We have a term for technology like Toshiba’s Qosmio F755 laptop. It’s “demo cool.” It wows you in a demo, but after some serious testing, you’re not quite sure you’d want to use it day in and day out. Though we’re impressed by the technical achievement of Toshiba’s glasses-free 3D technology, it’s just not developed enough to earn our recommendation.
To call HP’s 2560p an “ultraportable” is pushing it. It has a slightly smaller footprint than the Toshiba R830, with a screen size of 12.5 inches, but it’s heavier by more than a pound. With its power brick, you’re looking at more than five pounds, including a battery that protrudes a full inch from the back of the notebook’s body. This is no dainty package.
There was a time when Toshiba’s line of Portégé business ultraportables was the epitome of sleek utility, particularly in the days of the R500 and R600. Samsung stole some of that show when it released the Series 9 (reviewed here)—the closest a PC has come to a MacBook Air to date. But while the Portégé R830, much like the R700 before it, won’t win any design contests, it offers many useful amenities in a very-portable package.
If you’ve used the Chrome web browser, you’ve used Chrome OS. Google’s latest netbook operating system is little more than a very, very thin client underneath the Chrome browser, and a Chromebook is a netbook-like object that runs Chrome OS instead of a full Windows or Linux-based operating system. Chromebooks have finally hit retail (in the form of sleek netbooks from Samsung and Acer), and it’s time to find out whether “nothing but the web” is enough computer for anyone.
When the large, wooden crate branded “Origin” arrived at our Lab, we got out our crowbar and a shotgun—one to open the dang thing and the other just in case an alien predator was lurking inside. Once we blasted the box apart, we were not just relieved, we were also a bit disappointed to find an average-looking 17-inch notebook inside. After a bit of testing, though, there was no question—the cleanup of shell fragments was worth it.
It may not fit in an average laptop bag and you could look a little comical trying to peck away at it on the local bus, but a really big notebook with a really big display pleases us. While the Acer Aspire AS8950G-9839 didn’t impress us in terms of gaming performance, it’s one of the best movie-watching laptops we’ve ever tested.
Last month we reviewed Samsung’s Series 9 ultraportable notebook and found that, while it offered an exceedingly svelte and fashionable form factor, there was a performance trade-off to all that stylishness. Lenovo’s 13-inch ThinkPad X1 represents a completely different approach to ultraportability.
We’re not living so close to the cutting edge here at Maximum PC that we can’t see the utility of a no-frills, budget portable that’s capable of performing all the common day-to-day computing tasks. Whether it serves as a secondary machine for work on-the-go or as a primary PC for a school-age kid, we get it. It’s the same need that netbooks were meant to fulfill, if only they hadn’t fallen short of the mark. What netbooks taught us is that today’s common computing tasks—which include things like gaming and high-def video playback—require more power than an Atom processor and integrated graphics can muster.
Riddle me this: When is a portable PC not a laptop? When it’s so heavy you’re afraid if you put it on your lap you’ll never be able to get up again. Though we wish Eurocom’s Panther 2.0 had shipped with a weightlifter’s belt, our testing left little doubt that the chiropractor bills will be worth it. This outlandishly large machine has the power and flexibility of a true no-compromise mobile workstation.
Samsung has only been selling its laptops in North America for the last few years, and while those machines haven’t been bad, they haven’t been remarkable either. But with the Series 9, the company is putting forth a laptop that demands notice. From its sub–three pound, super-slim, and sexy chassis to its spare, sophisticated style, it looks like nothing so much as a MacBook Air. It’s a bold, high-profile move by a company that’s been firmly rooted in the mainstream.