HP Envy 17 3D: Does the Makeover Help?

HP initially launched the Envy 17 3D notebook sometime last year in its premium range of offerings. Aimed primarily at avid gamers, the original Envy 17 3D went up against veterans in the game like Asus and Alienware. But it didn’t find as many takers the first time around, and HP ended up drawing a lot of flak for the clunky design and heating issues. Has HP finally managed to get it right after giving the Envy 17 3D a much-needed makeover?

Said to be inspired by the 17-inch Macbook Pro, the Envy 17 3D is designed to be the ideal choice for multimedia and gaming. With a Blu-Ray player, stereoscopic 3D and high quality sound provisions, it can be considered a formidable competitor to the Dell XPS 17, which also has a 3D version. The very first impression of the Envy 17 3D is quite striking – an all black metallic body with a unibody design also feels sturdy and solid to hold. However, on the downside, the semi-matte finish of the top cover is a bit of a fingerprint magnet, so you need to keep a cloth handy to polish it to a shine often. Weighing 3.34 kgs, it is slightly bulkier than your average laptop, but for its size and features, you don’t mind the weight at all.

The Envy 17 3D package includes active shutter 3D glasses, which you can use on the notebook’s full HD screen. AMD HD3D and TriDef 3D Ignition lets you view movies and games in 3D. On the inside, the Envy 17 3D is powered by a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, and 8GB of DDR3 RAM to give you an exemplary gaming experience. An AMD Radeon HD 7690 chip powers the graphics, but you also have the option of switching to Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 3000 for greater power efficiency. By default, the Envy 17 3D has a 750GB HDD, but you can choose to upgrade to various combinations of HDD and SSD drives as well. Also included is a 1MP “HP TrueVision HD” webcam as well as a built-in mic.

The Envy 17 3D has 3 USB 3.0 ports as well as 1 USB 2.0 port along the sides of the notebook. One of the best features of this notebook is the presence of 2 full-size DisplayPorts so you can connect it up to multiple monitors simultaneously. You also have 1 HDMI port and a memory card reader on the side. Powerful connectivity options including Intel Centrino’s Ultimate-N 6300 wireless network adapter for superfast Wi-Fi as well as a Bluetooth 4.0 adapter will leave you lusting after this notebook even more. A high capacity 6-cell battery can provide power to the Envy 17 3D for over 5 hours, which is far more than you can expect for a laptop of this configuration.

The Envy 17 3D comes with a limited 2-year warranty, which you can choose to extend by signing up for HP’s “Care Pack” Services. The starting price of $1449.99 might be considered slightly on the steeper side, but for all that it packs within it, we think it’s just right.… Read the rest

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Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E430: Go Professional, Without Burning a Hole in the Pocket!

Lenovo has recently jumped up in rankings to become the second-largest PC maker around the world. Its widely popular ThinkPad series of notebooks have helped it retain its growth over the years, and Lenovo now plans to go after the small and medium business (SMB) enterprises with its new range of products. Keeping with its latest strategy of targeting SMBs that continue to drive growth despite the stark economic conditions globally, the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E430 is the latest notebook priced reasonably, without compromising on the performance and overall quality of the device.

The E430 sports a 14 inch screen and is highly lightweight and portable, starting from just 4.7 pounds. Pick from antiglare or glossy options for the HD screen. Its battery life is also enhanced and promises to last over 8 hours on a single charge. Highly stylish, the E430 comes with a brushed aluminum exterior, and is available in various color options including black with chrome, or soft-touch black, red, or blue. The E430 features Dolby Advanced Audio to produce crystal clear sound at maximum volume. It even comes with a 720p HD camera integrated on top of the screen.

The E430 comes equipped with many cool features including a spill-resistant AccuType keyboard design, 3 powerful USB 3.0 ports for high speed data transfer, a fingerprint reader for better security, and enhanced VOIP capabilities. Conveniently placed buttons on the keyboard let you mute your camera, mic, or speakers with just one press. Lenovo’s One Key Recovery Pro software ensures that you will never have to worry about losing your data in the unfortunate event of a laptop crash, and is pre-installed in the E430.

The E430 notebook is powered by the latest Intel Core i3 processors, which can be upgraded up to Intel Core i7 processors, integrated Intel HD graphics cards, and configurations up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM for high performance. It also features the Lenovo hard disk drive performance booster technology that lets its hard drive perform up to 184% better than normal hard disks. For storage, you get up to 500GB HDD or even up to 16GB mSATA, if required.

The E430 offers Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, and also comes with a built-in 4-in-1 card reader. A multi-touch touchpad lets you pinch and zoom web pages and other content on the screen. The E430 is available on the Lenovo website with a starting price of $539.10 and comes with a default 1-year limited warranty, which you can opt to expand to up to 4 years by paying extra.… Read the rest

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Dell XPS 14 and 15: Thin is in!

Laptops are going thinner, and hell yes, they look amazing. As 2012 promises to be the year of the Ultrabook, it’s set to change the notebook game and swing things back in its favor. Over the past couple of years, there was talk in the tech circles about the possible extinction of the notebooks, what with the launch of sleek and portable tablets that could do pretty much everything a notebook did, but in a much tighter, smaller, lighter package. The netbooks that were launched as a compromise didn’t do much to bring in more sales for laptops as it got just too tiny and inconvenient for people to use. But all of this changes with Intel’s new technologies ushering in the Ultrabook era of ultra light, ultra thin, ultra powerful notebooks that are ultra drool-worthy!

The Dell XPS range is their flagship offering of Ultrabooks that recently received an update with the XPS 14 and XPS 15 models joining the first of the lot, the XPS 13. The 14- and 15.6- inch models are less than an inch thick, they are powered by the latest 3rd generation Intel Core i5 processors and they come in a stylish silver-colored machine aluminum body. You also have the option to upgrade to a 3.0 GHz Intel Core i7 processor on the XPS 14 or XPS 15.

The XPS 14 and 15 feature backlit keyboards so you can use your Ultrabook conveniently even in the dark. They also include edge-to-edge WLED displays with scratch-resistant and sturdy Corning Gorilla glass for crisp, bright visuals that do not consume too much power. You also have the option of combining hard disk drives with solid state drives. These Ultrabooks have Waves MAXX Audio 4 for clear and loud sound, USB 3.0 for superfast data transfer, mini DisplayPort and HDMI ports you can use to plug your Ultrabook to your HDTV directly or a 3-in-1 card reader.

At 0.81 inches thick, the XPS 14 models start at a weight of a mere 4.6 pounds and can last a cool 11 hours on a single charge of the battery. So carry it wherever you want to go and use it on the move without worrying downtime.  The XPS 14 models have a 1600X900 pixel display. The high-end model of the XPS 14 range comes with an integrated WWAN mobile broadband which lets you stay online using Dell’s NetReady ‘pay as you go’ internet service when no WiFi networks are available.

$1099 i5-3317U Intel HD 4000 4GB DDR3 500GB + 32GB mSATA SSD
$1199 i5-3317U Nvidia GeForce GT 630M 4GB DDR3 500GB + 32GB mSATA SSD
$1299 i5-3317U Intel HD 4000 8GB DDR3 500GB Available
$1399 i7-3517U Intel HD 4000 8GB DDR3 500GB Available
$1499 i7-3517U Nvidia GeForce GT 630M 8GB DDR3 500GB + 32GB mSATA SSD
$1999 i7-3517U Nvidia GeForce GT 630M 8GB DDR3 512GB SSD

The base models have a 4GB RAM and an integrated Intel HD 4000 GPU chipset. However, for advanced gaming and designing requirements, you can opt for models with an Nvidia GeForce GT 630M graphics card or even get up to 8GB of RAM. To suit your storage needs, the XPS 14 comes with just a 500GB HDD, models with an additional 32GB SSD drive or even those with a completely SSD 512GB disk. The Dell XPS 14 promises to be a stunning, feature-packed, compact Ultrabook which you can carry around and flaunt with absolute pride.

While the compact XPS 14 with its long battery life is designed primarily for portability, the XPS 15 is intended to give you more computing power. It’s also comparatively bigger and heavier than the XPS 14. The more powerful XPS 15 is about 0.91 inches thick and starts at a weight of 5.79 pounds. Dell claims that you can operate the XPS 15 on a single charge of battery for over 8 hours, which may sound lower in comparison to the XPS 14, but still beats the Apple MacBook Pro by a wide margin.

$1299 i5-3210M Nvidia GeForce GT 630M 6GB DDR3 500GB + 32GB mSATA SSD DVD-RW
$1399 i5-3210M Nvidia GeForce GT 630M 8GB DDR3 750GB + 32GB mSATA SSD DVD-RW
$1699 i7-3612QM Nvidia GeForce GT 640M 8GB DDR3 750GB + 32GB mSATA SSD Read-only Blu-ray
$1999 i7-3612QM Nvidia GeForce GT 640M 16GB DDR3 1TB + 128GB mSATA SSD Read-only Blu-ray

It features a 15.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1920X1080 pixels. You have the option of extending the  hard disk  up to 1 TB and a secondary SSD offering up to 128GB of storage, RAM options from 6GB up to 16GB as well as a 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M graphics card for a more enhanced graphic processing capability. While the base models of the XPS 15 feature a read-write DVD drive, the higher end models are equipped with a read-only Blu-ray drive.

Get thin and get going this year.

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