, brightness controls, webcam on/off toggle button, WiFi and Bluetooth on/off toggle buttons, and more.
There is no optical drive on board the Monster to save space and cost, but users can opt for an external ODD when configuring their system. On the left side of the notebook is the LAN port, VGA and HDMI ports, headphone and mic jacks, and two USB 3.0 ports. The exhaust fan blows out this side as well, and although the system stays remarkably quiet at all times, the exhaust area gets rather warm after long gaming sessions.
The 9-in-1 media card reader neatly tucked away on the front side of the case (below and to the left of the touchpad area), and the right side contains just a lock slot, a lone USB 2.0 port, and the AC adapter jack.
Eurocom isn’t keen on bloatware as a matter of course, but there are a few items pre-installed that are designed to let users adjust component settings, which include the BisonCam and webcam installer, network manager, KeepSafe Personal Safe, a fingerprint scanner, and THX TruStudio.
And now, it’s on to the benchmarks to see how this little fellow performs.