The Bottom Line
Nov 28 2012 - The Cyberpower Zeus M3 is a surprising entry into the utlrabook market that isn't a first tier manufacturer. To compete, Cyberpower has included an insane amount of RAM and a larger than average solid state drive with good reliability to set themselves apart. This unfortunately is marred by a display that is certainly subpar thanks to some lackluster color and poor viewing angles. In addition to this, the keyboard is not as nice as the competition which makes it less suited for those having to use it for extended typing. At least it comes standard with Windows 7 for those that don't necessarily want to have to use Microsoft's latest operating system.
- More RAM Than Is Really Needed
- Higher Capacity Solid State Drive
- Comes With Windows 7 Rather Than Windows 8
- Display Has Limited Color And Viewing Angles
- Keyboard Isn't As Nice As Competition
- Intel Core i5-3317U Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 16GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 240GB Solid State Drive
- 14.1" WXGA (1366x768) Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 4000 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, One USB 2.0, HDMI, 9-in-1 Card Reader
- 13.2" x 9.3" x .7" @ 4 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium
Review - Cyberpower Gamer Zeus M3
Nov 28 2012 - Cyberpower is a company that is more known for low cost gaming laptops than ultrabooks but that is precisely what the Zeus M3 is. Overall, the design is nice on the exterior with brushed aluminum on the lid of the display but once opened feels a bit less so when the keyboard deck is made of plastic with the finish meant to look similar to the aluminum. It is relatively thin at just seven tenths of an inch thick but it doesn't have a sharp taper and instead keeps that thickness through the entire frame.
Powering the Cyuberpower Gamer Zeus M3 is Intel Core i5-3317U dual core processor that is typical of most ultrabooks. It provides more than enough power for the average user who mainly browses the web, emails, maybe runs some office programs and watches video. The system will struggle at more demanding tasks such as desktop video and gaming. What is very different here is that Cyberpower has loaded up the system with 16GB of DDR3 memory, the maximum that the laptop can handle. Frankly, this is a bit overkill for the current round of software as most can't take advantage of more than 8GB but you won't need to even upgrade it.
Now there are three various versions of the Zeus ultrabook from Cyberpower with the M3 being the top tier model. The primary difference between the three versions is the amount of storage space included in them. They all use solid state drives that are manufactured by Intel which gives them a high level of reliability but not the highest levels of performance. For this model, it comes with a relatively spacious 240GB Intel 520 Series drive that provides it with eighty percent more storage than most ultrabooks at this price point. On a side note, this is standard laptop sized drive rather than a mSATA drive so it does make a slight bulge in the front bottom of the casing to accommodate the drive. If you do require additional storage space, there are a two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external storage devices. Like most ultrabooks, there is no optical drive.
For the display, the Zeus M3 uses a 14.1-inch panel with a native resolution of 1366x768 which is typical of most smaller ultrabook laptops. It would have been nice to see a higher resolution but there is little competition of this except those ultrabooks priced well above $1000. The display is a bit disappointing with limited brightness and a relatively lackluster color performance. Vertical viewing angles also showed a significant drop in contrast and color. Driving the graphics is the Intel HD Graphics 4000 that is built into the Core i5 processor. This means that it really lacks any gaming performance that one might expect from Cyberpower. At least the graphics do have the ability to accelerate media encoding when using Quick Sync compatible applications.
The keyboard for the Cyberpower Zeus M3 uses a standard chiclet design that is sunken slightly from the palmrest area. The keys are a bit soft compared to many others and there is some flex as well. There is no back lighting on the keyboard which is a bit disappointing given its more premium price. The trackpad is a very larger and functional with integrated button design. The trackpad is centered on the laptop frame rather than the keyboard which means that accidental brushes with your right hand happen from time to time.
The Zeus chassis features an internal battery pack that has a rated capacity of 49WHr which is pretty typical of many ultrabooks. In digital video playback tests, this yielded just under four and half hours of playback before going into standby mode. This is a bit below average when compared to other solid state based ultrabooks in this size range but still decent. It is well behind the seven hours that the Apple MacBook Pro 15 with Retina that features a full power processor but a much larger battery.
In terms of competition, there are a number of 14-inch ultrabooks available on the market but most are priced below the $1000 of the Zeus M3. They include the ASUS VivoBook S400CA, Dell XPS 14, HP Envy Ultrabook, Lenovo IdeaPad U410 and Toshiba Satellite U845. Both the ASUS and Dell models feature touchscreens which is beneficial for Windows 8. All of the system use a hybrid of hard drive and solid state that provide a greater storage capacity but the storage performance suffers a bit as a result. The Dell is more expensive with a starting price of $1100 while the rest are all $800 or less. Of course, the Zeus M and Zeus M2 are better comparisons to them as they are found around $700 and $850 respectively.