Screen­ing process

The good, the bad and the orange. Joshua Grech looks at the lat­est lap­tops

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - 20 Eguide -

LEN­OVO IDEAPAD Z570 Len­ovo, $ 1199 len­ovo. com/ au ★★★

The Len­ovo IdeaPad feels big com­pared with the rest of the line-up. Its screen mea­sures 15.6 inches, but it does have a large wrist rest that con­trib­utes to its bulk. De­spite this the key­board feels oddly clut­tered, as arrow keys and a num­ber pad fea­ture. This IdeaPad came with a 2.3GHz In­tel i5 pro­ces­sor – much the same as its competition. But it of­fers 6GB RAM, mak­ing it boot quickly and deal with ev­ery­day tasks eas­ily. The size and solid sound qual­i­ties ( SRS-pow­ered) make this an able mul­ti­me­dia unit. And the NVIDIA GeForce 315C 1GB graph­ics card is more than ca­pa­ble of deal­ing with gam­ing and stream­ing video.

DELL IN­SP­IRON 15R Dell, $ 999 dell. com. au ★★★★

The Dell In­sp­iron range is the mean stan­dard and seems om­nipresent. This is the only ma­chine in the line-up with an In­tel i7 chip run­ning at 2GHz. But boot times ap­proach av­er­age as Dell ( like HP) loves to shovel loads of ad­ware at users. This Dell has an NVIDIA graph­ics card that is ad­e­quate but noth­ing on the Sony or HP of­fer­ings. But the lack of high-end graph­ics cards has no doubt con­trib­uted to many 15R own­ers rav­ing about the lap­top’s bat­tery life. The screen is no high-def­i­ni­tion num­ber but fine for gen­eral du­ties.

SONY VAIO CB 15.5-INCH Sony, $ 1499 sony. com. au ★★★

Does any­one want a ‘‘ high viz’’ lap­top? Re­gard­less of how good the ma­chine wrapped in the crazy orange plas­tic is ( it comes in neon green, too), ev­ery­one who laid eyes on this VAIO said: ‘‘ Eww, it’s orange.’’ But Sony-built qual­ity is usu­ally solid and this com­puter holds its own. It runs a 2.5GHz In­tel i5 pro­ces­sor and has 4GB RAM, which is pretty stan­dard in this lineup. But it’s the fea­tures that make the CB worth con­sid­er­ing. It of­fers full high-def­i­ni­tion de­liv­ery and can stream that video to your TV thanks to built-in WiDi 2.0. It has a Blu-Ray Disc player thrown in and a Radeon HD 6630 graph­ics card that puts it into the ‘‘ gam­ing rig’’ cat­e­gory.

HP PAVIL­ION DV4 14-INCH HP, $ 1199 hp. com/ au ★★★★

This HP model is the only 14-inch lap­top in the lineup and the only phys­i­cal dif­fer­ence no­tice­able is its lack of a num­ber pad. How­ever, those look­ing for a work ma­chine might want to aim big­ger. Boot up and you are greeted with cus­tom HP soft­ware over Win­dows 7. The pretty fonts and graph­ics are a nice touch and the ac­tual ex­pe­ri­ence is sim­ple enough ( in­clud­ing in­stalling Nor­ton Anti-Virus). But HP tends to make too much of the cus­tom soft­ware, mak­ing the ma­chine slow. That said, it runs a 2.3GHz In­tel i5 pro­ces­sor with 4GB RAM, so it is ca­pa­ble of most day-to-day tasks. Keep­ing it in favour with gamers is an AMD Radeon HD 6750M graph­ics card.

TOSHIBA SATEL­LITE L750 15.6-INCH Toshiba, $ 899 toshiba. com. au ★★★★

The Toshiba seems a lit­tle plain, from its steely grey form to its ‘‘ same as the oth­ers’’ specs ( it, too, runs a 2GHz In­tel i5 CPU). That it doesn’t scrimp on soft­ware op­tions with­out adding bloat­ware, though, makes the L750 a good choice. The unit has a plethora of ports and plugs, in­clud­ing the abil­ity to run 3D con­tent which makes it an able choice for an en­ter­tain­ment lap­top. It feels well con­structed. Con­sid­er­ing the qual­ity and the price, the Toshiba ticks all the gen­eral du­ties boxes.

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