TechSpot's Laptop Buying Guide: Third Quarter 2010

By on August 4, 2010, 4:17 AM
When shopping for a new laptop it's important to know beforehand what kind of use you plan on giving it. Whether you want a multimedia or gaming powerhouse that'll only occasionally move from your desk, or something that hits the sweet spot between performance and portability, there are plenty of good options if you know what to look for.

To help ease the hassle of going through countless product pages and bookmarking the ones you like, we've created a list with some of our favorite notebooks in each of six categories: Thin and light, business or general purpose, desktop replacements, gaming, value/budget offerings, and netbooks.

Ultraportables

Thin and light notebooks aim to serve as a bridge between netbooks and traditional full-fledged laptops, offering a smooth blend of performance, portability and battery life.

Business

Business notebooks offer a combination of mid to high end components with an emphasis on extra durability, data security and longer battery life.

Desktop Replacements

Usually packing the most complete set of features and performance nearing its desktop counterparts, as you might expect, however, they are not the easiest to carry around.

Gaming

Serious gamers will always lean more toward desktop PCs for their flexibility and sheer power, but if mobility is also a priority, there are some solid choices in this category.

Value

Laptops in this category are usually hot sellers in the back to school season as they offer a good blend of price, features and portability.

Netbooks

Netbooks are perfect as travel companions or secondary systems. Most of them feature 10- to 12-inch screens and an almost identical combination of hardware under the hood.





User Comments: 10

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Arris Arris said:

Big thumbs up for the Acer that gets a brief mention in the "Desktop replacement" section.

Own a smaller version with an i5 instead and its a great "Bang for your buck" system in my eyes.

Acer Aspire 5942G

Intel i5 520M

Mobile Intel HM55 Express

4Gb DDR3 SDRAM 10566

ATI HD5650 Mobility 1Gb

640GB

(was about £800 in UK, Web says can be had for $935)

Guest said:

Of course, people are always going to disagree with your recommendations, but I see no way whatsoever you could consider the Tosh NB305 over the Samsung N210. Please do explain.

Thanks a lot,

Jonny.

Guest said:

The Thinkpad is under "Other Noteworthy Options" in the Business category??

Thinkpads define the term 'Business Laptop'.

(Don't mean to be another Apple-basher, but) The MBP was listed first? I really hope that falls under the General Purpose category and not Business.

ansarimikail said:

Pretty cool stuff, I ended up getting a nice one. Asus G60 jx, on special at best buy with core i5 and gts360 for approx 900 usd. I think its awesome, think it might be better than some of the desktop replacements and cheaper than some of the gaming ones. Running well up to now, lets see how it holds up.

z0k! said:

What about the any of the dells,have you guys had a chance to review the newly launched insirpon 15R? There seem to quite a lot of deals on them to cater for the budget crowd.

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Guest said:

The Thinkpad is under "Other Noteworthy Options" in the Business category??

Thinkpads define the term 'Business Laptop'.

(Don't mean to be another Apple-basher, but) The MBP was listed first? I really hope that falls under the General Purpose category and not Business.

I didn't think I'd see the day I agree with a Guest user.

It's very disappointing to see the Lenovo get passed over here. The Thinkpad series has features that IMO far out way those of other providers in the terms of a business use laptop. Including the LCD roll cage, Active Stability Management, Enhanced TPM, Docking port, Integrated WWAN, and many others.

And while I've always thought myself rather fair minded, I've come to realize that I do have a bit of bias as I didn't want to see the Apple listed in that category either.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Truth be told, it wasn't our intention to give precedence to either laptop under each category but considering how long the article was turning up and how long it was taking us to put it together (we will run quarterly updates), we opted to go with 3 full write-ups per category and two additional recommendations as planned in our preliminary outline.

I agree the ThinkPad T series is a flagship offering in the business category and should have been one of the more prominent recommendations, though again it wasn't our intention to showcase or give more importance to one model over another.

We will run a brief update to reflect this change soon, your feedback is really appreciated.

PS: Bias or not (has happened to me) the Macbook Pro is without a doubt another of the quality offerings in the business/high-end mobile category.

Guest said:

Lenovo W700 and W701 for desktop replacements... or maybe you missed out a category with the name workstations.. ... but Lenovo W700 or 701 should be mention somewhere

jimmyconway said:

hey anyone know whats the cheapest netbook, i need one but im not looking for anything fancy, used or new, just really affordable, thanks in advance.

mpribe said:

Great guide. I'd love to see it updated for the Holiday season, including, for example, a review of the new Dell XPS.

Also, I'd love to see a guide talking about how laptop video cards compare to their full-sized desktop counterparts, and how to evaluate the net cards.

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