The battery life is not outstanding. For a gaming notebook, 100 minutes in the Classic Test of the P150HMBAT-8 Battery Eater tool (maximum brightness) and just under 4.5 hours in the Reader’s Test (minimum brightness) are not bad.
In our standardized WLAN test (average energy saving), the 15-incher shuts down after 3.5 hours. You can enjoy videos from DVD for just under three hours on battery. Overall, the results remind us of the XMG P703. Great: The GeForce GTX 765M is only 10% slower on battery.
The dark gray case is based on the Clevo P150SM barebone, which looks – apart from a few smaller details – like the old Clevo P150EM (Schenker XMG P502).
Apart from the connectivity, Clevo only changed the position of the Fn key and the display bezel. After years of critique, the glossy bezel, extremely susceptible to scratching, was finally replaced by a matte one.
The lid and palm rests are again rubberized and feel nice to the touch. If you do not touch the case with greasy fingers, it does not get too dirty. Glossy devices like the DevilTech Devil 6700 are definitely bigger fingerprint magnets.
The build quality of the P150SM barebone is decent. Although the 15-incher cannot completely keep up with Asus’s G55VW or the DELL Alienware M14x, it also does not fail. Most of the plastic parts connect neatly to each other.
The stability is on a similar high level. If you ignore that the lid wobbles a little bit (a typical notebook problem), the case is rather flexural rigid even if stronger pressure is applied. Users who are not too demanding should be satisfied with the quality experience. We especially liked the simple and timeless design, which might appear conservative to some. The 15-inch laptop is miles away from the cheap “bling” look of MSI notebooks (e.g. see the GT60).
With a size of 376 x 256 x 49 mm and a weight of just under 3.2 kg, the Schenker W503 does not belong with the slimmest and lightest notebooks. Nevertheless, it can be properly transported if you do not mind the 850 g, 168 x 83 x 35 mm power adapter.
The connectivity is very similar to the XMG P502. The rear side houses the power-in, an HDMI-out, a DisplayPort and a mini DisplayPort (once DVI). Three digital video outs are quite a lot and not all competitors deliver that many.
The right side provides a Kensington Lock, a USB 2.0 port and four audio jacks for connecting a surround sound system (7.1 sound). On the left side there is a card reader (nine formats), an eSATA/USB 3.0 combi-port, two further USB 3.0 ports, an RJ-45 Gigabit LAN interface, and a mini FireWire port. Some users might be disappointed that Clevo does not include a Thunderbolt interface.
The interface layout is alright. The interfaces are positioned towards the back, ensuring the workspace left and right of the notebook is kept largely free from cables, even if many are connected. When you use an external mouse, you will appreciate this.
The Clevo comes with a Full HD webcam with 2.0 MP, an integrated microphone, and a fingerprint reader between the touchpad buttons.
The test device features an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 combi-adapter, which supports WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. In contrast to the cheaper Centrino Wireless-N 2230, the 6235 can also handle the 5 GHz frequency (maximum: 300 Mbit/s). According to our experiences, the range is mid-range.
While the CLEVO P150HM barebone was equipped with a chiclet keyboard without backlight, the P150EM featured such components and so does the P150SM.
The keys of just under 17 x 17 mm (13 x 13 mm effective) can be lit in several colors and brightness levels. The user-friendly software also supports several special modes (Tempo, Breath, Cycle etc.), which turn the 15-incher into a mini disco. You can even configure three zones.
The typing experience is decent. Pressure point and stroke are well defined. Because of the unusual layout (displaced ><|-key, one-row enter key) a longer training time is required. Pros are sufficiently big cursor keys and the four column number pad.
The special features are advantageous. Apart from brightness and volume you can also control touchpad and display, webcam, and Wi-Fi module via the F-keys. Typing is neither especially quiet nor very loud.
The popular Synaptics Touchpad V7.2 is used as mouse replacement. It supports several multi-touch gestures. As expected these include zooming, scrolling, and rotation. Standard scrolling via scroll areas on the right and bottom edge is also possible. During the test, the gestures were mostly reliably recognized. The precision can also hardly be criticized.
However, we wonder why the touchpad was rubberized. The gliding traits of the “sticky” surface are modest. In addition, the size of 88 x 47 mm is not particularly big. While the dedicated mouse buttons (single bar) are easily accessible, they sound somewhat rickety. The touchpad is slightly sunk into the palm rests to compensate the fact that it lacks a light.
The 15.6-inch non-glare screen features a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. Users used to HD or HD+ displays might be unaccustomed to such a high resolution at the beginning, but high-end notebooks are expected to support Full HD. When you work with many windows simultaneously, you will appreciate the advantages of 1920×1080 pixels. Of course, the enormous calculation requirements are a big disadvantage. Even gaming graphics cards like the GeForce GTX 765M are sometimes too slow for maximum details.
Clevo chose an excellent screen. The LG Philips LP156WF1-TLF3 already demonstrated its strengths in other high-end notebooks like the MSI GX60, the Schenker XMG A522, or the DevilTech Fire DTX.
The brightness of about 260 cd/m² exceeds the usual level (200-250 cd/m²). The black level of 0.43 cd/m² is rather low, but dark film and gaming scenes still look slightly grayish. However, many TN competitors perform significantly worse here.
To summarize, our test sample achieved a contrast of about 650:1. So, the panel ranges in between ordinary displays and absolute top screens. Despite the not extraordinary big color coverage, the colors will appear vivid and natural to most users.
Thanks to the matte finish and the decent brightness, outdoor usage is comfortable. The image is easily legible under normal lightning conditions. Annoying reflections known from glare-type models (DELL Alienware M17x R4) are scarce. As the brightness drops by more than 50% on battery, you should connect the power adapter outdoors. (CLEVO 6-87-X710S-4272 batteries)
The viewing angles are more than decent. In a horizontal direction, the image hardly changes at acute angles. Although, you will face the usual weaknesses of a TN screen in a vertical direction, the LG Philips LP156WF1-TLF3 performs better than most of its competitors.
The modest sound is one of the most striking disadvantages of the P150EM barebone, although it comes with Onkyo speakers and THX TruStudio Pro. Despite Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 technology, which also stems from Creative and significantly improves the sound, the sound can overall not really convince.
Compared to the MSI GT60, which features high-end Dynaudio speakers, the 15-incher sounds less precise, voluminous, and balanced. Also, the good maximum volume and the integrated subwoofer cannot really improve this. If you frequently run PC games or watch videos, you should connect a headset or external speakers.
It’s a pity that Clevo does not use a similar sound system as in the P177SM or P370EM. The 17-inch brother devices sound significantly better. At least it shows some improvement compared to the XMG P502.
Clevo did not risk much in regard to the look of the P150SM barebone. Apart from a slightly different connectivity and a matte display bezel the 15-inch laptop looks very much like the old P150EM barebone.
However, a lot was changed inside. Besides an additional mSATA slot, the cutting-edge motherboard has to be mentioned. Intel’s Haswell processors are the new mobile top models. The performance of the GeForce GTX 765M is also noteworthy. High graphics settings do usually not pose a problem. Those who want even faster performance can configure a more expensive GPU model. (SAMSUNG AA-PBPN8NP batteries)
Speaking of configuration: The excellent maintenance and upgrade possibilities belong to the biggest advantages of the P150SM barebone. The 15-incher is very user-friendly. Its matte Full HD screen, the vast connectivity and the uniform keyboard light also contribute to a positive overall impression. In general, the case scores points with a simple design, a good build quality, and a decent stability. We also liked the rubberized surfaces and the inconspicuous temperature increase.
However, we have to criticize the high system noise. The Schenker W503 is not a device for everyone. Sound and touchpad could also be better. As there are far more advantages than disadvantages, gaming enthusiasts can nevertheless safely buy it.
More info: laptop-batteries.com.au, laptop-battery.org.uk, battery-store.eu