AVADirect Clevo P180HM Gaming Notebook Review

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Overall Design & Layout

Fair warning -- none of our pictures do the P180HM justice. We realize that's a terrible lead-in to this part of the review, but it's not a cop out for lazy photography. It's extremely challenging to photograph a system as glossy this one, which looks incredibly sleek and slick in person, even if it doesn't show up well in pictures when you're constantly trying to battle reflections. That's not a knock against the P180HM, and as far as glossy systems go, this is one of the better looking ones on the market.



The first thing you need to know about P180HM is that it's big. Really big. It has an 18.4-inch LED backlit display with a Full HD 1920x1080 resolution. It's bright and vibrant, although the viewing angle is a little restrictive. There's a lot of real estate on the P180HM, and if you spend a significant amount of time playing with it, like we did, it will make 17-inch laptops almost feel small by comparison.

You should also know that the P180HM is heavy. As we pointed out earlier, this system is portable, meaning you can move it from room to room or across town to a LAN party with considerably less fuss than what's involved with lugging around a desktop tower, but it's not mobile. It weighs more than 12 pounds, is unwieldy considering its size, and the amount of horsepower it's packing requires having a power source close by for any extended computing or gaming sessions.

 

The entire lid is covered with a glossy finish accentuated with a tribal tramp stamp in the middle of its backside. It glows when the system is turned on, and just like in real life, it means you're in a for a fast and wild ride (don't forget to bring protection if you plan on surfing the Web -- antivirus software isn't installed by default).

That big hole in the center of the grill is for the power adapter, which is flanked by vents on both sides. It takes a bit of cooling prowess to keep a pair of GTX 560M GPUs and a quad-core processor in check, and towards that end, the P180HM is louder than most laptops. It's not to the point of being obnoxious, nor will you hear it over your headphones or speakers, but you'll definitely know when it's turned on.



Flip open the lid and you'll be treated to more gloss, a sleek trackpad, fingerprint security, and a full-sized keyboard. Along the top of the keyboard are several touch-sensitive media buttons and volume control, each of which glows when the system is on. Over on the left side of the plank are a series of customizable macro keys, further reiterating that the P180HM is first and foremost a gaming machine.

There's a numpad on the right-hand side, though Clevo shortened the zero key and enter key, and moved the decimal button to the top. That takes some getting used to if you're a data entry nerd, otherwise you won't skip a beat the few times you actually use it.




Clevo squeezed a whole bunch of connectivity ports onto the left side of the P180HM, and AVADirect tossed in a Blu-ray reader. From left to right, here's what you'll find:
  • DVI-I output
  • Two USB 2.0 ports
  • RJ-45 LAN jack (GbE LAN)
  • HDMI output (with HDCP)
  • 9-in-1 memory card reader
  • Two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports
  • Mini IEEE 1394a (FireWire) port
We like that the USB 3.0 ports are the ones closest to the front, as that's where you're most likely to plug an external drive into, leaving the other two for a keyboard or mouse.



Turn the P180HM around to the right side and you'll find another pair of USB 2.0 ports (bringing the total number of USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports to six), the power button. Kinsington lock, ExpressCard 54/34 slot, and audio jacks (headphone, microphone, S/PDIF output, and Line-in).

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