The internal speakers are spaced well for an impresseive spatial effect and are good enough for gaming and casual music listening, but have a tinny sound that will irritate even the mildly serious music lovers. This tinnyness manifests itself in gaming too, where there is a distinct lack of â€œboomâ€. Although volume adjustment is present on the front of the chassis, alongside the rest of the media playback buttons, it was very sensitive and felt like it was either on or off, rather than any settings in between. This was overcome by using the Windows volume control, but this isnâ€™t ideal when in game.
Alongside the volume controls is an LCD panel that displays the time and other useful information, while media control buttons for playback of Audio CDs are also present. All of these buttons are accessible when the lid is down as they jut out, so you can use it as a glorified CD player without having to access Windows. Thankfully, we have digital as well as analogue outputs, if you happen to have a decent set of speakers to hand.
Expansion is fairly well taken care of, with two USB 2.0 ports on the side and another two at the rear. Strangely there is only one PC Card slot, which seems a little off considering the size of the machine. However, with most things available in USB format now, PC Card slots are less important, especially since the new Express Slot has arrived. We also have Gigabit LAN, modem, 11/54Mbit wireless, Bluetooth, four-pin, IrDA, S-Video output, DVI output and a serial port.
Pointer manipulation comes courtesy of a fairly standard touchpad, with a joypad style button for scrolling horizontally as well as vertically. This works by actually moving the pointer to the scrollbars, rather than invisibly scrolling like a true scroll wheel would. This means that more innovative functions for the scroll wheel (like zooming in and out in Paint Shop Pro) wonâ€™t work.
The chassis is very quiet, until you start to game where a fairly noisy fan will kick in. If you are playing with headphones on (which is highly recommended) then you will not notice this at all. With Intelâ€™s well executed SpeedStep technology, the fan rarely spins up when performing everyday duties like email and word processing.
To look at, the Clevo chassis is not exactly a feast for the eyes. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as the saying goes, so perhaps youâ€™ll think differently.