Thin is in

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Eguide Tech - Jen­nifer Dud­ley- Ni­chol­son tests back- to- uni lap­tops

HP PAV­IL­ION DM4

Beats Edi­tion; HP, $ 999; hp. com. au

★ ★ ★ ★ THIS HP lap­top has been given a Dr Dre makeover with its new black and red theme and a gi­ant Beats logo on its lid, but more im­por­tant re­fur­bish­ments lie un­der the hood. The Pav­il­ion DM4’ s Al­tec Lans­ing speak­ers have been re­placed with au­dio from Dre’s Beats’ brand and a sub­woofer has been added for ex­tra bass. The speak­ers are hid­den in the base but they give the im­pres­sion sound is com­ing from the key­board. The Win­dows 7 Beats ma­chine also fea­tures a 14- inch LED- back­lit screen, 2.4GHZ In­tel Core i5 chip, 8GB RAM, fin­ger­print reader and red back­lit key­board as stan­dard, and of­fers up to seven hours of bat­tery life. At 2.56kg, it could be heavy for a back­pack and users will have to pay ex­tra for Beats head­phones, but this is a slick ma­chine.

SAM­SUNG CHRONOS SE­RIES 7

Sam­sung, $ 1499; sam­sung. com/ au

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ This 2.3kg note­book is hardly wafer thin, but it is slen­der for what it of­fers. Un­der­neath the Chronos Se­ries 7’ s brushed me­tal lid lies a com­fort­able chi­clet key­board, com­plete with num­ber pad and a bright 15.6- inch screen with anti- re­flec­tive coat­ing for com­fort­able use. It also has many more con­nec­tions than you would ex­pect of a stream­lined lap­top, in­clud­ing one stan­dard USB open­ing and two faster USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI con­nec­tion and an Eth­er­net port. Its Win­dows 7 pro­grams are pow­ered by a 2.4GHZ In­tel Core i5 chip and 4GB RAM, mak­ing it pow­er­ful enough for me­dia- edit­ing pro­grams. The PC’S fan can get noisy when pushed, its touch­pad some­times strug­gles and it will not suit back­pack­ing stu­dents, but this lap­top has stylish grunt.

DELL XPS 14Z

Dell, from $ 1199; dell. com. au

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Even though this lap­top is packed with mod­ern power, it has a retro, 1950s- typewriter ap­peal. The rounded, de­signer keys, coil- like hinge and speak­ers cov­ered in lace mesh all add to its charm. In the per­for­mance stakes, it de­liv­ers with a 2.8GHZ In­tel Core i7 pro­ces­sor, 8GB RAM and a 7200rpm 750GB hard drive. The 1.86kg lap­top ap­pears smaller than most 14- inch mod­els and Dell claims that is be­cause it has put a 14- inch screen into a 13- inch lap­top frame. While it sounds like de­fy­ing physics, this com­puter does feel smaller than you’d ex­pect, it is 2.3cm thick. One small down­side is its ports – two stan­dard USB con­nec­tions, a HDMI and Eth­er­net ports – are hid­den at the back and hard to ac­cess. Oth­er­wise, it’s a pow­er­ful gem.

MACBOOK AIR 11- INCH

Ap­ple, from $ 1049, ap­ple. com/ au

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ There may be thin­ner com­put­ers now, but the Macbook Air set the stan­dard for feath­er­weight com­put­ing. The 11- inch ver­sion of the lat­est Air is just 1.08kg and 1.7cm thick, at most, though it’s a lot smarter than be­fore, cram­ming in up to 128GB stor­age, up to 4GB RAM and a sec­ond gen­er­a­tion dual- core In­tel i5 pro­ces­sor. A 1.6GHZ chip comes as stan­dard, though the sec­ond- tier model of­fers a more pow­er­ful 1.8GHZ model. Two USB ports, a Thun­der­bolt con­nec­tion and a back­lit key­board also fea­ture, and stu­dents should ap­pre­ci­ate this Mac’s five­hour bat­tery life. It does omit a DVD drive and mem­ory card slot, how­ever. To sweeten the deal, Ap­ple of­fers univer­sity and TAFE stu­dents a 10 per cent dis­count and a $ 100 itunes gift card.

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