Laptop Thoughts: News & Reviews on Laptops, Netbooks, Slates, and More.

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All posts tagged "laptop"


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Which is More Important to You? Battery Life or Graphics Performance?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 09:00 PM

http://blog.laptopmag.com/which-tos...e-intel-version

"Overall, we love this lightweight notebook's gorgeous design, snappy performance, and amazingly comfortable keyboard. But which of these two configurations is best? While both received a "highly recommended" rating of 4 stars, we gave our coveted Editor's Choice award to the Intel-powered T235 because it lasted 50 minutes longer (6:10 versus 5:20), it had better Wi-Fi connectivity, and it copied files faster than its AMD-based counterpart. Overall performance was pretty much a wash, though the T235D did a little bit better in graphics tests and gaming."

It's always interesting when two laptops have identical parts but differ on CPU and chipsets; you get to see how each CPU and chipset change factors that are otherwise virtually impossible to measure head to head. In this case, going with an Intel CPU and GPU gets you 50 minutes of extra battery life for $20 more. The AMD option brings better graphics performance to the table, and a savings of $20. Which is more important to you? Battery life or better graphics performance? For me, it's better battery life - hands down.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

ASUS U33Jc-A1: Not Bad for Bamboo!

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Asus Laptops & Netbooks" @ 09:30 PM

http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/29/...-bamboo-review/

"Pandas, East Asia, wood. Nope, 'laptop' hasn't ever been on the list of words we typically associate with 'bamboo,' but ASUS sure has us willing to tack it on with the introduction of its U Bamboo Series. The company's newest 13-inch U33Jc is covered in one of the most durable and recyclable materials on earth, and its internals are made of equally strong parts."

When I think of laptop construction material, I generally don't think of bamboo. ASUS has made this strong, performing laptop with the lid and the palm rest made of real bamboo. Take that, competitors, with your all-plastic construction! This strong 4.5-pound performer looks good, and with chrome accents and wood it resembles a fine piece of furniture. Unfortunately, the plastic chiclet (island) keyboard is only an adequate performer. No backlighting.

On the performance side: excellent graphics performance except with 3D games, pretty fast, but reports say that the processor is underclocked, and that slower memory is used than in its predecessor, the U30jc. Battery life, at five hours (6:47 in Laptop's Battery Rundown Test), is very good, and Intel's WiDi (wireless display) technology is onboard, allowing (with the addition of a $99 NetGear Net2TV adapter) content to be beamed to a flat screen TV. WiDi is not recommended for gaming or using as an second monitor, as there is a measurable (3 second) lag as content is moved. ExpressGate Cloud instant-on OS is present, and accessed by a button press, but this version is slower than previous versions. All in all, a top performer for $999.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Short Video Review of the HP Pavilion dv6z

Posted by Michael Knutson in "HP Laptops & Netbooks" @ 06:30 PM

http://www.notebooks.com/2010/07/28...hands-on-video/

"As part of the most recent refresh to the popular Pavilion line of notebooks, HP has released the HP Pavilion dv6z, an AMD-powered notebook that includes a sleek-looking metal alloy lid. The new HP Pavilion dv6z includes switchable graphics with an island-style keyboard and starts at $579."

A medium-sized laptop, with a robust AMD processor and switchable graphics, the dv6z sports a different keyboard, with a row of function keys added vertically to the left of the standard keys. The processor is robust, but exhibits a few unexplained lags when using multiple Chrome browser windows with multiple tabs. This 15.6-inch glossy-screened laptop is targeted to the back-to-school crowd. A more complete review is expected to be available within the next week or so.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Value-Priced Satellite T235 Launches

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Toshiba Laptops & Netbooks" @ 05:00 PM

http://networkedblogs.com/6gO8h

"For less than 600 bucks, it doesn't get any better than this. With its lightweight chassis, long battery life, comfy keyboard, and unique style, Toshiba's Satellite T235 is one of the best consumer ultraportables yet."

With great looks, a great keyboard, a great battery, a great price, and a weight under 4-pounds, Laptop rates the Satellite as one of the very best 13-inch consumer laptops. With a 320GB SATA hard drive, 4GB Standard (8GB max), a 6-hour plus battery, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OS, this laptop is a strong contender for "best ultraportable." Potential netbook buyers may want to consider this a worthy alternative for not much more money.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Dell Inspiron M101z: AMD + 11.6" Screen

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 02:00 PM

http://www1.euro.dell.com/uk/en/hom...s=dhs&cs=ukdhs1

I guess this is Dell's answer to the HP dm1 - it features an 11.6" screen at 1366 x 768 resolution, Windows 7 Home Premium, an ATI RS880M GPU, 2 to 4 GB of RAM, under four pounds, 6.5 hours battery life from a six-cell battery, a 250 GB or 320 GB hard drive, and either the AMD Athlon II Neo K125 single core CPU (at 1.6 Ghz) or the dual core K325 also at 1.6 Ghz. Holy hell does AMD need to smack their branding team upside the head - every generation they tack on another word to their CPU names and they get harder and harder to spit out. Just call it the AMD Neo, OK? Read more...


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Toshiba Satellite M645: Out of This World?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Toshiba Laptops & Netbooks" @ 01:30 PM

http://www.laptopmag.com/review/lap...llite-m645.aspx

"It looks good, and it sounds even better. The 14-inch, 5-pound Toshiba Satellite M645 ($1,049) sports a a snazzy textured finish, plus Harmon / Kardon speakers powered by Dolby Advanced Audio Technology, producing the best sound we've heard from a laptop of this size."

Toshiba continues to improve their Satellite line of laptops, and the M645 continues the trend. Many pluses noted, and the few small minuses worth noting: VGA Webcam produced dark images; glossy display image washed-out during angled viewing and reflected when using less than full brightness; slowish standard 5400rpm drive; standard 6-cell 4400mAH tested battery life of only 3.5 hours; slowish WiFi transfer rates.

With seven preconfigured models and numerous configuration choices, starting at $719, the minor annoyances can, for the most part, be overcome for a reasonable price. $809 gets you an Intel Core i3 processor, 3GB of RAM, a 7200rpm drive, and a larger (5600mAH) battery, taking you to a reasonable five (5) hours of battery life. So, if you need a laptop that is a gamer, and strong on the multimedia side, consider taking a look at the new Satellite M645.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Desktop Replacement Powerhouse: Dell Studio 17 Model 1747

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 09:11 AM

http://www.geekwithlaptop.com/the-d...top-replacement

"The new Dell Studio 17 - model 1747 - is about to hit the virtual shelves, and offers users with yet another option in the desktop replacement market. This 17.3 inch laptop comes with the usual variety of configurations offered by Dell, and apart from a few issues, it seems to be a pretty solid machine."

A new model from Dell in the "desktop replacement" class, the Studio 17 Model 1747 offers a wide range of configuration options, a screen resolution of 1920x1080 with Radeon HD 4650 graphics, a keyboard "almost" full size with numeric keypad, and a battery that lasted for three and one half hours in real use. At just over 7.0-pounds, it's not light, and some heat issues may make using it on your lap an ordeal, but again, this is a desktop replacement, and probably not meant to be used regularly on a lap. Entry-level configurations start at about $700, with the cost increasing as upgrades are added. No information was provided on availability in North America.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

HP tm2 Laptop Reviewed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "HP Laptops & Netbooks" @ 07:00 AM

This is my review video of the HP tm2 laptop [affiliate] - also known as a tablet PC because of the touch screen, though it's worth pointing out that HP doesn't use that term anymore. My unboxing and first impressions video is here if you haven't already watched it. The exact model I'm reviewing is the 1070ca, on loan to me for a few weeks from HP Canada. The exact model and configuration will change depending on where you are in the world, but the basics are the same. Read more...


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Toshiba Portege R705 - Innovation and Performance for $800

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Toshiba Laptops & Netbooks" @ 12:30 AM

http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/12/...ge-r705-review/

"Stuck on the Toshiba Portege R705's magnesium alloy palmrest is a shiny sticker celebrating the company's 25 years of "laptop innovation." Now, we're the first to hate on the plethora of decals that festoon Windows laptops these days -- and this one also deserves to be peeled off and tossed into the garbage -- but the sticker actually happens to speaks volumes about why the $800 R705 is such a big deal."

Toshiba is celebrating 25 years of making great computers by introducing the R705, a 3.2 pound ultraportable laptop listing for $800 exclusively at Best Buy. The R705 sports an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB storage, an optical drive, Intel's wireless display technology (also called WiDi), a 13.3-inch 1366x768 display, and a battery that Toshiba claims will last 8.5 hours.

Is this system as good as early reviews seem to say? Yes, with several small concerns: cooling of the processor during cpu-intensive activity; battery life only half of the time claimed (4+ hours); keyboard (keys) a bit small; trackpad left and right mouse buttons could be raised up; and some viewing angles less than optimal. But overall, great build quality, great performance, and feature-rich for the price.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Acer TimelineX 4820T: A Perfect Ultrathin Laptop?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Acer Laptops & Netbooks" @ 12:00 PM

http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/09/...x-4820t-review/

"Pulling the 14-inch Acer TimelineX 4820T from its box, one thing went through our mind: this could be the perfect thin and light laptop. The $717 system is about an inch thick, weighs only 4.7 pounds, and still has an onboard DVD drive. And unlike the past Acer Timelines and their sissy ULV processors, it has a standard voltage Core i3-350M CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive."

With very impressive out-of-the-box specs, design and build compromises impact the overall rating of the TimeLineX 4820T. While the Core i3-350M processor is a screamer, making this system a possible choice for everyday use, the chiclet keyboard leaves something to be desired, exhibiting a great amount of flex and squeak when typing. Less than perfect keyboard = probably not an all-day machine. And, the LCD display, at a glossy 1366x768 resolution, has some problems with viewing angles outside of direct head-on. Battery life is excellent, with over five (5) hours of usage in Engadget's battery rundown video testing. So, the bottom line is that this is a very good laptop for $717 ($799 with ATI Radeon HD 5650 graphics), but as for approaching perfection in an ultrathin laptop, Acer is not quite there yet.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

HP Releases the dv1: Small, Thin, Light...Possibly Hot and Loud?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "HP Laptops & Netbooks" @ 03:20 PM

http://www.logicbuy.com/deals/hp-dm...upon/15078.aspx

"The new HP dm1 is powered by AMD platform (AMD Athlon II Neo with optional AMD Turion II Neo 1.5GHz), weighs less than 3.24 pounds and is just 19.8 mm thick. Also feature 92% full sized keyboard, Wireless-N, webcam, 5-in-1 card reader, 3 USB 2.0 ports, HDMI output, up to 10 hours battery life. Options include up to 5GB DDR3 RAM, Bluetooth & WWAN, SSD, external Blu-ray ROM, and more."

HP has so many laptops, it's hard to keep track of them - especially when some of them are only released in Asia/Europe. That seems to be the case with the dm1 - I hadn't heard of it being sold in North America until today, but YouTube is full of unboxing and review videos of the dm1 from people outside North America. At any rate, this product looks like it has a lot in common with the HP Mini 311, but it uses the AMD Neo CPU rather than the Intel Atom. That might be a problem.

I still have the HP dv2 on long-term loan, and it uses the AMD dual-core Neo CPU. While I use it every single day (it's my TV room/bedroom laptop) and like it quite a bit, I strongly dislike the fact that the fan never turns off and is constantly blasting hot air. The AMD Neo CPU might allow HP to sell this laptop for less money than a comparable Intel chip, but I'd gladly pay more for a cooler, quieter computer. I'd really like to see an Intel CULV processor in there, or even a dual-core Atom.

At any rate, the dv1 looks like a very capable computer, and I like the size of it - because, you know, sometimes a 13.3" laptop is just too big... ;-)

Tags: hp, laptop, hp dv1

Monday, June 28, 2010

Awful Looking Text Over HDMI on Your TV? Turn Down the Sharpness

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 07:00 AM

Are you seeing awful-looking text on an LCD or plasma TV after connecting your laptop or desktop to it via HDMI? Here's a tip that might help. First, some back story...

A couple of weeks ago, I swapped out video cards in the desktop PC that I use as my Windows Media Center computer. A few months earlier, I'd removed my aged Dell 26" 720p LCD TV and replaced it with an LG 32" 1080p LCD TV. I was running over DVI, using a DVI to VGA adapter since the LG TV didn't have a DVI port. Everything looked great, though I wasn't sure if I was really seeing 1080p resolution when I was watching Blu-ray movies - the NVIDIA 7950GT video card was a couple of years old, and I wasn't sure if it would support HDCP over DVI > VGA. I spent a few hours trying to determine if I had an HDCP-compliant chain of devices (computer to video card to display) and found it impossible to find anything that allowed me to easily test this. I'd already purchased the new video card - a low-end, passively cooled ATI 5000 series Radeon card - so I figured "What the hell, I'll just put it in". Read more...


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dell Launches Inspiron R Series Laptops

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 12:10 PM

"Today, more than ever, families are looking to technology as an extra set of hands - one that helps them stay connected, quickly cross items off daily ‘to-do' lists, and keep them entertained. The new Inspiron R laptops were designed with this in mind - making it easier than ever to access personal files and securely share photos and videos wirelessly, as well to enjoy the ideal mobile personal entertainment hub, offering smooth video playback, surround sound and a built-in Webcam. Wrapped in curvy edges, smooth lines and available in four unique colorful finishes with chrome accents, the Inspiron R laptops are as beautifully designed as they are useful. With several display sizes ranging from 14-inch models that fit perfectly in a messenger bag, to home and dorm room-friendly 15- and 17-inch versions, the Inspiron R boasts a contemporary and sleek appearance that will make anyone feel good about bringing it out in the classroom or the local coffee shop."

Dell's new series of Inspiron R laptops are your typical budget affairs, albeit with a fit of extra flair - the design looks pretty nice, and with the rounded edges, gives the laptops a less brick-like appearance. Prices start at $549 USD and go up to $979 USD. Curiously, as I look at the Dell.com product page for the Inspiron R series, I can't help but notice that there are virtually no hardware customization options. The one and only choice for hardware customization is the colour - red, black, blue, or pink. Read more...


Friday, June 18, 2010

New Toshiba Satellites Fall to Earth

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Toshiba Laptops & Netbooks" @ 02:00 AM

http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/15/toshiba-satellite-m645-boasts-nvidia-optimus-and-improved-aesthe/

The A665 3D Satellite is designed for entertainment and gaming, and sports a 15.6 inch TrueBrite® HD widescreen LED backlit screen, NVIDIA's 3D Vision kit, Blu-ray with 3D playback, and NVIDIA GeForce GTS 350M graphics with 1GB of VRAM. Under the hood is an Intel Core i7-740QM processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 640GB hard drive. The A665 starts at $1,599, including accessories for 3D viewing.

If you're not quite ready for 3D but like the A665's specs, $799.99 MSRP and up will get you a similar configuration, without 3D, but also with a TrueBrite® HD widescreen LED backlit screen.

The smaller M645 Satellite offers extensive configuration options to go with a standard 14 inch screen: a choice of Intel's Core i3, i5 or i7, or an AMD Phenom II Quad Core CPU, NVIDIA Optimus auto-switching graphics, Blu-ray, 7200 RPM drives. The M645 will start at $729.99 MSRP.

The A665 and M645 both have Toshiba's Sleep-and-Music technology, allowing you to power down your Satellite, plug in your music player, and use the laptop's speakers.

According to Toshiba, both systems will be available at major brick-and-mortar and online retailers starting June 20, 2010. Engadget has a nice gallery of images to check out.


Friday, June 11, 2010

HP's tm2 Laptop: Unboxing and First Impressions

Posted by Jason Dunn in "HP Laptops & Netbooks" @ 12:40 PM

This is an unboxing and first impressions video of the HP tm2 laptop [affiliate] - also known as a tablet PC because of the touch screen, though it's worth pointing out that HP doesn't use that term anymore. The exact model I'm reviewing is the 1070ca, on loan to me for a few weeks from HP Canada. The exact model and configuration will change depending on where you are in the world, but the basics are the same. Read more...


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Welcome to Laptop Thoughts!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Site Updates" @ 08:00 AM

I want to welcome you to the launch of the next Thoughts Media site: Laptop Thoughts. This site will not only focus on laptops/notebooks, along with their smaller netbook siblings, but also on the variety of tablets and slates hitting the market this year. I've always taken an organic approach to growing the network of sites; Digital Home Thoughts is traditionally the place where we've talked about laptops, so over time it only made sense to launch a site focused on this important computing form-factor. Obviously, some of the other sites in the network overlap with this site - Apple Thoughts is where you'll go to see more in-depth news on Mac laptops, but we'll still talk about them here at a high level (big announcements, etc.). You'll see all laptop/netbook news here from now on instead of Digital Home Thoughts.

It took me a while to get my first laptop - I didn't purchase one until 2001 - but since getting that first laptop, I've been hooked on the idea of having a full-featured computer with me wherever I go. Smartphones are great and all, but sometimes you just really want to run the apps and get at your data in the same way you do on your desktop computer. We'll have some fun talking about the history of laptops - I know many of you got started with laptops long before I did - but that will come later.

With the launch of any new site, there's the inevitable question of "If I build it, will they come"?. So my request to you, the community, is to make Laptop Thoughts the focus of your laptop-based efforts. Have a question about a laptop? Come post it in our forums. Looking for a new laptop? Come here first, and use our links and resources (more on that later) to help you in your research. If you're a laptop expert, become a regular in our forums and help to create the knowledgeable, friendly community that Thoughts Media is known for. Submit laptop news to us, and let us know what you want to see from this site. Follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS feed, sign up for the weekly newsletter (in the right-hand sidebar), and subscribe to our channel on Youtube.

I've been looking forward to launching Laptop Thoughts for many months now, so I'm excited it's finally happening. Welcome! Oh, and in case you're wondering, we'll definitely be having a grand-opening contest...I'm working on gathering up some prizes now. Stay tuned!


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