Hit­ting the right note

Jen­nifer Dudley- Ni­chol­son takes some of the lat­est note­books for a test drive

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TECH -

BLADE

Razer, from $ 2699

THE Blade cer­tainly looks like a gam­ing com­puter. The glow­ing green key­board and Razer in­signia give its in­ten­tions away, but it’s far from a typ­i­cal model.

While you might ex­pect gi­ant cool­ing fans and a hefty base, this sleek sys­tem fea­tures dis­creet vents, a mere 1.6cm pro­file and weighs just 1.8kg, mak­ing it one of the most sub­tle gam­ing rigs around.

The 14- inch PC is pow­ered by a fourth­gen­er­a­tion 2.2GHz In­tel Core i7 chip, has 8GB RAM, Win­dows 8 and uses a 256GB solid- state hard drive for faster boot speeds.

Three USB 3.0 ports also fea­ture, along with an HDMI con­nec­tion, 1.3- megapixel we­b­cam and crisp LED- back­lit screen with anti- re­flec­tive coat­ing.

Games must be streamed or down­loaded ( there’s no op­ti­cal drive) and in­ter­net con­nec­tions must be wire­less ( no Eth­er­net port) but this Blade is a sharp choice. raz­er­zone.com

ZEN­BOOK UX301

ASUS, from $ 1799

LIKE fic­tional in­ter­na­tional male model Derek Zoolan­der, the lat­est Zen­book is ridicu­lously good- look­ing.

It makes an im­me­di­ate im­pact with a deep blue, brushed metal top cov­ered in Corn­ing Go­rilla Glass 3, and a slimmed- down, 1.5cm pro­file that be­lies its power.

That power in­cludes a new In­tel Core i5 or i7 chip ( our re­view model was rated at 2.8GHz), and 4GB or 8GB RAM run­ning Win­dows 8.

Its 13.3- inch screen is also im­pres­sive, with 10- fin­ger touch sen­si­tiv­ity, In- Plane Switch­ing for wide view­ing, a full high- def­i­ni­tion res­o­lu­tion or the op­tion of a jump up to 2560x1440.

Nat­u­rally, all of these up­grades come at a price, tem­per­ing its at­trac­tive­ness.

Users should also be aware there is no op­ti­cal drive or Eth­er­net port, just two USB 3.0 con­nec­tions – and they will need a cloth on hand, as its glass top doesn’t eas­ily scratch but it shows fin­ger­prints. asus. com. au

SATEL­LITE U50T

Toshiba, $ 1399

THIS note­book is proof you can get a lot of com­puter for $ 1400.

The Win­dows 8 ma­chine of­fers a bright, 15.6inch screen that is also sen­si­tive to the touch, im­me­di­ately elim­i­nat­ing some op­er­at­ing sys­tem frus­tra­tions.

It also fea­tures enough ports that you could call the u50t a desk­top re­place­ment. They in­clude two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 con­nec­tion, space for an HDMI cable and an SD mem­ory card, plus an Eth­er­net port.

The PC of­fers rea­son­able though not cut­tingedge power with a 1.6GHz In­tel Core i5 chip, 4GB RAM, 2GB video card and 750GB stor­age, but its ap­pear­ance is wor­thy of note.

The u50t of­fers a brushed metal ex­te­rior, is just 2.1cm thin and weighs 2.3kg, though users must pro­vide their own DVD drive. my­toshiba.com. au

SPLIT X2

HP, from $ 1299

RU­MOURS of a 13- inch Ap­ple iPad may be in­cor­rect, but HP of­fers its own take in this hy­brid Win­dows 8 com­puter.

The Split x2 is so named for the screen’s abil­ity to sep­a­rate from the key­board in an in­stant for tablet use. A step up from the sim­i­lar but smaller Envy x2, this model of­fers a 13.3- inch screen, a third- gen­er­a­tion, 1.5GHz In­tel Core i5 chip and 4GB RAM, plus added stor­age.

The base fea­tures a 500GB hard drive, com­ple­mented by 128GB solid- state stor­age in the screen/ tablet above, as well as two USB ports and an HDMI con­nec­tion.

The Split x2 is no light­weight, at 2.2kg, and its screen res­o­lu­tion hasn’t in­creased from 1366x768 in the last model.

How­ever, it is a com­pe­tent, well- con­structed hy­brid com­puter that would serve those look­ing for a Win­dows 8 tablet and note­book well. hp. com. au

CHROME­BOOK C720

Acer, $ 399

PROV­ING Google’s dis­count, in­ter­net- re­liant note­books weren’t just a fad is this ma­chine, the sec­ond Chrome­book from Acer.

The new edi­tion is 30 per cent thin­ner than the last model, more pow­er­ful, and of­fers a big­ger screen and a faster drive and con­nec­tions.

Its diet clearly pays div­i­dends for users as it has de­liv­ered a 1.47kg lap­top that is just 1.9cm but, ar­guably, the main im­prove­ment has been to its bat­tery life and power, with up to 8.5 hours pos­si­ble out of a sin­gle charge and grunt from In­tel’s new Haswell Celeron 2955U chip, 4GB RAM and a 16GB solid- state drive ( though you’ll now have to store more in the cloud).

Sadly, its screen is still dull and poor from an an­gle, its touch­pad tricky, its off­line use­ful­ness lim­ited, and it doesn’t come with a mo­bile in­ter­net op­tion.ac­er­store.com.au

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