Reviews related to : Laptops

Laptops have evolved over the years from a poor cousin of their more powerful desktop brethren to today, where for many manufacturers, laptops outsell desktops.

The focus has moved to laptops with huge investment in improving performance and reducing power consumption. You will still however find even those that claim to be 'desktop replacements' to be slower than a desktop product, and this is likely to remain the case for some time.

If it's raw power you want stick to a desktop computer!

878289 Acer Nitro 5 1

Acer Nitro 5

Most people think of Acer for their comprehensive Aspire range which varies hugely from entry level to really powerful business machines, they also have the Predator range of gaming systems and as I recently found another range call Nitro, here I am looking at the Nitro 5.
The Acer Nitro 5measures is 39x26x2.5cm and weights 2.454kilos. This is of course a powerful machine likely to be used by gamers. This means that battery life may not be that great, the best I got streaming video was around four hours. I see the figure quoted is ‘up to 8.5 hours’. So going around the outside has a Kensington Lock port, an Ethernet port, USB ‘C’, HDMI, USB3 and SD Card socket. The front is clear apart from the speakers that are under the cut away corners.
877997 ASUS ZenBook Flip S Touchscreen Lapto

ASUS ZenBook

I saw this at the launch last year and despite two representatives of ASUS saying it would be available from tomorrow, it has taken a whole lot of tomorrows to pass before I managed to finally get one into my hands to review.
ZenBook means it is both a Notebook and Tablet and unlike a couple of recent machines this has a good amount of storage and indeed it arrived complete with V1709 of Windows 10 the latest update that has finally very recently struggled onto my own PC despite it trying to upgrade to it since mid December. It is 30.5x21.5x1.2cm the last figure at the back but this is half that at the front and it weighs 1110 grams. The viewable screen is 29.3x16.
This is part of a range of gaming notebooks from Acer. While I openly admit that I am no gamer other reviews will tell you what this and other units in the Predator range can accomplish in the gaming area I concentrate on its other features.
The Acer Predator is a 17.3 inch high performance gaming laptop measuring 42x28x2.5cm and weights just short of 3kilos at 2.94kilos. This is a powerful beast that has the whole rear to dissipate the heat a heady gaming session is likely to create. The left side has a Kensington lock socket, Ethernet port, USB ‘C’ port, HDMI out, USB3 port and an SD Card slot.
Small enough to use on your lap and it comes with ‘ice cool’ technology to keep your palms cool something you will appreciate in the warmer months. The touchpad – a dirty word for some – has intuitive gestures and there is even decent sound from the Sonic Master chip.
This ASUS Notebook measures 33x23x1.5cm and weights 1473grams. The left side has DC input, Ethernet port, USB ‘C’, HDMI out, USB and an SD Card port, The front has three pin hole LEDs. The right side has a Kensington Lock port, a USB port and a 3.5mm headphone socket. The back is clear as the screen goes back over it to 135 degrees. There are four 1.5cm rubber feet on the base as well as the pair of speakers either side near the front.
A big silver grey notebook from Dell was their latest offering to land on my desk. A large screen and a surprisingly small keyboard almost lost with lots of free space all around it may not sound that encouraging for you to read on.
The Dell Inspiron 15 5000 measures 37.5x25x1.5cm and weight just over two kilos. Bootup is ten seconds and shutdown to blank desktop only two seconds. One fact I cannot normally give is that after a full charge and being left unused for ten days the battery was still 98% charged. The reasons for the lack of use were a nasty bug affecting me and then several trips out which meant that little was done workwise but since that useful fact is available I have shared it.
Combining the functionality of a notebook and tablet elements is a product from Acer
Adding to its extensive range of computer based products, Acer has released its Swift 3 offering.  While classified as a notebook type device, the Acer Swift 3 adopts the more modern style of product by incorporating the ability to split itself into two separate units.  A straightforward ripping motion is all that is required to turn the basic notebook format into a tablet and detachable keyboard arrangement.
The Swift range was launched a year ago in Glasgow and I have previously looked at a different model from the same range. This is a rather smart looking Notebook with the screen capable of going back to 180 degrees.
The Acer Swift 3 is an ultra-thin notebook measuring 33x23x1.5cm and weighing 1629 grams. The base has a 27x1cm strip of rubber and the two front corners a 3x1cm front to back strip to protect whatever you sit it on, this matters because the body is all metal. Looking at the Acer site finds 21 different Swift 3 models with various memory and processor combinations. The one I have has silver body an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD drive.
This Toughbook looks ‘normal’ which while it may sound like a criticism, it isn’t, some Toughbook’s are very rugged as they are used on building sites and other places where they get abused, here one that would not look out of place in a boardroom.
I first saw this over four months ago at a pre-launch briefing at Panasonics factory in Cardiff. The Panasonic Toughbook CF-XZ6 measures 28.5x22x2cm and weights 1.2kilos. The viewable screen is 25.5x17cm and it has the notional diagonal imperial screen measurement of 12inches and a screen resolution of 2160x1440 which never looks small even on the smaller than normal screen. There is a 2MP web cam and microphone in the centre at the top of the landscape screen.
This is a lightweight Windows Notebook/Tablet with – for me anyway – the all-important touch ability. Other things that might tempt you are USB ‘C’ and narrow screen borders on either side or the screen and the lack of Bloatware pre-installed.
The Lenovo Yoga 520 measures 32x23.5x1.5cm and it weighs 1710grams. The viewable screen is 31x17.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 13.7 inches, it would have been nice to have 1920x1080 display but the default is 1366x768 which becomes noticeable when viewing web pages. The left side has DC input, HDMI output, USB and USB ‘C’ ports and a 3.5mm socket for headphones. Both the front and back are clear, the base has a pair of speakers.
876297 acer spin 7 convertible windows PC laptop table

Acer Spin 7

This is both a Notebook and a Tablet computer. It is of course quite light which is nice if you are walking around with it all day but that means compromises the main one for me was the lack of a full size USB port which for some might be a problem.
The Acer Spin 7 measures 32x22.5x1cm and it weighs 1341grams. The diagonal screen measurement is 14inches and the recommended display is 1920x1080.This is an updated version of one the units I got to briefly try during last year’s Glasgow visit. At that point it had Windows 1511 and now via updates it has Windows 1703. It has on/off button on the left and beside this is a volume rocker, both the front and back are clear. The right side has a 3.
A notebook with decent Harman Kardon speakers, a not that reflective screen brushed metal front and a mushroom back which means not much to show finger marks all things that are plus points before we get on to what’s inside.
This Asus Zeonbook measures 32x22.2x1.5cm the last measurement is at the back and it is only 1cm at the front and it weighs 1320 grams. The viewable screen is 31x17.7cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 14 inches. The display is 1920x1080. The left side has DC input, USB port, HDMI port, USB 3.1 port and finally a 3.5mm socket for headphones. Both the back and front are clear. The right side has two USB2 ports and an SD card socket.
This is part of the Dell back to school/university range. A Chromebook is able to do a lot of things that a Windows or Apple computer can do, it can browse the Internet, collect and send emails and you can these days even store word processing and spreadsheets on it. What it cannot do is run Apple or Microsoft programs.
This Dell Chromebook measures 30x20.4x1.5cm and weighs 1290grams. The viewable screen is 25.5x14.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 11.6inches. The screen opens to 180 degrees. The base has four enlarged rubber bumps to keep the unit off your desk and allow the speakers to function, these are placed either side at the front of the base and give better sound – and more of it – than a lot of other notebooks.
This is one of a range recently launched at Thorpe Park on what in some parts of the country was the hottest day of the year. While it was an event I was unable to make I have been kept up to date by the excellent Acer PR Company, here the first offering sent to me.
This laptop from Acer measures 37.5x24.5x1cm at the front and 2cm at the back, it weights 2304grams. It has a grey back, black elsewhere apart from a matt very dark grey screen surround so less finger marks will show. The viewable screen is 34x19.5cm and is refreshingly matt so quite good in strong sunlight. The screen is 1920x1080 and has a notional diagonal imperial measurement of 15.6inches. There is a webcam built into the centre of the area above the screen.
As you might expect from its Toughbook classification the FZ-Q2 is a product that has been developed for use by professional field workers who require a device that can withstand the rigours of a workspace environment.
Developed by Panasonic, the FZ-Q2 combines a touchscreen element, which can double in the role of a laptop screen or tablet, with a spill resistant keypad.  Whereas other 2-in-1 laptop products that I have checked out arrived as a single unit, my review sample of the FZ-Q2 was delivered boxed as two separate units packaged within their own boxes.
Having recently told you about a Dell small Tower system with Windows 10 v1703 the next item to cross my desk again from Dell is a notebook in the same Vostro series that also comes with the latest incarnation of Windows 10 v1703.
While it is described as a ‘business’ unit I see no reason while it should not also be a ‘home’ unit. It is 33x23.5x2cm and weighs 1605grams. Apart from the hinge and the rubber strips that form the feet – which are black – it is totally grey, silver grey for the top and bottom and dark grey for the screen surround and keyboard area. This means finger marks tend not to show.
This is the latest non Windows PC from Acer, it’s the Chromebook 11. From the outside it looks identical to most other notebooks open it and one look at the keyboard tells you immediately that this is a Chromebook as the alpha keys are all lower case.
For those that want to surf the Web, collect and send emails and even write the odd tome then a Chromebook is fine. In fact the Chrome store now has a growing amount of Apps – I counted over six hundred - so you may be able to do more than already described. What it cannot do is run Windows programs or Apps and if that is required then Acer have lots of Notebook and Tablets that will do so.
My second laptop, and third as well, were both Acer units and could almost be regarded as desktop replacements. The same could not be said of this next Acer unit.
While its title might give you the impression that this next product could be the top-of-the-range offering, in fact the Acer Swift 1 is the opposite in this particular brand line up in its portfolio with regards to specifications.  My review sample is decked out in an obsidian black plastic casing, embossed with a silver Acer logo to add a touch of style to its brushed finish.  The device has dimensions of 339.4 x 234.9 x 17.
It has been a while since I last took a look at an Acer device. This drought was ended with the arrival of the Acer Spin 5.
Having told you about a Panasonic ToughPad now onto the really ‘tough boy’ of the group the ToughBook. This is built to withstand environments that you really should not expect a computer to function in, it has even been launched outside a weather balloon and still worked when it came back to earth.
The Panasonic ToughBook CF-20 measures 27x23x3.5cm and weighs 1750grams. The viewable screen is 21.6x13.6cm 2which gives the notional diagonal imperial display of 10.1inches which means you can use the Mobile versions of Word/Excel/Power Point for free. However the screen resolution is higher than the PC norm of 1920x1080 you have 1920x1200 which is WUXGA.