Asus has gambled the farm that the fancy graphics offering—an Nvidia 9500M GS videocard with 512MB of onboard memory—in its F8Sn notebook will be enough to eclipse the machine’s myriad shortcomings. Sadly, it isn’t.
Apple’s little white wonder of a MacBook excels against its PC counterparts, but it’s no Gandalf. As expected, gaming is this laptop’s weakest link. And even complex multimedia tasks can cause the MacBook’s magic to wither.
Still, in most applications, the Vista-booting MacBook performed admirably. Find out how admirably after the jump.
Proof you can have your 3-pound cake and eat it too.
When you pick up a Lenovo ThinkPad X300, you pick up 3 pounds, 6 ounces of excellence. In every way that the MacBook Air is stylish and beautiful, the X300 is built to perform. No usability is sacrificed for visual appeal—inside this unassuming black chassis is a workhorse. It sounds like an oxymoron, but this is one sturdy 3-pound portable.
Weighing a tad more than 4 pounds, Sony’s Vaio SX is the heftiest laptop in the ultraportable category. Yet despite its larger size, the Vaio isn’t the sturdiest small-size contender. That’s too bad because this little rig packs killer performance in its sexy carbon-fiber shell—it’s the only ultraportable we tested that includes discrete graphics.
Without a doubt, the MacBook Air is one of the niftiest-looking laptops we've ever tested. But he smallest notebook we’ve ever tested comes with sacrifices - the MacBook Air makes serious compromises to maintain its petite profile.
It’s easy to be seduced by Alienware’s m15x notebook. From its handsome silver-gray case to its cool-yet-tasteful LED accents to its comfortable lap weight of less than eight pounds, this 15.4-inch machine had us at hello. Of course, only excellent performance would keep us interested.
When we first laid eyes on Toshiba’s latest ultraportable, we were in awe of its crazy-thin, crazy-light profile. In the past, such notebooks sacrificed performance to fit into such tiny shells. To combat this performance sag, Toshiba paired its machine with Intel’s new ultra-low-voltage Core 2 Duo.
Microsoft created a ton of fuss with the launch of a version of Windows tuned for palmtops and other keyboardless PCs. But the devices that utilized it—code-named Origami—couldn’t live up to the prelaunch hype. The initial Windows XP–powered Ultra-Mobile PCs (UMPCs) suffered from a tacked-on user interface, goofy or unusable input mechanisms, poor performance, and an absurdly high price. Although Samsung’s second-gen Q1 Ultra fixes some of these problems, many others remain.
When we first received WinBook’s Viiv-ready Jiv (both words rhyme with five—go figure), we realized that we didn’t really know exactly what it meant to be a “Viiv” PC. And remember, we pride ourselves on knowing the difference between an AMB and AMT.