Latite Pro - in detail! | PCSPECIALIST

Latite Pro - in detail!

simcoo

Active member
This is an end-to-end account of my new 15.6" LAFITE PRO purchase written around 10 days after delivery. (Full spec below.) It’s my fourth PCS purchase but the first time I ever bought a laptop for myself. My main usage is “office” apps and my selection criteria was that I wanted a laptop that would be (most important first):
  • Powerful, responsive, future proofed in this respect
  • Supports a single cable connection to a docking station (I’m aiming for a minimal cable solution when docked)
  • Quiet (minimal fan noise)
  • Light
  • Looks “desirable”
  • Well-designed
  • Selection process
I choose PCS partly because of the ability to create a bespoke spec and partly because of the excellent technical pre-sales support that I received for previous purchases. The two go together in my mind. I have to say that this time round pre-sales support was significantly slower than for previous purchases, I presume because of the Covid demand, but waiting several days for an answer to each question was frustrating, despite the fact that I tried email, live chat and website messaging. I hope things revert to normal in future as I'm not sure I was able choice that was as well-informed as previously.

PCS told me that I needed Thunderbolt for a “single cable connection to a docking station”. This narrowed the selection considerably (my Dell work laptop does this using USB C just fine). After toying with the idea of some of the gaming laptops I excluded them on the grounds of a likelihood of too much fan noise. (There were some good forum posts of relevance.) That pretty much narrowed the choice down to the Lafite Pro in the “Thin and Light”/”Professional” class.

Now for my configuration choices. I don’t say I am right in any of these choices, but just explain what I selected and why. The first choice was the i5 or i7 processor. I spent the additional £80 on the i7 to get the better performance. I was happy to get the latest 11th Gen Intel processor. (PCS don’t offer a suitable AMD laptop with Thunderbolt.) Second choice was RAM - I went for 16GB, which cost me an additional £50 compared with the standard 8GB and whilst it is probably more than I currently need it should provide a degree future-proofing. Two sticks rather than one for the better performance (actually I had no choice in this) and I spent £9 more to get the faster 2666 MHz version. Since there wasn’t any graphics card option (the Lafite Pro uses the Integrated Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics) the last real choice was the drive. Perhaps I should have got two, but I went for the simpler single 1 TB option and chose the SEAGATE FIRECUDA 520 rather than the faster Samsung 980 option which I read didn’t have as good endurance. This was £93 more expensive than the entry level 1TB SDD but gave me a spec of 5000 MB/R vs 1800 MB/R, and so sounded well worth it.

Ordering Experience
I knew the laptop wasn’t in stock when I placed the order, and so was prepared to wait for the in-stock date, but this passed and was then was reseated to 5 days later. Second time lucky in my case. PCS was pretty good at keeping me informed during the process so no real complaints. The dates looked like this:
  1. Processed Date: 26-01-2021 (duration: 3 days. It’s rather unclear what they are doing at this stage.)
  2. Pre-Production Date: 29-01-2021 (duration: 20 days, the chassis/display was initially out of stock)
  3. Build Date: 18-02-2021 11 am start (duration: 4 hours being built)
  4. Test Date: 18-02-2021 3 pm start (duration: 12 hours in test)
  5. Awaiting Dispatch Date: 19-02-2021 3 am start (duration: 10 hours awaiting dispatch confirmation)
  6. Dispatch Date: 19-02-2021 1pm registered in DPD system. 11pm picked up by DPD.
  7. Delivery: 22/2/2021 (Next working day service, however delivered at 10am on Saturday)

First impressions
The laptop was well packed - unboxing you can see what was delivered from the photo.

Aesthetics
It is a pleasant enough laptop but one that won’t win any design awards. The webcam is in a slightly raised party of the top bezel, which looks fine and makes it easy to open the lid. The bezel is nice and thin (about 6mm) and I had no missing pixels. It’s sold as “Professional” - but the keyboard has a design that is best described a retro-Commadore 64, with some rather strange icons on the keys, and feels slightly spongy. To top it off there are no fewer than 5 stickers on the case (Intel i7, Intel Iris, Bluetooth, Windows and HDMI) which just comes over as slightly naff.

--- Continued in the comment because I get the following if I add more here:
"Oops! We ran into some problems. Please try again later. More error details may be in the browser console."


Chassis & Display
Lafité Pro Series: 15.6" Matte Full HD 60Hz 72% NTSC LED Widescreen (1920x1080)
Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™ i7 Quad Core Processor i7-1165G7 (2.8GHz, 4.7GHz Turbo)
Memory (RAM)
16GB Corsair 2666MHz SODIMM DDR4 (2 x 8GB)
Graphics Card
Integrated Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics
1st M.2 SSD Drive
1TB SEAGATE FIRECUDA 520 GEN 4 PCIe NVMe (up to 5000MB/R, 4400MB/W)
Memory Card Reader
Integrated Micro-SD Memory Card Reader
AC Adaptor
1 x 65W AC Adaptor
Power Cable
1 x 1 Metre Cloverleaf UK Power Cable
Battery
Lafité Pro Series Integrated 73WH Lithium Ion Battery
Sound Card
2 Channel High Definition Audio + MIC/Headphone Jack
Wireless Network Card
GIGABIT LAN & WIRELESS INTEL® Wi-Fi 6 AX200 (2.4 Gbps) + BT 5.0
USB/Thunderbolt Options
1 x THUNDERBOLT 4 + 1 x USB 3.2 (TYPE C) + 1 x USB 3.2 + 1 x USB 2.0
Keyboard Language
LAFITÉ PRO 15 SERIES SINGLE COLOUR BACKLIT UK KEYBOARD
Operating System
Windows 10 Home 64 Bit - inc. Single Licence [KK3-00002]
Operating System Language
United Kingdom - English Language
Windows Recovery Media
Windows 10 Multi-Language Recovery Image - Unlimited Downloads from Online Account
Office Software
FREE 30 Day Trial of Microsoft 365® (Operating System Required)
Anti-Virus
NO ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE
Browser
Microsoft® Edge (Windows 10 Only)
Keyboard & Mouse
INTEGRATED 2 BUTTON TOUCHPAD MOUSE
Webcam
INTEGRATED 1MP HD WEBCAM
Warranty
3 Year Silver Warranty (1 Year Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
Dead Pixel Guarantee
30 Day Dead Pixel Guarantee Inc. Labour & Carriage Costs
Delivery
STANDARD INSURED DELIVERY TO UK MAINLAND (MON-FRI)
Build Time
Standard Build - Approximately 8 to 10 working days
Welcome Book
PCSpecialist Welcome Book - United Kingdom & Republic of Ireland
 

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simcoo

Active member
--- Continued from main post ---

Physical design
Port-wise, conveniently there’s a USB type A on each side. However, you have to look very closely at the engravings in the LHS of the case to distinguish the USB C port from the Thunderbolt port for the first time. Also annoying, is that when you plug a cable into these ports you naturally hold the laptop on the RHS, just where the power button is and this can send the laptop to sleep if you aren’t careful - the design could easily have been better in this respect. Another issue with the power button is that it’s neither recessed nor protruding, so you can’t power the laptop up by touch and have to look carefully on the RHS to locate the power button. Another issue is that having the Thunderbolt cable in the centre as opposed to the rear of the LHS means that, when docked, the cable is more in the way and will obstruct the other ports. The HDMI and mains power are on the left - RJ45 and memory card are on the right.

You can see the fans and extractor grills in the photo in my main post.

Software
One thing to be aware of is that the laptop doesn’t come with the Clevo Control Centre installed by default. There’s no documentation to say this is the case and you have to know it’s available from the Downloads centre if you want to play around with keyboard backlight, power mode of the fan control. Otherwise, it’s an absolute pleasure not to have any bloatware to uninstall.

Performance
Overall, whilst I haven’t really set the laptop any stretching goals to date, I’m absolutely satisfied with the performance. I haven’t measured them, but the disc transfer rates, while transferring GBs of data, seemed very fast. Initially, the laptop was silent with the fans not running at all, but by the time I had copied 100 GB of data, and installed a few programs including Carbonite they were running quietly but noticeably in the background. With the Clevo Control Centre set to Quiet Mode, overall it’s mostly silent - although even when typing this review into Google Docs the fan has started and the core temperature has reached 40 deg, so it’s no way as silent as expected. Fans also run quietly when watching a show on iPlayer, although they aren’t overly intrusive. (Note: This is with Windows Indexing complete and the Carbonite backup up to date.)

Powering up after shutdown, it takes 28s to log in using Windows Hello facial recognition and to get Outlook running. That feels fast. After lid close and re-open, it takes 5s to get back to the browser. Other than the next point, all ports etc worked fine first time and I had no dead pixels. Windows Hello face recognition works well although I find the fingerprint reader to be unreliable - but i find that on other devises as well so it might just be me!

The big gripe!
I’m reasonably happy except for one thing - and it’s a big one: I still haven't got my Thunderbolt port to give me “single cable connection to a [Dell D6000] docking station”. I’ve played around with drivers etc with no success - this is rather disappointing.

Overall Rating
Against my requirements, this is how I'd currently rate my laptop:
  • Powerful, responsive, future proofed in this respect: 9/10
  • Supports a single cable connection to a docking station - Fail so far
  • Quiet (minimal fan noise) - 8/10
  • Light - 9/10
  • Looks “desirable” - 7/10
  • Physical design - 8/10
If I manage to get the docking station to work, then I’ll be a lot happier! I hope this is of some use to others and I'm happy to answer any questions you may have.
 

simcoo

Active member
Update: Five weeks from delivery and I'm still working with PCS support to get the Dell docking station properly working with the laptop. At present, the dock only works if I supply power to the laptop separately.
 

AMacG

Member
That's really helpful to me, thank you. I am close to deciding to buy exactly what you have there. Have been somewhat worried by comments elsewhere on the Forum about what needs to be done to get software working well - Win 10 for example - did you have any issues? Never bought a laptop this way before - usually get PC World to set up and go. Give me some confidence if you will!!
 

SpyderTracks

Bingo Bango Orchestrator
Moderator
That's really helpful to me, thank you. I am close to deciding to buy exactly what you have there. Have been somewhat worried by comments elsewhere on the Forum about what needs to be done to get software working well - Win 10 for example - did you have any issues? Never bought a laptop this way before - usually get PC World to set up and go. Give me some confidence if you will!!
If you order with windows, PCS will configure all the software, if you order without, you’re expected to know how to configure windows and won’t be eligible for software support.
 

simcoo

Active member
That's really helpful to me, thank you. I am close to deciding to buy exactly what you have there. Have been somewhat worried by comments elsewhere on the Forum about what needs to be done to get software working well - Win 10 for example - did you have any issues? Never bought a laptop this way before - usually get PC World to set up and go. Give me some confidence if you will!!
Hi AMacG,
You should have no concerns on this at all. Windows 10 is pre-installed (assuming you order this) and is ready for you right away (you have to go through the normal personalisation of course). In fact, because PCS don't bundle loads of other bloatware the experience is simpler and quicker than with other suppliers.
In fact, PCS are so keen not to deploy bloatware that the Control Centre that allows control of the Power Modes, LED Keyboard and Fan Speed is not installed by default.
See It's available as a very simple download from your account after you've made a purchase - my gripe is that they don't actually tell you this so I suspect that some miss out on this functionality.
 

AMacG

Member
Simcoo
How about an update on your experience of the Lafite Pro?
I am just about ready to buy the same unit!
All good?
 

simcoo

Active member
Simcoo
How about an update on your experience of the Lafite Pro?
I am just about ready to buy the same unit!
All good?
Yes - still working well with all the pros and cons described in the original review. Good luck and it will be interesting to hear of your experience.
 
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