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Need Options for 11-12" Laptops

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December 14, 2010 10:51:23 PM

I'm in need of a 11-12" Laptop (as ultraportable as you can get) to replace my 2008 Macbook Pro 15" that is good all around in terms of battery life, performance, comfort, etc. and is in the price range of $1300 or less (including upgrades - throwing in a SSD and more RAM) - I plan to buy it within the next month.

It will be used for light work - primarily Microsoft Office 2010/2011, no games or intense applications.

I've considered the following laptops:
Dell M101z
Asus UL20
Asus Eee PC 1201N/PN
Asus Eee PC 1215N
Asus VX6
Alienware M11x
Acer Timeline Series (all of the 11-12" models)
Macbook Air 11.6" and 13"
Toshiba T215
MSI U230

I am leaning toward the Macbook Air 11.6" simply because most of those options lack something other than the Intel GMA (it has serious issues with JPGs in Word on my Dell Mini 10v), and the Alienware is just too heavy. I'd like to avoid Atoms if possible, but my primary concern is the GPU since that limits the performance of almost all computers in this range.

Reviews say that Acer's Timeline Series is cheap (build quality is crap) and not comfortable in terms of ergonomics. Enough to make me not want to buy it.

The Dell M101z sounds like the front runner in terms of price and performance, but the AMD chipset doesn't stack up quite the same in terms of power (battery) vs. performance as the Intel chipsets.
Toshiba is the same story, since it uses the same chipset and is the same price.

Asus could do better than the ION GPU, from what I hear, and the ION isn't *that* much better than the Intel graphics. Also, the keyboards are pretty flexy, which isn't a good thing.

The Apple has solid build quality, a great GPU and CPU, but lacks a bit in terms of battery life. It's also about $500 more expensive than a comparable Windows option. I may go up to the 13" ($10 difference with same storage and RAM) because of the larger screen; need to play with them more at Best Buy or the Apple Store.


Does anyone know of any other computers in this category that I should look up? I know the price differences between the Windows and Mac computers is high, but if I get a Windows computer, I'll be replacing the HDD with a 120-160GB SSD and upgrading the RAM to 4GB. I have an OS and software, so none of that needs to be taken into consideration.

Thanks!

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a c 463 D Laptop
December 15, 2010 1:11:10 AM

Apparently you are mixing netbooks and laptops together. Netbooks (like the Asus Eee series you chose) are cheap and light, but not a replacement for a laptop if you are looking for some performance.

Too bad you decided to write-off Acer, I was gonna recommend the following Acer Aspire AS1551-4755:

http://www.amazon.com/Acer-Aspire-AS1551-4755-11-6-Inch...

As an owner of an old IBM ThinkPad T40, I recommend the Lenovo ThinkPad X series.... I suppose they may look like a black slab, but these are business laptops and ThinkPads are generally know for build quality and reliability. My T40 is 7 years old and still chugging along.

ThinkPad X100e - Affordable starting at $400, and very good build quality. 11.6" screen.

http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/Len...

ThinkPad X201 series - More performance, 12.1" screen, excellent build quality. Starting price is $879

http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/Len...

I too am considering buying a new laptop. The Lenovo ThinkPad T410s is at the top of my list, but it is also the most expensive.


If you can wait until next year, Intel should be releasing their next generation CPUs for desktops and laptops; code name "Sandy Bridge". They are basically the 2nd generation of the i3, i5, i7 CPU series. The mobile CPU will have an upgraded integrated video solution. It is at least twice as powerful as the current generation GMA 4500m series, and based on gaming performance it is marginally better than the Mobility Radeon HSD 5450 discreet video card... and those were with beta video drivers. Therefore, it should not have any issues with JPGs.
December 15, 2010 1:27:40 AM

jaguarskx said:
Apparently you are mixing netbooks and laptops together. Netbooks (like the Asus Eee series you chose) are cheap and light, but not a replacement for a laptop if you are looking for some performance.


I compiled a huge list of specs and performance reviews of all the laptops and used the netbooks as a basis for comparison; I wasn't intending on purchasing one unless it was really going to be worth it.

Quote:
If you can wait until next year, Intel should be releasing their next generation CPUs for desktops and laptops; code name "Sandy Bridge". They are basically the 2nd generation of the i3, i5, i7 CPU series. The mobile CPU will have an upgraded integrated video solution. It is at least twice as powerful as the current generation GMA 4500m series, and based on gaming performance it is marginally better than the Mobility Radeon HSD 5450 discreet video card... and those were with beta video drivers. Therefore, it should not have any issues with JPGs.


Unfortunately, I need to make this purchase by the 10th of January (give or take); I'm a college student, and a good laptop is a huge priority at the moment.

I'll definitely take a good look at the Lenovos and some reviews. Thanks again for the recommendations.


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a c 463 D Laptop
December 15, 2010 1:43:24 AM

Actually the ThinkPad X201 series uses Intel GMA so you probably will want to exclude that.
December 15, 2010 10:31:55 AM

go with the alienware m11x altough it doesnt have a cd/dvd drive it beats the rest in specs.
December 15, 2010 1:02:23 PM

It's not all about specs. The m11x is almost as heavy as my previous MacBook Pro, which doesn't make it a viable option. I will also never use an i5 and a powerful GPU in my laptop for what I do.
!