High prices have traditionally relegated gaming laptops, which often qualify as desktop replacements, to niche markets served by boutique vendors, but we're starting to see more manufacturers step up to the plate with affordable models. Gateway kicked off the recent trend with its P-7811FX and others -- take Acer, for example -- have followed suit.
In an apparent attempt to undercut the competition, HP has updated its Pavilion dv7t gaming laptop with new parts and a new lower price tag. The OEM decided to stretch the screen real estate from 17 inches to 17.3 inches (1,600 x 900 resolution), and the Nvidia graphics have been traded in for a pair of ATI parts, the 512MB Mobility Radeon HD 4530 and 1GB HD 4650.
It all adds up (or down) to a new starting price of $800, which is a good chunk lower than its previous starting point of $1,230. However, that includes an AMD Turion X2 processor. A baseline Intel setup starts at $850, which includes a similarly weaksauce T4200 processor. Upgrades are available, and if you can toss $1,125 more into the mix and you can bump the CPU to Intel's Core 2 Quad Q9000.
Joseph Kohl, a 75-year-old Floridian, proved to be more than a match for a much younger thief. With his life’s very first laptop at stake, Kohl decided to give chase to the 29-year-old thief. Kohl was joined by an off-duty cop - who fortuitously happened to be at the scene - in the pursuit.
Kohl was waiting for his wife outside a Best Buy store after having bought a laptop and a printer, but Samuel Dallas Jarvis showed up instead. Jarvis then proceeded to grab Kohl’s laptop and set out on a run. But, apparently, his pickup was not anything to write home about as he could not really bolt out of the blocks as he would have liked; his elderly victim had to merely run about 8 feet to nab the crook.
When the off-duty cop showed up, it was game, set, match, and laptop to Jarvis. “I have no idea what computers are about, but I didn’t want him taking my first one,” Kohl said after the incident.
According to Lenovo, eight new ThinkPad laptop models meet military specs for semi-rugged computing. These include the ThinkPad X200, X301, X200s, X200 Tablet, T400, T500, R400, and SL300 laptops.
"ThinkPad is well known for quality, reliability and innovative security technologies for business computing," said Tom Ribble, executive director, Worldwide ThinkPad Product Marketing, Lenovo. "The truth is we've always built tough laptops that can weather extreme conditions from hiking the rainforests of the Amazon to flying in space. You don't need a PC that looks like a tank to excel in harsh environments, and unlike many of our competitors, we don't put an extra charge on toughness."
Though not billed as a 'ruggedized' laptop, Lenovo claims its military-grade models can withstand a barrage of brutal testing environments. Lenovo subjected its new ThinkPads to various harsh elements, such as low pressure operation at 15,000 feet, cycling 95 percent humidity through the environment, baking the laptops up to 140 degrees, testing at minus 4 degrees, fluctuations between extreme hot and cold, and subjecting the units to blasts of dust for an extended amount of time.
Given all that the ThinkPads withstood, we're not sure when an Accident Protection plan would come in handy, but Lenovo offers it nonetheless.
Lenovo says the ThinkPad T400 laptop with high brightness screen (680-nit) is available now through Lenovo business partners with pricing starting at $1,350.
Dell's recently updated Studio 15 notebook looks to put the sting on other 15-inch laptops by offering an impressive selection of configurable parts without breaking the bank. There's just one problem: it's only available in Singapore. Bummer.
The Studio 15 comes configurable with an optional 15.6 LED HD (720p) backlit display with a 1366 x 768 resolution (15.4-inch 1280 x 800, 1440 x 900, and 1920 x 1200 displays also available) for high definition viewing, aided by ATI's 512 MB Mobility Radeon HD 4570 graphics. On the processor front, Intel's Core 2 Duo P8600 (2.4GHz, 3MB cache, 1066MHz frontside bus) comes standard, with CPU upgrade options ramping all the way to Intel's T9800 CPU (2.93GHz, 6MB cache, 1066MHz frontside bus).
Dell offers up to 4GB of DDR2-800 memory when paired with 32-bit Vista, and up to 8GB with 64-bit Vista. Up to a 500GB hard drive, optional integrated X-Fi sound, WiFi, and optional Blu-ray drive round out the feature-set.
A baseline config with an Intel P600 CPU, 3GB of DDR2 RAM, 250GB HDD, 512MB HD 4570, 8X DVD burner, and 15.6-inch 720p display starts at a very reasonable S$1600, which is about $1,050 in U.S. currency.
Gateway continues to groove in the mobile market, this time with a new line of midrange laptops. Kicking off the company's new compact and lightweight TC series are the TC7306u (black) and TC7307u (burgundy) models.
Both notebooks sport the same internal configuration, which consists of an Intel Pentium Dual-Core Mobile T4200 (2GHz, 1MB, 800MHz frontside bus), 4GB of DDR2-667 memory, Intel GMA 4500M graphics, 8X DVD burner, 320GB hard drive, and Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit. Other specs include a 14-inch 1366 x 768 (16:9) LED backlit display, 1.3MP webcam, WiFi (Draft-N), a multicard reader, and three USB 2.0 ports.
To the power users who will pooh-pooh the processor choice, Gateway says future configurations can include Intel's Core 2 Duo CPUs, as well as an HDMI port and up to a 500GB hard drive. Gateway further indicated that future models might also come equipped with a Blu-ray optical drive and Nvidia's GeForce 9300M graphics depending on demand.
Both the TC7306u and TC7307 are available now with an MSRP set at $650.
Reportedly, Acer is looking to become the number one notebook supplier by 2011. The current king, Hewlett-Packard has a lead on both Acer and Dell who are “neck-and-neck” with a12 percent market share.
Acer’s Chairman, J.T. Wang, suspects that an opportunity now exists that will catapult him to this success. He states that their goals are aggressive, but they have increased PC shipments by 31 percent in Q4 2008, and all the while in the midst of a struggling market.
According to reports, Acer now owns 12 percent of the overall PC market, compared to Dell’s 13 percent and HP’s 19 percent. Wang states that both American and Japanese computer makers have “underestimated the demand for netbooks,” which account for 30 percent of their sales.
It appears as though the mobile sector is gearing up for a dual-screen revolution, or at the very least, we expect to see the concept start to become more readily available. Last month Lenovo introduced its two-screen W700ds Thinkpad, and now gScreen is seeing double.
Unlike Lenevo's W700ds, gScreen's G400 sports two full sized 15-inch LED-backlit displays. Graphics chores are handled with either an Nvidia Quadro FX 2700M or GeForce 9800M GT, both with 512MB of video memory. Other specs include an Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 (2.8Ghz) or P8400 (2.26GHz), up to 8GB of RAM, up 500GB of hard drive space, and the usual assortment of ports.
The company says it is also working on a ruggedized version called the TITAN M-1, which is "being built specifically to specs requested by the U.S. Navy for extreme environments." The internal hardware will be a bit different, not all of which gScreen is wiling to comment on, but did say it will come equipped with an Intel Core 2 Quad QX9300 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive and built to MIL-STD810F standards.
No word yet on price or ship date, but gScreen says customers can reserve the G400 starting February 25th through Amazon.com.
Dressed for success, LG this week announced a new flagship notebook in its XNote series, the LG XNote 510. Sporting an LED backlit 15.4-inch 1,440 x 900 LCD display, the new notebook comes configurable with three different Intel Core 2 Duo processors.
The XNote P510-UP88K brings an Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 (2.53GHz, 3MB, 1066MHz frontside bus) to the table, while also serving up 2GB of DDR3 memory, a 320GB hard drive, an external USB optical drive, and 802.11a/g/n. Gaming chores are handled by Nvidia's GeForce GT 130M graphics.
On the next rung sits the P510-UP95K, which ups the ante with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9550 (2.66GHz, 6MB, 1066MHz frontside bus), twice the amount of RAM at 4GB, and a beefier 500GB hard drive.
The LG XNote P510-UP98K is the top model in the series, boasting an Intel Core 2 Duo T9800 (2.98GHz, 6MB, 1066MHz frontside bus), and comes equipped with both a 64GB SSD and 500GB hard drive.
Each model comes with Windows Vista Home Premium and a textured chassis. No word yet on pricing or availability.
Toshiba, always one to bolster their numbers, has added the A10-S3511 and M10-S3411 notebooks to their Tecera line of laptops!
Both of these have a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8600, 2GB DDR2 and a 160GB HDD under the hood. And, to help seal the deal they’ve included a built-in webcam, WiFi, Bluetooth, their own EasyGuard technology, a 3-hour battery, and they bring it to you all on Windows Vista Business with a possible downgrade to XP Professional.
The main differences are aesthetic, though the hard drives are different speeds. The A10 has a 15.4-inch WSXGA+ screen, Nvidia Quadro NVS and a 7200rpm drive and costs $1,249. The M10 has a slightly smaller 14.1-inch TFT LCD, integrated Intel GM45 graphics and a 5400rpm drive and costs only $1,100.
While for many the current economy is a sign of the savings, Intel has refused to change their prices. So if you’re looking to get an Intel powered notebook on the cheap, chances are pretty good that you’ll have to wait a bit!
Intel has notified its partners that it will not cut the prices of notebooks until the end of May. If this information holds up to be correct, they’ll probably begin lowering the prices of notebook CPUs by 13-40 percent in June in order to make way for their Calpella platform “based on its partners’ inventory status and demand.”
What does this mean for the average consumer like you and I? Well, until notebook manufacturers get rid of their current inventory, nothing. Absolutely nothing!