Digital Storm Veloce: The Quick And The Cheap

Design, Interface and I/O

The Veloce is based on an ODM design, and the amount of sprucing up that can be done to a Clevo is rather limited. The matte black finish on the Veloce’s lid is attractive, as is the DS logo, but that’s only when the lid is clean. Like other soft, black surfaces, the lid tends to attract smudges.

The whole black-and-gray design scheme is definitely old-school. It all looks very soft and outmoded — aside from the chiclet keyboard design and the angled edges, the Veloce could be an old Dell laptop from my college days, when opened. The lack of dedicated media buttons only adds to that effect. To be sure, the Veloce is small, but there’s a healthy amount of room above the function row that could stand for some media controls, or lights, or…well, something besides empty space. In fact, the only button the Veloce that isn’t part of the standard keyboard? The power button in the upper-right.

Lastly, while the Veloce is indeed small, the thickness (1.26 inches) and weight (4.6 pounds) are considerable for the form factor, but not unexpected.

The Veloce comes with plenty of I/O, thankfully, including four USB ports (three 3.0, one 2.0), a memory card slot, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, audio in and out, and a webcam. This definitely trumps what’s available on the Blade 14, although it’s the thickness of the Veloce that allows for more ports, like Ethernet. My only complaint when it comes to the I/O is the location, as most of the ports are located on the right side of the chassis. Depending on how much space you have to work with, this could potentially cause grief to your mouse, mousepad, and right hand. Still, that potential hazard is preferable to having the fan exhaust blowing on your mouse hand, and the Veloce’s ventilation strip is wisely located on the left side of the chassis.

The keyboard on the Veloce is par for the course; the chiclet design has decent spacing, but it’s definitely not the most comfortable typing experience, even for a smaller laptop (the Blade and some Ultrabooks do better). The key response is a bit hard — the bounce is there, but when the key hits the bottom, it lands with a considerable “thud.” Because the Veloce is dealing with limited space, the front edge of the body does dig into your wrists a little, too.

On the other hand, the trackpad is a pleasant surprise. Windows 8 gestures were a breeze to execute, the accuracy is top-notch, and mousing in general is a considerable improvement over previous Clevo models. While I suspect we all use a mouse when playing games, the trackpad on the Veloce is perfect for when you’re on a plane or otherwise separated from your mouse of choice.

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