Shark4BackCover.jpgA few months ago, I had the chance to review the Eurocom M4 laptop and they sold me on their future products then. While my writing is largely confined to my home office, I’ve moonlighted as media at few live events with laptop in hand. The M4 blended what I wanted out of a gaming laptop with what I needed from a professional work machine and became a winner in my eyes. Needless to say, when it came time to review the fourth generation of their popular Shark, I was more than willing to take a bite out of it (pun very intended.)

Oh, it’s a gaming laptop afterall

When I unboxed Shark for the first time, I was a bit surprised to see: a regular sized gaming laptop. I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, the previous Shark models have been standard sized gaming laptops, so this is par for the course. So yes, the Eurocom Shark is your standard sized gamer laptop. The 15.6 inch screen is back and that’s just the beginning.

Of note is the fact that Shark has an Optical Drive. I’ve been noticing that a lot of laptops lately have been in the act of dropping once-considered convenient features like disc drives and even ethernet ports. I have a laptop at my day job that needs to be hard wired to accept each office’s network settings but has no ethernet port. I tear my hair out trying to borrow someone’s dock just to achieve this every time I make a site visit. Enough about me. You have an Optical DVD/BluRay-RW onboard here which can be upgraded or repurposed. If you don’t wish to have an optical drive, you can remove it and replace it with a 2nd HDD/SSD.

HigSharkOpticalDrive.jpgh quality Hardware

The keyboard is amazing. I recently received a new laptop at work and it’s made me lament laptop keyboards all over again. Thankfully, this one restores my faith in the whole process. While it isn’t a mechanical keyboard, it is that clicky-clack chiclet style that has the feel of one, and I was able to comfortably do a 9-key rollover on it. After the whines and gripes I’ve had with comparable keyboards like the one on the HP Omen, this is great. The fact that this has a full numeric keypad is great too. I live and die by a numeric keypad on a full sized keyboard and so I’m glad that Eurocom’s taken the time to lay one out here. In all, the large width lends well to the layout of the keyboard in general. They also listened to previous feedback as the keyboard is backlit (white only) for those of us who game in the dark. You will have no problems getting your game on with this and you’ll be able to do it for a while too. The 6 cell battery onboard has a run time of nearly 5 hours.

The onboard mouse is very interesting and definitely isn’t something I remember ever seeing. The trackpad area is HUGE which is a bonus and the buttons depress from the centre and equally vertically as opposed to many that click from the side and depress from the front end. The end result is quite good. You’ll always have awareness of where you are and what you’re doing. I mean, I understand that you’re not going to be using the trackpad while gaming but it’s a great fallback in case you take this elsewhere for another reason and leave your mouse behind.

 

Eurocom Shark 4 Product Specs

  • 15.6” EUROCOM Shark 4
  • 15.6” 1920×1080 matte display IPS
  • Intel Core i7-4720HQ
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
  • 8 GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1866
  • 500G B 7200 Hitachi HDD SATA
  • 9.5 MM Blu-Ray/DVD
  • M.2 Realktek 802.11 bgn+Bluetooth 4

Cooling on this laptop is much better than most I’ve encountered. While the fans did get a bit of a workout while I was playing Bioshock Infinite on higher settings (my usual high end Benchmark game,) it didn’t really flinch at a lot of the other titles I played. You should comfortably be able to play many of today’s game on high, if not maximum settings. I also ran my other “usual” titles (like Child of Light, Tomb Raider and Skyrim) and was able to play comfortably on the highest settings offered in full 1080p HD.

It didn’t run very hot either, which is a major bonus to me. If you’ve read my previous gaming laptop reviews, I’m a bit of stickler for how hot a laptop runs and the hot spots that accompany them. Not an issue here. Most importantly, the display was great from all angles I played on. I’m surprised that in today’s day and age, you can still have laptop screens that look 80s Projection TV quality when you view from the side or from extreme angles. No matter where and how I viewed, the display remained vibrant, clear and crisp. Overall non-gaming performance on this was good too. This was my first exposure to Windows 10 and I had no issues with latency or the random drops in service that still plagues my Windows 8 experience. 

Shark4Layout.jpg

The casing layout is great as you can see above. I’m very particular about how I want everything laid out. It drives me crazy that a manufacturer throws everything on one side, or even worse, loads the back of the laptop. The ports are well balanced on both sides, and while having the AC hookup in the back of a laptop wouldn’t be my first preference, I do get that this is a better option for most who keep their laptops on a desk. The fans are located in the back of the unit which is great because that’s about as out of the way as you can get. I recently reviewed a laptop where the fans were located at the front and the noise coming from them overpowered the speakers. That definitely was not a problem with this. As for the case itself, Eurocom’s made some mechanical improvements from previous generations. The entire case has more of a sturdy and professional feel and the hinges are stronger and more resistant to rocking or swaying from hard typing. While the laptop itself isn’t very thick, it is a bit heavier than some of its competitors. However, at somewhere between 5-6 pounds, it’s solidly in the middle of the pack weight-wise.

EurocomOpen.jpgOne thing that I found fairly puzzling was the lack of a touch screen. I got my Ultrabook around the dawn of Windows 8 and had figured that since then, touch screens were default on gaming laptops, like a keyboard or a screen. This would not make or break my decision as I still consider a touch screen nothing but a “nice to have” but if it’s critical to your purchase, this isn’t the laptop for you.

I can say without a doubt that the Eurocom Shark 4 passed all of my gaming and everyday use tests. A typical night in my household usually consists of a couple hours of work while streaming to my TV and the odd game. Shark was able to withstand whatever I threw at it and I was never disappointed with its performance. Unfortunately, I did have to send the demo unit back before the release of Fallout 4, so I wasn’t able to see how it performed on there. Oh well. There’s always next time. While I would normally share my benchmark data at this point, I noticed that Eurocom conducted even more than I did. Rather than show you what I did, here’s the data straight from the source.

It’s a bit odd for me to say this, but my recommendation of the Shark is only as good as whether you’ll be able to find one. This seems to be one of Eurocom’s most popular models in recent memory and finding one is difficult as it’s one of the hottest gaming laptops of 2015. I find Eurocom’s laptops to be my favourite brand for gaming laptops simply because of their desire for simplicity and being the most customizable options out there. Eurocom’s laptops are set to go out of the box but the fact that you can open, add and change things almost to your heart’s content make it a definite winner for somebody like me. I’m a creature of habit and once I get hooked to something, I’m into it for the long haul. I wore through about 12 pairs of the same shoes a few years ago before the company discontinued them.

Lack of a touch screen aside, this is definitely one of the most sound out-of-the-box gaming laptops I’ve seen in a long time and I think you’ll agree too if you can get your hands on one. Eurocom has yet to make a model of laptop that lets me down and I’ll be giving them a closer look next year when I’m in the market for a new laptop. In the meantime, if you need your next laptop right away, look no further than Eurocom’s refreshing take on gaming laptops now available at Best Buy.