laptop review

Laptop reviews: HP Probook 5310m, Toshiba Satellite T115, Acer Aspire 8940G, Asus UL80VT and others

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Laptop reviews of the week:

  • Acer Aspire One D250 (Android, 10″, Intel Atom N270, Intel GMA 950): CNET UK (70%)
  • Acer Aspire 1810TZ (12″, Intel Pentium Dual Core SU4100, Intel GMA 4500MHD): Register Hardware (85%)
  • Acer Aspire 8940G (18″, Intel Core i7-720QM, Nvidia GeForce GTS 250M): Laptop Magazine (80%), Notebookcheck (84%)
  • Acer Travelmate 8471 (14″, Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400, Intel GMA 4500MHD): Notebookcheck (88%)
  • Alienware M15x (15″, Intel Core i7-920XM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M): CNET (80%), Computer Shopper (89%)
  • Asus G51J-A1 (16″, Intel Core i7-720QM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M): Computer Shopper (72%)
  • Asus UL30A (13″, Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300, Intel GMA 4500MHD): Xataka
  • Asus K61IC (16″, Intel Pentium Dual Core T4300, Nvidia GeForce GT 220M): Notebookcheck (79%)
  • Asus UL80VT (14″, Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300, Nvidia GeForce G 210M + Intel GMA 4500MHD): PC World, Hot Hardware (Editor’s Choice)
  • Clevo W870CU (Sager NP8760, 17″, Intel Core i7-920XM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 280M):
  • Dell Inspiron 1470 (14″, Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300, Intel GMA 4500MHD): CNET (70%)
  • Dell Latitude XT2 (multitouch tablet PC, Windows 7 revision, 12″, Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400, Intel GMA 4500MHD): Notebook Review
  • Fujitsu Amilo PI 3560 (15″, Intel Core 2 Duo T6600, Nvidia GeForce GT 240M): Notebookcheck (84%)
  • Gateway EC1437u (12″, Intel Pentium Dual Core SU4100, Intel GMA 4500MHD): Notebooks.com
  • HP Probook 5310m (13″, Intel Core 2 Duo SP9300, Intel GMA 4500MHD): Xataka (Spanish), Notebookcheck (87%), Netbook Spain (Spanish)
  • HP Pavilion dv4-2045dx (14″, AMD Turion II M500, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4200): CNET (70%)
  • HP Pavilion dv6-1375dx (15″, Intel Core 2 Duo P7450, Intel GMA 4500MHD): CNET (50%)
  • HP Pavilion dv7-3065dx (17″, AMD Turion II M600, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4200): CNET (70%)
  • Lenovo Ideapad S10-2 (10″, Intel Atom N270, Intel GMA 950): Register Hardware (60%)
  • MSI Wind U230 (12″, AMD Athlon Neo X2 L335, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200): Hexus.net (71%)
  • Samsung X120 (12″, Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300, Intel GMA 4500MHD): Notebookcheck (80%)
  • Samsung X520 (15″, Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300, Intel GMA 4500MHD): Register Hardware (80%)
  • Sony Vaio FW (16″, Intel Core 2 Duo P7450, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650): CNET (80%)
  • Toshiba Satellite T115 (T110, 12″, Intel Pentium Dual Core SU2700, Intel GMA 4500MHD): Laptop Magazine (60%)

Other interesting links:

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Laptop reviews: Nokia Booklet 3G, Acer Aspire Timeline 1410, Dell Inspiron 11z, Toshiba Satellite T135 and others

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Laptop reviews of the week:

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Laptop Reviews: Alienware M17x, Dell Studio 14z, HP Mini 5101, Toshiba Mini NB205 and others

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009
Laptop reviews of the week:

Other interesting links:

Buy at Click here for the Best Buy HomepageBlowout Deals Alienware UK Buy.com Xotic PC

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Laptop reviews: Asus Eee PC T91, Asus Eee PC 1008HA, Asus W90, MSI GX400 and others

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Laptop reviews of the week:

Other interesting links:

Buy at Click here for the Best Buy HomepageBlowout Deals  Alienware UK  Buy.com Sony Style UK

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Laptop reviews: Samsung N110, Asus Eee PC 1008HA, Toshiba Portege A605, MSI X340 and others

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Laptop reviews of the week:

Othter interesting links:

Buy at Click here for the Best Buy HomepageBlowout Deals  Alienware UK  Buy.com Sony Style UK

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Laptop reviews: Asus Eee PC 1008HA, Samsung N120, Toshiba NB200, Alienware M17 and others

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Laptop reviews of the week:

Other interesting links:

Buy at Click here for the Best Buy HomepageBlowout Deals  Alienware UK  Buy.com Sony Style UK

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HP HDX 16 review (HDX X16)

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Our friend Ogait has recently purchased an HP HDX16 (1060es, equivalent to the HP HDX16t in the US and to the 1010ea and 1005ea configurations in the UK) and, after more than one month of testing and daily usage, has been kind enough to write a review for you. Here you have:

Greetings to all internet users, this is Santiago Hors Fraile and I’m Technical Engineering in Computer Science and student of second module of that Engineering in Seville’s University.

One month and some days ago I got a HP Notebook HDX 16 Laptop after serveral months of hard searching of information to ensure that the laptop fits as much as possible to my requirements. Somehow, I was looking for a laptop complete in most ways. The main points I was looking for were:

  1. Good image and sound quality
  2. Ability to play medium GPU dependent games
  3. Good connectivity
  4. Comfortable keyboard
  5. Upper-intermediate CPU
  6. Cache memory and RAM as large as possible
  7. Acceptable customer service and a trusteable brand

Overall I was looking for a workstation which allows me to work with IDEs comfortably in all aspects and that could be used to enjoy in leisure time viewing films, TV and playing some games, priorizing the playability before graphic realism. Also I was needing a good Internet access wherever I was, due to the fact that it is a basic source of information for any Software developer (among many other things!)

Things I did not need were:

  1. Mobility.
  2. Long battery life.
  3. Large hard drive.
  4. Low cost.

As you can see I was needing a “desktop with less wires”, something easily portable from one desktop to another one (indoor mobility, or at maximum, short time displacements from home to the university or work).

Once you clearly know what I was looking for you must know that I was considering buying abroad (mainly from the USA and Germany), and that I was considering brands like Asus, Acer, Sony, Toshiba and other not so well known such as HUP. It would be impossible explain all I learned during 4 months of investigation about brands and models in this review, but I chose an HP finally, due to its good price-quality ratio.

These are the specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 (2.26 GHz).
  • Memory: 4 GB DDR2.
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT (512 MB DDR2 dedicated).
  • Hard disk: 320 GB a 5400 rpm.
  • Monitor: 16″ a 1920×1080, glossy, double lamp.
  • Optical drive: Blu-Ray ROM with DVD±R/RW double-layer SuperMulti.
  • Wireless: 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth.
  • Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64 bits).
  • Extras: card reader, webcam with integrated mic, integrated number pad, Altec Lansing speakers with subwoofer.
  • Weight: 3.35 kg
  • Price: 1399 €.

Complete specifications (HP Spain).

I purchased it for 1232 euros using the following discounts:

  • Student price
  • First purchase at the HP site
  • Sport backpack

I ordered it via web, and it was at home in two business days through the delivery company MRW (which even asked me the best hour to deliver it!). The box contained what you can see in the following pictures:

HP HDX 16 - accessories

HP HDX 16 - general view

HP HDX16 - sleeve (with laptop inside)

Parts:

  1. Multi-compartment HP backpack
  2. Bag for small items
  3. Power cord
  4. Quick start guide
  5. Detailed manual
  6. TDT Antenna
  7. Antenna adapter
  8. Battery
  9. Laptop
  10. Small remot
  11. Big remote
  12. Laptop sleeve (in the picture the laptop is inside)

1- Multi-compartment HP backpack

It is a very well made backpack where the laptop fits perfectly, having a lot more room for other things: more than 30 cm long when you extend it, 55 cm tall and 40 cm wide. The fabric is very endurable and it has an awesome finish. I have used it to carry the laptop for short periods (10 to 20 minutes) and it is quite comfortable.

2- Bag for small items

I haven’t found a use for this yet… may be it’s for the mouse and other small peripherals.

3- Power cord

It is 180 cm long from the plug until the transformer, the transfomer measures 15 cm and from it to the laptop input there is 180 cm more of wire, so you get a 375 cm effective length! The cord has a velcro-system to keep it coiled in a hank.

4- Quick start guideThis poster-sized guide shows you how to take your first steps with the laptop. It is pretty graphic and it describes all ports, keys and accessories the laptop has.

5- Detailed manual

It explains more in-depth the networking system, the TDT antenna connection, and other utilities like HP Media Smart and the security system. The best of all this is it comes with a small box where you can place the warranty sheet, invoice and CDs (for drivers or so) so you can keep it all organized.

6- TDT Antenna

To be able to use the integrated TDT card it is necessary that the signal arrives to the laptop. We can get this with the antenna shown that has a cable 150 cm long. I was surprised when I realized that it works better when it’s placed near a wall which is leading a TV cable instead of depending on if the place is higher or not.

7- Antenna adapter

If you prefer to connect the laptop to the TV antenna directly you must use this adapter.

8- Battery

In energy saving configuration it can last 2h 10m approximately. Under demanding conditions (i.e. when gaming) the battery lasts around 1h 20m or less, depending on the load. As I said before, this is not a important point for me and I have not tested different battery saving configurations to ensure how long it lasts… in fact, I work with no battery most of the time.

9- Laptop

Design and finish: Good

This laptop features a modern bluish dark grey with an abstract silver wave pattern.

HP HDX 16 - design

HP HDX16 - keyboard

At first sight the laptop looks like scratched, but later you realise it is a very smart desing. Due to the flash light the colour looks much more bright than it really is and the touchpad lines look white but they have the same bluish dark
grey colour than the rest of the laptop. I apologize for the bad quality of the pictures… the case colour is like the darker colour you can see, only with a strong light you can see finer lines.
The only disadvantage I can find is that, because of the glossy finish, it collects fingerprints very easily.

Sound: Excellent

I have no words to describe the so powerful sound, clear and precise that the HDX 16 delivers. The subwoofer makes shake all around when playing deep basses, but you can adjust its intensity; you can control the trebble too. The volume it can reach is the similar to the one of most TVs.

Screen: Excellent

Another of the HPX 16 wonders is its Full HD screen. When you set brightness to the maximum, or when you work with the laptop plugged to a power outlet, the screen is so bright that any reflection is supressed, allowing a good visualization. However, I must clarify that the screen is glossy and that’s a handicap for those who want to use it outdoors… But I think its sharpness and brightness outweighs that problem because this laptop is not made for use it outdoors.

To tell the truth, I was worried about the Full HD resolution in a 16-inch screen making text and fonts too small. However, when I saw it I was really happy about the large workspace I had: I can have 3 pdf documents in parallel and read them with no problems. Below you can see the size of the menu, but the pictures cannot show how bright the screen is. You can also see a few screenshots.

Viewing angles are very good, the image can get a bit darker an high angles but you can see the image very nicely up to an angle of 179º. Finally, the screen can be opened 135º.

HP HDX16 - Screen

HP HDX16 - Screen

CD/DVD/Blue-ray reader: Good

The combo Blue-Ray+DVD+CD lightscribe reader works as intended. It makes a slightly noise when working but that is usual, isn’t it? I have not tried the DVD/CD burning function yet. A minor detail you should be advised is that when closing the CD reader you must soflty push down or it won’t close. That’s something you easily get used to but it makes the reader not perfect.

Ports and connectivity: Very good.

You can see the port allocation in the following pictures:.

HP HDX16 - ports (left)

VGA, docking station, Ethernet, HDMI, USB-eSATA, USB, FireWire, ExpressCard 54 (houses the small remote control)

 

HP HDX16 - ports (front)

 Card reader, mic, 2 audio-out

 

HP HDX16 - ports (right)

USB, optical drive, USB, kensington slot, power adapter

As you can see the USB ports are placed on the left and on the right (one of the left is shared with the eSATA port) which allows more flexibility when connecting devices as you wish. The power supply is on the right, with the TDT entry and a couple of USB ports. The rest is on the left. The card reader is on the front-left side and there are two audio outputs and one microphone input on the front right side.

Quick access: Good

On the top of the keyboard you can find some quick access keys: MediaSmart, DVD control (next track, stop/still, open DVD reader,…), mute, volume controller, trebble and bass controller and the WiFi on/off key. The tactile sensibility is good but with a small delay. Although of the most times it is enough with a soft pass of your finger over them, some times you must push stronger. Besides, each time you move up/down the volume a “click” sounds and that sound (PC generated) is not really coordinated with the actual pushing duration, so it can be a little bit annoying sometimes.

NOTE: Now I realize that I cannot use them to control the volume when the OpenOffice is on the foreground! To do it I have to minimize it… that does not happens with other programs such as Interer Explorer or multimedia players.

Temperature and fan: Mediocre

Well, here is when the laptop shows its worst point. Sometimes the temperature rises quickly, specially when the graphic card is working hard. I can distinguish several fan operational modes (up to 6 I guess), but to simplify three can be considered: quiet, medium and turbo. The quiet mode is the most common, when the laptop has been turned on recently and it is working with text, browsing the Net, watching TV and other tasks that does not require a great work for the CPU neither the GPU. The medium mode is the one the laptop uses when is booting or when playing game of medium graphic intensity. The turbo mode is almost an emergency mode: it starts when the vent is blocked, when you overload the GPU and, sometimes, when the laptop is booting: the fan dissipates the heat very effectively but with a strong noise (similar to the sound level of a floppy disk reader).

If you work unplugged the battery gets hot too and the laptop heats up, so I recommend not using the battery unless you do not have any other choice.

The temperature of the area palm rest is slightly higher than your body temperature so you can feel it is warm, but it is not uncomfortable. It should be emphazised that the area below the numeric keyboard is completely cool.
I must thank that the heat vent is on the left side, so if I want to use a mouse I do not feel the heat due to the fact I am right-handed.

HP HDX16 - bottom

Webcam and microphone: Very good

I haven’t tried them very much, but I can say that the image quality is very good and there are some preinstalled applications that allow you to liven up the image in real time.

Fingerprint reader: Very good

Althought I was thinking that the fingerprint reader was a preppy-posh thing, even useless, I have changed my mind and now I use it not only for starting session on Windows faster, but for sign up on different web sites too. It works very well and recognizes your fingerprint instantly.

Keyboard: Very good

The keyboard is very comfortable and you get used to it very soon. Besides, the laptop has a slightly inclination to make more ergonomic the writing position. The size of the gap between keys is quite good and thanks to its numeric keyboard you can write numbers faster. When writing it is possible that you touch the touchpad accidentally, but fortunately there is a key under the spacebar to disable it.

TouchPad: Good

In other reviews, the touchpad has been defined as “too hard”. It is my first laptop so I cannot campare it with any other but, until now, I have not had the need to use a traditional mouse during this month and some days that I have been using the HDX 16. Perhaps it would need more sensibility to go from one part of the screen to the other without lifting the finger (with the maximum sensibility configuration you will need 2.5 passes over the touchpad to cross the screen from left to right completely). The vertical scroll bar is very useful and it works properly: the faster you pass your finger over it, the more you will scroll.

Software: Good

The 64 bits OS Windows Vista Home Premium runs very well and smoothly in this machine. It has preinstalled other applications like Norton Antivirus (Trial Editon), HP Games (Trial Edition) and HP MediaSmart, that is the only really interesting presinstalled application: with it you can play music, see images and photos, watch the TV and DVDs, etc. But there is a problem with the TDT decoder: some times it fails (I think it is a problem with the driver), and you have to reboot the laptop to keep watching the TV. The bug gives a message like “CLCaspSVC Module stopped working”. Another usual bug is the “Pure Networks Module stopped working” but I think the fault is from the router I have at home.

Performance

Here you have the results of 3DMark 06 a 1280×800 and 1920×1080:

HP HDX 16 - 3DMark 06 1280

HP HDX 16 - 3DMark 06 1920

I have tried Call of Duty 4, and it is played very smoothly with this configuration:

HP HDX 16 - Call of Duty 4

At 1920×1080 without AA it is also silk smooth.

10- Small remote control

It is a remote control designed for DVD playing, with volume control keys, pause, play, next track, and so on.

11- Large remote control

It is designed for DVD and TV playing. It includes more keys than his smaller brother: channel selection buttons, the “red-green-yellow-blue” keys and other quick start TDT, Windows Media Centre and HP Media Smart keys.

12- Laptop sleeve

It allows you to keep the HDX safe from dust. It would be more useful a stronger case to protect the laptop better.

Conclusions

This laptop has all the requirements I wanted to fulfill and it is a very nice deal for that price. If you want a pretty good laptop which is specialized in multimedia entertainment don’t think it twice.

Most important advantages:

  • Screen (and resolution)
  • Sound
  • Connectivity
  • Quality/price

Disadvantages

  • Weight
  • Temperature
  • Battery life

Overall score (taking into account all the factors): 8

Personal score (to reach my goals): 9.5

Some purchase options

Laptop reviews: Dell Studio XPS 13, HP HDX X18, Samsung N110, Samsung R560 and others

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

Laptop reviews of the week:

Other interesting links:

 

Buy at Click here for the Best Buy HomepageBlowout Deals  Alienware UK  Buy.com Sony Style UK

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Laptop reviews: Dell Adamo 13, Acer Aspire 3935, Asus W90Vp, LG P310 and others

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Laptop reviews of the week:

Buy at Click here for the Best Buy HomepageBlowout Deals  Alienware UK  Buy.com Sony Style UK

Other interesting links:

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Dell Adamo review roundup

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Maybe not a Macbook Air killer, but anyway the Dell Adamo is a nice (and expensive) laptop. Here you have the first available reviews:

More coming!