Eurocom's 15.6in. high-performance notebook gets the 4th-Generation Intel Core (Haswell) upgrade, and delivers the goods in terms of specification and speed. The design is uninspiring, though, and it's also bulky and heavy.
The last notebook we reviewed from Canadian high-performance specialist Eurocom was the 'ultraportable' Monster 1.0, about which we concluded: "This 11.6in. notebook is an outstanding performer...it's not particularly lightweight or attractive, but the specification is top-notch...". Wind forward a year, boost the screen size under review to 15.6in. and upgrade the 22nm CPU architecture from Ivy Bridge to Haswell, and you've got a picture of the review prospect before us — and our expections of it.
Design Not even its best friends would describe the Racer 3.0's industrial design as elegant. Best characterised as 'workmanlike', this 15.6in. 3.1kg powerhouse's slate-grey chassis does its job, which is to securely house a top-quality set of components and keep them cool.
If the weight doesn't do it, the Racer 3.0's dimensions of 37.6cm wide by 25.6cm deep by 3.5-4.3cm thick will keep it rooted to the desktop of all but the fittest and most determined of travellers.
The screen is a full-HD (1,920 by 1,080 resolution) LED-backlit display that, unusually for a high-performance notebook likely to the bought by gamers, has a matte finish. Business power users — or anyone who works in a brightly lit environment — will appreciate this. Image quality is good, with plenty of brightness and contrast, and rich colours. Viewing angles are good, too, in both horizontal and vertical planes.
The Racer 3.0's width provides room for a separate numeric keyboard, which data-wrangling users will appreciate. The 99-key keyboard is a sold island-style unit with a good action that we found made for good typing speed. A keyboard backlight is available as an option, but this was not present on our review unit.
Above the keyboard is a grille, running its full width, that contains a pair of Onkyo stereo speakers. The underside also houses a 2W subwoofer, giving the Racer 3.0 an above-average sound system. The on/off button occupies the left end of the speaker grille, which is flanked by two banks of three status LEDs. The wrist-rest area has a multitouch touchpad with a fingerprint reader sitting between the two mouse buttons.