July 13, 2010

Finding that perfect laptop!

I've always been on the hunt for the perfect laptop that is lightweight, travel friendly and powerful yet, not limited to the ULV CPUs that most compact laptops are made of. The last go around (approx. 3 years ago), I opted to switch sides to the Apple world and took the smallest aluminum laptop 15" Macbook Pro which is still quite hefty at 5.4lbs. At that time, I chose OS X because I truly can't stand where Vista was headed, otherwise I probably would have picked up a Sony VIAO S-series (4.1lb.) or Dell XPS M1301 (4.4lb.) which are great notebooks in my POV.

Fast forward to 2010 where laptops are smaller and more powerful than ever and that piece of crap Apple MacBook Pro I picked up is now busted due to a faulty logic board with only 2 years of usage (none of the laptops I've ever owned has had that happened, let along cost as much as MBP's $2500 asking price), I'm now in the market to look for a new laptop; this time around, I'm gonna find me a lightweight powerhouse and I won't settle or break the bank! This blog entry isn't so much about a new laptop review but more sharing my selection process of how I came about finding that perfect laptop replacement..

Initial short list of laptops with 13-14" LCD
HP Envy 13.0" (3.68lbs.) C2D - $1199 starting
HP Envy 14.0" (5.25lbs.) i3/i5 - $1099 starting
HP dm3z 13.3" (4.1 lbs.) ULV - $499 starting
HP dm4t 14.0" (4.4 lbs.) i5 - $729 starting
Dell Adamo XPS 13.4" (3.2lbs.) ULV - $1988 starting (no optical)
Dell Latitude 13" (3.36lbs.) ULV - $699 starting w/ win7
Dell Vostro V13 (3.5lbs.) ULV - $700 starting (no optical)
Macbook Pro 13" (5.1 lbs.) C2D - $1200 starting (no optical)
Macbook Air 13" (2.7 lbs.) C2D - $1500 starting (no optical)
Lenovo X301 13" (3.0 lbs.) ULV - $2400 starting
Toshiba R705 13" (3.2 lbs.) i3 - $799

Filter 1: Weight must be less than 4lbs.
HP Envy 13.0" (3.68lbs.) C2D - $1199 starting
Dell Adamo XPS 13.4" (3.2lbs.) ULV - $1988 starting (no optical)
Dell Latitude 13" (3.36lbs.) ULV - $699 starting w/ win7
Dell Vostro V13 (3.5lbs.) ULV - $700 starting (no optical)
Macbook Air 13" (2.7 lbs.) C2D - $1500 starting (no optical)
Lenovo X301 13" (3.0 lbs.) ULV - $2400 starting
Toshiba R705 13" (3.2 lbs.) i3 - $799

Filter 2: CPU can't be ULV
HP Envy 13.0" (3.68lbs.) C2D - $1199 starting
Macbook Air 13" (2.7 lbs.) C2D - $1500 starting (no optical)
Toshiba R705 13" (3.2 lbs.) i3 - $799


Filter 3: I would like to have an optical drive
HP Envy 13.0" (3.68lbs.) C2D - $1199 starting
Toshiba R705 13" (3.2 lbs.) i3 - $799

In the end, I went with the Toshiba R705, the consumer iteration (only available at Best Buy) of the business Protege series.  At $799, weighting in 3.2lbs., 4GB of RAM and 500GB of HDD, this seems too good to be true, so I went with it. Initial impression is that the notebook is very fast and loaded with cool features (Intel Wireless Display Technology, and eSATA/USB that powers devices even when turned off.  Keyboard feels very plastic and clicky.  The weight is super light.  In terms of value and performance, you can't go wrong with this machine... otherwise, the alternative would be a Sony Z series which could run you $2-4K.  More thorough reviews can be found here:

Engadget
Geek with Laptop

Notebook.com


5 comments:

Chris said...

How's the battery life? I hear the biggest letdown with this computer has been that the actual battery life is no where near what toshiba says it would be? I'm very much considering this laptop but I need something that will last me at least 5 hours with normal use.

Anonymous said...

X301 is nearing EOL. I would put the T410s on the list instead. Inch bigger, sound is impressive, very light and with an optical.

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