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!

Most items I get to review have Intel chips in and while specifications say something like Intel i5 or equivalent until I have tested an equivalent I am reluctant to say something will work. A while ago Parallels brought out a product that would allow Chromebooks to run Windows, most recent Chromebooks can run Android Apps but Windows was something new.
If your company or education establishment wants to save on the cost of Windows notebooks this Chromebook may help as it has the basic power and memory to run Parallels for Windows allowing you to run Windows in a ‘sandbox’ while still running Chrome on the machine your company will however still need Windows licenses for every Chromebook running it though, currently they are Windows 10.
If your company or education establishment wants to save on the cost of Windows notebooks this Chromebook may help as it has the basic power and memory to run Parallels for Windows allowing you to run Windows in a ‘sandbox’ while still running Chrome on the machine your company will however still need Windows licenses for every Chromebook running it though, currently they are Windows 10.
There is a list of Chromebooks from all the major players but so far only Acer have gone out of their way to find me units that qualify.  The basic requirements are an i5 Processor or equivalent, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage as with any such project more is better. Chromebooks are great for basic things like word processing, working with emails and browsing the Internet.
Here is a recent Chromebook from Acer, this is a powerful unit more than capable of running Chrome Apps and that also means Android Apps – although some may look a little strange with the swap from portrait to landscape – so things that you use every day on your phone can now be viewed that little larger in your living room as well as on the road.
The Acer Chromebook Spin measures 30x23x1.5cm, the last figure at the back if you measure at the front it's barely 1cm, it weighs 1368 grams. Going around the outside has USB ‘C’, USB3, 3.5mm socket for headphones and Micro SD card socket on the left side. The front is clear. The right side has volume rocker, HDMI out, USB ‘C’ and finally on/off button. The back is clear as the screen rotates 180 degrees to become a Tablet. The base has four landscape rubber feet 3x.
During Lockdown and afterwards I spent a lot of time online with Webinars and various Zoom and various other online meetings both work and friend related, far too often people were moaning about the times they could not get into group simply because Windows was spending ages upgrading, other were getting problems with bandwidth for various unconnected reasons. The polite version from many was I am going to get a Chromebook as they do what you want.
So here one of the latest range that may help them and if there are programs and Apps that you cannot do without them Chrome already allows access to the Android store so Apps on your phone now work on recent Chromebooks. Better still Parallels is just launching a program that allows you to run Windows on your Chromebook. This offering from Acer measures 30.5x205x1.5cm the last figure is the maximum thickness as at the front it is only 1cm thick, it weighs only 1125grams.
Available in two colours, when I delved into what colour I was sent I find it was listed as Pink but to me it’s more like a light violet. This is a rather nice and quiet powerful Laptop from a company known for producing top quality items.
It is 21.5x31.5x1.5cm the last figure is at the back, at the front it is only 1cm. The screen display is full HD 1920x1080 and the notional diagonal imperial screen measurement is 14 inches, it weighs 1428 grams. The connections on the left side are 3.5mm socket for headphones and a USB port. The front is clear.
While there are a good number of units that are stated to withstand both heat and cold as well as dust and wet there are a lesser number designed to work for longer periods in places where there is zero or very limited mains power available so this triple battery model might be the answer.
It is 34x28x3.5cm and weighs 3.15 kilos. The viewable screen is 30.5x17cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 14inches, out of the box the screen resolution is set at 150% but 125% should still be viewable and for those with perfect vision maybe 100%. The screen surround is 1.5cm on each side with 2.5cm at the base and 3cm at the top. Inset in the centre at the top is a webcam that has a vanity slider. On the area on the right side is a fingerprint reader.
This is a very powerful and also rather expensive offering but when you get a boot at six seconds and shutdown at two seconds this immediately tells you it will not be ‘cheap’ so what exactly does this latest offering from Porsche and marketed by Acer offer.
Porsche AP714-51GT laptop measures 32x19.5x1.5cm the last measurement is at the rear because at the front it is only 1cm thick. The viewable screen is 30.5x17.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of very close to 14 inches, the display is full HD 1920x1080 and the default is to show this at 150%. Going around the outside has connections on the left for power in, HDMI out, USB3 and USB ‘C’. The front is clear while the right side has a 3.
891461 Acer Swift 5 SF514 54T 14 inch Lapto

Acer Swift 5

This latest version of the Swift 5 is small and powerful and while it is intended for use when out and about, as it has a full size HDMI port there is no reason while it should not be used at home or even in the office if it is the latter then make good use of the Kensington Lock socket or someone else will be using it.
The Acer Swift 5 measures 31x21x1.5cm the last measurement is at the back of the side as it is only 1cm at the front edge. It weighs only a tad over a kilo at 1041 grams. It is gun metal grey in colour apart from the hinge at the back and the Acer logo on top which are both copper in colour. The screen goes back to 135 degrees and the viewable screen dimensions are 30.5x17.3 which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of close to 14 inches.
This is one of the new breed of Chromebooks that give you much more functionality and even allows access to the Google Play Store and that also allows you to link to your Android phone. In fact it bears little resemblance to an early Chromebook that did not even have the ability to store things offline. This should really be considered a totally new category of product.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 511 measures 29.5x21.5x2cm and weighs 1212 grams. The viewable screen is 23.5x14.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 11.6inches and this gives you a variable screen resolution of up to 1518x853 which may make text a little small for some but a slider lets you change it through a range of resolutions up to 911x512. Going around the outside, on the left side is a small blue LED denoting power on, next is a USB ‘C’ then USB3.
Certainly not a cheap notebook, however it is a very powerful offering that is capable of doing everything you ask and it does it all within a small footprint so easy to use at home, in the office, or on your travels. So the name is right this is a Travel Mate.
It is 32.5x23x1.5cm the last figure is maximum as it is only 1cm at the front, it weighs 1218 grams. The viewable screen is 31x17.4cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 13.8 inches. The screen surround is matt black so less finger marks. There is a .7cm border either side, the top border is 1.3cm and the bottom border is close to 3cm. In the top border has a web cam complete with shutter for privacy and a pin hole microphone.
Acer seem reluctant to bring in new names, as I have reviewed an Aspire 5 in the past, only the bit after the ‘5’ varies here however there is doubt that this a different unit as the previous one weighed over 2kilos and this one only clocks in a tad over 1.5 kilos so what else is new on this small and light laptop?
The Acer Aspire A514-52 laptop computer measures 32x23x1.5cm and weighs 1524grams. The viewable screen is 31x17.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of close to 14 inches. The screen is HD 1920x1080 with the default display set at 150% but I was perfectly happy using it at 125%. The 84 key keyboard has 4cm clear behind 2.5cm clear either side and 9cm clear in front with the 10.5x6.5cm trackpad mounted 9.5cm from the left and 12.5cm from the right.
I am used to review samples coming with a US keyboard where only a few keys are differently placed but this arrived with a German keyboard and when you use a UK keyboard overlay on it a number of keys move the most obvious is that the Y and Z are transposed but harder to fathom is where other keys have gone the most vital on initial setup of this Notebook is the ‘@’ key as try entering an email address without it, once booted you can investigate further.
The Honor MagicBook Pro measures 36.5x23.5x1cm and it weighs 1.674 kilos. The viewable screen is 35.5x20cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 16.1inches. The margin on the top and sides is only .5cm. The unit is 1920x1080 with the screen resolution defaulting to 125% but it is quite useable at 100%. It has an AMD Ryzen processor and graphics running at 3GHz. It comes with 16GB RAM.
Not a new name but certainly the contents are a lot more powerful than the unit I reviewed three years ago. This is a light Notebook that is powerful at the same time; it can happily show a presentation onto an external HDMI panel so ideal for those that travel around.
The Acer Swift 3 measures 31.5x21.5x1.5cm where the last measurement at the back with the front being as thin as 1cm. The viewable screen is 30.5x17.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial screen measurement of 14 inches; the screen resolution is 1920x1080 which by default is shown at 150%.
A Chromebook can do a lot of the things that a Microsoft Windows Laptop can do however they normally cost less money. This is a ‘Touch’ version so assuming what you want is available in a Chrome App then this offering may suit your needs.
You will need a Gmail or Google account and very little more, early Chromebooks required Internet access to do most things as there was little internal memory this is no longer the case so if you are working on a series of document offline it’s OK. So basically if your requirements are email, word processing and web access then this certainly ticks all the boxes. It is 31.5x22.5x1.5cm and weighs 1356grams. The viewable screen is 30.5x17.
This is a small and light 14inch screen notebook with an AMD processor from Honor. It is a fast product, so what if anything is there that could be improved, first it is not that cheap but then all the components are high end, second there is only a single SSD drive of 256GB divided into ‘C’ and ‘D’ and on an office desk you could be short of connections.
The Honor MagicBook 14 measures 32x21x1.5cm the last figure is the maximum, it weighs 1371 grams. The only other things in the box are a 1.7 metre USB ‘C’ to USB ‘C’ lead and a 13amp plug with USB ‘C’ out on the top. This however is a 65 watt fast charge module so a 70% charge from empty takes 70 minutes and in my tests a discharge rate of 10% per hour when streaming music and keeping the screen live takes place.
888316 Acer Swift 5 SF514 54

Acer Swift 5

A light and full function 1080P notebook that has touch built in so Windows 10 works well, as when it was designed touch was the way it was designed to be used. This notebook is bang up to date and has plenty of memory for you to use.
The Acer Swift 5 measures 31.5x21x1.5cm and weighs 936grams. The viewable screen is 31x17.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 14 inches. It is 1920x1080 (full HD) and while the scale and layout setting comes defaulting to 150% I was perfectly happy at 125% which shows considerably more of any web page. Going around the outside has on the left side, power input, HDMI out, USB3 and USB ‘C’. The right side has 3.
Having recently told you about a smaller Chromebook, here is something larger that may suit. In fact for those only used to Windows this will not have a lot of differences for you to get used to and if you do not require third party Apps designed for Windows then it may do everything that you require. Also with Windows 7 support ending in January 2020 another reason to change.
The Acer Chromebook 315 measures 37x25x1.5cm the last figure is a maximum around 5cm from the back, it weighs 1791 grams. Going around the outside has power LED, USB ‘C’, USB3, micro SD and headset on the left. On the right are USB3, USB ‘C’ and Kensington lock connector. Both the front and back have no connections. The underside has for 3x.7cm rubber feet that raise it just enough to stop it scratching whatever you place the Chromebook on.
Chromebooks have been a Windows alternative for a while and dependant on the tasks you want to carry out can be all you need. Certainly you would not get a Windows touch panel unit for anywhere near the price of this Chromebook offering.
It is 29x20x2cm and weighs 1350 grams. The viewable screen is 25.5x14.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 11.5inches. At the centre of the top above the screen is a camera. Bootup is 14.5 seconds and by default if you shut the lid it remains live – screen off – so unless you set a password on wake up then you can be working again at the point you left it as soon as you raise the lid.
Finding a small tower is not easy, Dell describe this as a ‘Small Form Factor Workstation’. I was asked to find a sub £600 small Tower. This however does not actually fill the request but it is a very powerful system that would do everything you need. On the face of it the price is only just over that figure but as it’s sold as a business unit VAT has to be added.
It is 29cm tall 8cm wide and when cables are inserted in the back 30cm deep, so it is very small. However it is very powerful with Intel i3, i5 and i7 processor options. The front has a vertically mounted optical drive and the on/off button to the right of this should be a multi card socket (not on the unit sent to me), below this a 3.5mm headphone socket two USB ports side by side and below these a USB3 port and a USB ‘C’ port.
When looking for a portable computer that will not take up too much room in your luggage, this next product might fit the bill.
Avoiding any obvious confusion between the terms “laptop” and “notebook”, when is a laptop product not a laptop?  One possible answer to this conundrum is when the device under consideration, belongs to the Ideapad 300 series of units that come with the tagline of “being thinner and lighter with a narrower bezel than your everyday laptop”.