Around HawaiiOceanic Time Warner Cable's Community Website
OceanicspacerRoad Runner Mailspacerspacer

Aloha! It's Friday, October 24, 2014

Google
 

Business :: Technology :: Business Computing :: The Art of Picking a Laptop

The Art of Picking a Laptop

User Graphic
 Based on 0 member reviews
HELP ME WITH RATINGS

It seems not a week goes by that we are asked "what's the best laptop computer out there nowadays?" Sure, we can spout off with a slick answer involving the use of "best practices" to "assess your requirements" and get your "best value." But of course, the real question is "who makes reliable computers that are cheap?" The truth of the matter is that no matter how many different criteria come into play, first and foremost is cost.

With that in mind, we reviewed a couple of laptops from two of the major vendors out there.

To start, we looked at the IBM Thinkpad R51, model 1830-G7U. Retail price is $1,849.00, while the lowest "street" price we could find was around $1,800. Note that this pricing is for the laptop only and doesn't include a docking station, carrying case or any other extras you might like.

The technical specifications included all the standard stuff for laptops these days (see sidebar).

First impression - this keyboard is cool. For lack of a better explanation, the best we can say is it feels...solid. Kind of like in Jurassic Park, "Is it heavy? That means it's expensive." Although IBM has a technical explanation for it, the fact is they've done a good job of making the keyboard feel heavy.

Another interesting thing about the IBM keyboard is that there is no "Windows" key. You know, the one with the wavy Windows logo on it that brings up the "Start" menu? It's nowhere to be found. IBM explains "(we) have opted to retain the traditional full sized keyboard layout with full sized keys in a 7 row format. In lieu of substituting a Windows key and/or switching around the placement, or consolidation of the traditional keyboard layout, standard key spacing has been retained for maximum end user comfort." IBM goes on to add that a key-remapping utility is available if you really want Windows key functionality.

We have to agree that a full size keyboard is certainly a desirable feature. Of course, conspiracy theorists out there have other reasons for the lack of a Windows key. After all, last time we checked, a cool Linux logo has yet to be created.

Another nifty feature of this laptop is IBM's proprietary Active Protection System (APS). This thing is pretty slick. It continuously monitors the movement of the laptop and temporarily stops the hard drive when unexpected movement is detected. There is even a graphical display that shows you what position the laptop is in, whether it is flat on your desk, or being swung through the air by an upset customer. Since this laptop was on loan from IBM, we didn't test this feature too drastically.

Other than that, there's nothing much else exciting about this machine - which is a good thing. It's what you want in a reliable, business-class computer and is plenty fast enough for the ordinary user. This particular model's display resolution maxes out at 1024x768, which is good enough for most folks on a 14" screen. Lately, we've seen a lot of laptops with these specifications - this helps to keep weight and power requirements down. External monitors are supported up to 2048x1536.

Although it weighs in at a relatively average 5.7 pounds (verified by the ISDI men's room scale), it feels light. Any road warrior (or is it road rainbow?) will confirm that even half a pound makes a big difference when schlepping gear around the country.

The second laptop we looked at was the Hewlett Packard Compaq Business Notebook nc6000. This particular model, DP894A (also affectionately known as the Cnc6000QP160X440WGn51Pe - really), retails for $1,899, with a price of around $1,800. Again, this is for the basic laptop only. We added an optional HP W500 wireless network card, which adds another $80 to the street price.

The technical specifications are strikingly similar to the IBM R51 (see sidebar), the primary difference being that the HP has 512mb of RAM while the IBM only has 256mb. Of course, the HP is not equipped with IBM's proprietary APS.

The HP weighs in at 5.07 lbs (again verified by the ISDI men's room scale). As we've mentioned, every half pound makes a difference. With the HP, this is no exception. This is one of the lightest "standard" business class laptops we've seen. Sure, there are other models that may be lighter, but not with a 14" display. Another trick used by various vendors (including HP and IBM) is to lighten their load is by "externalizing" components such as a CD/DVD drive. Of course, the external device(s) are not counted when tallying up the total weight. More often than not, you're going to take these devices with you when you travel anyway, and you're just asking for trouble by running your laptop with the devices sometimes in and sometimes out.

Like the R51, the nc6000 is marketed as a reliable business class computer. It should be more than fast enough for the ordinary user. Its built-in display, like the R51, is limited to 1024x768, external monitors are supported up to 1600x1200.

The nc6000 has a Windows key, and, while its keyboard is not as impressive as the IBM's, it is full width and large enough for even the fattest of fingers. This model also has 3 programmable "Quick Launch Buttons" which automatically start programs or processes.

Both the IBM and the HP come with a 3-year parts and labor warranty from 2 of the most reputable organizations in the industry.

So which one do we recommend? The solid keyboard and APS of the IBM give it an edge over the HP, but the fact of the matter is that you really can't go wrong with either.

Specifications:

IBM R51 1830-G7U
  • Pentium Mobile 725 processor running at 1.6 MHz
  • RAM: 256mb (max 2gb)
  • Hard drive: 40GB
  • Display: 14-inch color TFT XGA
  • Video memory: 32MB
  • 16-bit sound, Line out/headphone and microphone jacks
  • Optical Drive: DVD/CD-RW Combo
  • High speed 56K mode
  • Integrated 10/100/1000 NIC
  • Integrated 802.11 a/b/g wireless
  • Battery: 6-cell Lithium-Ion battery
HP Compaq nc6000 DP894A
  • Pentium Mobile 725 processor running at 1.6 MHz
  • RAM: 512mb (max 2gb)
  • Hard drive: 40GB
  • Display: 14-inch color TFT XGA
  • Video memory: 32MB
  • 16-bit sound, Line out/headphone and microphone jacks
  • Optical drive: DVD/CD-RW Combo
  • High speed 56K mode
  • Integrated 10/100/1000 NIC
  • Integrated 802.11 a/b/g wireless (optional)
  • Battery: 6-cell Lithium-Ion battery
Software:
Windows XP Service Pack SP1 (SP2 had just been released at time of writing); Microsoft Office (including Outlook); Mozilla Firefox; Symantec Anti-Virus; Ad-aware Spyware Removal.

The views and information contained are not provided or endorsed by Oceanic Time Warner Cable or any its affiliates. The content provided is for general information and entertainment purposes only. Please seek professional advice before acting on any information contained within this web site. Any unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


Add Your Own Comment

Please be short and to the point, and respect the other voices in the discussion. You may edit and delete comments for up to three days after date of post. We reserve the right to edit or delete inappropriate comments. For more information read our site policies »

In order to comment, you must be logged in. Login | Register | Help

20140421-20150419_IBNS-Hawaii

Puna
Regarding the Kilauea volcano lava flow.

John Agsalud Articles

»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»



Send This Person a Message


Email Article to a Friend


Become a Columnist
Are you an expert in your own field? Do you know somebody who is? Fill out our online form and tell us about it. We'll select and consider those who fit the bill!



Oceanic on Twitter Oceanic on Facebook