Samsung Ativ Q Intergrated Windows 8 and Android

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The Samsung Ativ Q is a switching tablet and laptop, a most interesting and the most popular model computer. It offers both Windows 8 and Android Jelly Bean on the same device.

Samsung Ativ Q-2

The highest resolution on the market is 13.3-inch, 3200 x 1800 touchscreen. Maybe you want to catch it. So you can choose the Samsung Ativ Q, as a big rival to Asus Transformer Pad series.

Samsung Ativ Q-1

There are also some other brands also offer the tablet and laptop intergrated version, like the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga and Dell XPS 12.

The Samsung Ativ Q is relatively slim, measured 13.9mm in thickness. although the 1290g (45oz) weight may make this hybrid a little unwieldy in hand.

You can let it as “stand” or “flat”There are threer “modes”: the traditional laptop position , “float” and “stand” position for more versatile viewing angles.

Samsung Ativ Q-3

You will find Intel’s new Haswell chip that within the Ativ Q’s case comes within the kind of a Core i5 processor under the hood . this is often saved with fourGB of RAM that provides the facility for the quick shift between Windows and candy 4.2.2.

You get 128GB of internal SSD memory, a camera capable of shooting 720p video, electric battery Samsung claims can last 9 hours, and the Ativ Q conjointly sports USB three.0, USB 2.0, microSD and HDMI ports for a wealth of property choices.

There’s presently no word on the Samsung Ativ Q unharness date or worth, however the Korean firm has confirmed it’ll be accessible within the Great Britain later this year – and we’re chasing for details on different regions.

 

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Ultrathin vs Ultrabooks

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Ultrathin vs Ultrabooks

A couple of years all started with the launch of smartphones already did all that a computer had but undoubtedly the missing screen made them far to the notebooks, then came the Apple tablet and there appeared on the scene again the great question whether the iPad can replace a notebook computer. Then came with screens smaller than 13 or 11 inch netbooks and so-called contra-power missing ultrabooks arrived.

AMD now offers an alternative to ultrabooks which can cost up to 20% less. The ongoing 2012 CES innovations allowing for all the technology sector and in this case in the field of laptops. Thus the Las Vegas event reinforced the tendency for the market ultrabooks computers and Intel and the term responsible for placing on the field and stimulate the production of these models emerged greatly strengthened in 2011.

AMD’s response meanwhile has arrived, the company’s proposal is basically the same with the curious exception of the name, so instead of AMD ultrabooks suggests the production of ultrathin product, or Ultrafine notebook. Who broke the story was a specialized site, outside of the rumors in this sense because there were some data that were aired during the end of 2011. AMD’s intention is that their products are on the market since July .

To achieve this come into play at lower costs that AMD is able to generate in their lines. In this way the AMD ultrathin should cost up to 20% less in some cases. The big question about the news is on the ability of a product’s performance therefore cheaper in a generation of processors that appears to be under the control of Intel. It is believed that with Trinity APUs AMD manages to be more competitive in the laptop market as it currently is in the lines of conventional desktops.

In any case regardless of the effect of ultrafine compared to ultrabooks is true that the arrival of AMD in this market prices tend to jump down. Sources estimate that the company will be able to launch twenty models ultraportable different this year compared to 75 expected to run under Intel processors.

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Compaq Presario CQ57-366SA

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 Compaq Presario CQ57-366SA

The Compaq Presario CQ57-366SA won’t win any awards for its looks, but does offer the things we look for in a budget machine. It’s solid with a decent screen and great speakers, and the sort of internal specifications we’d expect at this price.

However, even though this is a budget machine, we’d still appreciate something a little nicer to look at.

The Compaq is a solid black brick seemingly devoid of colours, shades or textures. It’s boring and uninspired but, as mentioned above, solidly built – with only a small amount of flex detectable around the chassis.

We were also pleased to discover that it’s not as heavy as it looks, but it isn’t the lightest at 2.5kg.

Leaving the aesthetics behind, usability is perfectly acceptable. The keyboard has wide buttons and a good depth of travel but, despite the amount of space on the chassis, feels cramped. There’s no numeric keypad or quick-access hotkeys to be found, but, like most laptops, you can alter volume and media playback by holding down the Function key and using the F-keys.

While the touchpad is responsive, it’s also the exact same shade of black as the rest of the chassis and therefore wonderfully camouflaged.

Where the Compaq picks up again is with the screen. It’s got a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution, meaning you can enjoy 720p HD videos – although the full 1080p experience is out of reach. We found that although the screen was very bright, it wasn’t as sharp as we’ve seen elsewhere. The Super-TFT coating helps, but ultimately we’d pick this for working on documents rather than watching Avatar.

Having said that, the Altec Lansing speakers are very good indeed – so we’d definitely be listening to music while we worked.

£350 won’t buy you the greatest components on the market, but the basic user will find everything they require here. The first-generation Intel Core i3 processor is backed up by a capable 4GB of RAM and a standard integrated graphics chip that will handle video streaming from iPlayer or YouTube but stops short of advanced editing suites.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 184 minutes
Cinebench: 7839
3DMark 2006: 1464

There’s a DVD rewriter and a standard 320GB hard drive for storing programs and media.

Compaq

Better battery

Pleasantly surprising was the 184-minute battery life the Presario posted on our benchmarking tests. It’s good to see budget laptops lasting more than three hours and, with careful usage, we reckon you could squeeze even more out.

The only noticeable omission in terms of connectivity is the lack of an HDMI port for connecting to a high-definition external monitor or TV. You’ll have to make do with the standard VGA Out connection or buy an adapter for one of the three USB ports.

There’s an SD Card expansion slot and an Ethernet port in case you don’t want to use the 802.11n Wi-Fi connection to access the internet.

The Compaq Presario CQ57- 366SA is a perfectly acceptable budget laptop, with special mention going to the battery life and speaker system. It doesn’t look, or perform, like a standout laptop and there are alternatives – such as the Acer Aspire 5742 – but if you’re searching for a basic machine for the next year or two this is a good pick.

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Toshiba Qosmio F750

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 Toshiba Qosmio F750

Toshiba’s all-conquering Qosmio range was the first to bring us glasses-free 3D, and we were so impressed with the X770 that we awarded it 4.5 stars. The Qosmio F750 continues the tradition, albeit with a couple of drawbacks.

The sub-standard keyboard and paltry battery life might put some off, but anyone looking for a movie powerhouse won’t fail to be impressed.

The bright red outer design is eye-catching and complemented by the glossy all-black look under the lid. White LEDs around the touchpad, power button and hotkeys also add a bit of visual flair.

Unsurprisingly though, it’s neither light nor svelte. Measuring in at 386 x 265 x 39mm with a weight of 3.2kg the Qosmio is more of a desk-based PC replacement than a portable gaming machine.

Once you fire up the laptop though, the lack of portability gets lost in a storm of power provided by the Intel Core i7-2630QM CPU and Nvidia GeForce GT540M dedicated graphics chip.

Interacting with the Qosmio is made all the better by the fantastic screen Toshiba has incorporated. Capable of full 1080p high-definition visuals, the screen is bright, crisp and coated with the reflective Super-TFT coating that adds a degree of richness to the colours in pictures and movies.

The standout feature is, of course, the glasses-free 3D effect. By using the webcam to track your eyes, you can move your heads freely while retaining the 3D image unlike, for example, Nintendo’s 3DS game system which requires you to keep your head in one position for the 3D effect.

While 3D will appeal to some, others might not be converted yet – and to be fair, the effect isn’t as impressive when compared with the standard Active Shutter 3D system. But considering the price of the glasses, and the prospect of losing them, we’re more than happy with this alternative.

TechRadar Labs

TechRadar labs

Battery Eater ’05: 76 minutes
Cinebench: 16875
3DMark 2006: 8173

Average usability

While the screen and sheer power is fantastic, some of the usability suffers. The keyboard is a standard, flat affair and although the keys are nicely sized, there’s some definite flex around the centre and we doubt it could cut it as a serious gaming keyboard.

Things are better when it comes to the touchpad; it’s responsive and has a non-glossy surface that is comfortable to use. The only drawback is it’s a little on the small side. For serious gaming, you’re going to want to invest in a USB mouse.

Where the Qosmio really falls down is on battery life. Given the specifications we didn’t expect much in terms of longevity but the Qosmio F750 gave out after only 74 minutes. It’s a problem, but not a deal-breaker. The F750 isn’t trying to be an ultraportable and to buy it thinking so is a mistake. In fact, its big brother the Qosmio X770-107 couldn’t even manage an hour and gave out after 44 minutes.

We can’t help but like the Qosmio a lot and its decisive pros and cons list should make it an easy decision. If you want hardcore visuals and processing power, we’d recommend it – although we’d advise you to also invest in a decent USB mouse and keyboard.

If you’re less fussed about power over battery, and don’t like 3D, then save your £1,300 for a different machine.

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Packard Bell EasyNote TS11

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 Packard Bell EasyNote TS11

ThePackard Bell EasyNote range might not be as front-and-centre as Dell’s Inspiron or HP’s Pavilion brands, but nevertheless has established itself in our minds as a home for mid-level laptops at budget-level prices.

And we’re happy to report that the EasyNote TS11-HR-695UK is a similarly reliable slice of mid-level computing goodness.

It shares the same floral pattern as other Packard Bell EasyNote laptops. There are also a range of colours to choose from, but the pattern is harder to pick out on the black model than the red or white versions. The pattern continues on the palm rest inside the laptop, although the keyboard and rest of the chassis is matte black.

The keyboard itself is a full-length affair with an additional numerical keypad and a couple of extra hotkeys thrown in. The chicklet keys are great for typing on and the overall experience is excellent. There are no issues with odd-sized buttons as common keys like Enter, Backspace and Shift are all well-proportioned and where you would expect to find them.

The touchpad has the same glossy coating as the lid and palmrest and is a little on the sensitive side, although you can adjust this in Windows. It’s not the largest around but the single click button works well.

Impressive performance

Unlike the bigger TS13 models, the EasyNote TS11 sports a smaller, Intel Core i3 CPU which works to keep the cost down. However, in terms of performance, we were impressed at the 8159 score this machine posted following our benchmarking tests. Even though it’s the budget choice, this dual-core chip will give you a smooth experience when multitasking.

Thanks to a capacious 6GB of RAM we had no problems quickly working around several documents, even with multiple web pages open and music streaming.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 249 minutes
Cinebench: 8159
3DMark 2006: 4346

Graphics are handled by the integrated graphics chip bundled onto the Sandy Bridge CPU and provides a reliable, if basic, experience. You can safely manage older games and a spot of photo editing but beware of anything more demanding.

Connectivity is similar to other laptops at this price point. There are three USB ports for peripherals and HDMI and VGA connections for external displays. You can use the 802.11n Wi-Fi connection or the Ethernet wired port for connecting to the internet and there’s a Kensington security slot for locking the EasyNote TS11 securely.

There’s no doubt that the EasyNote TS11 is a friendly machine. From its decorative pattern, to the social networking hotkey, this seems like a safe choice for a mid-level laptop. Beyond that, though, there’s some serious performance underneath. For this price point we reckon the Packard Bell EasyNote TS11 stands as a secure and reliable purchase.

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HP dm4-3000ea Beats Edition

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 HP dm4-3000ea Beats Edition

HP’s Pavilion range was never going to offer the same ‘wow factor’ as its premium Envy line and we couldn’t pick out its previous dm4 Pavilion in a line up.

But HP’s new dm4-3000ea Pavilion Beats Edition is far from anonymous.

Thanks to the ubiquity of Beats Audio technology, HP has decided to give its non-descript dm4 Pavilion a chassis overhaul and specs update. That upgrade does bump up the price to £849, so it’s not the very best value for money, but the Beats redesign is a success for various reasons.

It looks super-modern without being too cool for school, enjoys a solid feel for a 14-inch multimedia portable and – most importantly – it sounds absolutely fantastic.

Punching above its weight

Despite its slinky dimensions (338 x 225 x 32 mm), the dm4-3000ea is fairly heavy. A weight of 2kg for such a small chassis is surprising, but every component – including the great backlit keyboard – feels robust and well-made (although it’s not the solid mag-alloy chassis that HP puts in its Envy laptops; just serviceable plastic here).

The board marries the same soft red and matte black hues that adorns the case. The Beats logo also sits front and centre, which could annoy, but the font design is so nice it actually really works.

It can be hard to type on dinkier laptops’ keyboards, but the dm4-3000ea Pavilion Beats Edition is the exception to the rule . It felt much better than the first dm4 Pavilion board and has isolated chiclet keys with a solid bounce.

HP has also binned the miniature navigation keys, making it fine to use for long periods for multi-tasking and browsing online. Our only bone of contention was the unresponsive touch tech on the trackpad which is still a novelty.

The 14-inch display is powered by 1366 x 768 LED-backlit BrightView screen, which works perfectly well in most brightness conditions. It’s not over-glossy and coped admirably with the darker hues of The Dark Knight. We also had no problems streaming high-definition video content. Clearly, the HP dm4-3000ea Pavilion Beats Edition won’t have any problems performing most multimedia tasks.

HP also gets bonus points for adding one of the better in-built webcams available. Thanks to the TrueVision low-light tech, it managed to pick us out accurately enough in murky lighting.

Under the hood

HP beats laptop

The rest of the specs under the hood are decent enough to make sure HP’s dm4-3000ea Pavilion Beats Edition didn’t suffer any staccato playback – even on number crunching apps.

HP has bundled a 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5-2450M processor, a 500GB SATA hard drive and 4GB of memory with space for two more sticks if you fancy an upgrade. That should be enough oomph to boot the OS from cold in no time at all… but, irritatingly, HP has added the usual bloatware gubbins to slow everything down. That said, some of the pre-loaded software, like Norton and Windows Office Starter Edition is actually useful.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 174 minutes
Cinebench: 5629
3DMark 2006: 5622

Performance in our lab tests produced steady if unspectacular results, especially when you consider the power available from that Intel Core i5 chip. A score of 5629 in our processor benchmarks means that it’s more than adept at multitasking, but it does seem low when compared with laptops such as the Packard Bell TS11 which achieved better lab tests.

Graphics were equally unspectacular, and we also got a mid-range score of 5622 in our 3D Mark tests. This is enough for light gaming, thanks to 1GB of dedicated graphics on its AMD Radeon HD 7470M GPU. Just don’t expect to get anything out of Battlefield 3 or Modern Warfare 3, though.

The 174-minute battery life using Battery Eater Pro’s Readers’ Test was pretty good – especially when you bear in mind that it has a 6-cell battery.

So, the question remains, how do you get enjoy audio fidelity on such a small laptop? The simple answer is to plug in decent headphones and bypass the traditionally tinny laptop speakers.

If you’re not a fan of headphones, a more permanent solution is to upgrade to superior audio components.

While the Beats audio results good, you still can’t been hooking up a decent set of speakers. That said, for audio on the go, the dm4-3000ea Pavilion Beats Edition comes highly recommended – and HP even throws in a pair of Dr Dre’s Solo headphones as part of the package.

Overall the HP dm4-3000sa is a capable portable laptop, for those who want style while they’re on the move. Admittedly, it’s not packed with power, and there are lighter machines for the money, but the Beats credentials give it cool credibility that will attract students and younger users.

Anyone who does invest will be rewarded with a solid performer capable of work and play on the move, but those with demanding needs will want to look at portables backed up by a bit more grunt.

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Acer TravelMate 8481T

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 Acer TravelMate 8481T

When it comes to battery life, Acer’s TravelMate 8481T is the laptop to beat. It’s not all that surprising when you see the battery protruding from the back of the chassis, practically doubling the breadth of the machine.

But, if you need to pack the TravelMate away, simply unclip the battery and it shrinks from 41mm thick to only 24mm. Our battery benchmark test – supplemented with looped high-def video – took 326 minutes to run down the TravelMate, so we’d expect that this machine would get you through a mains-free eight hour day with standard use.

Apart from the battery, there are other features that mark this laptop out as a travel device. Its 14-inch screen dispenses with Super-TFT reflective coating, instead opting for a matt-TFT finish. This means that, while movies and pictures won’t look as colourful or vibrant, the TravelMate can be used in bright environments – like airports or train carriages without annoying glare being reflected on the screen.

Even with the screen brightness set to maximum, the display is noticeably darker than other laptops. This is an extra way to maximise battery performance, as the biggest drain on any laptop’s power supply is keeping the screen bright.

There’s also a fingerprint scanner nestled between the click buttons below the touchpad, lending saved documents an extra layer of security.

Boasting Acer’s favoured raised keyboard, typing is also comfortable, thanks to a decent amount of travel, but not without some serious flex. Because the battery protrudes the way it does, you’re typing at a raised angle, much more comfortable than on a traditional flat laptop.

While we might be tempted to lump the TravelMate in with the Port

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Lenovo IdeaPad U300S

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 Lenovo IdeaPad U300S

Overview

The wait for the flurry of Intel ultrabooks is over, and the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S is among the latest super thin and light Windows laptops to come to the fore.

It joins the likes of the Toshiba Portege Z830, Toshiba Satellite Z830, Asus Zenbook UX31 and Acer Aspire S3 in the ultrabook range, a new kind of laptop category that is critically important for the future of the entire market.

Ultrabooks are super-thin, light, sleek and powerful laptops that aim to emulate Apple’s recent gains with the Apple MacBook Air, and finally give consumers a reason to invest in PCs again.

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S is the last in the current line of ultrabooks to hit the shelves, and with a host of new models rumoured to be released at CES 2012 in January, it needs to offer a potent mix of power, great looks and competitive price to stand out among the early salvos from Acer, Asus and Toshiba.

However, our first impressions are underwhelming.

Lenovo hasn’t obsessed over aesthetics, and this laptop is no Apple MacBook Air clone. It seems chunky next to the wafer-thin Asus Zenbook, which features a wedge-shaped design that tapers off to a thin, blade-like point.

The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S retains its 16mm thickness across the chassis, giving it the impression of being squat.

The body is aluminium, and weighs 1.4kg, the same as the Acer Aspire S3, but much heavier than the Toshiba Portege Z830 and the Toshiba Satellite Z830-10U. If you’re looking for an ultrabook that will turn heads, you will most likely look elsewhere, but can the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S impress with power?

Specifications

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

Under the hood of the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S is an Intel Core i5 processor, which we were slightly disappointed to see, when other manufacturers have managed to add Intel Core i7 processors to a smaller, lighter chassis.

The processor is one of Intel’s low-voltage chips, which balances power with decent battery life and enables system builders to keep their laptops svelte, and achieve the standard required for ultrabook branding.

The low voltage family of processors are part of Intel’s Sandy Bridge range, but don’t expect the same performance as on full laptop systems such as the Dell XPS 15z. These processors are clocked at a meagre 1.6GHz, but have some cunning tech built in to keep the system optimised.

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

There’s Intel’s fast booting technology, which enables the Lenovo to resume from sleep and boot from cold in seconds, and makes a huge difference. It’s one of the best ultrabook features, but it’s not exclusive to the Lenovo.

We have seen better processors elsewhere, such as the Asus Zenbook with its Intel Core i7 processor, and this affects performance.

There’s also 4GB of RAM, which is standard across all ultrabooks and provides enough memory for keeping the system feeling responsive.

Finally, there’s a 128GB SSD drive, which we’re glad to say is becoming standard on ultrabooks, but whether you can live on that is debatable. Yes, you can employ an external HDD, but the question for many is whether an ultrabook can function as a primary machine, or whether it must be complemented by a full-form computer.

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

The lack of connections on the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S means using this as a primary laptop is difficult, which is a bugbear.

While the whole world goes wireless, and we start to store data in the cloud, 128GB of storage seems plenty. Cloud apps and storage are taking the strain off disc drives, but connectivity is the problem. The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S features just two USB ports, one of these being USB 3.0, and an HDMI port but no Ethernet or VGA.

The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S is also the only ultrabook not to feature a media card slot, and with only two USB slots on offer, connectivity is severely limited.

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

The result is that it’s harder to get online, and we found it frustrating when hopping between offices and meeting rooms when wireless signal was poor, or non-existent. That’s not a problem for home users, but with the matt screen and less attractive lines, we feel this ultrabook is aimed at mobile workers.

The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S features a 13.3-inch display, and in a nod to true portability, the screen is matt, with a coating to stop reflections in direct sunlight.

Matt screens tend to polarise opinion, with many complaining that it makes the panel dull and lifeless, versus others who love the ability to work outside and near windows with them.

The truth is that both of these statements are true, and the Lenovo is totally unsuitable for those who want to enjoy movies and pictures, but it’s a great choice for people who want to work on the move.

Performance

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Benchmarks
Cinebench: 7,244
3D Mark: 3,394
Battery Eater: 232 mins

The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S’s less powerful Intel Core i5 processor showed through in our lab tests, and the 7,244 score in Cinebench is on the low side when compared to the Asus Zenbook UX31 and Acer Aspire S3.

In real-world terms, this is more than enough processing power to run advanced programs such as Photoshop, although rendering will take longer than on full-powered Intel Core processors and ultrabooks with the Core i7 model. You’ll have no problem running multiple applications at the same time, though.

There’s no dedicated graphics card, so 3D effects are left to the GPU found on the Intel Sandy Bridge processor. As you might expect, it produces a poor score, and you won’t be playing any of the latest titles on the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S.

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

There’s enough graphical grunt to deal with HD video, so you can watch a movie on the move, but anything more demanding is out of the question, and the screen won’t make movies look their best anyway.

The battery life was decent, if unspectacular, with 232 minutes of use in our harsh lab tests. This translates to around five hours of web surfing and emailing, which equates to a good day on the move, but nowhere near the seven hours quoted by Lenovo on its marketing literature.

One of the major complaints across many ultrabooks is that they often feature poor, uncomfortable keyboards, and single button trackpads that are frustrating to use, and easy to skip across the page with unintentionally. Unfortunately, the Lenovo suffers here too.

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

On the plus side the keys are as comfortable and natural to use as any ultrabook here, and they’re well cushioned and well spaced, with isolation-style keys jutting through the aluminium chassis.

However, Lenovo has made the Enter and Backspace keys very small, with the Home, End and Delete key to the far right.

This meant mistakes were common, and it took us a while to get used to the keyboard. The trackpad, however, is terrible, and often clicking and navigating led to chaotic moments, where clicks were mis-registered.

Verdict

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

When it comes to weighing up the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S, “average” is a word that crops up too often. It looks average, performance is average despite being thicker and heavier than other ultrabooks, and the keyboard and trackpad are still awkward to use. It doesn’t have the power to turn heads, nor to blow away the likes of the Acer Aspire S3 in terms of performance, and that means it’s hard to recommend, even for particular niches.

The matt screen will make it attractive for business buyers, but the lack of a VGA and Ethernet connection mean that many will overlook this laptop.

We liked

Despite our gripes with the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S, it’s still an excellent ultra-portable laptop. If it had come out before the other ultrabooks, we’d be applauding the excellent design and performance, and the Intel Core i5 is plenty powerful enough for image editing and advanced multitasking.

While we’d never recommend the screen for movies, we applaud Lenovo for offering a matt screen, which is great for people who want to work outside.

The keyboard is comfortable and easy to type on, with good travel between the keys, and good cushioning for long working sessions.

We disliked

Rather than complaining about poor trackpads, we’re going to get down on our knees and beg manufacturers instead. Please believe us that single button trackpads are prone to mistakes and frustrating to use. Stop mimicking Apple and adding them to your laptops.

We also would have liked the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S to be more visually striking. Ultrabooks aren’t just supposed to be thin laptops, they’re supposed to be a new category, where we can get excited about our PCs, take them to Starbucks and sit among our Apple-using friends with our heads held high.

There’s little here to boast about, and that’s a real shame.

Final verdict

The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S is a good ultra-portable laptop, but as an ultrabook, it doesn’t offer any compelling reasons to choose it over the competition.

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Toshiba Satellite Z830-10U

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 Toshiba Satellite Z830-10U

Overview

If you wanted a stylishly light and powerful Toshiba laptop, you would immediately look to the Japanese company’s Portege R830. That is, until you came across the Toshiba Satellite Z830-10U, priced at £999 in the UK (the US price isn’t yet available).

Toshiba’s shiny entry into the ultrabook market will go up against the likes of the Acer Aspire S3 and the Asus Zenbook UX21.

These super light and thin laptops are already among us, and are aiming to take some of the limelight away from the Apple MacBook Air. Helped by chip manufacturer Intel, which laid out very specific price and performance requirements for manufacturers, the Ultrabook is set to become a common sight in 2012.

At its thickest point, the Satellite Z830-10U measures only 16mm across, but Toshiba has still packed in Sandy Bridge power and given us one of the best trackpads we’ve yet seen on an ultrabook. It’s not without niggles, however, and we found parts of the chassis to be inferior to stronger machines such as the Asus Zenbook and the MacBook Air.

Toshiba satellite z830-10u review

The 13.3-inch Satellite Z830-10U is truly an ultrabook for the road. Giving us not only the lightest chassis we’ve yet seen, but also an excellent battery life, this could be the answer for frequent travellers who need a long-lasting machine full of performance for under £1,000.

Although this has the same 128GB solid state drive (SSD) that we’ve seen elsewhere, it offers better connectivity than other ultrabooks currently on the market. In what could quickly become its main selling point, the Toshiba Satellite Z830-10U gives you three USB ports, of which one is USB 3.0, and an Ethernet connection – the only ultrabook to do so.

We enjoyed our time with the Toshiba Satellite Z830-10U and looked past a couple of irritating points to find that it is certainly one of the ultrabooks you should be considering.

It sits alongside cheaper brother the Toshiba Satellite Z830-10T, which costs £899 in the UK or $849 in the US, while Toshiba’s Port

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Corsair Vengeance Racing Red 16GB

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 Corsair Vengeance Racing Red 16GB

Not only is a new extreme/enthusiast Intel platform a boon for motherboard manufacturers, it’s also very good news for the memory manufacturers. It’s been a long time since the memory guys had any good news, so the fact that the X79 platform comes with a special quad-channel memory configuration is great. Isn’t it?

Corsair thinks so, and has released a new lineup of RAM modules set up for the platform. The latest range of quad-channel Vengeance kits are rated at 1,866MHz out of the box, with full XMP 1.3 compliance built in.

Like the G.Skill RipJawsZ kit, the XMP 1.3 makes for a slightly tighter integration of the use of memory profiling to make setting clockspeeds, latencies and voltages correctly for any supporting motherboard.

Memory matters

The difficulty for companies such as Corsair is that these days, memory actually makes little difference at the top end. The performance difference between a decent 1,600MHz kit and a pacier 1,866MHz bumper pack is small, especially at this thick end of the memory capacity wedge.

With 16GB of DDR3 jammed into your machine, whether it’s running at 1,600MHz or 1,866MHz, it’s going to be going like a greased weasel down a slide. The difference in gaming is negligible – for example, there was just one frame in it with our World in Conflict benchmark, which can easily be put down to simple testing variance.

More immediately obvious is the difference in actual memory bandwidth. The Corsair Vengeance Racing Red kit manages a whopping 42GB/s against the 1,600MHz G.Skill kit’s 38GB/s. Even at the lowest ebb, you’re still getting great numbers.

In overclocking terms, the Corsair kit was rock-solid at its rated frequency in our Sandy Bridge E tests, easily getting up to the same 4.8GHz overclock that the G.Skill kit managed. Neither kit will bat above its rated speeds though. As hard as we tried, we couldn’t push the Vengeance Racing Red modules up to the next point, 2,133MHz. But really that’s just willy-waving. Such speeds don’t give you a huge amount of extra real-world performance for your money.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Video encoding performance
X264 v4.0: FPS: Higher is better
Corsair Vengeance: 55
G.Skill RipJaws-Z: 55

Memory bandwidth
SiSoft Sandra: GB/S: Higher is better
Corsair Vengeance: 42
G.Skill RipJaws-Z: 38

Gaming performance
WiC: FPS: Higher is better
Corsair Vengeance: 112
G.Skill RipJaws-Z: 111

And therein lies the rub. This Corsair kit is on the market for around £133 at the time of writing, whereas the slightly slower G.Skill kit can be picked up for less than a ton. Is the extra performance really going to be worth the cash you’re stumping up for the extra clockspeed?

As a gamer, the answer will most likely be no. Realistically for us PC gaming folk, even the G.Skill kit is probably overkill, and speeding up those modules won’t give you much extra either.

For Photoshop obsessives and video manipulation junkies, £133 for 16GB of superfast DDR3 probably isn’t a bad deal. But that’s a bit of a niche market for such an enthusiast product. None of that can take away from the fact that these Corsair modules run perfectly at their rated specs, happily keeping the system ticking over during all the overclocking.

But as we’ve said, it’s a niche product. Most of us wont need the heights of this kit, though the same could easily be said of the whole Sandy Bridge E platform. So, in for a penny and all that…

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