Defiance VII-15" laptop review - Generally positive | PCSPECIALIST

Defiance VII-15" laptop review - Generally positive

DeeHants

Member
HI all.

I don't see many reviews of the Defiance laptop so here's mine!

All in all, this is a decent laptop, well specced for many things, and is used for gaming, and programming where I wanted a portable machine I can use anywhere.
While the CPU is an i7 10875H 2.3GHz, many games warn about "Unsupported CPU" due to the clock speed, despite it having 8 cores.
Despite the warning, it happily runs games from the 1980s (DOSBox), all the way up to current VR games.

Screen wise, it's a decent 1920x1080, which gives pretty good colours. Due to the high refresh rate (144hz), I've had to enable vsync in many games to stop tearing while moving rapidly.

I had some early issues with power saving, but I think these are related to external devices/software.
Battery life runs at about 2 hours under "normal" usage (not high performance).

There are a few (minor) things that let it down though:

1) Built in speakers, being underneath the front are very tinny (The initial startup sound was very jarring!)
2) The keyboard layout, while being a full keyboard with number pad, is still a bit compressed.
For normal text, it's fine, but as a programmer (heavy use of the shift keys and symbols, I keep hitting the cursor up key instead of the shift key.
3) When running graphics heavy games, the fans (both CPU and GPU) run flat out and are *very* loud!
4) There were lots of niggly things (Fn keys) that didn't work properly on first boot, and are largely resolved by install the Control Center 3 from the CD, and adding "FnKey Hotkeys and overlay" to the windows startup.

In summary, a very good laptop, and well worth the £1500 (inc VAT).

Chassis & Display
Defiance Series: 15.6" Matte Full HD 144Hz 72% NTSC LED Widescreen (1920x1080)
Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™ i7 Eight Core Processor 10875H (2.3GHz, 5.1GHz Turbo)
Memory (RAM)
32GB Corsair 2400MHz SODIMM DDR4 (2 x 16GB)
Graphics Card
NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 2060 - 6.0GB GDDR6 Video RAM - DirectX® 12.1
1st M.2 SSD Drive
1TB PCS PCIe M.2 SSD (2000 MB/R, 1100 MB/W)
Memory Card Reader
Integrated Micro-SD Memory Card Reader
Battery
Defiance Series Integrated 3 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (73WH)
Thermal Paste
ARCTIC MX-4 EXTREME THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY COMPOUND
Sound Card
2 Channel High Definition Audio + MIC/Headphone Jack
Wireless/Wired Networking
GIGABIT LAN & WIRELESS INTEL® Wi-Fi 6 AX200 (2.4 Gbps) + BT 5.0
USB/Thunderbolt Options
1 x THUNDERBOLT 3 PORT + 3 x USB 3.2 PORTS
Keyboard Language
15" DEFIANCE SERIES UK KEYBOARD
Keyboard & Mouse
INTEGRATED 2 BUTTON TOUCHPAD MOUSE
Webcam
INTEGRATED 1MP HD WEBCAM

Unique URL to re-configure: https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/saved-configurations/defianceVII-15/SYqw4n79dq/
 

SpyderTracks

Huntsman
Moderator
Thanks for the review.

For the sound quality, you need soundblaster installed, should improve the sound quite dramatically. Not sure if you ordered with windows or installed yourself.
 

Ambassador Spock

Bronze Level Poster
Thanks for the review.

For the sound quality, you need soundblaster installed, should improve the sound quite dramatically. Not sure if you ordered with windows or installed yourself.
Do you have details on how to do this? I have the 17.3" Defiance and while I am very happy with it, the speakers are horrible. I am using a headset most of the time now, but if there is a way to improve the sound without headphones, I'd love to try it.
 

SpyderTracks

Huntsman
Moderator
Do you have details on how to do this? I have the 17.3" Defiance and while I am very happy with it, the speakers are horrible. I am using a headset most of the time now, but if there is a way to improve the sound without headphones, I'd love to try it.
Just install soundblaster from your drivers in PCS account.
 

DeeHants

Member
Thanks for the review.

For the sound quality, you need soundblaster installed, should improve the sound quite dramatically. Not sure if you ordered with windows or installed yourself.
If I lift the laptop up, it improves massively. I doubt this is a driver issue...
Update, Installing "Speaker EQ web release", and "Creative audio effects", it seems to have made no noticeable difference and is still tinny/muffled.
Additionally, Sound Blaster Atlas reports no recognised device.
1593996946303.png


Tinny UAC bing after installing the SBX driver:

I have the 17.3" Defiance and while I am very happy with it, the speakers are horrible. I am using a headset most of the time now, but if there is a way to improve the sound without headphones, I'd love to try it.
Please let me know how you get on with this update.
 
Last edited:

comait

Member
If I lift the laptop up, it improves massively. I doubt this is a driver issue...
Update, Installing "Speaker EQ web release", and "Creative audio effects", it seems to have made no noticeable difference and is still tinny/muffled.
Additionally, Sound Blaster Atlas reports no recognised device.
View attachment 17114

Tinny UAC bing after installing the SBX driver:


Please let me know how you get on with this update.
If you get sound blaster atlas working AND you change its equalizer setting notching out the band 500->1k the audio quality improoves greatly.
Be aware that the drivers on the CD and Web sites are different and for me sbx worked only with one of the two and only if I followed a specific sequence of installation after removing all the audio drivers...(ask PCS wich one ..)
Ps:the majority of notebook sound crappy without the correct preset of equalization from the oem due to physical constraints & naive speakers design... So they need a digital filter, in this case SBX, to overcome the physical limitations correcting the poor audio design
Ps2: the sound blaster atlas is (only) a software licensed to the oem/odm and in the CD and not in the web site there is an installation package with the correct license files that ties the SBX to the hardware provided by PCS / clevo form that using the wrong intel hds, Realtek audio, creative digital effects... etc drivers could be the cause of the SBX behavior "not recognitizing" the devices.

Inviato dal mio CLT-L29 utilizzando Tapatalk
 

DeeHants

Member
If you get sound blaster atlas working AND you change its equalizer setting notching out the band 500->1k the audio quality improoves greatly.
Be aware that the drivers on the CD and Web sites are different and for me sbx worked only with one of the two and only if I followed a specific sequence of installation after removing all the audio drivers...(ask PCS wich one ..)
Thanks.
The CD has a different version (newer) of the EQ preset which looks like it actually did something..
However, I managed to accidentally remove Atlas...
I'll let you know what it's like when I get it back again (it's not on the CD that I can see)
 

SpyderTracks

Huntsman
Moderator
Thanks.
The CD has a different version (newer) of the EQ preset which looks like it actually did something..
However, I managed to accidentally remove Atlas...
I'll let you know what it's like when I get it back again (it's not on the CD that I can see)
Should be on the CD:

You may find that the download of soundblaster won't install correctly, if so follow @NorthDakota directions here to install:

Sound Blaster 6:
I became aware that when downloading Sound Blaster 6 Cinema from the drivers package on PCS itself that the software did not install or no boot/application/executable within the folder.
I decided to check out the driver disk in case anything was missing on the PCS folder. Turns out there is a section on the disk for 'preinstalled hardware'. When I found this I clicked through it and I found Sound Blaster 6 Cinema. Copied over the file on to a USB and read the 'readme' which advised how to install it. I then put the USB into the Nova and followed the instructions as stated on the readme. Then after a restart it loaded up and have had no issues since.
 

comait

Member
On my version of the CD
Options\prinstallkit\creative_sbc\(another long named dir unique in the folder)
And there installpackage


Inviato dal mio CLT-L29 utilizzando Tapatalk
 

DeeHants

Member
Ahah, found it on the CD in E:\Options\PreInstallKit\Creative_SBC\. This isn't listed in the launcher!
It has successfully started up and found the hardware this time. I can't find the Clevo EQ in there and it's still tinny. I'll try playing in a bit.
 

boggi12

Active member
@DeeHants
thanks for your review!
I have one question about the fan noise in idle, office, websurfing, watching YouTube etc. Are they still loud, barely noticeable or completely off?
Would be great hearing from you!
 

DeeHants

Member
@DeeHants
thanks for your review!
No problem. I hope it helps.

I have one question about the fan noise in idle, office, websurfing, watching YouTube etc. Are they still loud, barely noticeable or completely off?
Under normal use, they're noticeable, but not intrusive at all.
Obviously on a lap, some vents may be obstructed so it will increase slightly.
They are very reactive so if an application chews CPU for a few seconds, they will ramp up almost immediately, settling back to normal about 30s later.
FYI, there are other power modes that will switch them off/limit speed, etc, but I found the "quiet mode" just turned them off, without limiting the CPU (but this may have been something else overriding it)

I'm typing on it now, and the tankard of cider next to me is bubbling louder than the laptop :p

Any other questions, let me know.
 

boggi12

Active member
@DeeHants
haha ok thanks for this comparison with the cider!
so they are always on except when switching to the quiet mod or even then they are still active or will at least ramp up after some time due to thermals?
and is the fan noise while basic load more pulsing up and down or a steady "buzz"?
 

DeeHants

Member
@DeeHants
so they are always on except when switching to the quiet mod or even then they are still active or will at least ramp up after some time due to thermals?
and is the fan noise while basic load more pulsing up and down or a steady "buzz"?
It's steady, and quiet enough enough to tune out. I'd forgotten about it unless I listen for it again.
1594584301894.png


Update, I'd forgotten I have it set 10% higher.
If I set it to 0% offset, the fan speed drops by 20% and I can't hear them at all.
1594584458276.png
 

Piepie

Member
@DeeHants hi thank you for the review, I bought a laptop similar to yours and it appears i have the same speakers issue: did you manage to solve it?

I installed all drivers properly and soundblaster atlas recognizes the device: the equalizator works but i cannot get rid of the speaker distortion.
Any suggestion? It's ok to have crappy speakers on a laptop, but this is worse than crappy for a new laptop :)

Thank you
 
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