Official Laptops Review Thread

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hpfreak

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Nov 29, 2010
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Brand: Asus
-Model: G73jh-RBBX05
-Bought From/Price: 850 USD
-OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64x
-CPU: Intel Core i7 720qm 1.6 GHz, turbo boost to 2.9 GHz (That was not a typo.)
-GPU: AMD Radeon 5870m 1GB GDDR5 700 MHz (Usually UC to 450 MHz)
-Resolution: 1600x900p (16:9)
-RAM: 6GB DDR3 667 MHz
-Usage (Gaming, Internet, Office Apps, etc…): I use it for everything... Gaming, school, programming, photoshop, video editing... I really work it hard, average 8 hours a day, every day.
-Real World Battery Life (in your estimation): Maximum 2 hours... Probably 1 hour 30 minutes...
-Your Rating (out of 10): 9.9

This has been an awesome laptop. I got it factory refurbished from BestBuy in December2010. And I've been using it 1/2 the day, every day, since... Some days 15 hours...
I have been extremely happy with it.. My only 2 problems where:
1. The touchpad:
I don't like touchpads, but it is a shame, Asus has the largest touchpad around (except for the Macbooks) and it is glitched... It doesn't bother me since I don't like doing anything without a proper mouse.
2. Heat, I had a bit of a heat issue not too long ago. I was a bit surprised considering that Asus was pretty prideful about the cooling features... I got the issue resolved in the end. I had a problem with the AMD GPU, it was heating up to 80C on idle... The solution was a repaste and a total cleanout of all the DUST. Those things get full pretty quickly... you need to stay on top of things on the maintenance side... otherwise your going to have to open it up... which is a pain.
The battery isn't strong, but I don't really care, I'm not traveling with this laptop anywhere, so, I took out the battery, stored it in a Ziplock bag, and I've been depending on the A/C adapter to power the laptop.
The graphics... is spectacular, the graphics is sufficient, I don't play a lot any more, but when I did, I was normally able to get high settings on just about every game... A few games where a bit of an issue, but it wasn't because the graphics card wasn’t' capable.
The laptop's build is top notch quality, we've had Dell's, Toshiba, and HP laptops. But by far, this has the best build quality. It is the most comfortable surface to rest your hands on and type. Not only is that the only feature of the rubberized surface, but I also like the idea of a laptop that finally has no finger prints.
The keyboard is also very good, I've had a good experience with it, I've had no lags, no flexing (even after the tape was removed from the bottom after the repaste of the thermal compound.)
They keyboard is backlight, and after using it, you'd ask yourself how could you ever have lived so long with a dull, plastic keyboard.
The audio is also something to look forward to, the EAX Audio 4.0 has really made a difference, the sounds are so realistic, and so 3D like, that gaming almost becomes a reality. Listening to music has been an even greater experience surprisingly, because the subwoofer just really adds a nice kick to music... the beat is alive, and the music sounds great. Although, I've experience issues in the past, of small stutters in the audio, it rarely happens, in fact the last time it happened was a couple of months ago... It hasn't bothered me enough to figure out a solution when it did occur.
The screen, the laptop has a 17.3" display, which I've been very happy with, I know that there was a lot of people frustrated with the AUO screens (which I'm assuming I have since it is a default BestBuy model) I've had no issues with it, it looks perfectly fine, and I don't really care about viewing angles etc... Although not an LED, it is very bright, I keep the brightness toned at 45% all the time.. It is... too bright for me.
Boot time's are usually around 1 min 30 seconds, but I do have a password, and my C partition is nearly full.
The outside ports are perfect for my needs, 4 USB ports is probably a good standard for my needs, although I haven't used all 4 at one time before.
Everything works perfectly, although, I haven't tested the Kensington lock, hdmi port, or the microphone port yet.
The DVD drive is great, opens DVDs instantly, burns surprisingly fast. And never locks up or any other issues. I've had no issues with playback, and I've been using the retired Nero 6 to burn DVDs, but it still works great.
On the screen, the webcam and microphone are a different story, the webcam is a 1.3 MP webcam, it works, just not well, not good enough for Skype or anything of the likes. The microphone is also a bit cheap, it picks up a lot of background noises, and yet the recording quality is choppy and normally a bit distorted. It works good for the most part though.

Now, I think the real major con, is the set-up, you will have to rip it apart of you want.. to ... for instance, clean the fans... the dust there gets packed extremely quickly, and it is very hard to clean it out, I'm investigating the possibility of removing the "dashboard" that covers the grill on the back, by unscrewing the nails in the battery compartment and the edges, to see if that will give me access to the fans enough to use a can of compressed air.
Asus did include a few smart programs, like Smartlogin, FancyBoot, Fastboot etc... They are neat little programs, but for instance, the SmartLogin, which utilizes the webcam as a method to log in- by recognizing your face, is a poor way of getting security, I'd rather use fingerprint reader... ( Which was not included)Mainly because, if you hold a picture of yourself up to the camera when your logging in, it will recognize the picture.. and you'll be able to log in, so... a secure password is probably much better.
Now, if I were able to change anything with the laptop, I'd probably want to get the GPU replaced with an Nvidia alternative.. which I can't but I'm fine as I am right now :)

The laptop isn't 100% cool, it still idles at around 65 Degrees C after the thermal compound repaste with Artic Silver 5. But it isn't warm to the touch, and underclocking takes it down 5-8 degrees C.

I've been VERY happy with this laptop, I hope to keep it for 3-4 years.

Anyways, some people included this, so I decided to include my WEI scores also:


Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU Q 720 @ 1.60GHz 7.0
Memory (RAM) 6.00 GB 7.4
Graphics ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5800 Series 7.2
Gaming graphics 3802 MB Total available graphics memory 7.2
Primary hard disk 2GB Free (116GB Total) 5.9
(2 HDDs, 1 500 GB (Asus default), 1 640 GB (Added later on).


If I had the choice, I would upgrade to something better, but I'd still stick to the Asus G7 series... There are a lot of systems I haven't used before. But, because of my experience (or luck) with Asus' laptop. I'm going to stick to their R.O.G line.
 

AnUnusedUsername

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Sep 14, 2010
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Brand: Alienware
Model: Area 51m-5790
Bought From: Direct from Alienware, $1600 in 2007
OS: Vista 32-bit
CPU: Core 2 Duo @ 2.0GHz
GPU: ATI mobility Radeon x1800
Resolution: 1920x1200
RAM: Bought with 1GB, replaced that with 2GB for $50 about a year later.
HDD: 80GB 5400 RPM Toshiba drive, later replaced with a 120GB drive.

Usage: Primarily gaming, also for generic use
Real World Battery Life: New, 2-3 hours. After three years of never running it from battery power: about 15 minutes.
Rating: 9.5/10 It had a minor overheating problem after a few years of use, otherwise, exactly what I wanted when I got it.

I got this laptop as essentially an all-purpose machine for college. Buying both a cheap laptop and a gaming desktop was out of my price range, so I went with a laptop I use mostly as an easier to move desktop. The goal was a system that could both handle games and general purpose use, without costing too much. The major reason I went with Alienware probably sounds odd to many here, but at the time it was the most cost-effective system out there given my budget. A similarly specced dell or gateway would've cost me about $400 more.

It's a very competent gaming machine, it could run oblivion when it came out, which was impressive for a laptop at the time. I haven't yet come across a game that isn't at least moderately playable at very low settings, probably because the CPU is still decent by modern standards. It seems the GPU is beginning to show its age much more obviously than the CPU.

Windows Vista was and still is a resource hog, but it runs without issues. Before swapping out the two 512mb sticks of ram it came with for 2 1gb sticks, the OS was a bit sluggish but still useable. After doing so, it's just as responsive as 7 is on a new pc. I haven't had any crashes or blue screens that aren't the result of games that are incompatible with the GPU series (and those are mostly older games)

Now to the system itself. Build quality is very good, but the system is also very heavy for a laptop, and rather large as well due to the 17'' screen and surronding bezel. Everything about the system is sturdy, and even after four years I've had no problems with the physical design. Accompanying the rather large size is a full keyboard, which is certainly a plus. It's pretty much your standard laptop keyboard, and even after years of use none of the keys are bad, stick, or are loose. I've almost never used the touchpad. It functions, and has buttons for left click and right click as well as a scroll bar area, but I prefer a mouse. The laptop only has four USB ports, but that's better than some laptops and worse than others. It has a DVI-out port for use with an external monitor, which is a lot more useful than I'd expected it to be. There's also a firewire port, SD card reader, and S-video port I've never used. The built-in wireless card works fine, although I almost always use a wired connection anyway. There's a convienient switch to disable wirless, which is helpful as Vista places priority on using avaliable wireless connections over wired connections for some mysterious reason. The built-in speakers sound no different to me than the external speakers I've been using more recently, and they haven't gone bad. It also has a built-in microphone, which functions without serious issues although it has a tendecy to pick up a bit of fan noise if used while the system is under strain.

The 1920x1200 screen is a big plus, as the 16:10 apsect ratio and glossy finish are hard to find in a laptop today and are nice to have. The high pixel density of a 17'' screen makes things very sharp. The screen has a quoted 16ms response time, but companies measure those differently today. I've never noticed ghosting.

Another important feature is how easy it is to work on. The HDD has it's own compartment which only requires removing three screws, and the secondary HDD bay and all the other internal components are easily accessed by removing a single panel. These systems seem to have been designed with working on them in mind.

Now to the minor problems I've had with it.

After a year or two of use, the system started overheating on hot days. The system is set to automatically shut down when the CPU hits 90 C, and while that works as intended the system was reaching that temperature in just under an hour on full load on hot days. It's simple to clean out the system, I just hadn't done so very often. All I really had to do was take off the back faceplate. I chose to go a little overboard and replace the thermal paste on the CPU and GPU as well (they share a single large heatsink assembly). That was a lot easier than I expected it to be, all that was required was removing the bottom faceplate and then taking out a few screws to remove the heatsink.

Customer support was very helpful, far more so than I had expected. Alienware at that time had a set of customer support forums much like the forums here, and they had several active support employees on them regularly.

The only other problem was one I mostly caused myself. I ran it exclusively from wall power for years, and so the battery isn't very useful anymore, only lasting around 15 minutes when it lasted a few hours new.

Overall:

Pros:
Very competent gaming machine, good monitor, solid build quality, easy to work on, good customer support. Nothing has failed or gone bad after four straight years as my only PC.

Cons:
Moderately expensive new, it's four years old, heavy and low battery life, inpractical to use on-the-go very often, and the company was eaten by dell a few years ago. I'd have a hard time reccommending Alienware now, as they no longer operate as an independent company.

That was longer than I meant it to be, considering that no one is likely to care much about a four year old system today anyway.

EDIT: Shortened it a bit. It doesn't need to be so long.
 

dantdj

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Mar 13, 2011
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-Brand: Samsung
-Model: Q530
-Bought From/Price: dabs.com/£600
-OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
-CPU: Intel Core i3 350M
-GPU: nVidia GT330M 1GB
-Resolution: 1366x768
-RAM: 4GB DDR3
-Usage (Gaming, Internet, Office Apps, etc…): Gaming, Internet, Schoolwork
-Real World Battery Life (in your estimation): 2/2 and a half hours browsing/schoolwork, 1 hour 10 minutes gaming
-Your Rating (out of 10): 8

I bought this laptop in order to replace an older one, also a Samsung (The R519). As I'm about to do game development for GCSE, I needed something with an dedicated card so I could work smoothly. An integrated card really wouldn't cut it here. So, I went laptop hunting, and eventually came up with this.

I think it's probably one of the best laptops for the price. The processor isn't that strong (Clocking in at 2.27GHz), but it does the job pretty well. Hyper-Threading gives you extra performance in multi-threaded apps too, which is good. I don't really do much work in CPU-intensive things, so it suits me. The only time I really need any processing grunt is when I'm compiling/building the levels. UDK has Lightmass, which is what really puts strain on the CPU. However, I can just link in my old laptop as well to give it a helping hand via Swarm, so I don't mind as much.

The GPU also works well. It can max out Crysis (Though it's only just about playable. On medium/high it runs flawlessly. Same of Crysis 2. You have to experiment around with things, really. It won't max out all games, so you kind of have to pick and choose what settings you can leave lower, and which ones you can raise. This doesn't take all that long, however. The 1GB of memory it gives you is often more than enough. It gives pretty nice frame-rates all round, and I don't think there's ever been a time where I've had to run any game on low, which is quite good.

The RAM gives just enough for game development. I plan on buying 8GB to put in here at some point (Lightmass itself can take up over 1GB sometimes, along with UDK itself), but you can definitely run on 4GB.

The keyboard gives a nice typing experience. It's a chiclet board, which some may not like, but I'm a big fan of it. It also manages to squeeze in a num-pad, which has come it handy when I can actually be bothered to use it. I've grown really accustomed to using the numbers along the top of the keyboard!

The battery life, however, does leave something to be desired. It tops out (Usually) at around 2 and a half hours. While this isn't particularly bad for me, because I'm rarely away from a power point when I have my laptop, but it could be a bit of a deal-breaker for some. If they had implemented Optimus, battery life probably could have been better.

The chassis is actually pretty slim, too. I don't know exactly measurements, but I don't think it's any thicker than around half an inch, which is pretty good. It also makes it pretty light as well, only coming in at around 2.37 kg. It's also surprisingly good cooling wise. I don't think you'd want to stick anything more intensive than the i3 in there, but as it is the whole thing stays really cool. I don't think I've ever gone above 80 degrees when running flat-out. It usually hovers around 75-78 when running flat-out.

Overall, this laptop is pretty damn good. It loses a few points through the battery life, and the processor isn't exactly the best around. However, for what it is, this laptop is great value for money. I'd definitely recommend it to all in the market for a new laptop!
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
-Brand: Lenovo
-Model: Y470
-Bought From/Price: Aprox. $771 w/ 2yr extended warranty & tax
-OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
-CPU: Core i5 2410M
-GPU: nVidia GT 550M (switchable)
-RAM: 4GG
-Resolution: 1366 x 768
-Screen Size: 14"
-Screen Type: TN Panel; Glossy
-Weight: 4.9lbs
-Usage (Gaming, Internet, Office Apps, etc…): Some games, video encoding, internet
-Real World Battery Life (in your estimation): 3.88 hours based on 8 timed actual use sessions
-Your Rating (out of 10): 5

----------------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE - I decided to downgrade my original rating of 7.5 to 5. The reason is the high CPU temps and a cooling pad does not help. Installed GTA 4 to see how well the nVidia GT 550m can handle the game. It did fine, but the i5-2410m pushed 99C (worse than Crysis) which naturally cause the CPU to start throttling. I basically decided to disable Turbo Boost so that the CPU will not attempt to "overclock" itself and temps for the most part is around 85C. That kinda defeats the purpose of having Turbo Boost.
----------------------------------------------------------------------


This is my 2nd laptop. My first is my still functional IBM ThinkPad T40 from 2003; I would rate that laptop at 9.5 if I were to retroactively review it. I bought this laptop mainly as a toy and to perhaps bring it along with me if I were to go on vacation so that I would not have to rely on my Motorola Driod if I want to surf the net or research something when I'm away from home.

This is a short version of my review, a longer version can be found in the following thread. Any questions regarding this review should be posted in that thread since this thread is primarily only for user reviews.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/70694-35-lenovo-ideapad-y470-laptop-review


DISPLAY AND SPEAKERS

The screen is a glossy TN panel and is very reflective. I don't really like glossy screen so I'll be buying a Green Onion anti-glare screen protector for this laptop. The 1366 x 768 resolution is standard for this size laptop. I don't recall seeing a 14" laptop with 1600 x 900 resolution in this price range. The bezel surrounding the screen is glossy black, and it simply loves fingerprints. The speakers are actually pretty good since they are JBLs. They are pretty loud at maximum volume and have a little bit of distortion starting at 80% volume, therefore I set it to no louder than 70% which is still loud enough.


KEYBOARD & TOUCHPAD

The keyboard is your typical chiclet-style keyboard that seems to be all the rage and is set against a light charcoal gray background. It is recessed into the laptop to prevent them from accidently touching / rubbing against th screen.

Above the keyboard are the power button and Onekey App button to restore OS on the left. To the right are touch sensitive mute, volume up, volume down, "Theater", and Thermal Management buttons. The "Theater" button can be used to set the screen and speakers to movie mode which basically darkens the screen a bit and makes the sound a bit more "surround sound-ish".

The touchpad is a little larger than what I am used. The touchpad itself is pretty responsive. The touchpad button is a single button. Not too crazy about it since you basically have to press the far left or the far right of the single button. Since it is flush aginast the surface of the laptop it is sometime difficult to know you are pressing the right spot without looking.


GRAPHICS CARD & GAMEPLAY

As gamer knows, it's kinda hard to play games if you don't have a good graphics card. This is especially important in a laptop since at least 98% of laptops sold do not allow you to upgrade the video card. The Y470 comes with a nVidia GT 550M which is an above average video card. The GT 550M can be switch on or off using the silver switch on the right side of the laptop's front edge. When the GT 550M is switched on, a white LED will come on. Switching the GT 550M off can help conserve battery power suppose.

I loaded Crysis just to test out the capablities of the the GT 550M. I allowed Crysis to automatically set everything to High Quality Graphics, then I started a game using the console command "r_displayinfo 1" to display the frame rates. While the game did run, it was not at a high frame rates. Frame rates did not manage to go any higher than 35FPS and it dipped as low as 17FPS, but frame rates generally ranged between 20 - 26FPS. It was playable enough. Anti-aliasing was set to 2x.

I switched all graphics settings to MEDIUM (anti-aliasing remained at 2x) and gameplay was a lot smoother. I highest frame rates was 55 frames per second, but mostly it has been 31FPS - 45FPS and the lowest frame rates probably dipped down to 25 from what I can remember.


HEAT

Under normal conditions, this laptop is quite cool and is pretty quiet. Using the Thermal Management button I mentioned earlier, I set it to "Efficient thermal dissipation" which basically means the fan speed changes depending on how hot the laptop gets. It is pretty much spinning a low speed unless I am encoding a video or playing a game. The palmrest can become warm, but never hot. So it is not uncomfortable using the laptop even after playing Crysis for over an hour. According to Core Temp 0.99.8, the CPU get's as hot as 93C while playing Crysis. However, I can put the laptop on my lap (bare skin) while I'm wearing shorts and it would just feel a warm immediately after playing Crysis. Using GPU-Z the nVidia GT 550M reached 61C.


BATTERY

Actual battery life is based on an average of eight measurements. I use a fully charged battery for typical web surfing, playing some music from time to time and watching a few youtube videos. Nothing too stressful or unusual for someone who is using a laptop away from home. I use a stopwatch on my Motorola Driod to time how long the battery last from the moment I press the power button to when the laptop goes into hibernation mode with only a 5% battery charge left. I used my wireless mouse as well. I got on average 3 hours and 53 minutes which is not bad I suppose.


SUMMARY

Overall the Lenovo Y470 is a good laptop, if long battery life is not too important. It is pretty good for games given the resolution of the screen. The laptop is comfortable to use even while playing games because it does not get hot, it just gets warm. The noise from the fan is usually drowned out by the sounds from the game so it is not annoying at all. However, a CPU running at 93C while playing Crysis is a concern.

The biggest disappoint is the touchpad. It's a little bigger than what I'm used to, but I can adapt to it eventually. The single button is not my idea of an ideal setup for a touchpad button. It takes more force to press down than I am used to and since it is flush with the palm rest of the laptop, it is a bit difficult to locate the button itself and the far corners where it takes the least amount of force to press down.
 

davewolfgang

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Aug 30, 2010
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-Brand: HP
-Model: Pavilion dv7t-6100
-Bought From/Price: hp.com - $1055 (including tax)
-OS: Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
-CPU: Intel i5-2410M 2.3 Ghz
-GPU: Radeon HD6770M 2GB (switchable with Intel HD 3000)
-Resolution: 1920x1080p on a 17.3" display
-RAM: 6GB
-Usage (Gaming, Internet, Office Apps, etc…): Gaming, DVD's, email, surfing, Office
-Real World Battery Life (in your estimation): I got the big 9-cell battery so on the HD graphics 7+hours (still listed 4+ hours after a 3 hour lunch), 3 hours using Radeon
-Your Rating (out of 10): 9.5/10


Got this baby as a replacement for a Toshiba P305 that was over 4 years old. It was a 17" laptop also with a 256mb ATI 3450 GPU.

I looked long and hard and was also pushing toward the big ASUS gamer, but got a deal on this.

DISPLAY AND SPEAKERS

The display is Great! I have the HD Anti-glare LED Good color and contrast, and even still looks good while dimmed under the "Battery" power plan at 60%. At least as good as my big desktop 23" ones. Sound is great, sure it's not the full theater surround sound, but I have yet to even need to turn the volume up past halfway, and there's no distortion that I've heard.

KEYBOARD & TOUCHPAD

With the keyboard moving toward what I've seen on the Sony laptops in the last years, it's still responsive and quiet. The one area that could use some improvement is the 4-arrow keys - they squished the up and down into smaller keys in the space one key, with the left and right being to the left and right at full size. There's plenty of surface area so that they could've pushed them down a bit and had a larger up and down keys. That's one of the small dings.

The touch pad is a bit large, but is responsive and easy to use. I don't use it very much, I always carry a mouse (Logitech Trackball), so I have it turned off most of the time. It does have a feature that does help eliminate palm and thumb touches from registering while you are typing (the main reason most people turn it off). While on, it's accepts all the normal and new type of commands a touchpad does. Some people say the "clicking" of the buttons is a little loud, but I haven't noticed any difference from any others. But it does always come on when you boot, unlike the Toshiba which remember what state it was in from when it was last shut down (I had it off 99% of the time). A quick double tap in the corner shuts it off, so it's not "that" hard to do, as with most using the Fn key and one of the F# keys.

GRAPHICS CARD & GAMEPLAY

I only play WoW and Rift and it runs those games just fine on High (with only Shadows on low - because I don't like 'em). With vertical sync disabled ~80+ fps in WoW and 40+ in Rift. The venting on the left side does get warm while playing, but I haven't played more than two hours and haven't had any slow downs. I don't plan on using the laptop for a raiding night, just for that inbetween game play while traveling. The switchable graphics are very seem-less and I can't even tell when they switch by the screen, just by the fan coming on for the venting.

HEAT

While playing the vent on the left side does get warm, but nothing unbearable. The left hand palm area also gets a little warm. Having the 9-cell battery I think does help, because it provides space under to let air flow.

SUMMARY

I'm glad I got this one and I hope it does last me at least four years like my last one. Even though this one is a little bigger than the Toshiba I had, it's actually lighter overall. Lots of connection ports, dual headphone plugs and an SD card reader also. It has room for two hard drives (if you don't order it with two, you will have to get the HD kit for $33), so you can store lots of movies and files for traveling. I also got the fingerprint reader. Works GREAT, and it will hold multiple different fingers, so you can set at least one from each hand. So nice not having to type in a password to log in!!!!
 

wizzkidpro

Distinguished
Jul 17, 2011
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Brand: ACER
Model: Aspire 5741G
Guarantee: 1 year
Purchased from: It was my BIRTHDAY PRESSY, although it goes for around 450~550 euros mark today (costed 100 euros more on July 2010)
OS: Windows 7 Premium x64
CPU: Intel Core i3 330M 2.13Ghz 3Mb L3 cache with Hyper-Threading technology
GPU: Geforce GT 320M/1Gb with CUDA & TurboCache technology
HDD: 320Gb
AUDIO: Realtek High Definition audio
Battery: 6 cell Li-ion
Screen: High definition 1366x768 15.6" LED technology FULL 1080p
Memory RAM: 4Gb DDR3 Epilson 1066Mhz
Connections/interfaces: multi memory card reader built-in, 1 x VGA, 3 x USB ports, 1 LAN Giga ethernet port, 1 x Kensington lock, 1 x HDMI port, Wi-Fi built in and a 1.3Mp web cam

Usage: Business purpose, general office applications, programming, CAD, even gaming, although not "extreme" gaming, Internet in general.

Its Core i3 32nm processor works very well for heavy duty calculations including video & audio compression, and with still alot of headroom to do other tasks simultaneously with virtually no sweat!

Its powerful nVidia Geforce GT320M does the job pretty well with sharp picture & graphics quality and reasonable DirectX 10 hardware acceleration with no problems at all for full DVD & Blu-Ray playback!

I'm pretty happy with this particular laptop, an all-in-one solution for any novice or professional. Why spend more on "top notch" laptops today?

Pros: Very good, affordable sturdy laptop with all you need for today's computing and multimedia in general
Cons: Only 1 year guarantee

Rating: 8/10


\/\/iZZkiD
Computer Programmer Analyst
 

Au_equus

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Mar 31, 2011
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My current laptop is a toshiba satellite (POS, but still works) I got from a best buy BF sale 4yrs ago for $220 (giving it to my father-in-law) with a 'free' printer, then I got an asus eeepc a year ago (a $250 mistake). I've been out of grad school for 3+ yrs so I am getting an HP Envy 17 for portable gaming (real) and writing scientific papers (excuse):
-Brand: HP
-Model: ENVY17
-Bought From/Price: HP/$1482 (inc. tax after upgrades)
-OS: Win 7 HP
-CPU: i7-2630QM
-GPU: HD6850 1gb ddr5
-Resolution: 1920 x 1080, 17.3"
-RAM: upgraded to 8gb
-Usage (Gaming, Internet, Office Apps, etc…): gaming, office apps, video playback/editing, internet, movies.
-Real World Battery Life (in your estimation): advertised/expected 2/1hr, but then again you don't run these dtr's purely off of battery power.
-Your Rating (out of 10): 9.0
WEI scores:
CPU: 7.4
RAM: 7.6
Graphics/Gaming: 7.1/7.1
Primary drive: 7.9 :)

For $1168 (after discounts and before tax), this is an incredible machine. I replaced a 750gb seagate HDD 7200rpm with a m4 128gb SSD as the boot drive (the hdd goes back into the laptop once the drive caddy arrives) and a 2gb dimm with a 4gb that was on sale at newegg for $7 (after mir). It was ok before the upgrades, but now its friggin amazing. Loading applications and internet usage is on par with my gaming desktop. The sound is incredible for a pc, much less than a laptop, but then again I'm not much of an audiophile and never had a subwoofer on a laptop. Video playback/editing has not yet been attempted, but will soon. The lighted keyboard (full with number pad) is very nice and the feel of the slate keys has a very solid feel to it. The options on the keyboard make this laptop very user friendly. With upgrades the total for this laptop is $1380.

Now for the negatives (decreasing order). First and foremost, the obvious: the underpowered gpu- the 6850M. no choice here when it comes to the envy17 series, which makes me glad I didn't get the 3d upgrade, lest I'd be set up for a huge disappointment in 3d gaming (6850 with ddr5 not ddr3). I guess there's no flexibility in power as the 6870/6950M TDP is 50W as opposed to the 39W of the 6850M. Compared to the 5850M of the previous generation: same TDP, with about a 10% or more decrease in core/memory clocks, memory bw, and processing power (gflops). CCC was installed, but there was no option to oc the gpu. Now I'm stuck with the equivalent of a mediocre relative of a 5750 at 1080p. I would have gladly paid the premium for the option (within reason of course). For now, major gaming is done on the i5-2500k/6950 cf'd setup.
The second is the glare on the screen. Can be of annoyance, but manageable. Didn't think it was worth the $150 option and still don't. $50 maybe.
The third negative may depend on your luck. It was pretty difficult for me to remove the first cover (hdd) without yanking the cover after removing the two screws, which made the upgrading somewhat difficult. A youtube video showed the guy removing it with relative ease. So it maybe up to your particular envy17.

I will edit this review if anything new comes up.
 

Chaostrix

Distinguished
Dec 2, 2009
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Brand: MSI
Model: GT627-218US
Bought From/Price: Newegg - $1299.99
OS: Win Vista - Upgraded to Windows 7 Professional
CPU: Core 2 Duo P8600 @ 2.4Ghz
GPU: Geforce 9800M GS 1GB DDR3
Resolution: 15.4 @ 1680x1050
RAM: 4 GB (2x2GB)
Usage (Gaming, Internet, Office Apps, etc…): Gaming, School work, Programming
Real World Battery Life (in your estimation): 4 hours of gaming enjoyment, 6-8 hours of typing/light network usage
Your Rating (out of 10): 8.8

This is one of the older ones with the bright red trim and gray/black brushed aluminum lid. For the most part it took whatever game I throw at it, though after a few problems I have went to just playing Civilization and such on it.

It's a sturdy build, and I am relatively rough on machines. In august I had, what I guess is a common problem for MSI laptops, the hinges stick on me while closing my lid, which in turn tore the red plastic mold screwed to the hingeplate to rip away from the aluminum frame. Other than that, from the numerous drops, and bumps from the many anime and gaming conventions, trips to work, trips across state on a bus, the other damage to it was the plastic around the grill covering the cpu heat sink chipped away.

I loved this machine. but with the damage to the frame it's no longer able to do what it was intended to do, which is be my portable gaming / student laptop. But I still haven't been able to find a laptop I am willing to replace it with. (Any suggestions would be welcome)
 

illusio12

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Dec 4, 2009
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Hi all, here goes :-0

-Brand: HP Pavilion DV6 Notebook PC
-Model: 6001ea ( white limited edition model??? )
-Bought From/Price: local Currys £429
-OS: Windows 7 64bit home Premium
-CPU: AMD Phenom 11 P960 Quad @ 1.8Ghz
-GPU: AMD HD 6470M and HD 4250 onboard
-Resolution: 1366x768 @ 60hz
-RAM: 4Gb Elpida DDR3 10600
-Usage (Gaming, Internet, Office Apps, etc…):
-Real World Battery Life (in your estimation): 1.5 - 2Hrs MAX!!!
-Your Rating (out of 10): 9 out of 10

Bought this as had not had a pc for well over a year; lost the will to live building my own gaming rigs so had an extended break.

In use this laptop is excellent; use for net, movies, odd document, some gaming and music.
The keyboard is excellent in use and being silver shines at night when only laptop for illumination ( mater stroke!!! ).
The display is excellently bright when using hi-performance gpu ( their blurb not mine :), and not too dim ( but nice) when using on-board gpu.
Most days i have the tv dongle on News24 all day, the internet dongle on most times, listening to some tunes if tv is muted ( automatically displays subtitles, i love you Media Centre! ) while browsing the net; not really had any serious problems, a couple of freezes with browsers ( who does'nt? ) and the previously noted problem when taking power cord out and going onto battery.

The battery life is pretty average i suppose for this class of laptop with dedicated gpu, but still feels inefficient sometimes, especially if you have not charged before you leave the house, and no convient plug to charge when out. The only really frustrating thing is if you are watching a video or tv ( have dongle wich works well with bothe original software and Media Centre ) and you unplug power source then the switch to onboard graphics can cause app to crash, both Media Centre and Total Media do so. The switch from dedicated gpu to onboard involves a few black screens and a dimming of overall brightness, very quaint and feels totally retro now so no longer bugs me out :)

The laptop feeds hdmi to tv without issues, the dvd-rw works as advertised, 4 usb2 ports, 2 either side, vga for you old scholl peeps, lan and front facing sd/mmc card reader.

One thing i am reall happy about is the Altec lansing sound system, obviously no real bass, but the presence is their if you know what i mean, but the overall sound is excellent, if a little bit tinny, though this will depend on the quality of source material as always.

Can not say enough good things about htis laptop, except for the ridiculous prices both Currys and HP want you to pay for their extended warrentys.

Being unemployed ( not going to tell you what occured so i could but this laptop :) ), their prices are rubbish, £200 + for HP 2yrs and £269+ for 5yrs Currys. Either way, no bank account, so no joy!!! just does not work does it.

That aside, for light gaming ( currently playing HL2 and LPlanet again, as well as and then it moves, (( awesome game )) ), general internet use, productivity etc, this lapto is Perfect..... I must be mad!!!

Stayed away from laptops for ever,
 

illusio12

Distinguished
Dec 4, 2009
3
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18,510
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COME ON TOMS, I CAN EDIT MY OWN POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Hi all, here goes :-0

-Brand: HP Pavilion DV6 Notebook PC
-Model: 6001ea ( white limited edition model??? )
-Bought From/Price: local Currys £429
-OS: Windows 7 64bit home Premium
-CPU: AMD Phenom 11 P960 Quad @ 1.8Ghz
-GPU: AMD HD 6470M and HD 4250 onboard
-Resolution: 1366x768 @ 60hz
-RAM: 4Gb Elpida DDR3 10600
-Usage (Gaming, Internet, Office Apps, etc…):
-Real World Battery Life (in your estimation): 1.5 - 2Hrs MAX!!!
-Your Rating (out of 10): 9 out of 10

Bought this as had not had a pc for well over a year; lost the will to live building my own gaming rigs so had an extended break.

In use this laptop is excellent; use for net, movies, odd document, some gaming and music.
The keyboard is excellent in use and being silver shines at night when only laptop for illumination ( master stroke!!! ).

The display is excellently bright when using hi-performance gpu ( their blurb not mine :), and not too dim ( but nice) when using on-board gpu.

Most days i have the tv dongle on News24 all day, the internet dongle on most times, listening to some tunes if tv is muted ( automatically displays subtitles, i love you Media Centre! ) while browsing the net; not really had any serious problems, a couple of freezes with browsers ( who does'nt? ) and the previously noted problem when taking power cord out and going onto battery.

The battery life is pretty average i suppose for this class of laptop with dedicated gpu, but still feels inefficient sometimes, especially if you have not charged before you leave the house, and no convient plug to charge when out.

The only really frustrating thing is if you are watching a video or tv ( have dongle which works well with both the original software and Media Centre ) and you unplug power source then the switch to onboard graphics can cause app to crash, both Media Centre and Total Media do so. The switch from dedicated gpu to onboard involves a few black screens and a dimming of overall brightness, very quaint and feels totally retro now so no longer bugs me out :)

The laptop feeds hdmi to tv without issues, the dvd-rw works as advertised, 4 usb2 ports, 2 either side, vga for you old school peeps, lan and front facing sd/mmc card reader.

One thing i am reall happy about is the Altec lansing sound system, obviously no real bass, but the presence is their if you know what i mean, but the overall sound is excellent, ( if source material is tinny it will sound a little bit tinny, though this will depend on the quality of source material as always) and goes quite loud.

Can not say enough good things about this laptop, except for the ridiculous prices both Currys and HP want you to pay for their extended warrentys.

Being unemployed ( not going to tell you what occured so i could buy this laptop :) ), their prices are rubbish, £200 + for HP 2yrs and £269+ for 5yrs Currys. Either way, no bank account, so no joy!!! just does not work does it.

That aside, for light gaming ( currently playing HL2 and LPlanet again, as well as And Then it Moves, (( awesome game )) ), general internet use, productivity etc, this laptop is Perfect..... I must be mad!!!

Stayed away from laptops for ever, being a hardcore overclocker, budget parts permitting :); never liked or have really enjoyed supporting laptops ( IT support for ever! ), i have resolutely stayed away. I accept the usual CAVEATS, IF IT FAILS ( laptop or pc ) IT FAILS. Prices are now not to dissimilar to desktop parts so need not mortgage life to purchase replacement hdd!!!

One other thing, this mother is heavy ( 2.9Kg officially ), so really a desktop replacement, although if your like me, such a thing is not really a consideration, would carry to work if really wanted to, putting ALL THE NETTOP LITTLE GIRLS AND BOYS TO SHAME, you understand.

Excellent laptop, really happy with my purchase ( selling of soul ) and would definitely recommend to those who want a little reasonable gaming performance not constrained by on-board gpu. All other functions are excellent, especially the sound, makes such a difference.
 

clubber2k

Distinguished
Oct 9, 2011
7
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18,510
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-Brand: Lenovo ThinkPad x121e
-Model: 3045
-Bought From/Price: local Currys 3500 nis ~= 950$
-OS: Windows 7 64bit home Premium
-CPU:Intel Core i3-2357M Processor (1.3GHz, 3MB L3, 1333MHz DDR3)
-GPU: intel HD Graphics (Sandy Bridge) onboard
-Resolution: 11.6" W HD (1366 x 768)LED, Anti-Glare.
-RAM: 4 GB DDR3 - 1333MHz (2 DIMM)
-Usage (Gaming, Internet, Office Apps, etc…): CAD, 3D, Graphics, Facebook/multimedia/email.
-Real World Battery Life (in your estimation): 5-6 hours
-Your Rating (out of 10): 9 out of 10
Windows Experience Index 4.9 (Highest gaming 6.1 lowest processor 4.9 other values around 5.5)


IMPORTANT: I was looking for a small "cheap" lightweight but powerfull notebook. I didn't need it for direct work - just for showing my work done at home, on a laptop / projector in class.

I needed it to load medium complexity Sketchup models and CAD plans. I also wanted it to work with Revit and 3DS max that I want to learn in the future. Autodesk and Sketchup's site specificly stated that intel graphics are NOT recomended but since I need a cheap notebook and I wasn't planning on working on it - just viewing (And some facebook of course :D ) I decided to take the risk.

First hands the x121e is simply Ugly. there is a nice smooth cover on top and the screen opens out in a wide beautiful and functional angel (but might not leave room for a large battery). On the coolness factor this one comes last, oh well it least it has both HDMI & VGA out are avilable - just what I needed.
The x121e is light weight and comfortably small in size, but extreamly fast with a good batter life (6 cell bat & I worked it hard for almost 6 hours strait without plugin it in with wifi on and connected). The keyboard layout is excelent & the keys are spread apart but easy to type. the tuchpad is awful! and uncomfortable at all (plus no sliding detection on the right side) but I'm pretty coordinated so I got used to it. after insalling all the above software (some are trials or the small light versions) it still takes the x121e about 1 minute from clicking the restart button to go thourgh boot and back to work again - FAST.

For the main course, The 3d applications:
sketchup & 3ds max - works o.k. loads complex files and rotates the model (rotating forces wireframe but redraws details back fast) - I loaded with foliage but hidden it for the rotating but even my friends more powerful laptops have trouble rotating models with foliage.
CAD & Revit - loads great! works smothly and redraws on rotate without too much issues.

in conclusion - although integrated graphics aren't recommended for 3d applications for the sake of viewing and rotating the model they are still o.k. I think even working on cad and revit is possible but didn't seriously try it yet.

I have been playing with it for a week now & I'm really satisfied with the x121e for now, I hope I will feel the same in a year or so.


I deducted just 1 point due to the really crappy small annoying tuchpad - I used better. I usually use the tuchpad and not a mouse so this is important but live-able.
 

Stanny102

Distinguished
Nov 7, 2011
5
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18,510
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Brand: Samsung
Model: Rf-711 S02
Price: 800$
OS: Windows 7 64bit home Premium
CPU: i7 2630QM
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GT 540
Resolution 1600 x 900
Ram: 4gb
Usage: Multimedia, Gaming
Real world battery life: 1h load, 4-5 text writing
your rating: 2

The laptop was good when i first got it but after a 4 monds the problems came:

-dirt in the screen, some small brown spots.
-problems with the battery
-when i enable hyperthreading the laptop shut show me 8 threads, but instead it shows me four and sais this is a dualcore!
-when i burn a disk the disk won't play some of the song till the end.
The left speaker gives a lot less sound than the right one.

I think it's obvious that this is one problem machine.
Do not by this, if you look at the specifications you'd say that it's a lot for not that much money but you really don't wanna buy this one.
Go for something stronger and durabler than this ***.
 

jimhood82

Distinguished
Aug 23, 2009
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18,590
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Two laptops here:
Sony Viao SA
Where: Sony Style Store
OS: Win 7 64bit Pro
CPU: i7 2620
GPU: AMD 6630
Resolution: 1366x768
RAM: 8GB Samsung. 4GB soldered, 4gb sodimm
Usage: Gaming, internet, ultraportable
Real World Battery Life (in your estimation): 5 hours internal (internet only), 10 hours with slice
Your Rating (out of 10): 8

I was looking for a machine that was about MBP 13 in size and weight, found this beauty at the Sony Style store. It was a great machine while it lasted.

The i7 2620 performed as expected. The turbo mode was quite aggressive on this machine, keeping it between 3.0 and 3.1Ghz during Prime 95 testing. GPU switching was completely automatic, as it should be, though there was a switch to force the dedicated card if you needed it. GPU performance was equally as impressive. Easily tackling Fallout 3, WoW, and Portal 2 at the native resolution and high quality settings. When connected to an external monitor though, it wasn't quite up to par with 1080P displays.

Heat was also elegantly taken care of, by exhausting out the back of the machine. With the added slice, the machine could easily take in fresh air on any surface as well.

The screen was mediocre, but the anti-glare display was welcome.

The trackpad tracked very nicely, and was wonderfully smooth.

Sound was nothing special, I have heard better from laptops, but I have also heard much worse.

The best part about this machine was the complete lack of junkware. The only software installed was Windows, drivers, a tool bar and necessary software for the dvd burner and webcam. Nothing more.

The bad part: That machine lasted about a month. Then the CPU fan died. Upon taking back in for service, they took a month "waiting on parts". In this case, they decided to replace the entire motherboard. Eventually, they opted to give me my money back rather than send a new machine. That was well over a month after sending it in for service.
 

jimhood82

Distinguished
Aug 23, 2009
18
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18,590
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Now the second machine:
The Lenovo W520
Where: Direct from Lenovo
OS: Win 7 64bit Home Prem
CPU: i7 2620
GPU: Nvidia Quadro 1000m
Resolution: 1920x1080
RAM: 6GB (1x4GB, 1x2GB)
Usage: Gaming, internet, movies
Real World Battery Life (in your estimation): 4.5 hours internal
Your Rating (out of 10): 9

This was bought as a replacement to the above Sony. I couldn't find comparable, light performance machines.

The machine is solidly built, and carries an excellent feel to it. The keyboard is as expected from Lenovo, the best I have used on a laptop to date. The i7 2620 also performs as expected, easily making its way through any task I throw at it. Though the Turbo Boost does not seem to be as aggressive as I have seen elsewhere. The Quadro 1000m will overclock easily on this machine, though the only part that really needs it, is the vram. Bumped up about 75Mhz, the vram opens the card up nicely.

The display on this is amazing! Sitting next to my Samsung flat panel, and Acer panels, I can tell you up front, it is worth the extra money. The difference is astounding.

This machine can tackle most games at medium quality with no trouble, even at 1080P. I currently use it as my primary gaming machine for Skyrim, and for the most part it does extremely well. There are occasional hiccups that I cannot explain, but they appear to be related to the limited vram throughput. Overclocking the vram cleared this up significantly. Fallout 3 + NV run well under similar quality settings. Older games like half life 2 run well in high detail modes, at 1080P. No, it isn't setting performance records, but it won't do poorly either.

The touchpad tracks well enough, but has a slightly abrasive textured surface. Multi-touch gestures work well.

Movies look well on this machine, namely due to the impressive display, but sound is tiny. The little speakers just can't do the job.

The fan is a very nice, quality fan that makes little noise. Even at 4900RPM (using software to force it higher than rated), it stays manageable. Yes, you can hear it at 4900, no this isn't like the ThermalTake noisemakers of old. After replacing all the thermal paste with AS 5, the machine actually spends most of its time with the fan turned off completely, and sitting about 56C.

Overall, this is a great machine, I would recommend it to anyone. Buy direct though, and you can negotiate on the price a bit. Lenovo customer service has been terrific.
 

usaf2222

Distinguished
Feb 2, 2012
7
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18,510
0

-Brand: Medion
-Model: MD42100 (MIM2040)
-Released: 2005
-Bought From/Price: £429 new (Got mine as a hand-me-down)
-OS: Microsoft Windows XP
-CPU: 1.5GHz Intel Pentium M 1.5 "Banias" ("Upgraded" mine to a Pentium M 705 "Dothan")
-GPU: Intel Extreme Graphics 82852/82855 GM/GME
-Resolution: 1024x768
-RAM: 256mb (upgradeable to 2GB)
-Usage (Gaming, Internet, Office Apps, etc…): General browsing, programming
-Real World Battery Life (in your estimation): ~2-4
-Your Rating (out of 10): 9

When I was fist handed this laptop, I had no idea what it was. It wasn't a Dell or an HP laptop rather it was this odd brand known as "Medion". Now, when given an unknown brand for a laptop, I had no idea what to expect, the power management was fried, the hard drive crashed, the processor was so out of date that it came from an era where dual core was an idea on someone's page at Intel or AMD. However, this little laptop kept on surprising me, it's almost indestructibility and flexibility keep making me want to do anything but let it go.

First things first, this Laptop is German. Given the German's engineering expertise and history, I expected it to be overly complicated and frustrating to deal with. Lo' and behold, that wasn't the case at all. Access panels dot the other side of this laptop, easily identifying and marking exactly where everything is and providing exceptional experience with any sort of hardware tinkering. I have managed to replace almost every part of the laptop with minimal effort on my part. Even the mother board was changed in a matter of minutes with only two screws connecting the motherboard to the actual base of the laptop (The rest seal the motherboard to the palm rest. Believe me, I had to replace the motherboard for this thing after I realized the number my aunt did to the poor thing, well worth the $60 on eBay though.

The experience is typical Windows XP, nothing really new there except the Pentium M is a very powerful processor and deceptively so even for today. Good processor selection on their part, at the time and given it's price, 256MB of RAM was suitable for most users at the time. The laptop goes up to 2 GB which is absolutely perfect for what I do on it. The real downside to this laptop is the graphics. The Intel Integrated Graphics absolutely suck, bare bones 3D support and no chance of ever expanding that leaving it as a poor choice for those that game. Expected for an entry level laptop.

As shown in the photo, the experience working with the inputs is good but not memorable. It's good for what it does, and the European design gives it a fresh look. The keyboard is slightly off center than most laptops, leading me to type "S" when I meant "A" though a mild complaint. Fan noise is low and infrequent thanks to that Pentium M and the DVD drive is nice and zippy even if it does lack a DVD burner. The speakers are loud but cheesy, one of the few things I ding this for.

Given Medion's focus in the European market, support is lacking here in the 'States. The drivers are available online though for no cost, making a re-install a not so hellish process. In addition, a boot disk provided by Medion will re-install all of your drivers for you, a very nice innovative solution. Given this laptop's relative rarity, I was frustrated at the lacks of knowledge on the 'Net about it. This left me to blindly stumble around on support. Yet, it has proven itself to be a tough, reliable and flexible machine. You may want to put Medion on your list of computer companies to buy from, they build fantastic machines.
 

Avro Arrow

Distinguished
Nov 12, 2009
242
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18,860
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I recently bought a new laptop. Here's the info:

Brand: Acer
Model: Aspire 5560-Sb401
Bought From: Tiger Direct
Price: $499CAD
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium x64
CPU: AMD A8-3500M
GPU: ATi Mobility Radeon HD 6620G
Resolution: 1366x768
RAM: 4GB DDR3-1333
Usage: Web browsing, Gaming, Music, Video (Movies)
Real World Battery Life: 4 hours
Rating: 10 out of 10
http://www.acer.ca/ac/en/CA/content/model/LX.RNW02.028
My first impression was how great the blue colour looked and I was just blown away by how fast this thing is and the fact that a $500 laptop can play Skyrim! This is the perfect all-around laptop and I couldn't be happier with it. It has more than enough CPU power so everything loads instantly. The Graphics on it are amazing (for a laptop) and I haven't discovered anything about it that I don't like. Battery life is great and it never gets hot! The display is phenomenal and the speakers are LOUD. For my purposes, it is more than perfect and far better than I expected or could have even hoped for for $500. :sol:

Pics:
 

shadowryche

Distinguished
Apr 10, 2009
22
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18,560
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-Brand: HP
-Model: dv6 6c35dx
-Bought From/Price: BestBuy $549.00
-OS: Windows 7 Home Premium / Windows 8 Consumer Preview (Dual boot)
-CPU: AMD A8-3520m
-GPU: AMD Radeon 6620G
-Resolution: 1366x768
-RAM: 6gb DDR3 1333mhz
-Usage (Gaming, Internet, Office Apps, etc…): Mostly office work and some casual gaming
-Real World Battery Life (in your estimation): 4-5 hours web browsing, 2 hours watching or streaming video, less then a hour gaming.
-Your Rating (out of 10): 8/10 Rating

I initially purchased it for $579, but the weekend after their website had it listed for $549. BestBuy refunded me the $30 simply handing them the receipt. Hard drive is kind of slow and clunky at times, I intend to replace mine with one of them Seagate Hybrid drives some time in the next few weeks. Otherwise the laptop has treated me well, boot time is still pretty quick even with the weak hard disk installed. Wanted to adjust the amount of RAM dedicated to the 6620G, how ever it seems it automatically adapts as needed. I've seen it bump up to as much as 1.2gb playing Civilization V, not sure what the cap is though. I do find that in any video games I play the first thing I have to turn down is shadow effects. If you're considering an AMD APU for gaming, I suggest finding something with dual graphics and an mx APU. The four speaker Beats Audio isn't half bad, sounds a lot better on head phones. (Shocker there, right?) The second audio out was surprising to me, but does come in handy.
 
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