OCZ DIY Gaming Notebook 15"
Published: 11th February 2009 | Source: OCZ | Price: £500 (barebone) |
One of the things that surprised us most when unpacking the OCZ DIY was just how 'plain' it was. Even the most shy manufacturers tend to place a logo somewhere on the lid and above the keyboard, but with the DIY there was absolutely nothing - no sign that OCZ had played any part in the production of the notebook at all. This is quite a shame, as the OCZ logo in itself demands attention and having it emblazoned across the front of a notebook would certainly turn heads.
That's not to say that the DIY is unattractive of course, far from it in fact. OCZ have finished the lid of the notebook in a black polished plastic that looks very modern while also doubling up as a pretty effective mirror. Unfortunately, as with all the black polished plastic electronics that seem to be the 'craze' at the moment, the DIY is a fingerprint and scratch magnet. Not ideal for a device that is going to be constantly handled and slipped in/out of laptop bags.
As you may have already noticed, the front of the DIY features standard headphone and microphone jacks; useful for singing along to karaoke while on the road? However, the sides of the DIY is where most of the action takes place, and from the images below we can see that OCZ have equipped us with 3x USB Ports (2 left, 1 right), an RJ45 network connection, a HDMI connection, memory card reader and an Express card slot. The choice of a standard DVD-RW drive or Blu-ray drive is also available, with our model being fitted with the former.
Around at the rear we have an RJ11 modem jack for when you fancy going back to the days of making a cuppa in between loading webpages, a VGA connection for hooking the DIY up to an external display or projector and finally the DC-in socket for providing the DIY with its juice.
As already mentioned in the specs over on page one, the DIY is fitted with a 15.4" WXGA screen that has a 1280x800 native resolution. The screen is yet another area of the notebook that is highly reflective and is one of those 'features' that has people split down the middle. While the deep black reflectiveness of the screen aids colour crispness and contrast along with being able to achieve blacker-blacks (washing powder advert anyone?), in daylight conditions you can expect a certain amount of glare.
Set just above the screen is a 2.0MP webcam. As you'd expect from such a small device, the picture quality isn't amazing (but still better than we expected) and the refresh rate makes things a tad laggy. However, for sitting in front of the notebook conferencing with other people the camera is more than adequate. Some sample snapshots taken from the camera can be seen here (1,2).
Thankfully, the keyboard and touchpad area of the DIY has been constructed from a rugged matte black plastic that will maintain a much better appearance than the lid. The touchpad is slightly offset to the left, which will make usage slightly more comfortable for the right-handed community, and inset between the left and right mouse buttons is a fingerprint reader.
Concentrating on the fingerprint reader for just one second - I have to say that this device is GREAT. Maybe it's just the novelty of using one for the first time, but the software provided with the device integrates seamlessly with Windows, allowing users to login to the laptop with a swipe of a finger. Additionally, the software can also be used for entering passwords into many other Windows applications, and even for logging into websites.
Above the keyboard is a total of eight hotkeys. These allow quick access to media functions such as play, pause, forward, back and volume. While these will undoubtedly prove useful for controlling any MP3's you may be playing in the background while gaming, I cant help but feel that some of these would have been much more useful as Wireless and Bluetooth on/off buttons rather than their current position as function keys on the keyboard.
The construction as a whole is quite sturdy with little to no 'creaking' when holding the notebook from any of its corners. If we wanted to nitpick, the lid is slightly flexible and probably doesn't protect the screen as well as it could, but it's still better than a lot of notebooks we've used in the past. Overall, OCZ have done a great job with the build quality and features of the DIY from what we've seen so far. So now let's move on to the next page where we explore the Do-It-Yourself aspect of the notebook and attempt to put it together without breaking anything!