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

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All posts tagged "laptop"

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Considerations For Your New Laptop

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 12:30 PM

"While tablets get all the attention these days, there’s a reason why laptops continue to be the computing device of choice for most people. Notebooks offer real keyboards for faster typing, they’re better at multitasking, and they offer a lot more power for everything from editing video and creating PowerPoints to playing the latest games. So what type of laptop should you get?"

Laptops, like phones and tablets, can be a very personal choice. There is no one laptop that suits everyone's needs and you should think carefully about what you are spending your hard earned money on. Along with the 5 handy tips that Laptop Magazine offers, there is another consideration you should keep in mind. You should be very mindful of what kind of laptop screen you get. The current trend is for most laptops to have glossy screens these days, which means that while movies might look brighter, you will also see a lot more glare. Matte screens are harder to find, but I personally find them easier on the eyes for day to day activities. You should also investigate the viewing angles of your screen if you intend on sharing your laptop. You are bound to spend a lot of time watching that screen, so making sure that it is as easy on the eyes as possible can make a huge difference in your experience.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Asus ZENBOOK UX21 and UX31 Ultrabook Pricing and Release Date Confirmed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Asus Laptops & Netbooks" @ 02:05 PM

Now dubbed the "ZENBOOK", the much-anticipated UX21 and UX31 ultrabooks are coming very soon - as in, available for order tomorrow. Woot! I'm really excited about this personally, because I've been looking for a new laptop for quite a long time now. The UX31 looks like it's exactly what I'm looking for, though I'm reluctant to drop $1500 on one until I read a review or two. Asus has a good track record with recent laptops, so I'm cautiously optimistic this will be a solid product. What about you? Are you getting an ultrabook?

Full press release after the break.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Asus UX31 Ultrabook: This Could Be My Next Laptop

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Asus Laptops & Netbooks" @ 10:00 AM

"We've heard the stories, but we've yet to appreciate it in the flesh until now. That's right, Pocket-lint was present and correct at the first UK showing of the Asus UX31, the company's new Ultrabook. Shown at an Intel Tweet Up in London to an unsuspecting audience, the new flagship Asus device and MacBook Air destroyer, according to some, settled in for a quiet 20 minutes with Pocket-lint."

I'm smitten...this may very well be my next laptop. The design is fantastic, the specs are right in line with what I'm looking for (256 MB SSD, Core i7 CPU) and, best of all, the 13.3" screen will come with a 1600 x 900 option. FINALLY someone doing something other than 1366 x 768! Assuming the price point is around $1500 (give or take) and the reviews are good, this is the laptop I'll be buying this fall. More photos here as well.

LAPTOP's Toshiba Portege Z830 Hands-On

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Toshiba Laptops & Netbooks" @ 09:39 AM

"We caught up with the 13-inch system in the IDF Ultrabook Pavillion, where it was being used to demonstrate Intel's new Pair and Share media streaming technology. We didn't get a chance to do any real work on the demo model, but we were struck by the system's sleek, business-first looks and its svelte 2.45-pound, 0.63-inch thick design."

It doesn't have the same "WOW" factor as the Asus UX31, but it's got all the right stuff on the inside (no mention of CPU though). I'm super excited about these Ultrabooks, but I'm a bit irked that in typical Windows OEM fashion, we're being shown things we can't buy for months. Apple has the right approach: announce something and have it on store shelves soon. Don't lose the buying impulse by making people wait months and months...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Samsung Series 9 Laptop Reviewed: Be Very Afraid Macbook Air, Be Very Afraid

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Samsung Laptops & Netbooks" @ 08:00 AM

Samsung's Series 9 laptop (here's my unboxing) presents the most serious challenge to the success of the Macbook Air thus far - as long as you're not one of those people who has to run OS X. As someone who ran Windows 7 on a Macbook Air for two weeks, I can say that while it's workable, there are enough differences with the keyboard that it can be hard to adjust. Given a couple of months, I probably could have made the shift, but when I started using the Series 9, there was no need to adapt: I could type normally (well, except for that ridiculous tiny left shift key) and the size/weight on the Series 9 felt virtually identical to the Macbook Air I had. Read more...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Unboxing the Samsung Series 9 Laptop: Is This a Macbook Air Killer?

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

This is a three-part unboxing and first impressions video of the Samsung Series 9 laptop; the 900X3A-A02CA model to be precise. It's on loan to me from Samsung Canada for a couple of weeks, so I'm putting it through its paces. This is a thin and light laptop that goes head to head with the Macbook Air, though it costs a pretty penny doing so. Is it worth the extreme price premium? It's unusual to talk about Apple having a less expensive product than the competition, but you can't escape the numbers: a maxed out Macbook Air 13 in Canada with a 256 GB SSD, 2.13 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB of RAM, and the Ethernet dongle, would cost me $1878. This Series 9 with a 256 GB SSD, a 1.4 Ghz Core i5 second-gen (Sandry Bridge) CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and the Ethernet dongle included, rings in at $2399. That's a 28% price premium. Yes, the Series 9 comes with twice the RAM and a better CPU, but the Air has a better GPU. Read more...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Black Friday Comes Early, on The Cheap

Posted by John London in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 07:00 PM

Most notebooks under $400 have specs so low-end that even the most basic users won’t be satisfied, but thanks to the latest cost effective AMD processors, consumers can pick up a new notebook from Best Buy or Staples that will deliver on all the standard needs of home users for just $350. Instead of the sub-par single core processors and lackluster specs, these new AMD Fusion E-350 powered notebooks are packing a dual core processor, capable graphics card, 3-4GB RAM, 320GB hard drive, built in webcam and Windows 7. These notebooks are available today from Best Buy and Staples for $350.”

For most users these new low-cost laptops are a great replacement. The new low-cost laptops are as good as they were just a few short years ago. It is amazing how fast the price is dropping on laptops. The new low-cost laptops are now in the price range of a netbook, but the hardware and performance they offer is significantly better. I find the new laptops appealing in that they are now very affordable and can handle probably most of my computing needs. In addition, with rapid development of technology improvements does it make sense to invest in higher cost laptops? Check out the article to find out if these new low-cost laptops are for you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Acer TimelineX: Thin, Powerful, and Under $1000

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Acer Laptops & Netbooks" @ 11:00 PM

"The Acer TimelineX employs a no frills—but hardly utilitarian—design that's simple and clean. Combined with a Core i5 Sandy Bridge processor, 13.3-inch display, Nvidia GT 540M graphics and Dolby audio, it's a solid, inch-thick package that only lightens bank accounts by $780."

At a little over 4-pounds, the 13.3-inch TimelineX is reasonably powerful, well-outfitted, and claims a battery lifecycle of up to 4-years. Oddly enough, a 14-inch and a 15.6-inch model are also available in the series, and both have a starting price lower than the 13.3-inch model, and, include a DVD-RW drive, lacking in the smallest model. Looks like a decent, if undistinguished system, with a lot of competition in this footprint.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ed Bott's Five Reasons Why Google's New Chromebook Isn't a Windows Killer

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 03:00 PM

"At Google's I/O conference this week, the audience erupted into cheers when they heard the news that they were getting a free notebook powered by the Chrome OS. It's too bad that the audience was filled with developers instead of the IT pros who Google is counting on to actually buy these things. Something tells me that the latter audience would have been sitting on their hands for most of the session, and they wouldn't have been swayed by that Oprah moment."

Ed Bott comes out guns-a-blazin' against Google's Chromebook - and he has some very legitimate points. If you're an enterprise, the last thing you want is a product that gets updated immediately before you have a chance to test what impact the upgrade has on the tools your employees use. The pricing is also a big question mark - $28 a month over three years is $1008. For a consumer, that makes no sense. For a depends if they can save other costs around software licensing (anti-virus, Microsoft Office), hardware replacements, and IT labour re-imaging systems that get borked. The thin-client computing dream has been around for a long time, just like the tablet dream has, but as we've seen with raging success of the iPad, when the technology reaches a certain inflection point, things can take off. Is thin-client computing at that stage now? I guess we'll see!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dell Latitude E6420: A New Workhorse for the Enterprise

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 10:00 PM

"Dell's Latitude line has long been a favorite of businesses large and small because of its strong performance, good pricing, and long battery life. With the new 14-inch Latitude E6420, Dell has added a strong dose of style and durability to this tried and true formula, using a new Tri-Metal design with a durable magnesium frame that's built to stand up to abuse. Inside, the E6420 packs a punch, thanks to a second-generation Core i5 processor. Still, the $1,361 price tag for our configuration is a bit steep--even when you factor in the touchscreen. Is this Latitude worth it?"

The new space age Latitude E6420 is a strange beast. The traditional Latitude market is the enterprise, but this system "as tested" included a touchscreen, still a bit taboo in today's offices because of the potential for increased support. Fortunately this is an option. The system otherwise is a bit heavy but rock-solid, rugged, and MIL-STD 810G-tested. With a choice of processors, the machine is a screamer, while not frying the user, with average display and sound, a great spill-proof keyboard, touchpad and pointing stick, and, a 9-cell battery that gets about 9:00 hours of use on LAPTOP's battery test. Configurations start at $699, with a 1600x900 video option adding $79, and a 1366x768 touchscreen option adding $99. Pretty expensive (when maxed-out) for a 14-inch laptop, but it does come with a 3-year warranty from Dell, and not a lot of bloatware pre-loaded.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Laptop Magazine Reviews the Samsung Series 9

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

"Ever since Steve Jobs pulled the original MacBook Air out of an envelope, Windows laptop makers have been trying to beat the thinnest, lightest notebook in town. We've seen some notable efforts, such as the sexy but underpowered Dell Adamo series and the powerful but unsexy ThinkPad X301. Others have tried, too, but no one has been able to pair an ultra-slim and ergonomically sound design with an uncompromised computing experience. Now Samsung has taken up that challenge with the Series 9, a machine that rivals the latest 13-inch MacBook Air not only on in terms of design but performance. It also has a brighter display than the Air and a backlit keyboard, which you only get on the MacBook Pro. The Series 9 definitely has the air of an Air killer, but is it worth $1,649?"

When I first saw the Samsung Series 9 laptop at CES 2011, I was more than a little excited: only weeks before I'd purchased, then returned, the 13 inch Macbook Air. There was a lot that I liked about the Air, but at heart I'm still a Windows guy. If found it kind of clunky to use Windows 7 on the Air, though I might have gotten used to it after a while. The Series 9, however, represented to me the potential of what a top-tier OEM like Samsung could do when they put some real effort in. The Series 9, while not exactly a home run, delivers a top-notch experience...if you can afford the entry price. I was wondering if this was going to be my next laptop, and while I'm tempted, I'm not so sure. I feel like the Sony Vaio Z might be a better choice for me if they release one with a Sandy Bridge Core i7. Read more...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Witness The Power of Fusion: HP's Pavilion dm1z Laptop Unboxed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "HP Laptops & Netbooks" @ 11:30 AM

Above is part one of an unboxing and first impressions video of the HP Pavilion dm1z laptop [affiliate]. It was one of the first laptops to ship using the new AMD Fusion APU. It features an AMD Dual-Core Processor E-350 (1.6GHz, 1MB L2 Cache) and an AMD Radeon HD 6310M Discrete-Class Graphics chip for the GPU. This model I purchased from HP came with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, 3 GB of RAM, a 320 GB 7200 RPM hard drive, a six-cell battery, an 11.6 inch display (1366 x 768 resolution), a Webcam with integrated microphone, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth. It has no internal CD/DVD drive: you need to buy an external, USB-based drive to load CDs or DVDs. Part two after the break.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Today's Smartphone is Tomorrow's Laptop

Posted by Kevin Jackson in "Android Talk" @ 05:00 AM

". . . the Atrix does take one giant step towards allowing us to work and play without an x86-based desktop or laptop. By plugging the Atrix into the proprietary $400 laptop dock depicted here-which lacks a CPU or storage, and only has a chiclet keyboard, touchpad, battery (which automatically charges your phone), and an impressive 1366x768 screen."

Here is a review of the Motorola Atrix 4G from Maximum PC. A lot of ink has been spilled over the phone and its shortcomings, but one thing really stands out about this device; I believe that we are seeing the next generation of mobile computing. Smartphone processor speed is quickly catching up with many lower end laptops and netbooks (Netbook? What's that?) and with cloud storage becoming ubiquitous, it is only a matter of time before we slip our primary computer (at least the brains of it) into our pockets when we leave the office or the house. The Atrix 4G, with all its inadequacies, is just an early step in this convergence.

How about you: will you give up your laptop for a smartphone and a dock? Let us know if the forum.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Samsung's QX410 Laptop Reviewed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Samsung Laptops & Netbooks" @ 08:00 AM

This is my review video of the Samsung QX410-J01 (you can check out my unboxing and first impressions here). The QX410 has a 14 inch screen, running at a disappointing 1366 x 768 resolution (1440 x 900 is my ideal resolution at 13 to 14 inches). It packs a lot of power in the CPU/GPU department: it uses an Intel Core i5 CPU running at 2.53 Ghz with turbo boost up to 2.8 Ghz. It has an NVIDIA GeForce 310M GPU with 512 MB of dedicated RAM. Other hardware includes 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, a 640 GB 5400rpm hard drive, a DVD/CD burner, gigabit Ethernet port, memory card reader (SD), 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, a Webcam with built-in microphone, HDMI output. The laptop runs Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.

The materials of the laptop are impressive though - the lid is a brushed aluminium and the overall feel of the materials is one of quality. It's not quite at the level of a Macbook Air/Pro, but it's close. Read more...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Samsung's QX410 Laptop Unboxed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Samsung Laptops & Netbooks" @ 08:00 AM

This is an unboxing and first impressions video of the Samsung QX410-J01. The QX410 has a 14 inch screen, running at a disappointing 1366 x 768 resolution. It packs a lot of power in the CPU/GPU department: it uses an Intel Core i5 CPU running at 2.53 Ghz with turbo boost up to 2.8 Ghz. It has an NVIDIA GeForce 310M GPU with 512 MB of dedicated RAM. Other hardware includes 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, a 640 GB 5400rpm hard drive, a DVD/CD burner, gigabit Ethernet port, memory card reader (SD), 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, a Webcam with built-in microphone, HDMI output. The laptop runs Windows 7 Home Premium. Read more...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wondering Why the New Macbook Pro's Seem to Offer Less Battery Life?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Apple Laptops" @ 02:00 PM

"Now that the news about the new MacBook Pros is out there, one thing that may disappoint someone just reading the spec sheet is battery life. Across the board, the Pro is now rated at 7 hours. While still very solid, this is actually a step down from the previous versions which were rated at 8 to 9 hours for the 15 and 17-inch models, and 10 hours for the 13-inch model. So what gives?"

When I was looking at the battery life on the new Macbook Pros, I noticed something curious: they're all listed as "up to 7 hours". I couldn't recall what the exact battery life specs were for the previous Macbook Pros, but I knew it varied from model to model. As the above text shows, Apple had quoted the battery life on previous Macbooks from 8 to 10 hours. Sandy Bridge processors are supposed to be even more power-friendly than the first-gen Core series processors. So what gives? Read more...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Anyone Else Underwhelmed by the New Macbook Pro Line?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Laptops & Netbooks" @ 04:00 PM

Apple announced a new line of Macbook Pro hardware today (buy 'em from our store), and I have to admit I was underwhelmed. Yes, they have Intel's rocking new Sandy Bridge CPUs that offer insanely great performance. Yes, they've switched from NVIDIA to AMD (ATI) graphics that offer up to 3x graphics performance. And, yes, there's the impressive Thunderbolt connectivity and an HD camera. Read more...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Razer Switchblade Previewed at CES: Mobile Gaming Nirvana

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Laptops & Netbooks" @ 06:00 PM

"For all intents and purposes, this is a miniature netbook. But unlike the UMPCs and MIDs that never really caught traction years back, this one has a very specific purpose: gaming on the go. And it's well equipped to handle it. A full-on copy of Windows 7 is loaded on, and Razer's happy to let users surf around on the standard desktop if they so choose. If not, Razer's created an in-house overlay that makes access to the internet, media, games, etc. a cinch. Quite frankly, it's one of the most stunning overlays we've seen -- it's lightweight, non-intrusive, and it actually makes using a machine of this size more practical. The 7-inch capacitive touchscreen was decidedly glossy (and thus, a fingerprint magnet), but the 1024 x 600 screen resolution looked downright luscious."

This is "old" news because it happened earlier this month at CES, but I completely missed it in the mad rush of news that happens every CES...and I think it's worth sharing! We've seen a lot of small devices, but I've never seen anything quite like this. The keyboard is actually a series of tiny LCD displays that dynamically re-configure based on whatever game the user is playing. This is the first time I've aware of this technology being implemented in a portable laptop-like device. There's some seriously cool technology at play here!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

DigitalTrends Looks at the Toshiba Protégé R705

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Laptops & Netbooks" @ 04:00 PM

"Before there were netbooks, Adamos, Timelines or even a MacBook Air, there was the Portege. Toshiba's long-standing marquee for ultraportable notebooks never achieved the prominence of many of its more fashionable contemporaries, but the business-styled portable has always pressed the bounds of technology. Back in 2007, the Portege R500 actually took the title of the "world's thinnest notebook with an optical drive." The R705 continues the thin-and-light, business-centric traditions of its fore-bearers, but with a new emphasis on value; an exotic prepped for the mainstream market."

Toshiba, a long-time stalwart of the Windows laptop realm, has been making thin and light laptops for a long time now - but the competition has left them behind when it comes to making thinner and lighter laptops. That's not to say that the Protégé R705 doesn't bring a lot to the table - decent CPU firepower in the form of a Core i5 clocked at 2.53 Ghz, decent battery life at around 5 hours, and a sturdy chassis for around $800. Where you lose out is GPU performance: by going with the Intel HD graphics chip, gaming on this laptop is restricted to Solitaire and Purple Place. But if gaming and 1080p Flash video playback aren't important to you, the R705 is worth a serious look.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Engadget Reviews the HP dm1z: Game Changer?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "HP Laptops & Netbooks" @ 05:00 PM

"So, what the heck does Fusion and AMD's history of promises about the platform have to do with HP's new Pavilion dm1z? Almost everything. HP's newest 11.6-inch not-quite-a-netbook (or a notbook as we like to call it) is the first Fusion system to hit the market, and with a dual-core 1.6GHz E350 Zacate processor and AMD Radeon HD 6310 GPU on the same chip it promises... well, everything AMD has promised for so long. According to HP and AMD, the system should last for over nine hours on a charge, play full 1080p content, and perhaps more importantly, not fry our laps as some previous AMD Neo-powered systems have done. For $450, it sounds like a true no-sacrifice system, but is it?"

The HP dm1z was one of the laptops that really got my attention at CES - it's one of the first out of the gate that supports the new AMD Fusion chip, and it comes in at a price point and feature set that many will find compelling. I was personally somewhat shocked when I picked it up - for something so small, you don't expect it to weigh so much (3.5 pounds). But comparing it to a 2.5 pound netbook doesn't really do it justice - with a screen almost two inches bigger and much more under the hood, I think the dm1z could be a real contender.

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