I recently purchased a new Mecer Xpression W940TU laptop from Computer Mania as my (not so) beloved MacBook Pro started giving me troubles. Seeing that a full repair would cost something around R5000 I decided to give a new laptop a try as I was in need of a fallback device anyway.
The Mecer laptop was the cheapest laptop I could buy right-on-the-spot at one of the Computer Mania franchises – for only R3600.
Mecer itself seems to be a brand of Mustek Limited which does not seem to be affiliated with the Mustek I know from Germany.
Unfortunately there is not a lot of tech review going on in South Africa so it was difficult to find any information or opinion about this specific or similar model. It was a risky buy, but so far I am happy.
The laptop comes with the following specs:
- Intel Celeron N2840
- 2GB DDR3L RAM
- 500GB HDD
- 14″ – 1366×786 – 16:9 (they call it “HD”)
- Windows 8 pre-installed (mine even came with a pre-configured user… yay)
- No CD/DVD player
I have never heard of this kind of CPU before but I am pretty impressed – it’s definitely lagging way behind my older i5 – but since I am only using it for work and not doing anything multimedia richy it’s perfectly fine. The power consumption is very low, thus also not really generating heat under high load – which is great! You will find the exact details here.
The quality of the chasis is pretty good – feels very cheap but also very durable. Same goes for the keyboard which I actually enjoy using. The touchpad is unfortunately disappointing – especially the buttons.
Of course from the beginning on it was clear that the specs are not enough for my usage – so I had to open it up and upgrade it.
This gave me also the possibility to have a look in side, and damn it looks cheap. Anyways:
- replaced the 2GB RAM module with 2x4GB DDR3L (low voltage, got 1600 but they will anyway go down to 1333 automatically)
- Samsung EVO 840 250GB SSD
- removed Windows 8 in favour of Debian 8 (+ Mate)
Works like a charm, pretty fast, and the only bottleneck now is really the CPU.
- Absolutely NO vendor locking – want to upgrade the hard drive or replace the RAM? Just do it!
- Pretty simple technology – many things you can replace by yourself – so no exotic stuff soldered/glued on (well except the battery, see cons)
- You can get (at least here in South Africa) a replacement for pretty much every part (won’t be always the original though) – and thats because they did not build anything “special behind closed doors” but just jammed in popular components together
- Being used to a Macbook, jesus the power connector on the laptop itself is fucked up – I need to jam it in with force and taking it out feels like I am ripping some inner parts out
- the battery is unfortunately not easy changeable – similar to other laptops with this form – but still much better as it looks like they are some generic ones I can get from RS – so no special build or glued on
- the battery have a very very low quality – it is reporting the wrong status under Debian and once it hits 50% it shuts off automatically
- keyboard is not backlit
Conclusion: A cheap, but not the cheapest, laptop. Having nothing special built in and no vendor locking means upgrades and repairs will be easy and cheap to do.
Update: please don’t buy this laptop – after only 6 months of usage it completely broke down. Additionally batteries were just super unreliable!