Remember Dell’s Alienware M11x? As the first ultraportable, big-brand gaming laptop worthy of the name, it was a small revolution, packing all the essentials into an 11-inch chassis. Unfortunately, Dell has decided to discontinue the M11x in favour of the larger M14x. So where does that leave you if you want an ultraportable gaming solution? Well, with the Eurocom Monster – or to give it its full name, the Eurocom W110ER Monster 1.0.
The ironically named Monster is as small as gaming laptops come. It’s a bit of a chunky munky, but that’s pretty much a given with serious gaming machines, and it means that it doesn’t compromise on connectivity either – something the average Ultrabook certainly can’t boast.
When we say “serious gaming machine”, we mean it. Our Monster came with a quad-core Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge CPU, 8GB of RAM, 750GB hybrid HDD/SSD for storage and, crucially, a GeForce GT650M with 2GB of dedicated RAM – incidentally, that’s the same card found in the MacBook Pro with Retina Display.
That’s some impressive muscle – doubly so when you consider the small form factor and low 1.77kg weight - and some of it’s upgradeable to even higher specs on Eurocom’s website. Did we mention it has a Killer BigFoot wireless card?
Better yet, the starting price for the Monster is just £653 including postage (the company is based in Canada), and that’s with the same GeForce GT650M 2GB graphics! We’d call that a very worthwhile bargain anytime – based on specs and value alone, this laptop kicks the last of the Alienware M11x laptops to kingdom come.
Eurocom Monster Design
As with so many of the smaller ‘assembler’ companies, Eurocom’s Monster 1.0 uses a Clevo chassis – which we last saw a 17in incarnation of with the Wired2Fire Vector Elite. Overall, the W110ER Monster 1.0 is a good case.
It comes in a dark bronze colour that makes a nice change from the usual shades of black. The entire lid and keyboard area are covered in a soft-touch, patterned finish that is lovely to feel, doesn’t show up fingerprints and provides a more secure grip. It also makes resting your palms while typing much more pleasant.
As with the Vector Elite there’s no bling; in other words, no blinking logos in all the colours of the rainbow, no floodlights that illuminate your desk, and no brightly coloured sections or backlit controls. While it will never be called sexy we certainly don’t mind a more understated approach, though we’re sorry the lack of lighting extends to the keyboard.
Eurocom Monster Build
Clevo seems to improve the build quality of its chassis with each generation, and in keeping with this trend the Monster is sturdy all-round. There’s no creak or excessive flex, panels are neatly fitted, and it all feels pretty durable. The rubberised outer finish contributes to this, as does the lack of glossy sections.
Eurocom Monster Connectivity
Considering this is an 11-inch laptop we’re talking about here, albeit a chunky one, connectivity on this small gaming machine is simply superb. On the left, we have a Gigabit Ethernet jack, VGA and HDMI for video, headphone and microphone jacks, and twin USB 3.0 ports.
The front houses a spring-loaded SDXC card reader, while the right hosts a single USB port and the power jack. The usual Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth combo is also present, though 3G doesn’t seem to be on the menu.