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Purchase Guide - Up-to-date 14.1 inch Notebooks in Comparison

The Mobile Workhorses

Notebooks of the 14.1 inch category are due to their powerful components, their screen size, and their weight ideal mobile tools for businessmen as well as for students. In contrast to the smaller and lighter subnotebooks, their powerful components are also ready for demanding applications.

In contrast to the smaller and lighter subnotebooks with screen diagonals between 10.6" and 13.3" and a weight of one to a maximum of two kilograms, 14 inch notebooks, which weigh in between two and two and a half kilogramme, are due to powerful CPUs, fast hard drives, standard keyboards, fully-fledged connectivity, optionally dedicated graphics cards (also openGL optimized cards for CAD are available), and sufficiently big displays with optionally high resolutions, also ready for demanding applications.

Compared to the depending on the model more or less clearly bigger and heavier 15.4 inch notebooks, frequent transportation and operation on-the-move, e.g., in the train, are no problem for 14 inch laptops. Although, width and length of about two or three centimetres less and a weight of about 300g to 1.2 kg less, do not seem much at the first glance, you'll quickly come to appreciate the lower volume and weight in practice.

Many 14.1 inch models offer a number of battery options, so, it is possible to operate them even twelve hours without the need of a power socket. Via their video outs directly on the notebook or via docking station these business models can be easily connected to an external 22 inch or 24 inch screen at home or in the office.
Only gamers who like demanding first-person-shooters won't be happy with such notebooks, because the dedicated graphics cards available for these are not sufficiently powerful or demanding games like Football Manager, FIFA(-Football), Warcraft 3, World of Warcraft, Sims 2, Spore, or Half-Life 2 respectively Counter - Strike Source. If the need arises you can divert 14.1 inch workstation models with their powerful graphics cards from their intended use and use them as gaming computer. These 14 inch notebooks, which are not primarily designed for games,  especially stand  out by a size which is similar to 15.4 inch notebooks, their weight, and their low battery life.

The following interesting models of the 14.1 inch category were not primarily selected on the basis of their benchmark results, but, criteria like noise of the fan, screen quality, keyboard quality, stability of the case, workmanship, temperature emissions, battery life, driver availability, and quality of service were also considered.

At the time of writing the market changes and models of the older Santa Rosa generation are replaced by models of the new Montevina generation. As this is rather an evolution than a revolution in technical development, you can absolutely choose a reasonable phase-out model.

umfrage

 

 

 

 

 

HP Compaq 6510b

HP Compaq 6510b

Santa Rosa Model
Survey of models and prices at Geizhals (in German)
'The 6510b isn't the lightest or thinnest 14.1" screen notebook out there, but you'd be paying more if it were. In other words, HP has designed a well rounded portable notebook that's not quite on the cutting edge with any of its aspects, but it is reliable and leaves little to complain about -- exactly what you'd want in a budget business notebook.'
Source
The battery life of 4 h can be enhanced to up to twelve hours by a high-capacity supplement battery. The DVI port is not activated on the docking station of 's' and 'b' models.
Further reviews
Hint: In the review in the magazine ct 20/2007, pp 136. the HP Compaq 6510b did not have an above average system noise. Source

HP Compaq 6530b

HP Compaq 6530b

Montevina Modell
Survey of models and prices at Geizhals (in German)
The HP Compaq 6530b is about the Montevina Update of the HP Compaq 6510b.
Reviews are not available yet.

 

 

HP Compaq 6910p

HP Compaq 6910p

Santa Rosa Model
Survey of models and prices at Geizhals (in German)
'Summarizing the above, the HP Compaq 6910p is a notebook designed for office-oriented work, for user who demand high quality, reliability, and mobility in step with actual practice. It is obvious that this costs. However, three years manufacturer's warranty is also included.'
Source
The HP Compaq 6910p is the big brother of the HP Compaq 6510b. It is lighter, stabler, of higher value, and supports connecting external screens via DVI on its docking station. Furthermore, you can opt for a dedicated graphics card.
Further reviews

HP EliteBook 6930p

HP EliteBook 6930p

Montevina Model
Survey of models and prices at Geizhals (in German)
'With its smooth metal styling, the HP EliteBook 6930p looks the part of a premium business notebook, and it’s extra durable, too. In addition to its design, we like its blazing performance, powerful discrete graphics, security features, and bright, versatile display. We also appreciate the generous assortment of software, especially QuickLook 2. This is the best bang-for-your-buck business notebook we’ve tested.'
Source
The EliteBook 6930p is an upgrade of the HP Compaq 6910p. It is available with LED display and SSD. According to the manufacturer it can achieve a battery life of 24 hours with an appropriate supplement battery.
Further reviews

Lenovo ThinkPad R61

Lenovo ThinkPad R61

Santa Rosa Model
Survey of models and prices at Geizhals (in German)
'The Lenovo ThinkPad R61's 14.1" screen and 2.6kg weight make it an ideal travel companion. For a work-oriented notebook decked out with all the trimmings, the Lenovo ThinkPad R61 is hard to beat.'
Source
The ThinkPad R61 belongs to the ThinkPad R series, which consists of notebooks designed for standard demands and home office. Nevertheless they are equipped with a stabile Roll Cage. It convinces by an ageless robust design and an excellent keyboard. The base model is only equipped with a small 4 cell battery, which is recommended to be replaced by a bigger battery for a surcharge.
Further reviews

Lenovo ThinkPad R400

Lenovo ThinkPad R400

Montevina Model
Survey of models and prices at Geizhals (in German)
'Both, business customers and office fans will find an ideal companion in the Lenovo ThinkPad R400. In terms of connectivity the most important interfaces are provided. HDMI and eSATA are not available so far. […] The display illumination suffices office work. Despite low contrasts it can still well handle outdoor. The 9 cell battery supports this with a battery life of above 240 Minuten under load.'
Source (translated)
The R400 is the successor of the ThinkPad R61 and still a solid business notebook, but now the new Montevina platform is supported.
Further reviews

Lenovo ThinkPad T61

Lenovo ThinkPad T61

Santa Rosa Model
Survey of models and prices at Geizhals (in German)
'To summarize it: Yes, the T61 could absolutely convince. First of all the robust, nearly indestructible case should be able to stand even though requirements and protect your data securely against loss. Also a number of other integrated security mechanisms should help protecting your sensible data.'
Source
The T61 is the big brother of the R61. Belonging to the T series, which consists of business notebook for business customers, it is smaller, lighter, and of higher value than the R61. Its disadvantage is the mediocre battery life, which can be improved by choosing a high-capacity battery instead of the standard battery.
Further reviews

Lenovo ThinkPad T400

Lenovo ThinkPad T400

Montevina Model
Survey of models and prices at Geizhals (in German)
'The Lenovo ThinkPad T400 proved to be an exceptional 14" business notebook, giving almost unheard-of battery performance under modest running conditions. Nearly 10 hours of runtime with the extended battery easily puts this notebook into the all-day computing category. System performance with the Intel T9400 processor and ATI 3470 graphics was great, handling everything we threw at it, even some video games. The T400 is not without its flaws though, having a decent amount of keyboard flex and a keyboard light that blinds you.'
Source
On the upgrade of the ThinkPad T61 Lenovo clearly improved the battery runtime. Due to the transflective display, this notebook can be operated in the sunshine without problems. Lenovo utilizes the Switchable Graphics Option of the Montevina platform and makes a long battery life and also (limited) 3D gaming and CAD possible by a graphics card which can be activated on demand. The T400  is optionally also available with LED displays and SSD memory. Unfortunately the quality of the keyboard the Thinkpad series is known for seems to be lower because of the weigth reduction.
Further reviews

Lenovo ThinkPad T61p

Lenovo ThinkPad T61p

Santa Rosa Model
Survey of models and prices at Geizhals (in German)
'Without doubt this model of the ThinkPad T61p is worth the money. In this 14 inch notebook Lenovo ties extremely good workmanship, very much performance, and a good configuration in a compact and light format.
Source (translated)
The high display resolution of 1400x1050 and a graphics card optimized for openGL, an NVIDIA Quadro FX 570M turn the T61p into a mobile workstation.
Further reviews

Dell Latitude D630

Dell Latitude D630

Santa Rosa Model
Survey of models and prices
'With the Latitude D630 the direct shipper Dell offers a completely redesigned slimline notebook, which is very flexible. Once more it is based on the up-to-date Centrino-Duo-technology. The good battery life, the easy-on-the-eyes widescreen display, the not too loud fan, and the good keyboard contribute to the positive impression.'
Source (translated)
Especially in connection with student offers, which are reduced in price, you can easily profit from the very good on-site business services if you buy a Dell Latitude model.
A semi-rugged version of the Dell Latitude ATG D630, which is able to stand bigger strain, is also available.
Further reviews

Dell Latitude E5400

Dell Latitude E5400

Dell Latitude E5400

Montevina Model
Survey of models and prices

The Latitude D630 is replaced by two Montevina models, the simpler, heavier (robust polycarbonate and aluminium instead of magnesium alloy), and cheaper Latitude E5400, which is only available with shared memory graphics and for which no reviews are available at the time of writing and the Latitude E6400.

Dell Latitude E6400

Dell Latitude E6400

Montevina Model

Survey of models and prices
'A robust, simple design which automatically attracts attention of business customers by its brushed metal look. The mattfinished inside and the non-reflecting display are the cherry on top of this complete package. Besides a reasonable Centrino-2 configuration the manufacturer also focuses on a well illuminated display. Due to a battery life of 205 minutes it is also very ready for being operated away from a power socket.'
Source (translated)
The Latitude E6400 replaces the D630. Like the EliteBook 6930p it is available with LED display and SSD. According to manufacturer the battery life should be 19 hours with supplement battery. The E6400 comes with an illuminated keyboard, eSATA, FireWire, and a DisplayPort, which supports HDMI an DVI via a compatible adapter.
Unfortunately the bottom side of this notebook is rather slick, and the weight is closer to 2.3 kg with standard equipment than to the manufacturer informtaion: ' 1.95 kg upwards'.
A Semi-rugged version of the Latitude E6400 ATG for increased strain is also available.
Further reviews

Dell Precision M2300

Santa Rosa Modell
Übersicht der Modelle und Preise
“The Precision M2300 provides a bit more punch for business workers that need a portable computer for more demanding applications, but do not necessarily need a large screen.”
Quelle
Das Dell Precision M2300 ist mit der NVIDIA Quadro FX 360M und einer Displayauflösung 1440x900 die Workstationvariante des Latitude D630.
weitere Testberichte

 

Dell Precision M2400

Dell Precision M2400

Montevina Model
Survey of models and prices
The Dell Precision M2300 is a Montevina update of the Dell Precision M2400.
This workstation is equipped with openGL optimized NVIDIA Quadro FX 370M, Solid State Disk, up to 8 GB RAM and a LED display with a resolution of 1,440 x 900.
Reviews are not available yet.



Conclusion

HP, Lenovo, and Dell offer reasonable base models in their product range, HP Compaq 6510b, HP Compaq 6530b, Lenovo ThinkPad R61, Lenovo ThinkPad R400, and the entry-level configuration of the Dell Latitude D630, and the Latitude E5400, which are sufficient for mobile business because of a long battery life (with proper battery) and enough performance for Office, Internet, and Multimedia (DVD, music).

The top models, HP Compaq 6910p, HP Compaq 6930p, Lenovo ThinkPad T61, Lenovo ThinkPad T400, or the better equipped models of the Dell Latitude D630 and Latitude E6400, can be configured with dedicated graphics cards for CAD and games . Due to materials of higher value they are lighter, compacter, and stabler than the base models and usually the manufacturer extends a warranty of three years. Dell offers semi-rugged ATG models, which are insensitive to dust, humidity, and shocks, for situations of higher strain.

All top models of the Montevina generation, HP Compaq 6930p, Lenovo ThinkPad T400, and Dell Latitude E6400, are optionally available with very bright LED displays for outdoor operation and SSD memory, which improves the data security because they to not include moving parts.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T400 is the only model which can be equipped with a transflective display or supports the Switchable Graphics Option, which combines the performance of a dedicated graphics cards with a battery life of a shared memory graphic. The Dell Latitude E6400 is already equipped with the new display port for digitally connecting external screens. Furthermore, it offers an eSATA port for connecting an external hard drive at full transfer rate and a keyboard with background lighting.

Workstation models, e.g., Lenovo ThinkPad T61p and Dell Precision M2400, which come with powerful graphics cards are available for users who demand more video performance.

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Purchase Guide - Up-to-date 14.1 inch Notebooks in Comparison
Author: M. Czymai, 2008-10-16 (Update: 2012-05-26)