iBUYPOWER Battalion 101 W230SS

13-inch Gaming Laptop For Just Over $1000

Clevo W230SS Chassis
Cleve W230SS Chassis. ┬ęClevo
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The Bottom Line

If you want a compact laptop to be used for gaming and don't want to spend a huge amount of money, then the iBUYPOWER Battalion 101 W230SS is an option to consider thanks to its fast processor and solid graphics. The limitations of the engineering and cost though mean that you will have to make compromises and this results in a system that produces a fair amount of noise and equal amount of heat.

It can also be a problem for those that like to use external peripherals when gaming but some people can work around this issue.

Pros

  • Strong Performance For Its Size
  • Lots of Customized Storage Options
  • Good Battery Life For Size and Features

Cons

  • Cooling Fans Are Noisy And Run Often Under Light Loads
  • Peripherals Ports On Right Hand Side That Get In the Way
  • Build Quality Is Below More Expensive Name Brands

Description

  • Intel Core i7-4700MQ Quad Core Mobile Processor
  • 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
  • 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • 13.3" WUXGA (1920x1080) Display With 2.0 Megapixel Webcam
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M 2GB GDDR5 Graphics Processor
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
  • Three USB 3.0, One USB 2.0, HDMI, 9-in-1 Card Reader
  • 12.99" x 8.94" x 1.26" @ 4.6 lbs.
  • Windows 8.1

Review - iBUYPOWER Battalion 101 W230SS

The Battalion 101 W230SS is probably a very familiar looking system because it gets its name from the fact that it uses the Clevo W230SS 13-inch laptop chassis that is used by several other companies.

This is a compact 13-inch chassis but it is designed for performance which means that it is larger than most of the ultrathin systems in this size range. It is a relatively bulky at 1.26-inches thick and a hefty 4.6 pounds. This means that it is more difficult to carry around but it is certainly much smaller and lighter than the typical gaming laptop with its 15-inch display.

The primary external surfaces of the system are a mix of plastic with soft touch surfaces in areas that give it a bit more premium feel.

iBUYPOWER equips the base Battalion 101 W230SS with a strong Intel Core i7-4700MQ quad core processor. This provides it with a strong level of performance that will have no problem handling demanding tasks like PC gaming or desktop video work. Unfortunately, when under even moderate loads, the system can get quite noisy from the fans that are needed to keep it cool. With the 8GB of memory standard, the system has no problems running applications in Windows. Of course 16GB is available as an upgrade but this isn't required unless you are handling very large video files for editing.

Storage is one area that iBUYPOWER could improve the base configuration. It features a 500GB hard drive that isn't uncommon for many gaming systems but the drive has a relatively sedate 5400rpm spin rate that means it takes much longer to load Windows or applications. Of course the company offers a wide range of upgrades including larger hard drives with faster spin rates and a variety of solid state drives. Buyer's would be advised to at least upgrade to a 7200rpm class hard drive.

If you need to add storage after purchase, there are three USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external storage. The only downside is that these ports are on the right hand side which can get in the way for those that like to use an external mouse when gaming. There is no optical drive which is becoming much more common these days but isn't an issue as many people get their software through digital downloads.

There is an option that is available on the Clevo W230SS chassis to features a 4K display panel in the 13.3-inch frame but this version comes with a more traditional 1920x1080 resolution display.

This is actually beneficial because the UltraHD resolution is nearly illegible in many instances with Windows and no mobile graphics solution provides performance to play at those resolutions. The one downside is that the 4K panel with its IGZO technology offers better brightness, viewing angles and contrast than this display. For the graphics, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M processor is used. This is beginning to be a bit dated but it still offers solid performance that allows the system to play most games up to the full panel resolution but without the full filtering effects that you might get from a faster graphics processor.

There is not a lot to say about the keyboard for the Battalion 101 W230SS as it uses the isolated keyboard layout typical of many laptops these days. Overall, it has a decent layout but because of space some of them are a bit smaller than usual. There is a backlight for the keyboard for use in dim or dark conditions. The trackpad is a nice large size for the laptop but you certainly would not be using it for PC gaming at all. The buttons also take up a bit more space than they could and have a spongy feel that can result in some accuracy problems.

The battery pack for the system uses a standard model with a 62WHr capacity. This is generally higher capacity than most 13-inch laptops but it is also running much more powerful internal components. In digital video playback tests, the system lasts for around four and three quarter hours before going into standby.

This is certainly above average for a system of this type but it is far from the longest running times provided by the more expensive <a href="http://compreviews.about.com/od/ultraportables/fl/apple-2013-macbook-pro-13-retina.htm>Apple MacBook Pro 13 that has nearly double the running time. Of course you will have much less running time if you are using it to gaming without it being plugged in.</p><p>The base price for the iBUYPOWER Battalion 101 W230SS is a very affordable $1049 which is in-line with offerings from several other companies such as CyberPower PC with the same chassis. In fact, most of the 13-inch gaming laptops on the market use the same Clevo chassis. You have to look at slightly larger and more expensive systems such as the <a data-cke-saved-href=" https:="" www.lifewire.com="" alienware-15-2015-833596"="" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="4">Alienware 14 as competition but it is obviously larger and heavier. It is only if you are willing to spend a lot more money on something like the Razer New Blade that you end up with something in the same weight range but with better screen albeit at twice the cost.