HotHardware Holiday Buyer's Guide 2008

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For the Mobile Minded

While putting together your own rig is rewarding and fun, there are plenty of times when we need both functionality and portability. If you’re considering buying a netbook or notebook, but aren’t sure which to choose, let us make a few suggestions.

Netbooks -

Asus N10Jc-A1 - $639

For a beefy netbook, consider the Asus N10Jc-A1. This netbook sports a 10.2-inch monitor, NVIDIA GeForce 9300M graphics, and an Intel Atom N270 processor running at 1.6 GHz. This netbook runs either Windows Vista Home Basic or Windows XP Home, and also offers the latest Express Gate for ultra fast boot up and access to commonly used features such as a Web browser, instant messenger, Skype, photo manager, music player, and online gaming. For security, the N10Jc-A1 offers facial recognition and a RF biometric fingerprint reader.

Lenovo Ideapad S10 - $399

Designed for affordable, low-powered, and lightweight mobile computing, the Lenovo Ideapad S10 offers a well-rounded feature set. This netbook features a 10.2-inch widescreen display, Intel Atom N270 Processor @ 1.6 GHz, 1 GB of DDR2-533 Memory, a 160GB Western Digital 5,400rpm hard drive, 802.11 B/G and Bluetooth, and a 1.3 Megapixel Bezel Camera and Microphone. Lenovo also included a PCI Express card slot in this netbook, which is something you won’t often find in other netbooks.

Acer Aspire One Mini A150-1570 - $349

If a smaller netbook is in your future, then the Acer Aspire One Mini A150-1570 might be what you’re looking for. This netbook has an 8.9-inch display, yet still offers Microsoft Windows XP, an Intel Atom processor running at 1.6GHz, a 120GB hard drive, and 1GB of DDR2 RAM. It also has a memory card reader that supports Memory Stick and Memory Stick PRO, SD, and xD-Picture Card formats.  Even though this netbook has a smaller screen than the aforementioned 10-inch models, it still supports a max resolution of 1,024 x 600. At just 2.2 pounds, this thing is quite portable, as well.

Notebooks -

Sony VAIO FW290NEB - $961

As an affordable, mid-range, multimedia notebook, the Sony VAIO FW290NEB features a 16.4-inch XBRITE-ECO display that is great for watching movies with its 1,920 x 1,080 resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio. The notebook has a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor with the Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD. It also has 2GB of DDR2-667 SDRAM, a 250GB 7,200 rpm hard drive, and a DVD+R double layer/DVD±RW drive. 


Lenovo IdeaPad Y530 - $799

For an even more modest notebook that perhaps is also a little bit easier to carry around, with its 15.4" widescreen format, we'd recommend looking at the Lenovo IdeaPad Y530.  This new machine from Lenovo is built on Intel's Centrino 2 mobile platform but this particular SKU we've linked up here also comes with a discrete NVIDIA GeForce 9300M 256MB graphics engine.  It comes as is with 2GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive but you can customize and upgrade of course with another base model if you like.  We'll be taking an in-depth look at this machine in the coming weeks actually.  We have one on the test-bed right now as a matter of fact, so stay tuned!

Lenovo ThinkPad T500 20823HU - $1,179

The Lenovo ThinkPad T500 20823HU is a business-class workhorse that packs an Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile processor (@ 2.26GHz), ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650, 160GB hard drive, DVD+-RW DL burner, and 2GB of DDR3 RAM. It also has a 15.4-inch Active Matrix LCD TFT display that supports a max resolution of 1,680 x 1,050. It runs on Windows Vista Business. In terms of connectivity, the ThinkPad T500 offers wireless Ethernet, 10/100/1000 Ethernet, audio line in/out, Bluetooth, FireWire, USB, and VGA ports.  It also has an Express Card slot and multimedia card reader that supports Memory Stick and Memory Stick PRO, MultiMedia Card, SD, SDHC, and xD-Picture Card.


Dell XPS M1730 DYDZMJ12 - $3,434

This high-end Dell XPS M1730 comes with an Intel Core 2 Duo Extreme X9000 processor that runs at 2.8GHz and has an 800MHz FSB and 6MB of L2 cache. In this beast, you’ll also find 4GB of dual channel DDR2 memory running at 667MHz, two 200GB hard drives running at 7,200rpm with a free fall sensor, NVIDIA SLI Dual GeForce 8700MGT GPUs with 512MB GDDR3 memory each, and a CD / DVD burner. In terms of display, the XPS M1730 utilizes a 17-inch UltraSharp TrueLife widescreen WUXGA.


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