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  • rudolphna - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    You guys are really down on laptops with HDDs. Yes, you are enthusiasts, but apparently you are forgetting that 99% of laptops sold come with a 5,400RPM HDD. I personally have a $380 Lenovo Z565 (Upgraded slightly) with a WD Scorpio 320GB that is perfectly sufficient for my needs (I have a Crucial m4 in my desktop). No, it isn't as fast booting up or starting programs as an SSD would be, but it's not horrible either, and it's perfectly usable.

    I think you guys pay too much attention to the high end. Maybe you should start doing reviews on more mainstream models that people actually BUY. Go into your local Best Buy, and take your pick of laptop hardware from $400-$700. There are plenty of them, and those are the volume sellers, that most consumer actually BUY. They don't come with SSDs, or lots of bells and whistles. But anandtech reviews $1000+ unit after $1000+ unit. I don't NEED a laptop that price, that's what I have my 2500k based desktop for.
    Reply
  • cknobman - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Sorry but I am with AnandTech on this one.

    I loath any laptop (or desktop) with a HDD boot drive now and would never consider buying a new computer that did not have an SSD.

    In fact with todays HDD and SSD price I really see no reason (especially in a laptop) to use and HDD as a primary boot drive. You can buy a fantastic 120GB SSD for <=$120.

    For me I dont need 300+ GB of storage in my laptop, that is what I have desktops and servers for at home. All I need on a laptop is enough storage to install my OS, important programs, a few games, and then as needed transfer over any large data files from my server/desktop.

    The user experience from and HDD to SSD really is a big leap and it does in fact change the perception of a laptop and its usability. I went from never using my laptop, due to loathing 5+ minute startup times, to it being my "go to" machine as I can have it up and running in seconds(literally).
    Reply
  • rudolphna - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Then you are doing it wrong. My $380 laptop with HDD starts up in a minute to a fully usable desktop. While I'm not disagreeing with anand on the benefits of SSD (Remember, I have one in my desktop), what most people fail to remember ist hat the laptops MOST consumers buy are in the $350-$700 price range. Firstly, people aren't going to understand the benefits of SSD, they are going to see "Oh it only has a 64GB Harddrive? Pass" Secondly, they aren't going to want to pay more for it. I spent 18 months selling computers to people, and on both of these points I can garuntee. Reply
  • lewisl9029 - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Personally I would much rather buy a laptop that comes with an HDD and decide which SSD to upgrade to on my own rather than to pay premium for one with an unknown brand/controller that the manufacturer decides to shove in there for the sake of having an SSD. Reply
  • Loberts91 - Monday, April 02, 2012 - link

    I agree with this. I wouldn't buy a laptop that has an SSD simply because it could be bundled with CRAP. I have an Agility 3 and know what a crap SSD is really like. I plan on buying a laptop with a HDD and buying a Samsung 830 60GB for it, least that way I know that it has a quality SSD.

    Besides, the HDDs are selling second hand like hot cakes on ebay, allowing you to make some money back on the ordeal.
    Reply
  • cknobman - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Oh so you have a laptop with a factory image (not a hdd that you wiped and performed your own custom install and disabled everything) that starts in 1 minute? I call bs.

    Not only have I sold laptops/desktops (at BestBuy) before but I have also been building my own systems (and for family) for over a decade.

    Customers will buy from the options they are given, take a look at ultrabooks as plenty of them come with smaller SSDs.

    I dont know a single person who does not despise their slow performing laptop when it comes to system startup/shutdown/app startup. All of this would be remedied with an SSD.

    I have a pretty good grasp of different user bases as I am a applications developer in a corporate environment so not only do I (and fellow developers) deal with slow hard drives in our laptops but I am also interfacing (on a regular basis) with business users in who feel the same.
    Reply
  • Chubblez - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Not really.

    Lenovo X120e
    AMD E350
    4GB DDR3 (1 DIMM)
    Stock 320GB 7MM Hitachi (5400RPM)

    Cold to desktop in 51sec.

    Lenovo W520
    Intel i7 2760QM
    16GB DDR3
    Seagate 500GB 7200RPM

    Cold to desktop in 45 sec.

    Desktop:
    AMD FX4 3150 (I think. The cheap quad-core)
    16GB DDR3
    2x Seagate 1TB SATA 6 in RAID 0

    Cold to desktop in 48 sec.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    Lenovo X121e
    AMD E350
    4GB DDR3 (1 DIMM)
    Stock 320GB 7MM Hitachi (5400RPM)

    A very nice machine.. unless you want it to do anything HDD-related. That's so dog-slow, even my GF notices! (having seen alternatives around the house..)
    Reply
  • ExarKun333 - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    You sound clueless. Just click 'no' on those banner adds from now on...;) Reply
  • cknobman - Monday, April 02, 2012 - link

    Snide remark with no relevant input on the subject at hand and your calling me clueless???? LOL. Reply
  • Arkive - Monday, April 02, 2012 - link

    While you might be right that the average user might buy a lower end laptop, the bulk of Anandtech readers do not fall into that category I don't think. Most folks here are power users and will generally shell out a little more money for a laptop than the average user, so in this case, I think focusing on $1,000+ laptops makes sense for the site. Reply
  • dananski - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    I don't think it's right to say "you're doing it wrong" if your computer doesn't boot up quickly from HDD. People have different requirements and I expect yours are quite minimal, allowing you to reduce startup programs and clutter and get a decent experience from a relatively slow drive. Other people will need quicker access to more/heavier applications.

    Mind you, I agree the storage/price ratio will put many standard users off. I managed to get a laptop with both a smallish, nippy SSD and a slow but spacious HDD for the best of both worlds, but very few companies seem to offer that.
    Reply
  • gorash - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Most people don't even know what a GB is. They probably fill the laptop up with just a couple of photos and use about 1% of the HDD space. Reply
  • gorash - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    But I bet that if the laptop boots up in 15 seconds instead of 30 seconds then they'll think "Wow! This laptop is so FAST!" Reply
  • Snotling - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    I agree, most companies are perfectly happy designing products for ignorant people who look at numbers and don't understand what they mean. Just put in a number where less is more and they'll buy the bigger one anyway!

    nowadays, products are designed to fit a price-point, not to fill a purpose and that's the big problem. Only a few companies do it the other way around, Apple is unfortunately one of them, Dyson is another.

    I want a laptop for "work" not for 700$ once you realize that, then you don't mix the More RAM = needs discreet graphics. a dumb mix for a "worker's laptop" since it'll eat at the battery and provide no added value. but that's what they do. throw in a 1080p display instead, I'll see more lines of my spreadsheet. They just won't, the ignorant are too many and too lucrative a market to bother with people who make informed purchase decisions.
    Reply
  • KPOM - Sunday, April 01, 2012 - link

    256GB SSDs are now about $400, plus with the HDD shortage, the premium is a little bit smaller. Plus, how many people really need all that storage in a portable. I have used a MacBook Air with an SSD since late 2008 and I hate going back to my HDD-equipped work PC. Lots of tasks, not just booting, seems a bit sluggish, particularly when I see that hard drive LED blinking away.

    Put an SSD-equipped machine next to a HDD-equipped machine, and it's easy to see the difference in opening and closing programs. People get fixated on the processor, but the weakest link in the chain in the HDD.

    The whole point of the ultrabook project is to get away from the $350-$500 bulky commoditized notebook.
    Reply
  • frostyfiredude - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    There are obviously a lot of people who don't mind the HDD, yes even semi-enthusiasts. Others may require a HDD for storage reasons, especially if it's their only computer. Plenty of my friends have filled up their 320-500GB HDDs almost to the rim with who knows what, there is no way they would buy a 1100$ 512GB SSD to fit all their data in. Manufacturers clearly realize this and so we are seeing most laptops with HDDs, sometimes with the option to upgrade to a SSD in more premium models.

    The choice for a decent SSD from Toshiba for a reasonable price would be very welcome here, but as the only option I disagree.

    That said, in notebooks and desktops over ~600$ I think an mSATA SSD cache drive or hybrid HDD should be standard by now; they are good stop gap options until the market is ready for SSDs and SSDs have a good enough $/GB ratio. They offer solid bumps in responsiveness for an only minor price bump, while still maintaining the storage capacity wanted/required by a decent amount of buyers.
    Also 13" and under laptops should no longer have optical drives while we're at it, fill the space previously occupied by the drive with a larger battery and ship an external drive for the once in a blue moon time it's required.
    Reply
  • cclark1593 - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    SSDs are good, but with limited space, they're not quite ideal for someone looking at a laptop as a main computer if said computer only has space for one drive.

    That said, I think anyone looking at a laptop for a main should not be looking at ultrabooks, or anything such, but a 16" or even a 17" with at least two drive bays. This allows use of both a SSD and a mechanical HDD, and is a nice arrangement that would make large laptops enticing to buyers.
    Reply
  • Calin - Monday, April 02, 2012 - link

    "You can buy a fantastic 120GB SSD for <=$120"

    But 90% or more of the laptops I've seen have only space for one hard drive, and 120GB might not be large enough for a lot of prospective buyers.
    But I totally agree with rudolphna - I understand that those review units are provided by their builders (and not bought by Anandtech), but I would prefer laptop tests to be done in close to the default configuration.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, April 03, 2012 - link

    A perfect example of why personal opinion should be left out of reviews.

    The reviewed hardware obviously came with a HDD, and not an SSD. An informed purchaser will know this before buying. e.g. a moot point.

    1) The buyer is clueless, and it wont matter anyhow.
    2) The potential buyer knows what he/she wants and . . .
    a) opts out.
    b) Purchases laptop + SSD
    c) is perfectly happy with included storage media.

    System stability, performance of the included hardware ( not what *could have* been included ), cooling, noise, screen quality, warranty, price. These, among others are what is important. The order of which is most important is again, subjective ( personal opinion ).

    Personally, I would be far more worried about the super high temps. Than worrying about something I should have already known when I bought the system.

    @Dustin

    For what it is worth, I have an ASUS AMD A3400 A6 laptop that runs warm too when under a full load. Though, not quite that warm, unless overclocked. 74C is about as high as it goes standard. So perhaps the cooling "issue" is not so much an Intel/Toshiba issue. Still, it has me a bit worried. *shrug*
    Reply
  • MooseMuffin - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    I actually have this laptop and I replaced the HDD with a SSD within two weeks of owning it. Reply
  • TrackSmart - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Ditto. I have the R700 (basically the same laptop). I installed a small SSD and put the original hard disk in the optical drive bay. A nice compromise that wouldn't be possible in an ultrabook.

    Now if they would only start making decent screens on these things...
    Reply
  • agent2099 - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    That is really the way to go. Manufactures charge a huge premium for adding ssds. Reply
  • steven75 - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Anandtech isn't a site for "most people", it's a site for tech enthusiasts. They are right to recommend SSDs over HDDs at this point in time. The cost-to-benefit ratio is very much in favor of SSDs. Reply
  • pdjblum - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    This is a crapple-centric site that used to be an enthusiast site. Now Anand and all his sheep primarily use crapple and measure everything against it. Reply
  • TrackSmart - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    I have no love for apple, but I don't see the problem here. If you are not willing to buy a laptop with a crappy screen and and less than stellar build quality, that doesn't leave you with many other options outside of Apple, a few very expensive models from Sony, and the HP Envy series (which doesn't always have the display upgrade available). Like it or not, Apple sells a lot of laptops and also sets a pretty high bar for overall build quality, which is why they are so often used as a benchmark for comparison. Reply
  • Snotling - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    Dell XPS also have a few decent offers... Reply
  • frostyfiredude - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Are you saying Anand's standards have gone up because they use Apple machines now?

    If so, I don't see how that is an issue.

    You have to admit that Apple makes excellent machines, hence why they are the reference; they use some of the best displays, two of the best chassis designs, consistently excellent battery life, and they do all the little things like keyboards and trackpads right every time.
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    Yup. I wish I could buy a PC, but Macbooks are way too damn good (the TRACKPAD). And bootcamp works well enough, so it's little inconvenience. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    Sure, the average buyer just goes for "cheap enough", maybe with a little extra. But that doesn't mean this is good or the right way for them. Instead of upgrading this Toshiba with 2 GB more RAM for 50$ it should have gotten a 128 GB SSD for maybe 100$+. That would have turned it into a much more usable machine (for most purposes.. external storage is still your friend). Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    "I think you guys pay too much attention to the high end. Maybe you should start doing reviews on more mainstream models that people actually BUY"

    +1. The site might get a whole new flood of people paying a visit. I don;t know five people that would even THINK about spending over £600 on a laptop as it's ALL around the basement price.
    Reply
  • SongEmu - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    If you're in the market for a super cheap notebook, you're probably not an Anandtech regular. And even if you are, you're not reading reviews on your craptop. You're typically ticking off check boxes, i.e.:
    dual core proc
    DVD drive
    HDD > 120 GB
    X inch monitor.
    Done.

    There is nothing exciting under $600. not for notebooks.
    Reply
  • ScottHavens - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    I saw the resolution was only 1366x768 on a 13.3" display and just skipped the rest. Reply
  • ScottHavens - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    I gave in and read the rest of the review; I see that my complaint has been addressed by the author. When will it get addressed by the manufacturers? Reply
  • rudolphna - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Such snobs people are anymore. So this is basically the same thing as my previous post, but did you not realize that 99% of laptops sold to actual normal consumers are 1366x768, both in 14" and 15.6" versions? At the price point, maybe you should not complain. And seriously? 768 in a 13.3" screen isn't good enough? My my my. Reply
  • welshy992 - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    768p in a 15.6 inch screen is really bad. You can't do anything useful with that. The resolution is so cramped. You can't even open an entire word document or a web page without always having to scroll. Did you not realize that 99% of laptops sold USED to have a higher vertical resolution than 768p?

    If all you do on your laptop is Facebook, watch movies, and play games, then yes 768p in a 15.6 inch form factor is fine. For spreadsheets, coding, word docs, or any other form of content creation it is not worth it. I'd rather chain myself to a desk with an external monitor like I'm doing right now.
    Reply
  • Coup27 - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    rudolphna this is quite clearly a enthusiasts website by enthusiasts. The people who walk into bestbuy and buy a $400 laptop with a 1366x768 TN LCD with a 5,400rpm HDD and think it's great because they have no knowledge to say otherwise. These people will also not be reading Anandtech. I don't want Anandtech to read like a BBC Technology review or equivilent.

    I also disagree with you on another point. Long before SSDs we had to accept the performance from a 5400rpm HDD. Now, it's quite clear that this performance for any user who knows how to use a laptop to its potential, is crap.
    Reply
  • rudolphna - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Well considering that I AM an enthusiast, and I have a desktop using Anandtech recommended components (2500k, P8Z68-V Pro, Crucial M4, Fractal Design Define R3 etc) I understand the point of view. However there are enthusiasts like me, that don't need or want a high end laptop.

    My aforementioned laptop IS 768p, and I can do everything you just mentioned, perfectly fine. Sure I have to scroll. That's not really a big deal to me. Well, except coding.

    Anandtech does reviews of low end PSUs, and laptops with A6s, etc. But they do the most expensive ones they can find. Anandtech may be an enthusiast site, but it wouldn't hurt to do a mainstream review every now and again.

    YES the SSD is fast. But for what I need my laptop to do, I don't NEED one. Nor do 99% of people who buy laptops who the most intensive thing they will do is facebook games. If you keep your laptop clean and running light, as I do, I have no problems with a standard 5,400RPM drive. Granted, I'm pretty sure that Western Digitals 5400RPM drives are faster than Toshiba and Hitachis, but that' s beside the point.
    Reply
  • steven75 - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    If you're happy with a junky, poor performing laptop, more power to you. But don't expect most enthusiasts to agree with you. It's odd that you think they will. Reply
  • TrackSmart - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    I respectfully disagree. I personally don't need to see lots of reviews of the cookie-cutter $400 laptops you describe. Maybe one or two examples per year, just to set the benchmark for what you get for that price point. If one of them breaks the mold in an important way, then yes, review it. But otherwise, why bother? I can describe most of them to you already.

    That's not snobbery. I also agree that these $400 laptops it will do everything that the average person needs to do. But they occupy a part of the market where there profits are so low that there is little room for differentiation between models.
    Reply
  • retrospooty - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    "My aforementioned laptop IS 768p, and I can do everything you just mentioned, perfectly fine. Sure I have to scroll. That's not really a big deal to me"

    That is exactly why we hate it. I dont want to scroll to click "OK" or "next" on every other window when I am working. Its aweful. Its not really about scrolling to read a web-page. Its about decision boxes and or buttons you need to click to process something, apply a change or make whatever decision your app or site needs you to make and you cant see the options or button because its below the bottom of the aweful 768 line screen. AAAAAAUGH just typing it pisses me off. LOL
    Reply
  • tim851 - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    I have an 11" 768p laptop and I can't remember ever having to scroll for confirmation buttons. 1024x768 is the baseline for Windows 7, everything should be a-okay here. Reply
  • retrospooty - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    Its not.

    I deal with alot of different software, servers and IT related stuff. Its totally unlivable.

    I suppose for a normal person it works.
    Reply
  • KPOM - Sunday, April 01, 2012 - link

    It's good enough in an 11.6" display, but for 13" or larger a higher resolution ought to be standard by now. Having more vertical real estate is a good thing. Reply
  • retrospooty - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    "I saw the resolution was only 1366x768 on a 13.3" display and just skipped the rest."

    Exactly. As soon as I see that it goes straight to the no way in hell would I but it or recomend it to anyone.Total deal breaker. My freegin 4 inch phone has almost that much res.
    Reply
  • dcianf - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Am I the only one seeing an iPhoto for iOS gallery on page 2? Reply
  • dave_the_nerd - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Nope. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Fixed. Reply
  • Colin1497 - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Didn't I just read an iPad review where it was discussed that chassis changes were expensive? Toshiba has been in this market for a LONG time. This is now 8 generations of product named Portege RXXX and there were Portege 2000 model (review from 2002: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,7722,00.asp). I've owned a number of them, going back to the 2000, and it's common for them to keep a chassis and general design around for 2 hardware cycles. I wouldn't be shocked at all to see the R9xx have a bunch more changes. Reply
  • bji - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Here is how I read an Anadtech notebook review:

    Before reading a single word, skip immediately to the features chart on the first page. Look for the Display line item. If it says 768p, STOP. Do not read article. If it says something better, enjoy article.

    Stop wasting your time reviewing notebooks with stupid display resolutions. I will not read them. Demand that vendors send you notebooks with worthwhile resolutions and refuse to review 768p notebooks.

    Thank you.
    Reply
  • TegiriNenashi - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Amen Reply
  • Sunburn74 - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Honestly dude, I don't care. My laptop is for browsing and for word documents. I can get my pixel fixation at home. 1366x768 is fine up until around 14inch screens for most laptops. Reply
  • snuuggles - Monday, April 02, 2012 - link

    Glad you have a toy. Some people have to get actual work done, so they need more than 768 height. Reply
  • arthur449 - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    I just helped my sister choose a laptop to replace her 7 year old Dell laptop.

    Based on my discussion with her for what she needs, I established the following minimum requirements:
    1) 8GB memory--Because some people like to leave, at a minimum, 5 weeks of browser tabs open.
    2) 7200rpm HDD--7200rpm drives are at least better than the 5400rpm garbage they're cramming in every laptop these days.
    3) >1366x768 screen resolution.
    4) <$750

    Surprisingly, that eliminated HP entirely (my go-to brand, as popular brands tend to have problems that can be Google'd), and almost everything on Newegg. This led me to the following revelation: despite all the competition in the inexpensive laptop market currently, there's really not much in the way of meaningful choices for consumers. >95% of $400 - 700 laptops are going to have 720p, 5400rpm, or 4GB (or mismatched 6GB) of memory.

    I'd love to have a balanced model to recommend for friends and family.

    (We eventually settled on the Dell Inspiron 17R.)
    Reply
  • Impulses - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    The display is really your biggest limiting factor... The state of displays on laptops these days is a very sad affair. The $500-800 market is way over saturated and anyone that actually wants to pay more for some premium features doesn't really have a lot of choices without some massive compromises (or having to spend 3x as much).

    That is why Anandtech reviews a lot of high end systems... There's very little interest amongst the reader base in having them highlight the minimal differences amongst all the budget models (this is addressed at the guy campaigning for more cheap laptop reviews).

    If you fall in that camp just read one of their yearly laptop round-up or recommendation articles, they do a good job steering you in the right direction... Or go read PC World, Laptop Mag, etc.
    Reply
  • montanio - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    I was in the market recently for a laptop replacement for my parents. I eventually found some deals on a VAIO SE (15.5") that are 1080p with very good viewing angles for $800 (Amazon) which is a good deal considering it doesn't require shipping/tax. Official website has similar configurations but tax makes it unattractive. I added a Samsung 830 128gb to it, bought a USB3 enclosure for the old 640gb drive, and added a 4GB stick for less than $200. I added a external sheet battery to double the battery life as well since that was one of the main selling points for the series ($90) Grand total is <1100, which isn't bad considering the quality of the screen is excellent. Weight is <2.0kg without the sheet battery, pretty slim, feels a bit fragile though. Its a bit over what you said, but laptop markets are all about compromises, typically with more severe trade offs the more "cheap" you box yourself into. Sometimes its worth the little bit more you put out, the point of diminishing returns depends on the brand/model.

    Screen resolution is pretty important... I've always hated working on my 13" screen's 1366x768... Typing is okay, but if you need to reference things for example from a webpage, or have to edit your work later (especially documents with graphics) then its really a pain. 900p screens seem very attractive though, unfortunately the quality on them aren't exactly the best from looking at current laptops.
    Reply
  • arthur449 - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Both of your suggestions are helpful, and if I were buying the laptop for myself, I'd definitely be adding the memory and replacing the HDD with an SSD myself (as vendor markup on those items is amusing). And if it were mine, I wouldn't mind the additional complexity of having a discrete/switchable GPU and a 15" or 14" screen, as this would be my secondary or tertiary computing system.

    Unfortunately, if I end up doing that for her (she lives out of state) and something goes wrong with the rest of the hardware during the warranty period: we're in a difficult situation.

    I loved being able to instantly recommend the HP dm1z last year when people were asking about a recommendation for a cheap and small travel laptop. Great battery life, superior keyboard, and it came with a comparatively zippy 320GB 7200rpm hard drive. There's no magic bullet system available like that for families with one (laptop) computer that only needs to occasionally move from room to room depending on whether they're studying, researching, or writing lengthy dissertations in comments sections of Anandtech.com
    Reply
  • Gunbuster - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    1366x768 screen; stopped reading.

    I'm so sick of these low res screens.
    Reply
  • quitesufficient - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    As soon as I see 1366x768 Reply
  • snuuggles - Sunday, April 01, 2012 - link

    +1

    That is quite literally what I just did.
    Reply
  • kvort - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    I bought my r835 over a year ago, and it had been out for a few months at the time. I remember looking all over AT for a review to find out if was any good.

    Why review after a year and a half on the market?
    Reply
  • jacobdrj - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    In my experience: People don't need dual core systems. They rarely need more that 2 GB of RAM. They CERTAINLY don't need huge display resolutions. They want to go online, check their mail, punch out the occasional Word document, and facebook themselves to death.

    A netbook with a single core processor and a HDD: Worthless. A netbook with a SSD (even with a 10.1: screen) the most used computer in a household... It starts fast. It is portable. The battery goes on for 9 HOURS (with a 6 or 9 cell battery, depending on your processor).

    I have to deal with a HDD boot drive at work, and it is HORRIBLE. I told them when I was hired in: Give me a the cheapest system you can buy, and put a SSD in it... My request has been postponed, but everyone in the Office can't wait for the SSD budget to be approved... That day is coming. Just waiting a few more months through the pain...
    Reply
  • bennyg - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Netbook with dual core (N570) atom, and with a SSD is still slow. Quick to get to windoze desktop but slow to finish booting due to the slow CPU. A Corsair Force (285/180mb/s) was no better than the slow old 90mb/s Samsung RBX harvested from a busted Dell. But no argument, both are much preferable to the bog slow 5400rpm that was in it. Everything I use has a SSD in it, even the HTPC.

    It's Android x86 ICS that makes it fly, it shines when paired with an OS designed for low power CPUs.
    Reply
  • bji - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    I finally got SSDs in my work system. Now my home laptop, desktop, and fileserver, and work workstation, all are SSD only. Life is good.

    What an amazing difference it has made already (at work). I got two 240 GB Intel 520 SSDs. I wouldn't touch Sandforce before Intel endorsed it. So far - incredible. Perceptibly faster than the X25-M and Intel 320 I have in my home systems. Eliminated every single performance problem that I had been having during my software development work. My company sprung for the $750 upgrade. I would recommend it to anyone. My company is easily going to get more than $750 worth of extra productivity out of me in compensation for the upgrade cost.
    Reply
  • bootsattheboar - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Although it looks like it has a docking port, it doesn't really: the motherboard connector is missing. You have to dock it to a dynadock u3 that connects to the usb 3 port, which doesn't provide power. We bought 2 of these for people in my department. One works fine. The other has a problem with the usb3 port crashing after a few minutes of use. You have to restart the pc for it to work again. We tried both dynadocks with it, and 2 different usb2 mice, and it's definitely the port. It has been to the Toshiba repair depot once, and is awaiting a new box for a second trip since they did nothing but a burn-in test. Several people on their laptop forums have complained about the same issue with the renesas usb3 chipset. An unsupported (by Toshiba anyway) firmware update and driver update only prolonged the time before the port crashes.

    Other than that, it's a great laptop for the price.
    Reply
  • Hulk - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    I hear the super PLS screens are very good. Reply
  • apudapus - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    I completely agree about getting better displays. That is why the last 2 laptops I've bought are the Sony Vaio Z1 and Sony Vaio Z2 (that and because they're great little machines). Display resolution is the first spec I look at when I see a new laptop. Thank you for continuing to wave the "we need better displays" banner. Reply
  • Daller - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    In Europe it is called the Satellite R835. Mine has an i3 processor, but I do not care, since I do all the heavy lifting on my workstation.

    I think the cooling system is very good, I've even tried blocking the exhaust while running Prime95... The system stays stable. Intel actually helped Toshiba design this cooling system, so I think they know what they are doing. Running a CPU hot is not a problem as long as it is within spec and you do not have many rapid heating/cooling cycles.

    I use it with a OCZ Vertex 2 120GB and it is very responsive.. if only I could replace that crappy screen! >:O
    Reply
  • Bob-o - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    > When Toshiba released the Portege R700 in 2010, it came out of nowhere.

    Uh, no it didn't. It evolved from the R600, which evolved from the R500,. . . , which evolved from the R200. . .

    Toshiba has made thin/ultralight/whatever notebooks for some time. I still have an R500 and R200 sitting around. And yep, the screens have always sucked. :-) But very light and decently capable in their time.
    Reply
  • bennyg - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Good that someone is trying to remedy the deficiencies of the 'ultrabook' spec (... where are you AMD..??)

    Removeable battery = biggest yay. Don't care for runtime stats if I can double whatever they are by a hibernate & swap. Works great for my phone. My cheap ten year old 24V drill came with a spare battery. Why does no one advertise this for laptops!!?

    768p screen = boo.
    100C CPU temps? ouch!

    I had a notebook that pushed over 80C CPU and 95C GPU, but that was running a 45W i7 quad and ~65W GPU off the one tiny fan. Not a 32nm dual core with int gfx! Not good enough Toshiba!
    Reply
  • TrackSmart - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    I have a Toshiba R705. Basically the same laptop, right down to the cooling system design. When running heavy-duty processes (30min of straight number crunching) my CPU core temperatures usually stay in the mid-70s. That's more than 25C below the recommended thermal limit for my processor (105C).

    I can't imagine any normal usage case, even heavy duty usage, where I would ever get near 105C. I'm guessing the cooling design is okay for all 'normal' usage scenarios, even heavy-duty usage.

    That being said, I think that putting all of the intake vents on the bottom of the system is a really dumb idea. If you stream movies with the bottom of the laptop on a bed or sofa - look out! It's going to get toasty in there...
    Reply
  • jigglywiggly - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    please keep talking about lcd quality, I bought my sager np8130 (p151hm1) when you guys spoke about the LCD, it was fairly good and it was great performance for the price and dual link dvi for my 120hz display Reply
  • hexanerax - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    How difficult is it to write a PPI agnostic app? ( to those not in the know,all elements of the UI should appear exactly the same physical size on all monitor resolutions meaning a high ppi display UI looks awesome and this low res junk that manufacturers are hawking will end).
    Hi res support has to be coded into the os and done right. I have enough problems with un-clickable buttons and unreadable text due to poor dpi scaling in some poorly written apps. Getting correct PPI information from the panel and scaling display elements to actual physical dimensions would be great, allowing users to really see the difference and cough up the extra dough if inclined.
    Writing this on a great 1900 x 1200 17" LCD on my Dell Precision M6300 ( never upgraded due to the 16:9 fetish in most product lines.
    Reply
  • hexanerax - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    $ for $ , an SSD will translate to better user experience than a higher clocked processor for most normal usage scenarios. For those looking for a fast, low priced system, adding a 40 GB SSD and going for a lower clocked cpu or lesser cores will be a better option than a 500 GB 5400 RPM HDD with a high frequency processor. Enthusiast or not an SSD is no longer an option. I can understand using a Mechanical drive for critical data considering the issues that SSDs have had in the past but if you are buying a budget laptop, how critical is the data you are storing? Think cloud storage + SSD for the best experience. Buy an external HDD.
    On a system with a Corsair Force F120.
    Reply
  • jabber - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    I don't need more than two USB ports (to be honest I can get by with one).

    I don't need a Firewire port.

    I don't really need a HDMI or D-Sub port either.

    I can go without Bluetooth.

    That should be nearly enough to get a decent screen instead.

    Yeah so one or two USB ports, a gigabit ethernet port and the power port are all I need.
    Reply
  • Mumrik - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    I'm out... Reply
  • Pylon757 - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    Judging from the last picture on the 2nd page, the body appears to be magnesium alloy, not plastic. Mag alloy feels a lot like plastic (especially when painted) since its thermal conductivity is extremely poor and thus doesn't feel cold to the touch (unlike say, aluminum found on Apple's devices) Reply
  • hexanerax - Sunday, April 01, 2012 - link

    Just for the record :-

    http://www.jsw.co.jp/en/mg_f/mg_mg_f/mg_mg_chare.h...

    It probably feels less cold because it is conducting heat from the system outwards.

    The paint probably has more to do with this feeling than the thermal conductivity of the metal. Aluminum is generally left unpainted ( polished, brushed ) or anodize in color which leaves the thermal properties unchanged.
    Reply
  • Mygaffer - Sunday, April 01, 2012 - link

    The last time many consumers have seen a monitor with decent image quality was when they were using a CRT.

    If more consumers could see a side by side of your average TN panel and some of the amazing IPS and PVA panels out there a lot more people would seek out the better monitors. Right now people just don't know any better.

    I use two monitors at home, the Dell 3007wfp-HC and a Yamakasi Catleap Q270 (27" S-IPS, same panel as the Apple Cinema display). Both are S-IPS panels, both are very high resolution, and both are amazing. To go back to some lower resolution TN panel now would make me want to claw out my eyes.

    Luckily my HP laptop has a very good TN panel in it that even has good viewing angles. One thing that will have to improve a little bit for the high resolution displays to be a good fit for everyone will be better font scaling. Windows 7 has fairly decent support for it and modern browsers also allow some control but it still needs to be improved.
    Reply
  • ThreeDee912 - Sunday, April 01, 2012 - link

    For better or worse, ultrabooks are coming down in price, and are still using crappy panels.

    Except for Delta E, and compared to the high-end Sony, it seems like the MacBook Air line from last year still beats most of the panels in these new Ultrabooks:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5259/ultrabook-head-...
    Reply
  • wel51x - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    I have recently upgraded from a Fujitsu Lifebook lh531 to this brand-spanking new Toshiba Portege machine.

    I installed a Corsair GT240 ssd on the Fujitsu and saw my ATTO Disk Benchmark go from roughly 80K R/W (roughly!) to roughly 525K. What a screamer!!

    Imagine my SHOCK then when I did the same to the Portege and saw it go from 80K to ONLY 225K.

    Does anyone have any idea as to how I might rectify this? Or am I hosed (eh)?
    Reply

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