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