Up to speed
New Intel chips ensure notebooks are faster than ever, writes Maureen Shelley
ALIENWARE M17X Alienware, from $ 2199 www.alienware.com.au
Alienware says the M17x has the most powerful mobile graphic options available and the crisp, clear quality is readily apparent.
The laptop has optional 3D- capability, with glasses included, from $ 2999 and it weighs 4.26kg. Colours are Nebula Red and Stealth Black and the rubberised edges protect the 17.3- inch full high- definition LCD screen. The laptop has an optical drive, with an optional Blu- ray player, plus 8GB memory and 1TB storage. It has a 2.1- megapixel high- definition webcam, wi- fi and Bluetooth. For a big screen experience, users could hook up the laptop to a home theatre.
ASUS ZENBOOK PRIME UX31A ASUS, from $ 1399
The Zenbook is a super- slim model with a 256GB solid- state drive. It has ditched the optical drive and is 3mm thick at the front and 9mm at the rear. The cover has a spun- metal finish and the aluminium case makes it strong as well as beautiful. The 13.3- inch display has 16: 9 aspect ratio suitable for widescreen viewing.
The UX31A has two USB 3.0 ports that are up to 10 times faster than the previous version, a full high- definition display panel and Bang & Olufsen ICEpower audio technology that gives it enviable video and audio. Even the webcam is high definition. The battery life is claimed to be 7.5 hours, while standby time is 22 days.
SONY VAIO E17 Sony, $ 1399
The special edition Inspiron provides entertainment capability at a value- for- money price. The aluminium-lidded laptop has curved corners, metal palmrest and a backlit keyboard. It has a high- definition, 15.6- inch display and webcam plus Skullcandy stereo speakers and uses Intel’s third- generation Core i7 chip. Video and music playback is acceptable.
The test model had 6GB memory and a 1TB hard drive, while 4GB of memory and a 750GB drive are standard. At 2.78kg, the laptop houses a battery that provides more than five hours of power and it has an optical drive.
DELL INSPIRON 15R SE Dell, from $ 899
www. dell. com. au
The 17- inch entertainment notebook has two- tone colouring, a wrapped design and a backlit keyboard. Sony has extended its gesture controls to a range of apps and by swiping fingers left, right or downwards, playback of video or music will skip forward, back or pause. Volume can be adjusted by a clockwise motion. Gesture controls are available with the media gallery or Windows Media Player plus while browsing the web, playing a DVD or using PowerPoint. The proprietary sound technology and Dolby Home Theatre system produces clear, crisp audio. The E17 has a rapid wake- up feature and resumes operation in less than two seconds, and it has the ability to charge USB devices even when it is off. It has an optical drive with optional Blu- ray player plus three standard USB slots.
TOSHIBA SATELLITE U840W Toshiba, $ 1499
The U840W Ultrabook stands out in a crowd, thanks to its wide screen. The 14.4- inch model has a 21: 9 high- definition, cinematic, backlit- LED screen and can display Powerpoint presentations clearly and crisply. It has split- screen function and comes into its own displaying games and movies.
The U840W has a two- toned case and is 20.8mm slim. The 500GB hard drive and a 32GB solid state drive are powered by Intel’s third- generation i7 chip. The touchpad allows for gesture control. Weighing 1.6kg, the U840W has three USB 3.0 ports, can transfer AV files, and it has wi- fi and Bluetooth connectivity.