Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Laptop Deals Run-Down

It's back-to-school season now and your young ones or yourself could be looking at new mobile hardware to power you through the coming school year.  Onxo has looked through the circulars to help you sort through the "specials" and find the gem and tell you what are duds. 
So, what are you seeing for mobile students and individuals this week?  We like what we're seeing with the HP DV4 and DV7.  It's on the high-side but costs less than the Macbook but worth it because of the Centrino 2 chips and chipsets in them.  The HP duo offers 1066Mhz bus besting everyone else in the field this week.  It is future proof and, frankly, seeing the Centrino 2 for this price is unexpected for both the 14" and 17" screens.

Then also look the the memory.  That's right.  4GB.  The 4GB is quickly becoming the standard.  Frankly, I don't get the 3GB configurations from the other laptops.

Speaking of the other laptops, I included a couple of the Compaq from Fry's and Staples.  Both contain the very old T2390 and it is a drag you have to run Vista.  This is purely a personal machine for Internet and school work.  The Staples machine is a better deal than the one from Frys.  With the price difference, I would use it to upgrade to 4GB.  Note.  As far as multimedia and communication are concerned, no webcam for these two Compaq.  In my mind, it's a must for students as learning to collaborate over the Internet these days should be web-conferencing.  I think it should be a must skill for future mobile warriors.

We now turn our attention to the 700 range.  Well, it turns out the best of this range of laptops are the Gateways that are priced inside and outside of the $700 laptops.  The T-6836 is a buff 4GB 2Ghz machine with a healthy 250GB HD.  The system uses a 667Mhz bus as does it's bigger 15.4" siblings, two generations behind the Centrino 2 from the HP.  No matter as they speed will carry you further than what the Compaq laptops offer.  The $850 is different in that it has a dedicated GPU with 512MB.  It is good if video and gaming is a must. 

For the $700 laptops, the Acer with the Dolby Sound system is unique and they claim it a first.  And it has a 16" screen that makes it better for movie viewing.  But they should have gone with the 17" and 4GB of memory.  This beats the rest in the range. 

AMD seems to have fallen out of favor with the consumer electronics stores.  A year ago, you can find them all over.  I like AMD and the last two systems I've bought for personal use are AMD-based.  My mom has an AMD-powered laptop.  I hope out hope that AMD will stop talking and start backing up what words they've already thrown at its competitors.  I remain very hopeful.

Now, I've included the Macbooks.  Value, you cannot go wrong with the Macbooks.  They costs more but what I find maddenly when computer reviews and even Mac-based blogs fail to mention is that while Macbooks cost more, Apple always use the most updated Intel mobile platform, regardless of the Macbook or the Macbook Pro lines.  To me that along commands a premium.  You able able to commit to your Macbook longer and the added advantage of OS X.  (Please note I don't have a problem with Microsoft products.  I love XP and Office.  Just having issues at home and work with Vista.)

Now, the HP laptops in the chart has the tired Macbooks beat with the Centrino 2.  So, what does Onxo recommend?  This is close even with HP already using Centrino 2.  Why?  Apple is currently offering students with iPod Touches with purchases.  Not only that, if XP is needed as a part of your mobile work or education, Macbooks run XP and Vista very well, in some cases better dedicated Windows laptops.

In conclusion, you can't go wrong with any of the machines.  I would not look at the Compaqs at all if you can avoid it.  The HP laptops are looking good with Centrino 2.  I'm not that big with the Acer with Dolby Sound.  The Gateways are competitive and feature rich with 4GB of memory.  You cannot go with these with machines. 

Right now, I'm waiting for a refresh of the Macbook in September for my own buy.  But if you're college student this fall and you're in the market for a mobile platform like the iPod Touch, the student priced Macbook and free iPod is the way to go. 

Note:  This is our first time offering these mobile advice and if you have any comments and suggestions, we greatly appreciate it.  And we'll do better. 

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