In and Around the Mythlogic Callisto 1512

In my introduction, I pointed out that SIs like Mythlogic are at the mercy of ODMs like Clevo, MSI, and Compal for notebooks. Sometimes we get compelling products; there's been an ebb and flow in the primary retail sector where none of the major vendors were really serving the customers that boutiques could. Vendors weren't shipping notebooks that had decent graphics hardware or quality displays, and this was where boutiques could make up the difference. While it's still largely true, there are enough solid offerings from companies like ASUS, Samsung, and Dell to cover these bases that Clevo can't get away with just showing up anymore.

I can't throw Mythlogic under the bus when the problem is (and historically has been) Clevo. The Clevo W550EU that Mythlogic sells as the Callisto 1512 is the same hardware-in-a-candy-shell that Clevo chassis often are. Dull, gunmetal gray matte plastic is used for the entire shell save the bottom and the display bezel, which employ garden variety black matte plastic. I can at least be thankful there's no glossy plastic to be found anywhere on the W550EU. The lid has a brushed aluminum pattern to it that belies the dreary interior, and the silver Mythlogic logo is attractive without being ostentatious.

As I said, though, the interior of the W550EU is utterly devoid of style. This is an inherent problem all the Taiwanese ODMs have: either obscenely bland, chintzy, and style-free (Clevo and Compal), or gaudy to the point of delerium (MSI). Clean, elegant, attractive designs are rarefied. We're also stuck with the old style Clevo keyboard, but its sins are compounded by mushy tactile response that's somehow worse than many of the thinner ultrabooks I've recently tested. That's despite having enough Z-height to allow for better key action. The touchpad itself is, as I often lament, part of the same piece of plastic as the inner shell, just slightly bevelled. Thankfully it's not a clickpad; we get two dedicated mouse buttons.

I don't like dragging Mythlogic or any other boutique through the mud. They need to offer a product, this is what they've been provided by the ODMs, and the best way to lose the game is not to play. I just wish they could collectively go back to the ODMs and dress them down a bit. It's unfortunate there's nothing they can really do, and while the W550EU isn't terribly built, it's hard to recommend it when Dell is willing to sell you a far better designed and assembled XPS 15 for around the same price.

Introducing the Mythlogic Callisto 1512 (Clevo W550EU) Application and Futuremark Performance
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  • Flying Goat - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    Yea, I thought the same. Currently, the ASUS Zenbook (http://www.anandtech.com/show/6923/asus-zenbook-ux... is the only system I'm aware of that's really light and has a discrete GPU. Reply
  • SanLouBlues - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    I've been using a Maingear branded Clevo W150hrm). Looks exactly like the one in the image. It's fast and the display is great. It's not super durable (a battery tab broke and something else broke loose inside the case that I haven't gotten around to fishing out yet) and there's no latch. My biggest gripe is that I still screw up typing on this thing all the time. Right shift, right control, and the arrows are all way too easy to mix up and make development typing a real trial. I miss my Dell keyboard so much. Also it doesn't include the lucidlogix software to let the embedded and nvidia gpus work together. At least it uses regular old phillips head screws. Reply
  • Electromikey - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    Doesn't the ASUS UX51 cover the bases as far as good display, good graphics, lightweight, etc.? Plus, they often offer two-year comprehensive warranties on a lot of their laptops, so there's that. I know there's a bit of a price difference, and there may be some other things as well, but I'd look towards that direction rather than a "custom-built" ultrabook if I was still in the market. Reply
  • Darkstone - Saturday, May 25, 2013 - link

    I don't understand why the sony S15 isn't mentioned in the article. In my county, the S15 is cheaper than the equivalently specced clevo. (unless you opt for a quadcore option, because the quadcore is only available in the GT 640m 2GB model, which is an €170 upgrade).

    What do you get for that? A vasly superior keyboard and touchpad. Much longer battery life, superior cooling, 300gr lower weight, and probably better build quality as well.

    Clevo once again managed to create a system that is just surpassed by the competition in every possible way.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, May 31, 2013 - link

    The thing with ultrabooks is, if I'm spending over 1K on a laptop I expect a dedicated GPU. I should be able to run, at a minimum, every modern game at 1600x900 with smooth frame rates. I don't expect the detail settings to be all the way up, but I don't want to run 720p. MAYBE this will become reality with haswell and the integrated GPU RAM; but honestly I'd rather have an Nvidia chip in there for MANY more reasons than just gaming performance. Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, May 31, 2013 - link

    I LOVE the Clevo design, I'm entirely happy with it the way it is. Except that keyboard. WHY didn't they use the same one they've been using on their newer 15.6" GTX660M laptops? That keyboard layout is great! This one is damn near useless because of that stupid offput 0 key. Hey laptop people, arrow keys are almost entirely useless, YOU CAN MAKE THEM SMALLER! Reply

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