Notebookcheck

Notebookcheck's Best of October 2010

J. Simon Leitner, 11/11/2010

Highlights 10/2010. We tormented a total of 22 notebooks and netbooks on our test parcours last month. The single category winners and editor's recommendations are summarized here. Who will be lauded as the Month's Champion?

Every month, we send numerous notebooks through our challenging tests. So you don't lose track, we now present last month's most interesting devices again.

Netbook Category

Candidates:

Asus Eee PC 1015PEM Netbook
Asus Eee PC 1215N Netbook
Sony Vaio VPC-W21C7E/G Netbook
Asus Eee PC 1015T Netbook

Four netbooks took up the battle for the best possible grade on our rating scale. But only one single device managed to soar up into rating heaven: the Asus Eee PC 1015PEM. The new Intel N550 dual core significantly contributed to this result, because it increased the subjective processing speed massively. Bonus point number two: a matt display with good brightness. It even makes outdoor use possible, without constantly having a mirror image in front of you.

Netbook of the Month, October 2010: Asus Eee PC 1015PEM

The case's good overall impression, the fast work speed due to the dual core CPU, the attractive outdoor suitable display, the efficient cooling system that works discreetly in the background and the practical battery life of up to 7 hours present a successful overall bundle that, in our opinion, candidly deserves the prize "Editors' Choice – October 2010".

Shortcut:

What we like
The design, the available alternatives, the Intel Atom N550's good office performance and the good cooling system.

What we miss
A larger scope of delivery, a 2 GB DDR3 RAM ex-factory, an optionally integrated UMTS

What surprises us
The dual core netbook's low entry price and the good 10.1 inch display with a matt surface.

The competition
Current devices with an Intel Atom N550 processor that are, or will be available on the market in the next few weeks. Among others, for example, the Acer Aspire One D255, the HP Mini 210 and 5103, the MSI Wind U160 or the Samsung N350 with LTE wireless technology.

Subnotebook Category

Candidates:

Acer TravelMate 8372TG Subnotebook
Toshiba Portégé R700 Notebook
Acer Aspire 3820TG Subnotebook (i5/HD5650)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z360 Notebook

There are also four very different models at the start for the rating category, subnotebook. For one, the Acer TM 8372TG as a representative of the business Timeline Series. It knows how to appeal with a flat and solid case, as well as its matt 13 inch display. Just like the Toshiba R700, one of the lightest 13 inchers on the market (1.4 kilograms), with a solid magnesium chassis.
The Acer Aspire 3820TG comes from the consumer notebook corner. It has a strong ATI Mobility Radeon HD5650 in a 13 inch case for unrivaled performance. Then, the Lenovo Ideapad Z360, also a 13 incher, equipped with a GeForce G310M graphics. It rather has the tendency towards the office line, but with a glossy display.

Subnotebook of the Month, October 2010: Acer Aspire 3820TG

We had quite a hard time with choosing one here, seeing that Acer's Travelmate 8372TG, as well as Toshiba's R700 and Acer's Aspire 3820TG all reached an equal "good" of 86% on our rating scale. In the end, the excellent value for money ratio was the decisive factor, and that was the case in Acer's Aspire Timeline 3820TG.
Equipped with a potent HD5650 graphics, the compact 13 inch subnotebook is even useable for current games and above that, doesn't show any critical flaws in the other rating criteria. Opposing all fears, even the observed emissions and battery life (around 4 hours) were within an acceptable range. The mini-machine is already available for just over 700 euro. We believe, that's a fair price in view of the configuration.

Shortcut:

What we like
It's blessed with pleasantly quiet and constant fans, despite a strong performance. The dual cooling concept with infinitely variable fans makes it possible.

What we miss
Value for money ratio is very good. So, we don't really dare call for a contrast richer display. But it would be nice.

What surprises us
A tiny case that contains strong hardware and doesn't go up in flames under highest load.

The competition
There aren't many gamers smaller than 15.6 inches. Aspire 4820TG: HD 5650 sister model in 14 inch; HP Envy 14-0028de (XE655EA): strong i5-560M
Nvidia alternatives. Sony Vaio VPC-Z12 or Z13: starting at 1800 euro; Sony Vaio VPC-CW2S1E/B: 14.1 incher with DVD drive; Alienware M11x R2: 11.6 inch but thick, bulky and expensive.

Multimedia / Gaming Category

Candidates:

HP Pavilion dv3-2390eg Notebook
MSI CX620MX Notebook
Asus U33JC Bamboo Notebook
Acer Aspire 5820TG Notebook
Toshiba Satellite L650D Notebook
Acer Aspire 5745DG 3D-Notebook
Samsung SF510 Notebook
Asus G53JW 3D Gaming Notebook

Now we come to the "monster category" – the multimedia and gaming notebooks. A total of 8 devices from various manufacturers faced our tests. A view on the total rating doesn't only reveal good news in this category. For example, the MSI CX620MX could score the lowest total rating of a poor 77% in October. The reason for this was the basically meager bundle of workmanship, limited performance, disappointing display and last but not least the irregularities in the emissions.

The Acer Aspire 5820TG, which is the 15 inch colleague of the already successful 3820TG in the subnotebook category, and the brand new Asus G53 gaming notebook, a strong gaming machine with Nvidia's Geforce GTX 460M graphics, place themselves at the upper end of the ranking list.
As already the larger 17 inch colleague, Asus G73, the G53 was able to convince by and large. Nevertheless, it wasn't able to achieve "very good" due to a range of smaller flaws. The unfavorable port positioning, the display's low resolution (3D) with mediocre contrast and the partly very high emissions recorded would be mentioned here. The Asus G53 as the Full HD alternative could provide for suspense. We will try to get a hold on this device for testing.

Mulitmedia Notebook of the Month, October 2010: Acer Aspire 5820TG

Basically, the Asus G53 had the upper hand. However, we had another device in October that could score a slight bit better on the whole. The Acer Aspire 5820TG provides an optically and, in regards to value for money ratio, attractive complete package. Equipped with an ATI HD 5650 hybrid graphics solution (Intel GMA HD), it can score in both performance issues and with a low system noise, as well as a satisfactory battery life. And that at a starting price of 755 euro. However, it loses points with the display that could have been a bit brighter and richer in contrast. Moreover both input devices need a bit of getting used to.  Nevertheless, Asus provides an overall very fair value for money ratio here.

Shortcut:

What we like
Matt surfaces, stable construction and good battery runtimes due to low power consumption.

What we miss
At least one eSATA port for fast hard disks. How else are gamers supposed to load their Steam backup quickly?

What surprises us
We hardly ever encounter such a solid aluminum lid. This should become industrial standard.

The competition
If you are aiming at the ATI HD 5650, you should look at: Acer Aspire 4820TG Timeline X, Dell Studio 1749, Acer Aspire 8942G, TravelMate 5740G-524G50MN, TravelMate 7740G, Toshiba Satellite L670D-120, L650D-10H and Sony Vaio VPC-EB1S1E/BJ.

Office / Convertible Category

Candidates:

MSI CR620 Notebook
Acer TravelMate 5740Z Notebook
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 15 Notebook
Lenovo IdeaPad V560 Notebook
HP EliteBook 2740p Convertible
Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3t Convertible

Basically, the office notebook category should be seen as a class of its own. But because only four devices of this category were tested, and none could really stand out positively, we'll recap it with two convertibles. They can at least be counted to office notebooks in the broadest sense when used as a notebook.

The Acer 5740Z deserves special attention in the classic office notebooks. At a price of just slightly more than 400 euro, the 15 incher has a matt display, a useable keyboard and an (even if weak) Intel dual core processor. Sounds like a deal, whereas the low price is paid for with a short battery life, a limited connectivity and an averagely bright display.

Office Notebook of the Month, October 2010: HP EliteBook 2740p 

Actually only one device could convince to a wide extent in this test in October 2010 – the HP EliteBook 2740p. The bundle made up of a solid and top rate manufactured case, extensive connectivity, good performance with a good battery life and low emissions at the same time, the convertible penetrates into the thin atmosphere of "very good".
Although the 2740p isn't perfect, with the weak 1.8" hard disk, the display hinge or the omitted fast data transfer technology to mention a few, the device discerns itself clearly from the other participants.

Shortcut:

What we like
Great display, very well implemented concept with several advantages compared to pure tablet PCs or pure notebooks with a vast extent of versatility.

What we miss

Alternatives with more reserved CPUs. That should result in a lower system noise development, eSATA or USB 3.0, displayport or HDMI.

What surprises us
That HP has developed the series uncompromisingly and irons out the less favorable aspects bit by bit. Just as surprising is the still outdated interface quality, which discovers its height in the weak VGA signal.

The competitors
Lenovo X201 tablet, Dell Latitude XT2 and Fujitsu Lifebook T730. The predecessor, HP 2730p, is a more affordable alternative that can be found on sale.

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Notebookcheck's Best of October 2010
Author: J. Simon Leitner, 2010-11-11 (Update: 2013-06- 6)