Notebookcheck

Review Clevo W150ER Barebone Notebook

Florian Glaser (translated by Martina Osztovits), 05/25/2012

Hardware-Update. Hardly any other notebook was followed with such a great interest than the Clevo W150ER in 2011. Powerful components and a decent non-reflective display: the 15-inch all-rounder features a successful and rather unique blend. In 2012 Schenker release an update. The XMG A502 focuses more on inner components than on chassis.

Schenker XMG A502

Judging by our forum, Schenker met the taste of the notebook community with the XMG A501. More than 100.000 clicks and 1600 comments prove that the powerful all-rounder with an attractive price is very popular. While other manufacturers put customers off with cheap and reflective displays, the 15-incher features a a high-end non-glare display. The GeForce GT 555M is also respectable for a mid-range notebook.

About a year after our in-depth review we could now examine the new model (pre series). While the XMG A502 largely looks like the predecessor, there is much new inside. It is based on Intel's current Chief River platform (HM76 chip set), which supports old Sandy Bridge processors and the new Ivy Bridge generation. Schenker offers all price categories from cheap dual-core solutions up to expensive quad cores. The GeForce GT 650M based on Nvidia's Kepler architecture, which already impressed with its energy efficiency in the One M73-20, is used as graphics card.

As the mainboard only features two memory slots a maximum of 16 GB DDR3 RAM is supported (most users will not require more than four or eight GB). We appreciate that two hard drives can be installed. The A501 required an ODD caddy for this. If you do not have enough money for a modern Solid State Drive, you can also select weaker HDDs or hybrid models. Entertainment fans will configure a Blu ray drive instead of a DVD burner. Super: Although Schenker Notebooks is located in Germany they offer various keyboard models. An operating system is not included in the basic package.

The A502 starts at 779 Euro (or 975 USD). According to current plans the device will be launched around 21st of May.

Case

matte surfaces
matte surfaces

Schenker do not produce the case themselves, but they use a chassis from the Taiwanese company Clevo. The W150ER barebones model only looks marginally different than the old W150HR.

Besides a redesigned front part, slightly thicker base plate, and different connectivity, the A501 resembles the A502. So, the new model has the same advantages and disadvantages.

It is above average in height. While most all-round laptops are about four centimeters high, the XMG A502 is nearly five centimeters. A weight of 2.9 kilogram (incl. two hard drives) is also much for a 15-inch device.

The buyer looks for metal surfaces in vain. The laptop is entirely made of plastics. Contrary to the matte keyboard surface and the glossy display frame (fingerprints!) the palm rests and lid have a roughened texture. Speaking of the lid: The shrunken XMG logo is now composed of only three stickers and no longer of many small ones.

We think that the build quality is fair. The case is solid and its stability is alright. The chassis has to be pressed quite heavily before it yields. The lid is not that flexural rigid, but this is not utterly important in practice.

The unobtrusive look is a matter of taste. Clevo, a barebones manufacturer, do not favor colorful LED-elements or noticeable colors. The dark gray chassis looks decent and timeless. Because of the stiff hinges the base unit lifts up when opening the lid.

Connectivity

Interfaces

The connectivity is superior. The right side houses an optical drive, a USB-2.0 port, and three audio jacks (headphones, microphone,  S/PDIF). The rear only provides a Kensington Lock, the front no interfaces at all. Most of the ports are on the left side: power in, RJ-45 Gigabit LAN port, VGA, two USB-3.0-Ports, and an eSATA/USB-3.0 combo. Suboptimal: The HDMI output is directly below the 9-in-1 card reader.

The port distribution only partly convinced us. Since Clevo moved the fan further back, several ports are now closer to the front. Left handers will no longer experience that much heat, but attached cables might annoy.

Wireless Communication

The Bigfoot Killer Wireless-N 1102 Networks adapter is responsible for wireless data transfer. The mini-PCIe card supports WLAN a/b/g/n and features two antennas and a maximum transfer rate of 300 Mbit/s (2.4 + 5 GHz). The pre-installed Networks Manager displays a large amount of information and helps to configure it optimally. Unfortunately the module does not support Bluetooth.

Maintenance

Comfortable Maintenance is the one of the biggest advantages of the XMG A502. Regardless whether you wish to reach the cooler, CPU, GPU, RAM, WLAN module or mass storage: You just need to loosen two screws and remove the base plate.

Left: DC-in, VGA, RJ-45 Gigabit-Lan, 2x USB 3.0, 9-in-1 card reader, HDMI, eSATA/USB 3.0
Left: DC-in, VGA, RJ-45 Gigabit-Lan, 2x USB 3.0, 9-in-1 card reader, HDMI, eSATA/USB 3.0
Right: 3x audio, USB 2.0, optical drive
Right: 3x audio, USB 2.0, optical drive
pre-installed software
pre-installed software

Software

As usual Clevo did not install any bloatware. Thanks to Microsoft's Security Essentials and the Starter Edition of Office 2010 you should not require a special Office or antivirus software. Please find figures of the five BIOS menus below.

Accessories

The scope of delivery is typical for notebooks. In the plain box there are only a quick reference guide, a driver DVD and a Multimedia Suite software (Nero 10 Essentials). The 120 watt power adapter is 16 centimeters long, weighs 735 gram and is identical to the predecessor's. The 6-cell battery (330 gram) was not replaced either.

Warranty

The base warranty of two years can optionally be extended to three (Premium) or four years (Platinum). According to the home page it includes a Pickup-&-Return-Service (outside Germany only Bring-In) and an instant repair for several month. Other barebone reseller often only include one year warranty in the base price.

BIOS Main
BIOS Advanced
BIOS Security
BIOS Boot
BIOS Exit
BIOS Schenker XMG A502

Input Devices

Keyboard

If you hoped for the backlit keyboard of the 15-inch XMG P502, you will be disappointed. Clevo again integrated the approved, but unlit Chiclet model. Chiclet  refers to an isolation keyboard with large gaps between keys. In the  XMG A502 the keys are 14 x 14 millimeter and so sufficiently big (F-keys: half height). Even the cursor keys are a convenient size.

While the number block in three columns requires some time getting used to, you will  be quickly able to handle the well structured alphanumeric keyboard. Despite the crisp typing experience, not everybody will like the Chiclet model, as the keyboard is very loud. So, the notebook is less appropriate to quiet public rooms (e.g. libraries).

Note: Owners of Clevo notebooks complain that the space bar does not reliably respond if pressed on the sides. We also observed this problem.

Touchpad

Never change a running system« was probably the motto here. Clevo continue to use the »sandpaper surface« criticized by us, which has indeed a good feedback, but a negative impact on smoothness and does not feel nice to the touch. According to several forum members, it is also not very durable: After several weeks or months the surface wears off considerably.

In all other aspects the touchpad scores fair to well. Neither precision nor size (90 x 45 millimeter) can be complained about. Furthermore, the touchpad deserves praise for supporting numerous gestures. The built-in ELAN model mostly recognizes finger movements without problems. If you do not want to risk faulty inputs, you can easily deactivate the touchpad.

The two mouse buttons are not especially good. They tilt considerably in the bottom area.

Keyboard
Keyboard
Touchpad
Touchpad

Display

Just as in the XMG A501 the display has a native resolution of either 1600 x 900 or 1920 x 1080 pixels. It's up to you whether Full-HD is ideal or too fine for a 15-inch device. Our test sample featured the high-resolution non-glare model.

332
cd/m²
332
cd/m²
318
cd/m²
347
cd/m²
372
cd/m²
346
cd/m²
335
cd/m²
375
cd/m²
355
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 375 cd/m²
Average: 345.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Center on Battery: 372 cd/m²
Black: 0.63 cd/m²
Contrast: 590:1

Schenker do not use cheap standard fare, but a high-end LG-Philips display (LP156WF1). The average brightness of 346 cd/m² is brighter than most of the competition. The HD+ panel of the predecessor could only achieve about 200 cd/m² in our review.

However, the black value is not really a reference. While nearly 0.6 cd/m² is not bad (1.0 cd/m² is common), dark game and video scenes already appear slightly gray. As the black value depends on the brightness, you should dim the display a little bit. In contrast we appreciate the decent color space and the good contrast (~600:1).

Schenker XMG A502 vs. sRGB (grid)
Schenker XMG A502 vs. sRGB (grid)
Schenker XMG A502 vs. AdobeRGB (grid)
Schenker XMG A502 vs. AdobeRGB (grid)

Would you like to use the A502 outside? No problem! Due to the matte surface and the high brightness the display content even stays well legible in the sun. Only a few notebooks have a similarly good outdoor capability. Most devices either lack brightness or a low glare surface.

Außeneinsatz
Außeneinsatz
Schenker XMG A502 outside

There is also little to criticize in terms of viewing angles. Especially horizontally most all-round notebooks cannot keep up with the A502. In practice wide viewing angels are particularly important if several persons look at the display. In vertical direction the viewing angles are significantly narrower. If you change the opening angle of the lid, you will, depending on the display content, quickly observe changes. However, it is not necessary to permanently readjust the display.

To summarize: The matte Full-HD panel works flawless. Considering the price the quality of the display is more than fair.

Viewing angles Schenker XMG A502
Viewing angles Schenker XMG A502

Performance

Ivy Bridge
Ivy Bridge

Processor

If you want to be technically up to date, we recommend a quad of the current Ivy Bridge generation (22 nm lithography). Judging by the price-performance ratio, only the Core i7-3610QM comes into consideration. Thanks to 1.4 billion transistors and six MB of L3 cache (dual-core: up to four MB), the high-end model is powerful enough for modern games.

Needless to say the processor supports Turbo Boost and Hyper Threading. Turbo Boost is dynamic overclocking, which accelerates the processor by several 100 MHz if possible. On the other side Hyper Threading simulates virtual cores (two in dual cores, four in quad cores).  Intel justifies the relatively high TDP (45 watt) with the integrated DirectX-11 graphics chip. According to our test, the HD Graphics 4000 is significantly faster than the HD Graphics 3000 of the old Sandy-Bridge generation (32 nm).

The manufacturer integrated the popular Optimus technology to improve mobility. If you do not know this technology yet: Optimus is a graphics switching solution from Nvidia, which either selects the frugal Intel or the powerful GeForce GPU depending on the application. You can configure the graphics driver as needed and e.g. change the global profile.

We feel that it is particularly useful that programs can be directly started with the desired graphics unit by right clicking them. The status LEDs above the keyboard show which graphics unit is active: green means Intel, orange equals Nvidia.

Systeminfo CPUZ CPU
Systeminfo CrystalDiskMark (HDD)
Systeminfo CrystalDiskMark (SSD)
Systeminfo HWiNFO
Systeminfo GPUZ
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM SPD
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM
Systeminfo CPUZ Mainboard
Systeminfo CPUZ Cache
Systeminfo DPC Latenzen
System information Schenker XMG A502

Turbo Boost

Since our notebook was struggling with a turbo problem, the measurement of the clock rates were more complicated that we hoped. When the Intel graphics was active, the system behaved as usual: Under load the CPU clock increased significantly. Instead of the usual 2.3 GHz the Core i7-3610QM mostly achieved 3.0 GHz (see figures). As soon as the Nvidia GPU was used, turbo boost was suddenly disabled. On request Schenker confirmed that this is not an isolated case. The entire pre-series is affected by this problem.

The inactive turbo has a negative impact on the graphics benchmarks (only a small one). Compared to the One M73-2O, which also features the GeForce GT 650M, the XMG A502 is just under 10 % slower.

Update: In the meanwhile Clevo told us that they deliberately deactivated the CPU turbo to allow a clock rate as high as possible for the Nvidia graphics. Given the benchmark results we believe that this decision is not optimal. Schenker more or less share our view and want to influence Clevo.

Cinebench R10: Single-Core-Rendering
Cinebench R10: Single-Core-Rendering
Cinebench R10: Multi-Core-Rendering
Cinebench R10: Multi-Core-Rendering

CPU performance

The performance of the Core i7-3610QM leaves nothing to be desired. Although most programs run also sufficiently fast on a dual core, the quad core is significantly faster in several benchmarks. Cinebench R11.5 optimized for multiple cores is a perfect example. The i7 is more than 100% faster (6.05 vs 2.71 points) than the popular Core i5-2450M (Asus N55SL) Sandy Bridge model. The Core i7-2670QM quad-core brother is only barely 15 % slower (5.12 points @ HP Envy 15).

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4393
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
17265
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5577 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
20951 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
6.05 Points
Help
GPU information
GPU information

Graphics Card

Let us turn to the most interesting aspect: the graphics card. While the GeForce GT 555M of the A501 belonged the old Fermi generation (40 nm), the GeForce 650M belongs to Nvidia's brand new Kepler architecture (28 nm).

Although Clevo only chose a model with 1024 MB (2048 MB in the One M73-2O),  the old A501 is considerably outperformed. The performance boost is not only caused by the higher clock rate (735 vs. 590 MHz), but also by better video memory.

Instead of DDR3-VRAM (900 MHz) it features modern GDDR5-VRAM (1000 MHz). So, the bandwidth increases from 28.8 to about twice as high 64.0 GB/s. However, the interface is identical. 128 Bit are usual in notebooks. Because of various reorganisations the number of shader units (384 vs. 144) cannot be directly compared.

In addition to PhysX (advanced physics effects in some games), in particular the new GPU Boost should be mentioned. Like Intel's Core i processors Nvidia's Geforce graphics card can significantly increase their clock rate now too. The Kepler model can clock up to 835 MHz, which is a plus of 10 %. According to GPU-Z the turbo was even used to capacity under full load.

All considered, we would classify the GeForce GT 650M in the upper middle class. The DirectX 11 graphics is about on par with the GTX 560M (old high-end model).

Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.6
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.6
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
7.9

GPU performance

It is amazing how much power a 15-inch notebook can deliver today. 2008 points in 3DMark 11 (GPU-Score, 1280 x 720) could only be achieved by big gaming laptops a few month or years ago. The XMG A501 with a clearly older GPU driver (Forceware 266.40) only achieved 1099 points and is about 50% slower. The new mid-range GeForce GT 640M also does not stand a chance against the GT 650M - it is about 14% slower (1731 points @ Acer Aspire M3).

The same is true in the Unigine Heaven Benchmark (1280 x 1024): The Kepler model achieves 27.6 fps and is 16 % faster than the GT 640M (23.8 fps) and 64 % faster than the GT 555M (16.8 fps). However, the GT 640M is combined with a Sandy Bridge Core i7 ULV processor in the Aspire M3.

3D Mark
3DMark 0331869 points
3DMark 0518135 points
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
13067 points
3DMark Vantage8526 points
3DMark 112178 points
Help
AS SSD benchmark
AS SSD benchmark

Mass storage

It is recommended to configure a Solid State drive if you do not want the mass storage to be a bottleneck. One option would be Intel's new 330 series, which is relatively cheap. We tested the 120 GB SSDSC2CT120A3K5. The SATA-III model weighs just under 60 gram and features the SandForce SF-2281 controller and NAND memory type MLC flash.

In the benchmarks the Solid State Drive delivers a decent performance. The sequential read rate of 490 MB/s does not need to hide behind competitors like the Samsung SSD 830. 145 MB/s in sequential writing are not that great. Several other models achieve above 300 MB/s here (e.g. Asus G75V). The performance is mid-range when transferring small files. The access time is not striking, AS SSD records 0.1 ms (read) and 0.3 ms (write). Verdict: The Intel SSD 330 is good and rather cheap.

Super: Clevo fulfills the wish for a second hard drive slot in the W150ER barebone. In previous models this was only possible via caddy in the drive slot. Of course we took the opportunity and tested the A502 with a combination of SSD and HDD. Schenker built in the Seagate Momentus ST9750420AS, 750 GB 7200 rpm SATA II model (16 MB cache). The benchmark results speak for themselves: Only few HDDs can achieve a transfer rate of just under 120 MB/s (CrystalDiskMark).

Intel SSD 330 Series SSDSC2CT120A3K5
Sequential Read: 457.8 MB/s
Sequential Write: 153 MB/s
512K Read: 398.2 MB/s
512K Write: 152.4 MB/s
4K Read: 24.83 MB/s
4K Write: 86.25 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 118.3 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 149.5 MB/s

System Performance

By selecting appropriate hardware the XMG A502 can be turned into a real application miracle. Our lavishly equipped test sample achieved an outstanding 20151 points in PCMark Vantage and does not only outperforms most multimedia devices but also many gaming notebooks. As the hard drive has a significant impact on the PCMark Vantage Score, the high score is can be explained by the Solid State Drive.

PC Mark
PCMark Vantage20151 points
PCMark 73750 points
Help

Gaming Performance

not always sufficiently fast for maximum details
not always sufficiently fast for maximum details

Is the XMG A502 sufficiently fast for modern games? The answer is »yes« with a small »but«.

The graphics card can easily run less demanding games like FIFA 12, StarCraft 2, Mass Effect 3, or Modern Warfare 3 in maximum details and with active antialiasing. Computationally intensive games like Batman: Arkham City, Crysis 2, Dirt 3 or Skyrim also run decently in 1920 x 1080 pixels, but »only« in high details and/or with deactivated antialiasing. In some extreme scenarios (e.g. Battlefield 3, Metro 2033 & Alan Wake) you should not only turn down the graphics settings, but also the resolution.

As far as we can judge subjectively, the Full HD display interpolates well. 1366 x 768 and 1600 x 900 pixel settings look alright. We recommend the HD+ display if you want to play in pin sharp native resolution.

In our article there is a table which compares the gaming performance of the XMG A502 to other notebooks. Considering all benchmarks the GDDR5 model of the GeForce GT 650M is just under 40 % faster than its smaller sister, the GT 640M. It even outperforms a DDR3 model of the GeForce GT 555M by about 60 %. By the way, the performance does not fall on battery (short test with Modern Warfare 3).

low med.high ultra
Metro 2033 (2010) 49.628.610.4fps
StarCraft 2 (2010) 35.4fps
Mafia 2 (2010) 36.6fps
Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010) 50fps
Crysis 2 (2011) 61.319.4fps
Dirt 3 (2011) 75.224.7fps
Deus Ex Human Revolution (2011) 75.529.2fps
F1 2011 (2011) 6527fps
Fifa 12 (2011) 118.9fps
Batman: Arkham City (2011) 5026fps
Battlefield 3 (2011) 30.315.1fps
CoD: Modern Warfare 3 (2011) 36.1fps
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) 4124.1fps
Anno 2070 (2011) 35.917.7fps
Alan Wake (2012) 32.915.8fps
Mass Effect 3 (2012) 46.6fps
Risen 2: Dark Waters (2012) 34.216.4fps
Diablo III (2012) 157.794.563.444.1fps
Dirt Showdown (2012) 64.448.640.115.5fps

Emissions

Fan
Fan

System Noise

The system noise will again lead to some discussions. When running typical Windows applications (Office, Internet etc.) it is a mixed bag: Fan and HDD often rotate loudly, but the noise does not increase to a disturbing level (~32-35 dB from 15 cm distance). After a certain idle time, cooling and mass storage switch of completely (~29 dB) and the A502 is very quiet.

However, we did not like that the fan sometimes turned up in idle mode without reason. This problem can be alleviated or prevented by choosing the "energy saving" power plan and configure Optimus to globally run the integrated graphics card via Nvidia driver. If you only configure a Solid State Drive and optimize the options accordingly, the device should be conveniently quiet while idle.

Under load the hard drive is not an important factor. The fan noise increases to a definitely audible level ranging from 42 to 46 dB. Depending on genre or scene the system noise gets more or less obvious. While the fan is not utterly present in action and race games, quieter titles like RPGs, adventures or strategy games are accompanied by a distinctive noise.

In the stress test, which lacks practical relevance, the noise even climbed to above 50 dB. It depends on you sensibility if you can stand the noise of the A502.

A short list with further findings:

  • The fan clatters if the notebook is inclined.
  • Even non demanding tasks, like opening the Nvidia driver, cause the fan to rev up for a short time.
  • The Blu-ray combo drive (Sony Optiarc BD ROM BC-5550H) sometimes hums in an ugly way
  • The HDD (Seagate Momentus 7200.5) occasionally vibrates.
  • When changing from 3D to 2D the fan quickly reduces its speed.

Noise Level

Idle 29.5 / 33.5 / 34.7 dB(A)
HDD 33.5 dB(A)
DVD 37.9 / dB(A)
Load 46.1 / 51.8 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)
Stress test
Stress test (Furmark & Prime)
Battlefield 3
eine Stunde Battlefield 3

Temperature

Apart from the system noise also the temperatures are quite high. According to the CPUID hardware monitor the temperature of the Core i7-3610QM reached barely 95 °C in our multiple-hour stress test (full load with Furmark & Prime). The GeForce GT 650M also got rather warm, but stayed slightly below 90°C.

In contrast to the GPU, the CPU throttled a little bit. 2.1 GHz are 200MHz lower than the base clock of the quad core. Other notebooks, e.g. MSI's GT70 throttle much more. As the load is lower in usual 3D applications, this should not cause problems in practice.

If you do not only want to keep cool, but also want cool hands during gaming, the XMG A502 is not the right notebook for you. Especially the left of the notebook grows significantly warm under load. Above 40 °C (top side) is not very comfortable in the long run. It's even worse on the underside: A maximum of 54 °C means that you should not play games on the lap.

Although the notebook feels significantly cooler when idle, an average of 34 °C is relatively warm anyhow. The faster XMG P502 only achieved 28 °C.

Max. Load
 42.8 °C42.8 °C29.4 °C 
 44.1 °C43.3 °C31.3 °C 
 40.4 °C39.4 °C32.1 °C 
Maximum: 44.1 °C
Average: 38.4 °C
33.9 °C44.7 °C54.3 °C
33.8 °C41.8 °C51.2 °C
31.9 °C38.4 °C32.6 °C
Maximum: 54.3 °C
Average: 40.3 °C
Power Supply (max.)  47.9 °C | Room Temperature 24 °C | Voltcraft IR-550
THX TruStudio Pro
THX TruStudio Pro

Speakers

Poor sound quality was definitely one of the biggest disadvantages of its predecessor. Although the XMG A502 is still no sound sensation like Asus' N55 or Dell's XPS 15 the two speakers on the underside are at least passable.

Precision and volume of the sound improved and it does no longer sound that tinny and artificial. Creative's THX TruStudio Pro technology, which gives the sound more depth and dynamics, should always be enabled. Too bad: The maximum volume is still quite low. You will be better off with a headset or an external sound system in the long run.

Battery Life

Power Consumption

Because of the bright display the 15-incher requires more energy (HD Graphics 4000) than other Optimus devices. 20-30 watt exceed the energy demand of the 17-inch  One M73-2O (12-23 watt) when idle, which is, as already mentioned, on par in terms of performance. Under load the deactivated CPU turbo has an impact. Despite same graphics the Schenker notebook demands about 30% less power in 3DMark 06 (62 vs. 86 watt). Under full load the One M73-2O even needed barely 30 watt more.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 0.3 Watt
Idle 20.7 / 25.9 / 30.1 Watt
Load 62.2 / 108.1 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940
Reader's Test
maximum battery life (Reader's Test)
Classic Test
minimum battery life  (Classic Test)

Battery Life

Depending on the reseller Clevo's W150ER-Barebone either comes with a 49 Wh or a 62 Wh 6-cell battery. Schenker do not compromise and take the more powerful model as they did in the past.

But, the measurements quickly disillusion us: Even under optimal conditions (low load, minimum brightness) the battery was empty in barely three hours. Two hours in our video test and one hour during 3D tasks are also poor. Besides the powerful hardware the high brightness of the Full HD display should be responsible for the modest battery life. Maybe the model with the cheaper HD+-Panel (1600 x 900) achieves better values.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
2h 58min
WiFi Surfing
2h 42min
DVD
1h 55min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 08min

Verdict

Schenker XMG A502
Schenker XMG A502

While the verdict of the XMG A501 was rather euphoric, the new model did not knock our socks off. Well, the bright and matte full HD panel is outstanding and the GeForce GT 650M is significantly faster.

However, we do not understand why barebones manufacturer Clevo still do not build in a backlit keyboard and the touchpad again has a rough surface that is unpleasant to the touch. Furthermore, Clevo believe that a smaller power adapter is not necessary. To make a long story short: In some aspects the W150ER barebones seems to be a bad copy of the old W150HR. The improved connectivity (three USB-3.0 ports) and sound quality do not make things much better.

Otherwise, we felt that the multimedia notebook is very good. Due to the quad-core processor and the solid state drive (two drive slots!) the system performance is excellent. Nvidia's brand new Kepler GPU is a good addition. Many games run fine in high settings. Furthermore, the competition should learn a lesson from the easy maintenance

However, the notebook does not belong to the best in terms of mobility. The 6-cell battery can hardly achieve a battery life of more than three hours. In addition the barebones unit is rather thick and heavy. But, the biggest disadvantage are the high emissions: The 15-incher gets above average warm and loud.

Despite the cons we can definitely recommend the XMG A502. Only few notebooks are that versatile and balanced.

Benchmarks

Risen 2: Dark Waters - 1920x1080 Ultra / on AA:on AF:8x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A502
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3610QM
16.4 fps ∼20%
One M73-2O
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3720QM
17.4 fps ∼21% +6%
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
GeForce GT 640M / Core i7-2637M
12.5 fps ∼15% -24%
Schenker XMG A501
GeForce GT 555M / Core i7-2630QM
10.6 fps ∼13% -35%
Mass Effect 3 - 1920x1080 all on AA:on AF:8x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A502
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3610QM
46.6 fps ∼71%
One M73-2O
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3720QM
49.5 fps ∼75% +6%
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
GeForce GT 640M / Core i7-2637M
32 fps ∼49% -31%
Schenker XMG A501
GeForce GT 555M / Core i7-2630QM
27.2 fps ∼41% -42%
Alan Wake - 1920x1080 High Preset AA:4x AF:8x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A502
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3610QM
15.8 fps ∼18%
One M73-2O
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3720QM
18.4 fps ∼21% +16%
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
GeForce GT 640M / Core i7-2637M
12 fps ∼14% -24%
Schenker XMG A501
GeForce GT 555M / Core i7-2630QM
10.6 fps ∼12% -33%
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:8x AF:16x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A502
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3610QM
24.1 fps ∼28%
One M73-2O
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3720QM
25.4 fps ∼29% +5%
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
GeForce GT 640M / Core i7-2637M
16 fps ∼18% -34%
Schenker XMG A501
GeForce GT 555M / Core i7-2630QM
13.4 fps ∼15% -44%
CoD: Modern Warfare 3 - 1920x1080 Extra, all on, Image Quality: Native AA:4x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A502
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3610QM
36.1 fps ∼23%
One M73-2O
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3720QM
44.2 fps ∼28% +22%
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
GeForce GT 640M / Core i7-2637M
33 fps ∼21% -9%
Schenker XMG A501
GeForce GT 555M / Core i7-2630QM
27.1 fps ∼17% -25%
Battlefield 3 - 1920x1080 ultra AA:4x MS AF:16x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A502
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3610QM
15.1 fps ∼15%
One M73-2O
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3720QM
15.5 fps ∼15% +3%
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
GeForce GT 640M / Core i7-2637M
11 fps ∼11% -27%
Batman: Arkham City - 1920x1080 Extreme Preset DX11 AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A502
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3610QM
26 fps ∼25%
One M73-2O
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3720QM
28 fps ∼27% +8%
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
GeForce GT 640M / Core i7-2637M
17 fps ∼16% -35%
Schenker XMG A501
GeForce GT 555M / Core i7-2630QM
13 fps ∼12% -50%
Fifa 12 - 1920x1080 high AA:4x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A502
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3610QM
118.9 fps ∼35%
One M73-2O
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3720QM
145.3 fps ∼42% +22%
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
GeForce GT 640M / Core i7-2637M
104 fps ∼30% -13%
F1 2011 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset DX11 AA:4xMS (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A502
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3610QM
27 fps ∼31%
One M73-2O
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3720QM
29 fps ∼34% +7%
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
GeForce GT 640M / Core i7-2637M
22 fps ∼26% -19%
Deus Ex Human Revolution - 1920x1080 DX11, Soft Shadows, SSAO High, DOF: High, Post Processing, Tessellation AA:ML AF:16x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A502
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3610QM
29.2 fps ∼16%
One M73-2O
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3720QM
29.2 fps ∼16% 0%
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
GeForce GT 640M / Core i7-2637M
24 fps ∼13% -18%
Dirt 3 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x AF:- (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A502
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3610QM
24.7 fps ∼23%
One M73-2O
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3720QM
26.1 fps ∼24% +6%
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
GeForce GT 640M / Core i7-2637M
20.6 fps ∼19% -17%
Crysis 2 - 1920x1080 Extreme (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A502
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3610QM
19.4 fps ∼19%
One M73-2O
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3720QM
20.1 fps ∼20% +4%
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
GeForce GT 640M / Core i7-2637M
12 fps ∼12% -38%
Schenker XMG A501 (W150HRM)
GeForce GT 555M / Core i5-2410M
11.7 fps ∼12% -40%
Call of Duty: Black Ops - 1920x1080 extra AA:4x AF:8x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A502
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3610QM
50 fps ∼42%
One M73-2O
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3720QM
63.2 fps ∼53% +26%
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
GeForce GT 640M / Core i7-2637M
44 fps ∼37% -12%
Schenker XMG A501 (W150HRM)
GeForce GT 555M / Core i5-2410M
35.6 fps ∼30% -29%
Mafia 2 - 1920x1080 high AA:0x AF:16x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A502
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3610QM
36.6 fps ∼25%
One M73-2O
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3720QM
38.5 fps ∼27% +5%
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
GeForce GT 640M / Core i7-2637M
26.9 fps ∼19% -27%
Schenker XMG A501 (W150HRM)
GeForce GT 555M / Core i5-2410M
26.1 fps ∼18% -29%
StarCraft 2 - 1920x1080 ultra (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A502
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3610QM
35.4 fps ∼30%
One M73-2O
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3720QM
37.6 fps ∼31% +6%
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
GeForce GT 640M / Core i7-2637M
27 fps ∼23% -24%
Schenker XMG A501 (W150HRM)
GeForce GT 555M / Core i5-2410M
22.3 fps ∼19% -37%
Metro 2033 - 1920x1080 Very High DX11 AA:A AF:4x (sort by value)
Schenker XMG A502
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3610QM
10.4 fps ∼19%
One M73-2O
GeForce GT 650M / Core i7-3720QM
10.8 fps ∼20% +4%
Acer Aspire M3-581TG
GeForce GT 640M / Core i7-2637M
8 fps ∼15% -23%
Schenker XMG A501 (W150HRM)
GeForce GT 555M / Core i5-2410M
6.3 fps ∼12% -39%

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In Review: Schenker XMG A502
In Review: Schenker XMG A502

Specifications

Schenker XMG A502

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM76 (Panther Point)
:: Memory
8192 MB, 2x 4096 MB SO-DIMM DDR3-RAM PC3-12800 (1600 MHz), 2 slots, max 16 GB
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M - 1024 MB, Core: 735 MHz, Memory: 1000 MHz, GDDR5, Optimus, ForceWare 295.93
:: Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, LG Philips LP156WF1 (LGD02D9), Full HD, LED backlight, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
Intel SSD 330 Series SSDSC2CT120A3K5, 120 GB + Seagate Momentus 7200.5 (ST9750420AS), 750 GB, 7200 rpm
:: Soundcard
VIA VT1802P @ Intel Panther Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 eSata, Audio Connections: headphones, mic, S/PDIF, Card Reader: MMC,RSMMC,SD,mini SD,SDHC,SDXC,MS,MS Pro,MS Duo, 1 Fingerprint Reader,
:: Networking
Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Bigfoot Networks Killer Wireless-N 1102 Network Adapter (a b g n )
:: Optical drive
Sony Optiarc BD ROM BC-5550H
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 47 x 374 x 250
:: Weight
2.91 kg Power Supply: 0.735 kg
:: Battery
62.16 Wh Lithium-Ion, 5600 mAh, 11.1 V, 6 cell, 0.33 kg, C4500BAT-6
:: Price
1309 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 2.0 Megapixel, Power adapter: 120 watt, quick reference guide, driver and tool DVD, Nero 10 Multimedia Suite Essentials DVD, Windows Live Essentials 2011, Microsoft Security Essentials, Microsoft Office 2010 Starter, 24-48 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
The 735 gram power adapter is very big.
The 735 gram power adapter is very big.
The barebone is from Clevo (W150ER).
The barebone is from Clevo (W150ER).
Dedicated buttons for WLAN, sound and webcam.
Dedicated buttons for WLAN, sound and webcam.
The left status LEDs show which GPU is currently active.
The left status LEDs show which GPU is currently active.
Nvidia's Optimus technology reduces the power consumption.
Nvidia's Optimus technology reduces the power consumption.
How many times do we have to complain about the glossy frame?
How many times do we have to complain about the glossy frame?
The A501 came with exactly the same power adapter (120 Watt).
The A501 came with exactly the same power adapter (120 Watt).
The battery life is ordinary.
The battery life is ordinary.
The large 6-cell battery almost occupies the entire back.
The large 6-cell battery almost occupies the entire back.
The isolation keyboard is rather loud.
The isolation keyboard is rather loud.
Suboptimal: The dedicated number block only has three columns.
Suboptimal: The dedicated number block only has three columns.
The accessories consist of a quick reference guide, a driver DVD and the Multimedia Suite from Nero.
The accessories consist of a quick reference guide, a driver DVD and the Multimedia Suite from Nero.
Three USB-3.0 ports are not ordinary.
Three USB-3.0 ports are not ordinary.
We prefer the interface distribution of the predecessor.
We prefer the interface distribution of the predecessor.
Most of the interfaces are on the left side.
Most of the interfaces are on the left side.
Audio jacks for headphones, microphone, and S/PDIF.
Audio jacks for headphones, microphone, and S/PDIF.
There are just a few status LEDs on the front.
There are just a few status LEDs on the front.
The Kensington Lock is on the rear.
The Kensington Lock is on the rear.
The 90 x 45 mm touchpad has kind of a sandpaper surface.
The 90 x 45 mm touchpad has kind of a sandpaper surface.
Of course, you should install the operating system on a solid state drive.
Of course, you should install the operating system on a solid state drive.
Whether HDD, SSD, or SSH: There are no limits for customers.
Whether HDD, SSD, or SSH: There are no limits for customers.
The graphics card is hidden under the heatpipe of the CPU.
The graphics card is hidden under the heatpipe of the CPU.
Color and shape are rather simple.
Color and shape are rather simple.
They case inclusive two hard drives weighs about three kilograms.
They case inclusive two hard drives weighs about three kilograms.
According to the Quick Start Guide the opening angle is 130 °.
According to the Quick Start Guide the opening angle is 130 °.
The dimensions (374 x 250 x 47 mm) correspond to the A501.
The dimensions (374 x 250 x 47 mm) correspond to the A501.
The lid is sufficiently kept in place under vibrations.
The lid is sufficiently kept in place under vibrations.
The new model only has one access panel.
The new model only has one access panel.
The XMG logo consists of three separate stickers.
The XMG logo consists of three separate stickers.
The A502 largely looks like its predecessor.
The A502 largely looks like its predecessor.
The build quality is not outstanding, but good.
The build quality is not outstanding, but good.
The notebook allows some tinkering.
The notebook allows some tinkering.
The 15-inch model only features two RAM slots (up to 16 GB).
The 15-inch model only features two RAM slots (up to 16 GB).
You can easily clean the fan.
You can easily clean the fan.
The chipset is Intel's Panther Point Model HM76.
The chipset is Intel's Panther Point Model HM76.
The bottom flap is merely held by two screws.
The bottom flap is merely held by two screws.
The keyboard is in a small recess.
The keyboard is in a small recess.
The position of the fan is rather unfavorable for lefties.
The position of the fan is rather unfavorable for lefties.
Thanks to the matte finish, you can handle the chassis a little rougher.
Thanks to the matte finish, you can handle the chassis a little rougher.
Only a few devices are as versatile as the A502.
Only a few devices are as versatile as the A502.
The plastic surfaces are partly roughened.
The plastic surfaces are partly roughened.

Similar Laptops

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Devices with the same GPU and/or Screen Size

Devices with the same GPU

» Review Update Acer Aspire V3-771G (FHD) Notebook
Core i7 3630QM, 17.3", 3.1 kg
» Review Update Asus N76VZ-V2G-T1011V Notebook
Core i7 3610QM, 17.3", 3.52 kg

Links

Compare Prices

Pro

+Excellent system performance with SSD and quad core CPU
+Bright, matte full HD display
+Decent, energy efficient graphics card
+Easy to maintain
+Matte surfaces
+Optimus
+Two hard drive slots
+3x USB 3.0
 

Cons

-Short battery life (this is not necessarily true for the HD+ model)
-Somewhat disadvantageous port distribution
-Sensitive display frame
-Very rough touchpad
-Big power adapter
-Rickety keyboard
-High heat and noise emissions

Shortcut

What we like

The matte Full-HD display is very bright.

What we'd like to see

a backlit keyboard, a smoother touchpad surface and a smaller power adapter

What surprises us

Despite Optimus the battery life is only ordinary

The competition

Powerful 15-inch notebooks like Acer's Aspire M3 (GT 640M), Asus' N55SL (GT 635M) or HP's Envy 15 (HD 7690M).

Rating

Schenker XMG A502
05/09/2012 v2
Florian Glaser

Chassis
80%
Keyboard
82%
Pointing Device
76%
Connectivity
79%
Weight
75%
Battery
70%
Display
87%
Games Performance
91%
Application Performance
100%
Temperature
70%
Noise
70%
Add Points
86%
Average
81%
82%
Multimedia *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Clevo W150ER Barebone Notebook
Author: Florian Glaser, 2012-05-25 (Update: 2013-06- 6)