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Friday, November 25, 2011

The Best Laptop This Year

Apple MacBook Pro Fall 2011


The good:
Incremental updates to the CPU help keep the MacBook Pro line a step above the now-mainstream MacBook Air. The trackpad and gesture controls are still the best of any current laptop.
The bad:
Unless you need an optical drive, the MacBook Air may be a better fit for most, and the Pro still lacks things we'd like to see, such as HDMI, Blu-ray, and USB 3.0.

The bottom line:
A MacBook Pro is a significant investment, especially when adding in optional upgrades. Cost aside, there's not a better choice (there are, however, some close ties) for an all-around powerhouse that will work in the home, the office, and in between.
Review:
On October 24, 2011, Apple updated the MacBook Pro line with new CPUs, larger hard drives, and new graphics options. The upgrades were very minor, and the bulk of our review of the 15-inch MacBook Pro from earlier in 2011 still stands. We've added upgrade and contextual notes below, as well as new benchmark test results.
The latest round of updates to Apple's popular MacBook Pro line were modest enough that they simply appeared on the Apple Web site with little fanfare beyond a basic press release. Rather than a generational jump as we saw in February 2011 (when the Pro moved from Intel's original Core i-series CPUs to the latest second-generation chips, formerly code-named Sandy Bridge), this is perhaps better described as minor housekeeping.
In the 15-inch MacBook Pro, we previously reviewed the more high-end of two starting configurations. That $2,199 unit had a 2.2GHz quad-core i7, whereas the $1,799 model had a 2.0GHz CPU. The biggest change is that the $1,799 model now has that 2.2GHz quad-core i7, and the $2,199 model moves up to an even faster 2.4GHz CPU. The GPU options are now a 512MB AMD Radeon HD 6750M in the lower-priced version and a 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6770M in the more expensive one. Default storage remains the same for the 15-inch models, but the 13- and 17-inch MacBook Pros have their own set of CPU, GPU, and HDD updates, the details of which are here.
Note that this time around we tested the new $1,799 15-inch MacBook Pro, whereas our previous 15-inch MacBook Pro review sample was the $2,199 version, so we're effectively looking at the same CPU in both cases.
The iconic unibody aluminum construction remains the same, as does the large glass multitouch trackpad. Thunderbolt, Intel's new high-speed powered port for data transfer and displays, remains an interesting extra, but its promise is still hypothetical, with few available Thunderbolt-compatible peripherals.
This 15-inch MacBook Pro, at $1,799, follows the usual Apple trajectory of keeping the price steady but adding faster, more powerful components. The latest round of upgrades, while not revolutionary, helps give the Pro line a boost at a time when the less-expensive MacBook Air has become such an excellent mainstream laptop that it could easily substitute for the Pro for many potential MacBook buyers who don't need an internal optical drive or bigger screen.

MacBook Air Summer 2011


The good: 
The 13-inch MacBook Air has been updated with the latest Intel CPUs for better performance and battery life. Backlit keyboards make a welcome return.
The bad: 
The 128GB SSD drive is a lot smaller than a standard hard drive. This also starts at $100 more than the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
The bottom line: 
The latest version of the 13-inch MacBook Air vastly outperforms its predecessor, and can finally be called suitable for mainstream use, instead of relegated as a niche product.
Review:
As with most Apple products, the MacBook Air has moved into an annual update cycle, taking it from the original niche product version to its new perch as Apple's mainstream laptop line. With that, we've also seen a continued mainstreaming of the system's components and capabilities over the course of three generations.
Apple's new Air models hold last year's prices, the 13-inch model starts at $1,299, but while dramatically upgrading the processing power: the new second-generation Core i5 processor in the base 11-inch and 13-inch Air is a jump of two Intel generations, going directly from the older Core 2 Duo CPUs past the first generation of Core i5/i7 chips and directly to the 2011 second-generation Core i-series.
Physically, the new MacBook Air looks and feels identical to the one from October 2010, with one important exception. Both the 11- and 13-inch models now include a backlit keyboard, a much-missed feature in the previous generation (in a CNET poll, 26 percent of readers listed a backlit keyboard as their most-wanted new MacBook Air feature).

Lenovo IdeaPad U300s


The good:
Lenovo's IdeaPad U300s is the coolest-looking of the new generation of Ultrabook laptops, and packs in a large SSD drive, USB 3.0, and more.
The bad: 
Our more expensive configuration offers no discount from a comparable MacBook Air, and leaves out some basic ports and connections.
The bottom line: Lenovo's stylish U300s Ultrabook is one of the best-looking Windows laptops we've seen and matches Apple's MacBook Air nearly spec for spec. The entry-level version is $100 less than Apple's, but that discount vanishes on the higher-end model.
Review:
Much has been made (certainly by us) of Intel's plans to promote a new "Ultrabook" laptop designation, which refers to something along the lines of an 11- to 13-inch laptop, less than 18 millimeters thick, with SSD storage, and running on current-gen Core i-series processors. Of all the Ultrabook laptops we've seen so far, the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s is the most eye-catching, with its completely flat design, booklike profile, and muted orange color (basic silver/gray is also available).
This flagship of the IdeaPad U series has a 13.3-inch display, up to a Core i7 processor (ULV), and up to a 256GB SSD, but is just 0.6 inch thick. The less expensive of two available configurations matches up with the low-end MacBook Air, with a 128GB SSD and Intel Core i5 CPU, but the Lenovo is about $100 less, at $1,195 versus $1,299. Our review unit is the higher-end model, which has a Core i7 CPU and 256GB SSD. This version is $1,595, and is virtually the same as a comparable $1,599 MacBook Air.

With the $100 discount, plus extras the MacBook lacks, such as HDMI and USB 3.0, the less-expensive U300s makes a very compelling case, especially when you factor in the excellent build quality and unbeatable keyboard. Our higher-end model is a tougher sell, and unless you're specifically tied to Windows (and don't want to dual-boot with OS X), we'd still probably recommend going with the elegant 256GB version of the MacBook Air if you have $1,600 to spend. But if you are spending top dollar on a native Windows superslim laptop right now, the IdeaPad U300s is easily one of the best.

Toshiba Portege R835-P70


The good: 
With a new Intel Core i5 CPU, sharp design, and nearly all-day battery life, the Toshiba Portege R835 is a smartly priced alternative to the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
The bad: 
Intel's integrated graphics are better than they used to be, but still not gamer-friendly, and features such as Bluetooth and mobile broadband are missing from some configs. There's no Blu-ray option (only DVD), and the speakers are somewhat anemic.
The bottom line: Excellent battery life, a light weight, and great pricing make the Toshiba Portege R835 hard to beat, even in the highly competitive 13-inch laptop category.
Review:
The Toshiba Portege R835-P56X received an Editors' Choice Award when it was first reviewed in March 2011. The review below has been updated to include comparisons to more recent competitors and to highlight the different available models of the Portege. The laptop remains a CNET Editors' Choice.
When we first reviewed the Toshiba Portege R835 in March, it earned an enthusiastic Editors' Choice Award. But that was five months ago--an eternity in PC time. Now that second-generation Intel Sandy Bridge chips are in nearly every competing laptop, how does the Portege stack up?
The answer is this: as of August 2011, the Portege R835 is still one of the best overall values in the 13-inch laptop category. In fact, as the available configurations have evolved, you may find the current iteration of the Portege to be an even better deal than the laptop was when it was first introduced. Core i5 models have been seen online and in stores for $649 to $729 during various back-to-school sales. While some of the differences between the configurations are important and some aren't (more on that below), each version still delivers a solid magnesium alloy chassis and a thin and lightweight design. And the Portege beats out the more expensive MacBook Pro on battery life (topping 7 hours), while offering some step-up features (USB 3.0, eSATA ports, integrated DVD drive) not found in many competing models in this weight and size class.
Like nearly all PCs, the Toshiba Portege is available in multiple configurations. Our review sample, the R835-P56X, was outfitted as follows:

HP Pavilion dm1z


The good: 
A solid upgrade to one of our favorite laptops, the new HP Pavilion dm1z adds Beats Audio, a better touch pad, and an updated AMD processor.
The bad: 
Benchmark scores and battery life are about the same as those of the previous dm1z, and a promised Intel Core i3 version is still MIA.
The bottom line: 
There have been plenty of 11-inch AMD-powered ultraportables this year, but HP's Pavilion dm1z was the first, and this updated version puts it back in the lead in this crowded category.
Review:
The biggest story in laptops this year has got to be the rise of the inexpensive 11-inch ultraportable. Largely replacing 10-inch Netbooks, these systems are slightly larger, slightly more expensive, and significantly more powerful, thanks to the latest Intel Core i3 and AMD E-series processors.
The first one we saw in 2011 was the HP Pavilion dm1z, which used AMD's new E-350 CPU. At the time, we said: "The first laptop to offer AMD's power-efficient Fusion platform delivers on much of its promise, combining great battery life, decent performance, and basic graphics for less than $500." Since then, many other laptops have hit the same winning price-component combo, but the HP dm1z remained near the top of our list because of its excellent overall design.
An updated version has just landed, and it's also called the HP Pavilion dm1z. The main differences are a moderately updated design and a step up to AMD's brand-new E-450 processor, along with the same Beats Audio technology found in many larger Hewlett-Packard laptops.
The processor bump didn't amount to much, as the new Pavilion dm1z performed about the same as the AMD E-350 laptops we've tested, but the design tweaks, while subtle, make for a slicker, more upscale-looking system. Keeping the price fairly steady at $444 (including a $100 "discount" from HP), there's no reason not to recommend the new Pavilion dm1z as strongly as we did the original version. HP says an Intel Core i3 version will also be available later in the year, but that may cost more, around $600.
Posted by: Admin
Easy Learn Computer, Updated at: 1:11 AM

1 komentar:

sell laptop said...

Still fascinated with Apple MacBook Pro!

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