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Portable Power Reviews

Written By: admin on September 24, 2011 65 Comments

Portable Power Supply

We all knew it was going to come one day but I am not so sure we knew it would be this fast. Laptop processor speeds have been increasing consistently over the past year and they have now reached the 1GHz mark. Models from Dell, Gateway, HP, Toshiba and WinBook are the first ones to sport this unit and they look real nice.

In the past you had to take a performance hit when you wanted to have portability but that is far from the case with these machines. With the fast processors, big hard disks and the ability to choke yourself on RAM; these really are desktop replacements. Manufacturers have been trying to sell that point for quite a while but until now, there wasn’t a laptop that I would choose over a desktop. I had always looked around at them but there was always something that fell short and made me feel like I wasn’t getting my moneys worth. The way I see it is, this next generation of laptops is going to change a lot of the old annoyances of owning one. Well, let’s get started and take a look at these machines to see just how they spec out.

Dell Inspiron 8000
Intel Pentium III Processor up to 1GHz, 64MB Standard RAM (Upgradeable to 512MB), 48GB hard drive available, IEEE 1394 integrated port, 2 USB ports, S-Video for TV-Out, Displays range from 14.1 to 15 inch (type varies with size), Up to 32MB of SGRAM for video, Weight 7.2-7.9 lbs. depending on equipment, 2-3 hours battery time depending on usage. Estimated Price – $2600 with very basic features.

Gateway Solo 9500xl
Intel Pentium III Processor 1GHz, 128MB RAM (Upgradeable to 512MB), 20GB hard drive, 2 USB ports, 8X DVD-ROM, Integrated 10/100 Ethernet and 56K Modem, 15.7 inch Display, 16MB 4x AGP video, 2 PCMCIA expansion slots, Weight approx. 7.5 lbs., Full-size 88 Key keypad. Estimated Price – $2999.

HP OmniBook 6000
Intel Pentium III Processor 1GHz, 128MB RAM (Upgradeable to 512MB), 30GB hard drive, 1 USB port, 1 Infrared port, Integrated 10/100 Ethernet and 56K Modem, 15 inch Display, 8MB 2x AGP video, Dual-display and Dual-view capable, 16 Bit Stereo Sound, 2 PC Card expansion slots, Weight 5.2-6.5 lbs depending on equipment. Estimated Price – $4199.

Toshiba Tecra 8200
Intel Pentium III Processor 1GHz, 128MB RAM (Upgradeable to 512MB), 20GB hard drive, 2 USB ports, 1 Infrared port, TV-Out port, Integrated 10/100 Ethernet and 56K Modem, 16 Bit Stereo Sound, 14.1 inch Display, 16MB 4x AGP video, Weight 5.5 lbs. Estimated Price – $3861.

WinBook X1
Intel Pentium III Processor 1GHz, 64MB RAM (Upgradeable to 320MB), 20GB hard drive, 2 USB ports, 8X DVD-ROM, Integrated 10/100 Ethernet and 56K Modem, 13.3 inch Display, 16MB 4x AGP video with dual-view support, Weight 4.7-5.2 lbs., Estimated Price – $3098.

As you have probably noticed, there are a couple of items that really stand out here. For starters, the Gateway tops the entire bunch with the biggest display, 15.7 inch. Now the bigger display does make for a larger unit but when you can get a monster display like that, who really cares? I know it increases the weight on the unit but it doesn’t make it that much heavier than the rest. On the opposite end of the scale are the Toshiba and WinBook, both coming in with weights under the 5.5 lb. mark. The weight measurements are without the AC adapters that usually add about a pound or so to the overall weight of the unit.

One very nice thing about these new laptops is the addition of extra video RAM and OpenGL support; those of you who like to play games will appreciate this. For quite some time now, the lack of video has really turned a lot of average gamers away from a laptop because if you wanted to play something while on the road, you had to suffer through the horrible (compared to a desktop) video. I am so happy to see features like this hit the laptop market.

All of the hard drives are pretty standard and there are not a whole lot of surprises here. 20-30GB is not that big, especially with desktops hitting 75GB. I don’t see a big wow factor in a 20GB unit when you think about the big picture; but for a laptop, this is an added benefit.

Getting further down into the specifications while shopping for one of these units will reveal a ton of available features (way too many to list) that may be of interest to you. Some are equipped with IEEE 1394 ports while others have Infrared. You will find that some of the units can be upgraded relatively easy while others are “canned” units with only a few upgrade options. Regardless of which model you choose, you have plenty of things to research before making your purchase.

All in all, these are some pretty nice machines that pack enough power for nearly everyone. There isn’t much to worry about any more when it comes to choosing a laptop that has the features you want; your only obstacle is the price. While the feature set is getting better, the price on these little guys isn’t going anywhere, although down would be nice.

The Dell with just basic equipment is going to set you back $2600 and if you tack on a few extra goodies like a 15-inch display and more RAM, the price easily tops the $3000 mark. I am not sure if that will be in many of our budgets, but you can expect to spend at least that much for a well-equipped unit, regardless of the brand. Just be thankful the decision between a desktop and laptop has become a lot easier.


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