If you could design your own laptop in an effort to have the perfect balance of performance, price, size, weight, and features, what would you include and what could you live without? As part of its Blue Label program, Best Buy asked that question of its customers--accepting as much feedback as its customers could give and then channeling that information back to the laptop manufacturers it partners with. The ensuing results of this feedback now manifest themselves in the three current Best Buy Blue Label exclusive laptop offerings: the Dell Studio s15Z-2249CPN, Sony Vaio VPCS11FM/S, and Toshiba Satellite E205-S1904.
All three of these laptops have a fair bit in common: They are all mainstream laptop designs, powered by Intel Core i5 processors, they come with 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM memory, and include generous 500GB hard drives. (They are somewhat diminutive as mainstream laptops go, but they're not quite thin-and-light laptops either.) The Toshiba (14-inch display, 2.53GHz Core i5) is the least expensive of the group, with an $899.99 price tag (which was just reduced from $999.99); the Dell (15.6-inch display, 2.53GHz Core i5) sells for $999.99, and the Sony (13.3-inch display, 2.26GHz Core i5) is the most expensive, at $1,049.99. In our opinion, however, the Toshiba is the sexiest-looking of the bunch, and we were fortunate enough to get it in for testing.
One other thing that these three laptops have in common is that they all include Intel's new WiDi (Wireless Display) technology and come with a Netgear Push2TV WiDi adapter. WiDi is a new 802.11n-based technology from Intel that allows a laptop to wirelessly transmit its display to a TV's HDMI connection at a 720p resolution. These three laptops are the first such devices on the market to support the WiDi technology--but you should start seeing WiDi built into more Core i5 and Core i3 laptops in the coming months. We got our first peek at WiDi back in January at CES; and as promised, with the Toshiba Satellite E205-S1904, we finally had our chance to spend some hands-on time with the technology. More about WiDi shortly, but in the meantime, here's a bit more about the E205...
Toshiba managed to cram a lot of mobile computing goodness into the E205's svelte design, including both VGA and HDMI outputs, a digital media reader, and even an eSATA port. There are a few compromises in the E205's design, however, including no Gigabit Ethernet support, no Bluetooth, and no ExpressCard slot, as well as integrated graphics that will leave mobile gamers wanting.