Ultraportable laptop suggestion


Feb 23, 2010
Hi, I'm looking for an ultraportable laptop/netbook and have a difficult time finding something to pull the trigger on...

I need it for leisure travelling in Europe for general email, but mainly to offload pictures (SLR raw), and to watch movies on the plane ripped (no optical drive necessary) from my DVDs or itunes downloads, or tv shows from my htpc with MCE. No gaming and no photo editing.

Basic requirements:
10-12 inch screen size
long battery life, something near 9 or 10 hours (if that's possible)
windows 7
light weight to carry around
the rest i'm flexible
i was hoping to find something less than $500

i was looking at the HP dmz1 (w/ AMD e-350) for around $400, but i keep reading the screen is pretty crappy.
i also looked at the Asus UL models, but they are a bit pricey and old technology with sandy bridge out/almost out. I like the Asus netbooks, but are they fast enough to watch a DVD rip? will windows sputter along too slowly?
i am intrigued by the new lenovo 220 (coming soon) that supposedly will have 15 hours of battery life, but it's a bit pricey starting at $900 or so.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.



Jan 30, 2011
Skip to the bottom for my final suggestion, this is how I got there:

I'm not familiar with the current netbooks. Mostly because I don't think they serve many of the needs an average user requires out of a mobile computer. Many netbooks have problems with HD playback and don't have the greatest displays, but the huge draw for me is the size of it. It's just a little too small but not really that thin, making it an awkward "ultraportable."

But, if you still want to consider them, the best way to determine if a netbook is for you is to buy whichever one you like at best buy, give it a whirl, and return it within 14 days if it doesn't suit your basic needs.

To me, a 13 inch ~3 lb laptop with 6-7 minimum hours of battery at sub $1000 is considered the ideal laptop. If it has dedicated graphics, ok. If it has an SSD (or has a low enough price to buy an SSD), even better. But these 4 requirements are necessary, leaving the choice down to design aesthetics.

You mention sandy bridge.

The current sandy bridge ultraportables out right now that I'd consider are the Toshiba R835 ($900), Lenovo X220's ($900), and the Samsung 9 Series ($1600). Acer is talking about a Timeline X refresh, but no ones seen it since CeBit and to be honest I wasn't impressed with the last timeline.

The Samsung, whilst sexy, is out. Definitely because of price, but also it doesn't have great battery life and there are some design features I dislike about it. (Flip down ports, flexible chassis, sharp metal edge, etc) If you need something this thin, wait for sandy bridge macbook airs, but be willing to pay the same price.

We all know Lenovo makes great laptops. They'll last longer than you want them to and they'll always look new because the design never changes. To me, this was a negative, I hate that early 2000 IBM look with the mouse nipple and blue plastic. The slice battery sounds interesting, but remember it adds weight and height to the laptop, plus costs about $200 more.

Which leaves us with the Toshiba R835 that literally become available just a few days ago. It's a nice design with a lot of features most ultraportables can't have. It's a good price for a NOT-undervolted i5 ($950) and offers some impressive stats. Battery life is about 7 hours thanks to sandy bridge.


You don't need sandy bridge.

For ($699) and likely to decrease, best buy will sell you the Toshiba R705. Almost identical to the R835 except its a year older and hence, doesn't have sandy bridge. It will definitely do all the things you require, the only hitch is the battery is 5-6 leaning on 5 instead of 6-7 leaning on 7.

So $250ish, maybe more depending on how long you wait, in savings to not go sandy bridge. Personally, I love sandy bridge and I had a Sata II 120gb SSD to use in it already, so it stayed below my $1000 requirement.


- Can't help you with netbooks, but I don't think you want one.
- Sandy bridge is out of your budget, but if you can afford it, the Toshiba R835 is the best I've used.
- The next best being the Toshiba R705, but it still pushes your budget.
- If your budget is definitely sub-500, the only machines that come to mind are some of the Asus U series, the U36 in particular.