TechSpot Laptop Buying Guide: First Half of 2011

By Julio Franco · 9 replies
Mar 30, 2011
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  1. The sudden delay of Intel new CPUs pushed back our laptop guide an entire quarter, but now that the issues have been resolved and laptop makers are getting their latest designs out in the market, we are once again ready to bring you a list of our favorite notebooks in six different categories: Thin and light, business or general purpose, desktop replacements, gaming, budget offerings, and netbooks.

    Read the full guide at:

    Please leave your feedback here.
  2. How the new Lenovo ThinkPad W520 is not on the list for "Desktop Replacement". Review models have been out for enough time to have made the list.
  3. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,384   +172

    The Thinkpad X120e specs are wrong. They were correct at release, but currently the base model at $400 includes a 320GB 7200RPM disk and 6 cell battery. It's impossible to get a 3 cell battery (unfortunately, IMO, as it makes the X120e smaller, lighter and better looking).

    I also think that the Acer AO522 is too important to not include is the netbook category. C-50 CPU and 720p screen make it stand out.
  4. You guys do a great job here at TechSpot.

    Sager/Clevo notebooks should seriously be included in the Gaming notebook category. Sager's website is in English natively for me via Firefox, btw.

    The Sager NP8150 (generation after my current NP8690 which is a GREAT gaming notebook) starts at $1,270 via XoticPC for a 15.6" gaming notebook. There are plenty of hardware upgrades available, but the price will increase dramatically for that top-end gear.

    The starting specs are:
    15.6" FHD (1920x1080) Glossy
    Video Card:
    1536MB DDR5 nVIDIA 460M
    2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-2630QM, 2.0-2.8GHz, (32nm, 6MB L3 cache)
    4GB DDR3 1333MHz (Up to 16GB)
    Hard Drive:
    320GB 7200RPM (Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache)
    Battery Life:
    2-3 Hour

    Here's the customization page on XoticPC:
  5. I'm still wanting to see higher resolution screens on cheap laptops. The computing hardware on them really doesn't tend to be terrible, especially considering how general performance is still on the up. Even desktop P4 machines from 5 or 6 years ago are still very usable for a lot of people, and the value laptops here would walk all over them.

    But, the 1366x768 screens listed on all the value laptops listed are terrible to use. You get less pixels than from a 1280 x 1024 screen that might have come with a P4 desktop... That's not the sort of progress we're used to with computing hardware, and I really think it hurts: I honestly find it hard to do work on these machines, just because of their silly small screen resolutions.
  6. dustin_ds3000

    dustin_ds3000 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 887   +19

    I'm buying an Asus g73sw-3de gaming laptop this Friday.
  7. Xero07

    Xero07 TS Booster Posts: 100

    Good list. my only complaint is that the $700-$1000 price range seems poorly covered.
  8. I bought an ASUS G51J-A1 over a year ago. Great machine to this day (Core i7, 4GB DDR3, 640GB SATA-2 HDD, GeForce GTX 260M; VRAM: 1GB 256-bit GDDR3, 1080p 15.6" monitor)

    The gaming laptops here are even better machine and I still play most games in High Settings. Imagine how good of laptops those are.

    Highly recommend getting a badass laptop.
  9. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,384   +172

    Thanks for updating the Thinkpad X120e specs. However the text still says it comes with a 3 cell battery and that upgrading to E-350 + 6 cell costs $90.

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