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  • neothe0ne - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    I feel like you did the Envy 14 an injustice by not even mentioning switchable graphics. And I don't believe the opening page with "NVIDIA dominates the portable market" - all Dells, most Sonys, all HPs, and then some are using ATI cards now. Reply
  • ExodusC - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Also, I'd like to note that from the users that have gotten their Envy 14s already, they have stated that it does not get uncomfortably hot (like the Envy 15 was known to). It apparently stays relatively cool, even while gaming (not sure about something super intensive like 3DMark or Furmark). Reply
  • KZ0 - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    In very many of the reviews I've read here, it has been commented on how the screen sucks, as usual. When there finally is an affordable notebook with a great 1600x900 14" screen, it's not even commented on? Why? I know some models (non US-factory, the Amazon model, etc) have a 1366x768 display, but the HD+ screen is even included in the base 1099 USD factory price!

    When there's no review model available, at least use what info there is (user reviews) instead of speculation! And the i7 quad option isn't even a reasonable upgrade for most people, killing battery life (not having an integrated GPU to use the switchable graphics, and higher power consumption), making more heat / noise, and not providing much of a performance increase for most people.

    A review or analysis on Anandtech is generally very good, and I've been following the site for quite some time now (though not posting), but this disappoints me.
  • JPForums - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Don't be disappointed. This is Anandtech. They don't claim to be perfect, but they do accept feedback. If you bring up legitimate concerns, they are pretty good about fixing it for future articles. You may even get an update to a current article.

    That said I'd like to voice my opinion that 1600x900 or better resolution screens in a 14" or smaller notebook is a very compelling feature. Such a screen may be worth the trade off in battery life and/or cost as there are cases where the increased desktop real estate results in a significant increase in productivity. This productivity boost is not easy to measure, but at least warrants a word.
  • TareX - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    My Envy 14 has a Radiance 900p screen that simply blows away every other 14" Laptop screen in the market.

    It is NOT plagued by the older generation Envy laptops' issues with heat.

    I am quite perplexed by this Anadtech article. If they didn't review it, they could have at least read the impressions of other sites whose editors actually used the new Envy 14.
  • VivekGowri - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    By "the portable market" I was meaning laptops smaller than 14" (which this buyer's guide was focusing on) as distinct from the more mainstream and desktop replacement markets.

    How many 12" and 13" non-AMD laptops can you name with ATI graphics? Off the top of my head, the Sony S series has an optional ATI HD 5470 card, and the Lenovo U450p that had an HD 4330 switched to Nvidia when it got bumped to Arrandale. Other than that, a lot of the really portable notebooks tend to use Nvidia GPUs. Cases in point: the entire Asus portable lineup, the M11x, the VAIO Z, the Lenovo U460, etc etc etc. So I think it was a fair term.

    Once you start getting to 14" and larger notebooks, you start seeing a lot of ATI GPUs, yes, but not in notebooks smaller than that.
  • ExodusC - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    I should have stated I don't necessarily agree with neothe0ne. I replied to his comment as it was related to the Envy 14. I have to agree with you, actually, that NVIDIA has dominance with their mobile parts. From what I understand, AMD is gaining ground, in that market segment though, are they not?

    I mainly wanted to question the Envy 14 getting hot-- from everything I've read, it really doesn't get that hot (maybe in a lap, if the vents are covered? I figure anyone using the dGPU will be gaming, and therefore plugged into an outlet and on a desk).

    Most importantly, Vivek, is AnandTech planning a review? Last I heard it was hard to get a review unit, but I'm really curious if AT has heard anything from HP about it. The Envy 14 seems to be gaining a lot of popularity as a MBP-alternative, as many people have an anti-Apple stigma.
  • ExodusC - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Oh, and one last thing, the Envy 14's battery may be sealed in, but it's easily removable by flipping a simple switch. I know it's a minor thing, but when I read the article, it seemed to suggest the battery was non-removable, like the MBP.

  • ExodusC - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Well, after a second look some users report it getting hot, others say it doesn't get hot. I guess it depends what kind of load it's under. Reply
  • Visual - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    The HP tm2 uses ATI 4550, and it being a tablet convertible has better portability than any of the ones included in this "guide", while not being far in performance too. I'm actually surprised it was not mentioned. Reply
  • DanaG - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    You also missed the EliteBook 8440w:

    It has all sorts of awesome features, and awesome build quality.

    The only bummer: the business-grade laptops are expensive.
  • VivekGowri - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    There'll be a lot more on the 8440w later this week. The reason it didn't make the list is because it really isn't a portable-style notebook; it's up near 6 pounds with the larger battery. As a portable workstation, it's okay - rugged, but rather expensive.

    At the same price, I'd wonder if it wouldn't be a better idea to get a far faster (both CPU and GPU-wise) ENVY 14. At the $1500-ish retail price of my review SKU, you could get yourself the Envy with a quad-core, the HD5650 and like 8GB of RAM...Just something to think about.
  • seanleeforever - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    as an actual user of few business laptops for business purpose, i think i might have some valuable opinion to share.

    as great as Elitebooks are, they are just not where thinkpad is. since I am typing this on my 4 thousand dollar elitebook, i believe my opinion is completely unbiased.

    Elitebooks are heavy, so heavy that it becomes a burden to carry around. they use excessive amount of aluminum for fashion NOT for utility. case in point: exactly why do you need aluminum on the palm rest? it looks cool, but it is a pain to use because they are good heat conductor, which means you palm will either be cold (when machine first start up) or hot (when your computer heats up). those shining surface also require much more cleaning or it will look like crap after a week of use.

    laptop, for all intention and purposes, is designed to work on the lap when no table is around. Why, oh WHY would most laptop manufacturers design a freaking venting spot on the bottom that could EASILY be covered by soft surfaces? it is like a phone that is designed to greatly reduce its reception when you touch it. Only two computer manufacture got the design right: Apple and Lenovo. look under any thinkpad, you will not see any venting spot that you have to pay special attention to avoid. HP is miles away in this aspect.

    volume slide: again, form over function. HP played fancy by putting a touch sensitive volume bar that no one knows how to control . in a thinkpad, you get solid buttons and you know each press counts, in a HP, not so much. it is very tricky because it can be very sensitive one second, and completely ignore to you command the next. it is SUCKS that change the volume on Elitebook will always kick you out of the full screen mode, a MAJOR deal breaker when you do presentation,

    track point: those of whom never used track point, you guys are missing something in life. IMO, track point a particularly useful in small laptops because you don't have too much room to play with, you can rest your palm on your computer while navigating the cursor. the track point in a thinkpad is simply the most delightful to use. the track point on the HP, however, is like a last minute design that no one pay any attention to. the track pointer buried in the keys give you no room to fit your finger tip. it is very tough to move around, and the mouse buttons are stone hard that i have to press it with a lot of effort. three mouse buttons made of the same shape and put in the same place that you will always confuse right click with middle click. the software driver to support track pointer is also not there.

    ruggedness: the top of the Elitebook is actually make of cheap plastic that is not rugged.
    there was once that my elitebook, (stored in the HP carry bag), dropped from my luggage onto the floor. the drop is about 1 meter in height (40 inches) and it broke the plastic piece on the top. This would NEVER happen to a thinkpad where the whole cover is made of Magnesium alloy. in fact, Thinkpad are so strong that I can safely stand on a thinkpad without any concern that my weight will break the LCD. other than Toshiba Toughbook, i have yet to see any other main brand that allow me to do this.

    keyboard layout: why would FN keys are smaller than letter keys? why would Page Up and Page DN placed horizontally instead of vertically ( you know, like in any standard keyboard)

    if you are a road warrior and your laptop would face accidental drop and abuse, there is no better product than a Thinkpad. they are black, they are ugly, they got no shining parts, no touch sensitive volume controls and fancy LED lights, but they mean business.

    before you call i am a thinpad fan boy, knowing that my most experiences computers (business and personal), has all been HP brand.
  • Chloiber - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    I have to agree in most points.

    I've got an older 6910p, which was replaced by the Elitebookseries about 1 or 2 years ago.

    The touch volume keys are pretty much unusable. Plus now I got some strange thing that they are lighting up when I press Caps Lock (volume goes up, down, mutes, HP Info Center if I press every single button).

    Track point: unusable. I tried it for a week and it just didn't work. The funniest part: it's broken now (fell off, can't put it back). But I rarely used it.

    The MOST annoying part is, as you mentioned, the vent in the bottom. It happens that I am working on my lap or that I am watching some movies while lying in my bed. I tried many things...a small cushion in the way...a magazine on top of the cushion...nah, not working, still gets hot and loud...

    It's not a laptop, it's a "sidetop" O_o
  • wkeller - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Nice article, but I missed a table with all the mobility specs, in particular weight and batterylife, besides screensize and cpu. We have several Ácer 1810T at home and we love them because of the right combination of these 4 dimensions. We never want a heavy laptop with limited batterylife anymore!
  • Zok - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    While it helps to know what major uses cases are best served by a single laptop (or one alternative), perhaps it'd be beneficial to know what other devices were considered - even without a writeup on them.

    I say this because, for people who don't drink the Apple haterade, the 13" MBP can provide some pretty sick battery life. I recognize that there are articles dedicated solely to the MBP, but I think it'd be helpful for people to understand where they fit in "with the rest of the pack."

    ... Or at least mention that they were deficient, which leads me back to my first point.
  • VivekGowri - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Well, the MBP has a Core 2 Duo, integrated G 320M, and 10 hours of battery life. Asus U30Jc has a Core i3, G 310M with Optimus, and the same 10 hours of battery life for $300 cheaper. To be fair, the MBP is built better, has a better display, and has OS X (if that makes a difference to you), but it's older technology for more money....See why there's a problem there?

    It's not that I don't like it (I nearly bought one) but they're clearly not for everyone and with the above problem with the whole value proposition, I figured it wasn't worth it.
  • feelingshorter - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Its not about haterade but its the fact that Apple has always charged more for their stuff when you get less.

    Lets take the 13inch MacBook first. Yeah you get the 320M instead of the 310M but the MacBook's 320M can only use up to 250 mb of ram while the 310M uses 512 of the system ram.

    To make matters worse, the MacBooks only have 2 gigs of ram in total to begin with. All windows laptops come with 4 gigs at the price range of $1000 with the lone exception of Lenovo ThinkPad (but the ThinkPads are built like tanks). Also the MacBooks weigh in at 4.7lbs, which isn't sub 4lbs. It also uses the older Core 2 Duos instead of the newer i3/i5, which are more powerful yet gives better battery life due to on die graphics.

    I compared to the MacBook instead of the Pro b/c $1000 is already a lot. Fine you want to compare the MacBook Pro? Ok you get 4 gigs of ram but hell your graphics card is still the G320M with the same 256 mb limitation. The ram is also the same speed at 1066mhz as in windows ones. It weighs in at 4.5lb which is still not sub 4lbs. Not to mention you still get an abysmal 320gb hard drive. Not that you would use more space but larger hard drives = higher density = faster speeds (b/c were not talking about WD Raptors or anything, just normal drives). And your still on the Core 2 Duo, old technology once again yet paying 1200. You can get soo much more from the options listed in the In this Laptop Buyer's Guide

    The fact of the matter is you also only get 2 USB ports whereas most windows laptops come with 3 (i dont know why that is). If i remember, one of the USB ports on the mac isnt even full speed b/c half of it is used for the Bluetooth or Webcam (not sure if this is still true since i last read about it). So once advantage is that you get bluetooth built in but you can easily buy an adapter for like 10 bucks that sticks no more than 3-4mm anyways. But the half powered and half speed USB is bad since sometimes you want to use it to charge your phone or need the full speed for a USB drive.

    Ok, you want an i5 MacBook Pro? Lets compare the $2000 MacBook Pro so we can compare it to the HP Envy listed in this Buyer's Guide (note: the cheapest i5 MBP is still 1800 anyways). Weighing in at 5.6 lbs, its still heavier than the HP Envy at 5.25. MBP has 4gb ram at 1066mhz and 500gb hard drive @ 5400 rpm. The Envy as 256gb SSD, which is going to be soo much faster than the MBP. For the $1989 Envy, you also get the i7-720 Quad core, which is faster than the MBP's i5. You also get the ATI 5650 on the Envy, which is again faster than the GT 330M by a good margin. And yes the Envy does have a backlit keyboard. Oh i forgot to mention the $1989 14 inch Envy i configured includes TWO 8 cell battery instead of 1, just so i can get the price closer to the $2000 price point to compare to the MBP. But just to recap, the Envy weighs less, has a faster hard drive, has a faster and overall better CPU, faster video card by a good margin, and added an extra 8-cell battery in there just to even match the MBP's high price point. All that and its still 11 bucks cheaper than the MacBook Pro.

    I'm in the market for a new laptop that can play SC2 so i just spent 3 hours or so doing my research. Hope that helps you in your decision with which laptop to buy. If your waiting for the next MacBook and MBP update, it is estimated that Apple will update them in 3.5 months. They update their notebooks every ~200 days and its only been 100 days into the last update (of both MB and MBP). So if your gonna wait 3.5 months or so to get a MacBook, do understand that the Windows PC market will also move along with it. Then where does that put us? In the same position as always. If you like OSX just buy it. If not, MBPs just aren't price competitive but their laptops are some of the best looking IMO.
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    My daughter just got a 13" MacBook Pro, and I have to admit that I am very impressed with the design and construction quality. Performance isn't everything. I would rather give up one or two performance points for a machine that feels as solid and looks as good as the MacBook Pro.

    Her battery life is also incredible, she can use it all day long and not have to plug in. I gifted her a copy of Portal (through STEAM) and while I didn't run any benchmarks the game played just fine. I know its an older game, but she's not a hard core gamer.

    Toms Hardware really needs to stop ignoring hardware just because it has an Apple logo on it. You do yourself and your readers a huge disservice by pretending Apple hardware is less than what it is. Not the fastest machine, or cheapest equipment to be sure, but it does have noteworthy qualities. Better than many of the computers in your comparison.

  • 8steve8 - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    " Spec’ed the same as the $799 Toshiba R705 (Core i3, 4GB, 500GB hard drive, 6 cell battery, Bluetooth, etc) "

    the R705 does not have bluetooth.
  • VivekGowri - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Oops! Fixed now, thanks for catching that! Reply
  • EarthwormJim - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    I'm surprised that the 13" Macbook wasn't included. Doesn't it have a better display than all the other laptops here? Reply
  • ExodusC - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Well, the Envy 14's screen is 1600x900 (that's in the base model, too!), which definitely beats the 1280x800 on a MBP. I'm not sure if it's IPS, but early reviews of the screen say it is amazing. Reply
  • erple2 - Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - link

    No, the screen is not IPS. It's a TN just like every other notebook is. The screen has slightly better viewing angles than some other screens, but it's ultimately more of the same. Same basic color reproduction, same basic everything else.

    While it is "better" than other screens in the 13" market space, I wouldn't call it any better than various other high quality notebook screens (Envy 15 1080p looks a little bit nicer, though the Dell "RGB LED" screen does look noticeably better).
  • zshift - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    I know it's currently only available at Best Buy, and it's not even mention on Asus' website, but the U52f is a pretty good laptop. 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, DVD Super Multi drive, Core i3-350M, and around 6.5 hours of battery life (listed), it's a pretty good deal at $679. Granted, it only has Intel HD graphics, but for anyone not interested in gaming or 3D content in general this laptop is pretty good. Also, I've personally used it in the store at my local Best Buy, and the build quality is excellent, being nearly as tough as the Protege 705. As far as the touchpad, though, the buttons were a little uncomfortable to press, requiring a little too much force. All in all, I would recommend this as a cheaper alternative. Reply
  • 8steve8 - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    I'm super-familiar with this market segment and think there's a real lack of good choices out there with ULV or LV arrandale CPUs.

    It's not just the power consumption, it's the heat generation.

    the X201s with the i7 LV cpu is not available for sale (hasn't been for months)

    what the market needs:

    dell V13 with arrandale ULV cpu and a little better battery
    X100e-like thinkpad with arrandale ULV (trackpoint FTW) @ 2.5lbs
    macbook air with arrandale ULV or LV (not waiting for this since apple is sold on having nvidia graphics)

    the R700 is nice (ive used it), it should use a LV cpu, but still nice... too bad they spent the volume and weight on an optical drive, totally useless now days.
  • VivekGowri - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Arrandale ULV is still brand new, most of them (other than the one Acer TimelineX 1830T I'm struggling to think of one) haven't started shipping yet.

    I'd love to see what Toshiba could do with the R705 if they took out the DVD drive. Can you imagine like a .8" thick 2.7lb notebook with those specs and a $749 pricetag? I really hope they think about that.
  • HHCosmin - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    the article seems ok but i guess you do injustice to acer. i do not really know the acer models you mentioned but i have the 3820tg featuring i5 430m, 4gig of ram, hdd, 13,3", 1,8kilos, up to 6,5hours of REAL battery life, discrete ati 5460 graphics, 640gb of hdd. it has no optical drive and i do not think it is useful to have optical unit in a ultraportable. an ultraportable needs to be light, have lots of conectivity and be powerfull enough. Reply
  • HHCosmin - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    and it has aluminum chasys and it is quite strong. Reply
  • 5150Joker - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Anandtech made terrible choices in the entire article. What's the deal with all the Asus picks? They make cheap laptops with some of the worst build quality and displays around. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Really? Because I've owned and reviewed my share of Asus laptops and all of them have done very well. The only one I owned that wound up getting FUBARed was because a friend of mine dropped it on the floor. Thing still works, but the screen is being held together by alligator clips and prayer.

    Asus makes inexpensive laptops. There's a difference between inexpensive and cheap. If you want to see awful build quality and displays, I'm sure we could recommend a few vendors.
  • riku0116 - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    I'm looking to purchase a portable tablet PC (read: NOT iPad) to take notes and record lectures on.

    I've heard good things about the tm2 and would love to see an AnandTech review of this or other tablet PCs as most of them do fall in the ultraportable range.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Part of the problem is that, in my experience writing for a few different sites, HP can be incredibly cagey with their review hardware. Asus, Acer, and Dell tend to be much cooler about it (and we have excellent relationships with them, to be fair). Reply
  • seanleeforever - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    or take a look at X201 Tablet. it is on the pricey side (got my for around 1600 dollar), but well worth it. Reply
  • attila16881 - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    check out the new TM2-2000, i think it would be added to the article ;)
    Size and Weight: 326 x 230 x 24/30 mm, 1,89 kg
    Display: 12,1 wide (1280x800)
    Touchscreen: Wacom digitalizer multitouch
    CPU:Intel Core i3-330UM (1.2 GHz, 3 MB, 800 MHz)
    Chipset: Intel HM55
    GPU: SATI Mobility Radeon HD 5450 plus Intel HD (cpu integrated)
    RAM: 4 GB DDR3
    HD: 320 GB (2,5"; 7200 gpm)
    Battery: 6 cells Li-Ion
    Digital fingerprint reader, Trackpad Multi-Touch, USB (3 x 2.0),VGA, HDMI, vga webcam
    LAN: Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000
    WI-FI: 802.11 b/g/n
    Card reader: SD/MMC/MS/MSpro/XD
    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
  • jabber - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Fantastic laptop. One of the best devices I've ever bought.

    Always gets missed here over the bloody 11Z which isnt nearly as good.

    Oh and it has trackpad buttons!
  • Friendly0Fire - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Why so little love for the Z? I know it's madly expensive, but after all the complaining about poor screen quality, that thing has an absolutely lavish screen (and a cheap upgrade to 1080p!) on top of a powerful GPU. It also has a DVD drive, backlit keyboard, some pretty powerful non-CULV processors, RAID 0 SSDs and it packages all of that in 3.1 pounds...

    I know it's expensive, but if price is not a limiting factor, it's probably one of the best ultraportables out there.
  • Johnmcl7 - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    It is incredible that Sony have managed to pack more hardware than most 13in machines have but in a chassis that's smaller and lighter. It is an expensive and relatively niche machine but on the other hand this is a technology website and the Z series is an extremely interesting machine from a technological point of view, particularly the quad SSDs.

    The screen resolution is the main reason I'm considering a Z series, I currently have an XPS M1330 which has been a superb machine but the low 1280x800 screen resolution is irritating and about the only feature I'd really like to change. The Z series is one of the few machines to go much above this, as is one Lenovo I believe but that's it?

  • Friendly0Fire - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Not just resolution. From what I gathered (I'm looking into buying one soon), the screen is also matte and extremely high-contrast. Of course, that goes with the fact that Sony also happens to be making HDTVs :)

    I only wish there was an Optimus option. Despite the hacking some people have done that appears to enable it in part, I'd rather see a fully support solution. Best would be a manual switch with Auto enabling Optimus.
  • VivekGowri - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Mostly because at $1950 it's well out of most people's price category. But I agree, as an overall machine, the Z is pretty awesome. It still got a mention, but at $1950, it wasn't worth a full page. Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Macbooks at similar prices get entire articles regularly as do top of the range graphics card and computer parts which would also be out of most people's price category so a page or even article on the Z on a site like this doesn't seem too much.

  • GTaudiophile - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    I just bought one...sort of like a cheaper Z...

    Intel Core i3 330 UM (1.2GHz)
    ATI HD 4550 w/ 512MB VRAM
    4GB DDR3 RAM
    320GB HDD
    5+ hours battery with WiFi
    Less than 4 lbs.
    About $800
  • darunium - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    The M11x is an impressive notebook, despite the undervolting of the CPU, but why is there no mention of the Asus N82Jq? With a standard clock of the i7-720QM and GT335M, plus a solid screen in a 5lb package, I think that as a gaming portable notebook it really stands strong, even if it isn't specifically marketed in that segment. Reply
  • VivekGowri - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Read more carefully, it's there. Try the page with the Envy 14. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    What new Puma platform? What the heck are you guys smoking. Puma is 2 years old WWWWTTTTTFFFFF? This whole thing reads like a big stinking pile of intel advertising. Reply
  • VivekGowri - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    My bad, that was supposed to read Nile, dunno why I said Puma (fixed now). But the rest of that is accurate: the new AMD-based ultraportables still don't have the battery life to touch the Intel portables, simple as that, but performance is starting to catch up, benchmarking similarly to the equivalent Core 2 CULV parts, and the HD 4225 is obviously a ways faster than GMA.

    Where AMD is really winning right now, both in desktop and mobile, is in environments where power requirements don't matter so much and they can provide tri- and quad-core processors for dirt cheap. Honestly, if you don't care about battery life in a 15" machine, you'd rather have an AMD quad than an Intel dual core, right?
  • Shadowmaster625 - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    I had the unfortunate displeasure of using a N450 netbook this weekend. The things are just not usable for anyone with a pulse. Of course AMD cant beat that battery life, because those things dont even do anything except sit there frozen half the time. Everything I've read about the K125 suggests usable performance with respectable battery life. Reply
  • Chloiber - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Is it even available in Europe? Reply
  • jtsarnak - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    As an owner of Sony's Z-series laptop, I want to chime in and discourage anyone seriously considering an ultraportable from looking at Vaio machines.

    There is a known problem with Sony's newer laptops and battery drain. The battery loses life at an appreciable rate when completely shutdown. The only way to prevent loss is to physically remove the battery. Some have speculated the battery care function, some the hinged design common to the lines experiencing the problem, but Sony has done nothing and in fact call it a "feature".

    The Z would be perfect (although expensive) if not for the drain. Now I have to remove the battery whenever I'm not using it or keep it plugged in. The 7+ hours of battery life in a machine this powerful mean nothing if I have to keep it constantly plugged in.

    No review site has mentioned this issue which just goes to show you should head to notebookreview's forums before making any decisions on a laptop.

    Mr. Gowri, you'd be doing the buying public a great service by looking a little deeper into this problem with Sony's laptops and making the problem more public. Maybe Sony will finally be forced to make a change...
  • GTaudiophile - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    I have no such drain issue with my Y-series. Reply
  • Friendly0Fire - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    You're painting this as if it was losing its entire battery life in a matter of hours. I've read about 10-20% in a day, with some people claiming 2-5% with some tweaking. The former numbers are high but tolerable unless you're constantly on the go, while the latter numbers are fine by me. Reply
  • jtsarnak - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    I am constantly on the go. This is a luxury class laptop and billed as an ultra-portable business solution. ANY substantial loss after a day, be it 5% or 20%, is unacceptable. It's the only laptop I've ever owned that loses this much power overnight. Anything else doesn't lose that power in a WEEK's time. Reply
  • Alexo - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Note: I am more interested in battery life than gaming performance so my comment is going to address that, but it is equally valid for other benchmarks.

    With the above in mind, I am quite disappointed with the article.
    I came to associate AnandTech's articles, reviews and recommendation with rigorous testing.

    However, of all the notebooks that claim long battery life, only the Asus U30jc was actually reviewed and hard numbers were given. For the rest of the recommendations, battery life times were either "extrapolated" based on assumptions (Asus UL?0jt) or worse -- taken from the manufacturers' claims. There were no measurements to verify the claims/assumptions and no real-life data was given.

    If not a full comparative review, I expected to see at least a short comparison of measured performance. Especially since the actual user experience reported on various forums greatly varies.

    After reading the article, I still have no idea how the RECOMMENDED U30jc, U35jc, UL30jt, 3820tg and X201 compare to each other in terms of performance and battery life.

    Display quality was also glossed over. The article mentioned that most displays were bad but no mention was made which are better/worse than others.

    All in all, I got the impression that some of the recommendations were based on press releases.

    Vivek, can you get your hands on these models and give us some actual numbers?

    Best regards,

    Another minor thing that I'd like to mention: The PL?0jt (the "business" version of the UL?0jt) is apparently available with matte displays.
  • SongEmu - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    I was impressed with the looks of the new HP Envy line, and was hoping they'd turned a new leaf in thermal management as well... guess not. Reply
  • Munna2002 - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Thanks for a great list, but I still don't see a laptop that fits all of my criteria.

    1) Non-ULV i5/i7
    2) Optimus technology
    3) 13-15" screens
    4) Decent non-Intel graphics card for light gaming
    5) Pointing stick
    6) (*Optional*) About 6 hours of battery life

    The closest match that I see are Thinkpads T410, HP Elitebook 8440p, and Dell Latitude E6410. (but these don't have Optimus, and T410 has really bad battery life)

    Suggestions anyone?
  • VivekGowri - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    All of the Asus U30/33/35 line is sold elsewhere with Core i5 processors. If you were so inclined, you could technically just buy a Core i5 or i7 processor and swap it in yourself. Or there's always the Sony Z.....LOL.

    Optimus is still in the ramping up stages, only a few makers have had the chance to use it by now, so give it a few months and as more of the fall releases hit, there should definitely be at least a few that fit your needs.
  • sam333 - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    I've been reading anandtech for quite some time and I've always felt that you are biased towards Intel giving them the publicity and advertising.
    Abt time if you gave a fair comparison.
  • rhys006 - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the post. I'm curious why you chose to flag 'heat' as an issue for the Envy 14? The developers realized that the previous versions had short comings in this area and modified the unit accordingly. I've been following owner forums since the Envy 14 came out and excessive heat has not been cited as an issue.

    Do you have more intel than we do?
  • batterycompanycomau - Monday, July 19, 2010 - link

    1. Most of the new Laptop Battery at the factory are set to sleep mode, the first boot with only about 5% of the electricity. You should not use an external power supply at this time, let the battery exhausted, until shutdown, then switch on the external ac adapter and the first charge had better over 15 hours. After fully charged, you should charge after the exhaustion of batter, the time of the second and third charge should be more than 12 hours, in order to activate TOSHIBA Laptop Battery and lay a good foundation for future use.
    2. TOSHIBA battery life is measured in terms of the number of charging and discharging. Do not enable the TOSHIBA Laptop Battery unless it is necessary, if you don't use the battery for a long time, you should charge it to about half full and place in a cool place to keep. If you enable the TOSHIBA battery, you should run out of power after the charging, and do not plug in the AC power before exhausted. When the TOSHIBA Laptop Battery fully charged, you should disconnect the AC input because overcharge will make the TOSHIBA battery overheat and that will shorten the TOSHIBA battery life.
    3. Generally speaking, nowadays the laptop are with intelligent TOSHIBA battery protection, the TOSHIBA Laptop Battery will not be damaged due to normal operation, but still may damaged for the life-span of travelmate battery or other special reasons.
    4. Lithium-ion TOSHIBA Laptop Battery should fast charge in constant current and then switch to slow charge in constant voltage when the voltage reaches a certain value. Usually the laptop doesn't have a strictly constant-current charge monitoring device. Charge current will turn small when system load large and vice versa, the current is decided by the TOSHIBA AC adapter power margin, it is obviously.
    5. Discharge in a current as small as possible, the action is to slow down the CPU, stop the hard disk, adjust the screen to the most dark, and then do not run any programs until the laptop automatically shut down. The reason to emphasize the small current discharging is to prevent the TOSHIBA laptop premature detect the Laptop Battery voltage shortage.

    www battery-company com au
  • matt b - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    Given that numerous laptops 13.3 inchs and smaller are shipping with AMD nile dual core processors (K325 and K625), can we get a review of these? You must have some in your labs b/c you say that they still fall short of the Intel CULV processors on battery life. Can we see some actual reviews from Anandtech? I've seen mixed reviews on the internet. Toshiba has a 13.3 with the k625 that they claim gets over 6 hours of battery life. The k625 does not have bad performance, and in actual games (versus benchmarks like PC Vantage that Anandtech has shown that Intel's latest drivers have broken) the ATI 4225 cards are faster than Intel's. The price is right too. I'd like to see a i3 or CULV comparison using the same battery (one just not rated the same) versus the K625.
    My take from seeing the number of design wins was that Nile must be pretty impressive.
  • matt b - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    Given that numerous laptops 13.3 inchs and smaller are shipping with AMD nile dual core processors (K325 and K625), can we get a review of these? You must have some in your labs b/c you say that they still fall short of the Intel CULV processors on battery life. Can we see some actual reviews from Anandtech? I've seen mixed reviews on the internet. Toshiba has a 13.3 with the k625 that they claim gets over 6 hours of battery life. The k625 does not have bad performance, and in actual games (versus benchmarks like PC Vantage that Anandtech has shown that Intel's latest drivers have broken) the ATI 4225 cards are faster than Intel's. The price is right too. I'd like to see a i3 or CULV comparison using the same battery (one just not rated the same) versus the K625.
    My take from seeing the number of design wins was that Nile must be pretty impressive.
  • MadMan007 - Wednesday, July 21, 2010 - link

    Hi. I'd like to see you guys do more notebook reviews even if they aren't full reviews. We don't really need to see the same CPU benchmarks for the same CPU/RAM combo for example but the 'extras' in your reviews are extremely useful and what set your reviews apart. Build quality and keyboard/trackpad commentary and *especially* display quality measurements are very nice to read and the latter is not common on other sites. Even if you need to cut down from your full review suite (little point with the same hardware anyway) doing mini-reviews with the things you guys do special would be great.

    Hopefully AT will review some more of the models presented here? I'd be especially interested to see some of the models that don't get much attentino for whatever reason - for example, do the pricey Sony models have any advantage in build quality or screen quality?
  • Akv - Wednesday, July 21, 2010 - link

    I would be very interested in a Sony VAIO EA for my work, but alas I won't buy it because of the glaring inscription VAIO on the cover.

    When I go to a meeting I don't want to be the intrusive advertisement panel for an off-topic company. And if I buy something that price I expect more discretion. I would feel ridiculous using it in front of other people.
  • naalex - Wednesday, July 21, 2010 - link

    Exactly the kind of round-up that i needed. I'm personally thinking that the Asus U43JC is the laptop that I'm going to get. USB 3.0 and WiDi are great extra features to have, although perfection would be reached if they came with more powerful GPUs

    Considering that Fall and back to school deals are just around the corner, might it be recommended to hold tight for a month or so, to see what improved models are just around the corner?
  • DaKaptin - Wednesday, July 21, 2010 - link

    My first post!! (I think). great site, great reviews - thanks to all at Anadtech!

    aaanywaaaay... I bought an Asus Ul80Vt after reading Anandtech's initial review on it (last year sometime). It was my first laptop purchase ever & I have been very pleased with it to the extent that I got one for my sister too! A good mix of performance & battery life leaves me "never really running out of power" in both senses of the word typical for the tasks I use it for (ie movies & internet largely with gaming & business sometimes)

    anyway, without souding too much like a commercial, I'd really like to impress upon the type of setup those laptops present & wonder - "why hasn't anyone else been able to at least imitate them?" the range of tasks you can perform on them (and battery life) make them to me what a laptop is all about! (otherwise seriously, buy a desktop or netbook for the other end of the spectrums)
  • descendency - Thursday, July 22, 2010 - link

    I love my X201 Thinkpad.

    If you are in the ultraportable market and have some money to spend, it's by far the nicest laptop available. I got mine for 900 (before tax) through the EPP program and some luck. Well, I added an old Vertex 120gb SSD that I have had since they launched.
  • rgathright - Monday, July 26, 2010 - link

    I wish I had read this before buying my ASUS 1201N. A 55nm Radeon HD 4225 would have made a big difference over the power hungry NVIDIA Ion that I am struggling with.

    You can see more about the failed ASUS 1201N here:
  • forumreader45 - Monday, July 26, 2010 - link

    This review doesn't cover the Dell offerings well - I just went through this same trade before this came out and also wanted to buy something with a US name on it - still easy to do in the computer world Annandtech - must you kill off our last remaining industry?

    Anyways I got a Studio 14 with an i5 - though you can get i3 or i7. It's a great machine and should have been part of this comparo. (And I'm an Apple fanboy - but the person who wanted this wanted a PC.)
  • halcyon - Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - link

    SZ12 looks to pack a real punch: lots of features, very fast, very light, full-HD display.

    How about a review and comparison?
  • matt b - Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - link

    In this article, you wrote, "The new Nile platform, based on the Phenom II architecture, is faster, about on par with the original CULV platform, but even with improved power consumption, battery life still falls short of Intel’s high standard."

    Have you actually tested a computer with the AMD Nile platform?

    I just read a review of the Dell M301z with the AMD K626 processor (Nile). It's got a terrible battery (44Wh, 3740mAh). The battery life wasn't great, but as points out in their review, the battery life on the AMD system is at least equal to the Dell Adamo with an Intel SU9400. The Dell Adamo has a similar battery (44Wh, 3600mAh). It achieves slightly longer surfing times (213 minutes) compared to 187, but less idle time than the AMD chipset (5:40 to 5:19). This despite the fact that the Adamo has a energy saving SSD drive.
    Also, the K625 CPU is at least as fast as the Intel SU9400 on certain CPU benchmarks, like Cinebench R10 (dual core) and faster on single core benchmarks like Cinebech R10. It's graphics performance with the intergrated 4200 series is much faster than the GMA4500 on the Intel platform. So even with a much faster video card and on par CPU performance, the battery life is very close.
    I hate to be particular on this point, but I would like to know if Anandtech really tested an AMD Nile computer or are you just posting what you've heard?
    Link to the Nile review:
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - link

    We're working on getting a Nile system. FWIW, SSDs, don't generally save on power, unless they're something like the SandForce controllers, but even then a lot of the time your HDD/SSD will power down because of inactivity. The SU9400 is also a higher clocked CULV, so it may not be the best representative of the platform. In fact, in our own test of the Adamo, we found battery life to be generally quite a bit worse than the other CULV laptops we've tested, even when looking at battery life relative to battery capacity:

    As for overall performance, the IGP in Nile is definitely better than GMA 4500MHD, but that's not saying much. It's still very slow, and typically inadequate for gaming at native resolution. HD 4200 is faster, but also quite slow -- about on par with the new Intel HD Graphics in the Arrandale processors.

    Anyway, Nile is looking more interesting than the old CULV and should be a lot better than Congo. The real selling point is likely to be price, and as long as the price is right and you don't mind the battery life loss, go for it. Just don't expect to be wowed by performance -- which we'd say of CULV as well.
  • matt b - Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - link

    Thanks very much for your response. I look forward to the review and I hope you can get the K625 chip for review as it seems to be the highest performer of the Nile parts (thought I would also welcome a review of the lowest TDP Nile part as well). What is encouraging for Nile is that its best performer, the K625, seems to be on par or better performance wise with the SU9400, the higher performing CULV part, but with better graphics, and very comparable battery life. The lower clocked and single core Nile parts have less power usage (as with the lower clocked and single core CULV parts.) It can play HD video with ease, and some reviews show that the 4225 IGP can play older video games at decent (playable) frame rates. For me, that's something that the 4500 can't do, and a nice feature for a netbookish size.
    I agree, in the end it comes down to price. I suspect that a K625 system is going to be cheaper than a SU9400 system. If it has equal or slightly better CPU performance, equal to slightly worse battery life, and much better GPU performance, at a lower price, that's a compelling solution.
  • Jmills - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    When can we expect a review on the ENVY 14? Reply
  • TareX - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    Best netbook to buy:

    ASUS Eee PC 1215N..... EASILY.

    1.8 dual core processor
    ION 2
    Chiclet keyboard
    Matte under keyboard
    less than $500
    Privacy webcam toggle

    Coming August 2010
  • NICOXIS - Friday, July 30, 2010 - link

    What about Samsung r480 ? one of the cheapest i3/i5 + Nvidia GT 330M 14" notebooks on the market.

    really can't see why this one didn't make it to this article...
  • therich - Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - link

    How about the Asus U43JC? For about the same price as the recommended U33JC, you also get an optical drive and a core i5 processor (although it's clocked similarly to the i3, it does have Turbo). Reply
  • j.sanders - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    I've narrowed my choices down to these two machines and I'm the opinion of the commentariat and hopefully Vivek

    The thinkpad is a bit bigger a bit heavier and has resolution of: 1440 x 900 (11.95" x 7.4") vs 1600 x 900 (11.6 wide x 6.5) for the vaio.

    The Vaio Z is first choice but I have some reservations:

    Screen has great resolution but the dims, 11.6 wide x 6.5 high worry me just a tad.. thats a lot pixel data in not a a lot of space. To those who have used this machine, how do you like the screen? Do you have to zoom in much in your day to day use? I"m assuming that the sony screen is better in terms of color accuracy, white point and black point performance. Confirm or deny?

    The other concern I have with the Vaio is the palm rest / keyboard relationship. Palm rest / track pad look pretty small. Any feedback I'd appreciate.

    The thinkpad is a different animal. I like the pointy thing in the keys, I"m totally confident of durability and useability. Of course I'd like to have 1600 pixels wide vs 1440 but I won't die without with extra resolution so if the thinkpad is more usable I'd accept the lower resolution.

  • kakfjak - Thursday, May 05, 2011 - link

    All kinds of shoes + tide bag

    Free transport
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