AVADirect Clevo X8100 Core i7 Gaming Notebook Review

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Overall Design & Layout



It's not just the size of the Clevo X8100 that will intimidate any other mobile gamers in the vicinity, but the sleek, glossy finish and mean curves. Like Alienware's M11x, the Clevo X8100 demands your attention like no ordinary notebook can and sets the tone that your upcoming frag fest is more than just a friendly get together.



At more than 12 pounds, the X8100 feels rugged, and while we wouldn't want to send it down a flight of steps, we imagine it could be used as a lethal weapon in a pinch - a two-handed swing to the side of mugger's noggin and he'll quickly reconsider his career choice. The sturdy plastic casing comes accented with metal borders and an extra large hinge, and the glowing tribal design on the cover adds a menacing touch.

 

You can never have too many USB ports, and the Clevo X8100 comes with four of them (two on the left and two on the right), one of which pulls double duty as an eSATA port (right side). On the left side you'll also find an optional Blu-ray/DVD combo drive; HDMI In/Out ports; Firewire, DVI, and Ethernet ports; 7-in-1 memory card reader; and ExpressCard slot, while the right side houses the four audio jacks, CATV connector, and Kensington Lock.

As a high end gaming notebook packed with heat producing components, cooling is absolutely essential, and Clevo constructed a pair of front-mounted ventilation grills on the front lid to suck fresh air in. Hot air rushes out of the rear exhaust grills, and remarkably the fans never sound obnoxious like you might expect on a setup of this caliber. Even during intense gaming sessions, the noise never distracted us and was on par with notebooks packing considerably less hardware.

 

An 18.4-inch chassis affords a ton of space, and Clevo doesn't let any of it go to waste. Popping open the lid, you'll discover a full-sized plank sporting chiclet-style keys and a complete Numpad (albeit slightly rearranged), but that's not all. To the left of the keyboard are eight programmable gaming macro keys reminiscent of Logitech's G1x series.



Below the keyboard you'll find a sleek Synaptics touchpad with an LED border and fingerprint reader, all of which is surrounded by an ample wrist rest measuring about 4.5 inches from top to bottom. Combined with nearly 6.5 inches to the left and about 7.5 inches to the right of the trackpad, there's plenty of room to rest your wrists, arms, and probably a small sedan (we're pretty sure a Prius would fit).

Several lighted touch controls adorn the top deck above the keyboard, including an LED color toggle, which is used to control the lighting on the lid's tribal graphic, as well as the front and back speaker grills. There are seven colors to choose from -- blue, pink, light blue, white, red, green, yellow -- and if you're feeling indecisive, you can configure the colors to change in 3, 5, 10, or 15 second intervals. Other touch controls include the webcam module, Bluetooth module, Silent Mode toggle (a power saving feature), Wi-Fi toggle, web browser switch, sound effects equalizer, and a mute button. On the far right sits a curved volume control.

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