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The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2008, 12:42
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I am starting to look at laptops for school. It doesn't really look like my program will have any compelling deals. So, I am looking for any feedback/points to ponder about the following systems. I am looking for something lighter as I will be using public transport to get to school. This means my backpack will be "too heavy" no matter how light of a laptop i buy!

Things i look for are:
1) decent battery life ( I could survive a day on campus without needing a recharge. Apparently foster has only "spotty" plugs available in classrooms).
2) lightweight. Prefer < 4 lbs. I wil lgo as high as 4.5. I had laptops as an undergrad/grad student, and this is the threshold.
3) decent processor >= 1.8ghz and AT LEAST 1gb RAM (prefer 2-3gb). I know there are different views on this, but mine is pretty non-negotiable. As a computer engineering grad student I can be stubborn with minimum computer specs
4) 11-13 inch screen. Yup, those are the rules. until they come up with a 3lb 19" laptop =)
5) built in Cd/dvd drive
6) less than ~USD1,700

So far I have seen promising standard contenders from ASUS,Fujitsu, dell
and Tablet contenders from: Fujitsu, HP

I am curious particularly what people think of tablet pcs they own. e.g. do you actually use them as such? I am willing to pay a small premium for table as even if I don't use it as a tablet it will still work as a standard laptop!



Does anyone have strong opinions about these
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 05 Jan 2010, 23:19
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3underscore wrote:
...Virtually everything else is a cinch, and you have the knowledge you are more [strike]attractive and style conscious[/strike] pretentious than your school mates with ugly Dell and Lenovo cubes...


Fixed.
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2008, 08:13
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I saw a review on CNET (i think - naturally now I cant find it) of a machine with the turbo thing. Their conclusion was that it wasn't really any better than using hte built-in Vista version of it (you can insert one of those usb "thumb drives"). With either of them there was small (though measurable) improverment. However, this improvement was BLOWN AWAY by simply upgrading the RAM. to 3 or 4 gigs. It is very unlikely you will get any improvement if you have 3-4 gigs. As a computer engineer (masters degree), I can vouch for this making sense (at least not being surprising) in terms of computer architecture. (admittedly sometimes they do something surprising and cool, alas this doesn't seem to be one of them)

I personally bought with a 1-chip 2gb ram chip, and I will save almost $100 buying a second 2gb chip online ($60 vs $150ish at lenovo). THe installation is not scary at all. There is panel on the bottom of the machine designed specifically to access the memory easy. Seriously, my grandmother could do it. As far as getting the right chip, there are websites lice crucial memory and kingston memory where you can look it up online!

p.s. Why do I keep saying "3-4 gigs" instead of just 3 or 4? Because if you get 32-bit windows (i believe) your machine only likes the first 3 gigs. IF you get the 64 bit windows it will use all 4!
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2008, 10:28
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I might just get the T61. If you are interested, look at the Dell XPS 1330- supposed to be a pretty good machine. I was a huge Dell fan before, but have been really impressed with the Lenovo's.


Ozmba wrote:
Quote:
X61: Really light and convenient to lug around school but lacks a touchpad. I have always used a touchpad and have not really used the nubby on my current T61 (more out of habit?).


Dude, I have the same issue. I want to buy the X61 but this lack of touchpad screwed my plans...Any other options you have in mind?? with in the X61 budget
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 22 Jun 2008, 22:21
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helg, this is an AWESOME site that will help you (and others) with Li-Ion batteries (what laptops use) and other rechargeable batteries.

Many misconceptions out there with Li-Ion (no need to completely discharge, actually discharging completely is bad for Li-Ion).

http://www.batteryuniversity.com/
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 24 Jun 2008, 11:20
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Hmmm...a little late getting on board but here goes. Before reading this thread, I was leaning heavily towards Apple (go Steve Jobs!), but the X31 is starting to look really tempting. And the fact that I have access to a nice employee discount does not help either :-( For me it's a four way tie right now - T61, X61, MacBook and the MacBook Pro (15"). The things I really to consider:
(1) I won't have a desktop. So reliability is a *huge* factor
(2) I've never used a Mac before.
(3) I used to use the T60, but am not too attached to either the eraser-head or the track-pad. I should be able to work with either.
(4) I know I'll probably eat these words a few months down the road, but "light weight is a nice-to-have, not a must-have"
(5) I haven't been a big user of Excel. I don't run models. Heck, I've used the Pivot Table function like thrice! So learning new Excel keyboard shortcuts is not a factor.

Disclaimer: This is a monster post and so no, I do not expect you guys to actually read the whole thing. The stats are pretty much the standard stuff what you guys have been posting out here. So nothing drastically different here. I just want to hear your perspectives on the best possible option for me taking the 5 conditions above into account. So...hit me!

Lenovo T-61. Cost $ 1,391.99 + tax

Intel® Core™ 2 Duo processor T8100 (2.1GHz 800MHz 3MBL2)1
Genuine Windows Vista Business
14.1 WXGA TFT, w/ Camera
Intel GMA X3100 GM965
2 GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz SODIMM Memory (1 DIMM)
UltraNav (TrackPoint and TouchPad)
160GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm
CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo 24X/24X/24X/8X Max, Ultrabay Slim
ThinkPad 11a/b/g Wi-Fi wireless LAN Mini-PCIe US/EMEA/LA/ANZ
Integrated Bluetooth PAN
6 cell Li-Ion Battery
7658: 1 Year Depot Warranty - Express
3 Year On Site Upgrade with 3 Year ThinkPad Protection
Belkin Neoprene Notebook Sleeve for 15in Laptops Black/Red
Kensington MicroSaver Security Cable Lock from Lenovo ThinkPad Bluetooth Laser Mouse


Lenovo X31. Cost: $1525 + tax

Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T8100 (2.1GHz, 3MB L2, 800MHz FSB)
Genuine Windows Vista Business
12.1" XGA TFT, 2x3 Ultraconnect II antenna
2 GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz SODIMM Memory (1 DIMM)
TrackPoint
160GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm Serial ATA (2.5")
Integrated Bluetooth PAN
ThinkPad 11a/b/g Wi-Fi wireless LAN Mini-PCIe US/EMEA/LA/ANZ10
ThinkPad X61 8 Cell High Capacity Battery
7675: Express - 1 Year Depot Warranty
3 Year On Site Upgrade with 3 Year ThinkPad Protection
Genuine Windows Vista Business
Kensington MicroSaver Security Cable Lock from Lenovo
ThinkPad Bluetooth Laser Mouse

Apple MackBook. Cost: $1385 + tax

* 13" White Apple MacBook:
o 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
o 13.3" TFT glossy display (1280x800 resolution)
o 160GB Serial ATA hard drive (5400 rpm)
o 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (2x1GB)
o 4MB L2 cache
o 8x double-layer SuperDrive (CD/DVD+/-RW)
o Intel GMA X3100 graphics processor with 144MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory
o AirPort Extreme wireless 802.11n
o Bluetooth 2.0
o 10/100/1000BASE-T (Gigabit) Ethernet
o Built-in iSight camera
o mini - DVI & VGA, s-VIDEO
o 6-cell Lithium Ion battery
o Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard installed
o iLife '08 and Front Row software
o 5.0 lbs. (12.78"W x 8.92"D x 1.08"H)
o 3-year AppleCare extended warranty
* Microsoft Office 2008 Pro for Mac OS X
(contains Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Entourage)
* Brenthaven security lock for laptops
* 25' Cat5 Ethernet cable
* 2GB flash drive
* Free laptop sleeve of your choice with package purchase

MacBookPro (oh yes.... :twisted:). Cost: $1995 + tax (ouch!)

* 15" Apple MacBook Pro:
o 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
o 15.4" widescreen display
o 200GB Serial ATA hard drive (5400rpm)
o 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (2 dimms)
o 8x SuperDrive Double-Layer (CD/DVD+/-RW)
o graphics controller with 256MB video memory
o VGA output w/ included DVI to VGA adapter
o AirPort Extreme wireless 802.11n
o Ports: 1 FireWire 400, 1 FireWire 800, 2 USB 2.0
o Bluetooth 2.0
o 10/100/1000 BASE-T Ethernet
o Built-in iSight camera
o 6-cell Lithium Ion battery
o Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard installed
o Photo Booth and Front Row software
o 5.4 lbs. (14.1"W x 9.6"D x 1"H)
o iLife '08
o 3-year AppleCare extended warranty
* Microsoft Office 2008 Pro for Mac OS X
(contains Word, Excel, Power Point, Entourage
* Brenthaven security lock for laptops
* 25' Cat5 Ethernet cable
* 2GB flash drive
* Free laptop sleeve of your choice with package purchase
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2009, 10:00
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Toubab wrote:
I don't mind being a part of the Mac Minority at school, even if my school's tech folks frown on it. But I've never used BootCamp. Anyone care to share their experiences with this? Is XP noticeably better/slower? Other applications?


It depends on how much memory you have. If it is an older MacBook with less than a couple gigs of RAM, it is probably not going to run very smoothly. The newer, more powerful models should be able to run it without much trouble.
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 16 Mar 2009, 07:28
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Hilarious take on the netbook, ultra portable, laptop mess in the industry:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/03/13 ... eld_guide/
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 02 Apr 2009, 18:06
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Since you guys brought up batteries, that's right in my wheelhouse (my current job is research in this area.)

Here's some common questions I get about Li-Ion batteries (which is what your laptop uses):

1. How do I get the maximum life out of my batteries?

a) Heat. Avoid exposing your laptop to high temperatures (e.g. leaving on the dashboard of a car, or a picnic table on a really sunny day.) You don't have to go as far as storing it in the freezer or anything along those lines. Just keep it around 25oC/77oF.

b) Don't wait till the battery is almost dead to recharge it. This is a myth that was carried over from the old battery technology (nickel based batteries.) Li-ion batteries do NOT have "power memory," so charge it every night, it's actually better for the battery.

c) This is only for the hardcore people who really want to squeeze every single second of life out of their batteries. If you really want to extend the life of your batteries, don't ever fully charge your batteries either. Think of a pendulum, and 50% charge as the equilibrium. If you can constantly charge/discharge your battery around the 50% charge state, your battery will last for a long time (that's the strategy being used for Li-ion batteries that will be going into hybrid cars.) So if you want to do this, you'll charge your battery till about 60% power, then use it till it drops to 40%, then charge it back up to 60% etc. I don't recommend this because it's such a HUGE pain to do, but if you're obsessive about battery life, you can try it.

d) Remove the battery if it's fully charged and you have the laptop connected to the power adapter. The effectiveness of this is somewhat debatable, and I think modern circuitry has improved so this may not be necessary.

2. If I want to replace my batteries, should I pay the ridiculous price for a brand new one from the supplier (e.g. Dell, Lenovo, HP, etc.) or use third party services (people who will take apart your battery and replace only the cells) that are much cheaper?

I hate to give this answer, but it depends. If you want peace of mind, just fork out the dough and get it from Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc. If you want to save some money, you can take it to third party places that will replace just the cells. The problem with the latter method is that the battery circuitry is designed specifically for a certain type of cell. If they replace with your cells a different type, while you *probably* won't have any safety issues, the cells may not last very long or be as effective.

Here's an example. Sanyo is the leading Li-ion battery manufacturer in the world, and BYD is the biggest Chinese battery manufacturer. Sanyo batteries are obviously better, but let's say you bought a Lenovo and it uses BYD cells. You take your battery and ask a third party company to replace just the cells with Sanyo cells. Logic dictates that since you replaced BYD cells with Sanyo cells, which are better, your battery should last longer. NO! It doesn't work that way. The circuity in your battery (called the Battery Management System, BMS) is designed for the BYD cells, so even though you technically replaced it with better Sanyo cells, your battery will not be as effective.

How do I replace the battery in my laptop which doesn't have a detachable battery pack (e.g. Macbook Air)?

Sorry, you can't. You're SOL. These batteries are soldered onto the main circuit board, and it would be very risky to replace them. Apple (not to single them out, but they are the main culprits) do this for two main reasons. First, removing battery connectors and soldering the battery directly to the board allows them to build a slimmer laptop/device (e.g. iPod nano.) Second, if the battery dies the customer has to get a brand new laptop or iPod (those bastards!)

Let me know if yo have any other questions about your battery.
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 30 Apr 2009, 17:50
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I'm leaning towards a X200s myself. How much larger (physical size) is the 9-cell battery than the 6-cell battery?
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 30 Apr 2009, 17:58
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bsd_lover wrote:
It pokes out from the back, but its not too bad. The battery life is worth it !!! I'll try to post photos later when I have some time.

YihWei wrote:
I'm leaning towards a X200s myself. How much larger (physical size) is the 9-cell battery than the 6-cell battery?

Sweet. Thanks, bsd!
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 05 May 2009, 16:44
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isa wrote:
Another question: what about netbooks? Do any folks in bschool use those? Are we doing anything super-intense that can't be done on a netbook?


The Great Netbook Compromise

"Mr. Compromise" considers the trade-offs between netbooks, the new class of mini laptop computers, and full-sized laptops.

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/03/ ... omise.html

Netbooks: When Laptops Go Light
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/26/techn ... .html?_r=1
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 16 May 2009, 12:15
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atlmba2009 wrote:
the heat generated could actually keep you warm at night. Just a horribly designed computer.


It got so hot one time that my co workers (we all had same work issued Latitude) and I wanted to get a raw egg and try to fry it on our laptop and see if we can make breakfast that way.....

Speaking of DV series Pavilion HP Laptops....
I know few people who own one and their only issue is the glossy mousepad. It is so glossy textured that when your finger is moist, you can't move your finger on the mousepad. Battery life is pretty poor too.

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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 16 May 2009, 13:25
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My last work laptop was an HP (sorry, don't remember which model and they've since taken it back). Overall I was pretty pleased with it, had it for 2 years and it withstood a good amount of rough treatment at the hands of the TSA and their counterparts around the world. Didn't have any major problems with it at all. Only complaints were it's weight (even for a full-size laptop it seemed to be on the heavy side) and battery life was not real good.

My current work laptop is a Dell Latitude E6400. On the plus side it's slightly lighter than the HP (at roughly the same size), but that's about the only good thing I can say about it. The plastic feels thin and cheap, the keyboard stinks, and after a day's use the touchpad started intermittently freaking out and not working. Based on this experience and the Dell laptop I bought for personal use 3-4 years ago, I would never use my own money to buy a Dell again. Poor workmanship and awful reliability.

IMO, as I've said before, Lenovo is worth the extra money for the solid workmanship and high quality/reliability factor.
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2009, 16:22
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nink wrote:
MeddlingKid wrote:
Has anybody considered the HP Elite line? According to some reviews I've read, they seem to be fairly durable and dependable laptops. I'm probably going to pick up something in July during a sale.


http://www.shopping.hp.com/store/produc ... Cp27410726

$4000+ for laptop MK????? :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

Baller. :wink:



You are paying a ton for the screen. I personally think the laptop-as-a-desktop replacement idea is pretty ridiculous. From a value for money perspective, you are never going to make up for the performance hit by going for a laptop over a desktop. And you are really going to take a hit in terms of portability when you try to get too powerful of a laptop.

I think you have to realize that when you decide to go the laptop route, you are essentially saying no more powerful computing. I mean what's the most demanding program you are going to use in b-school? Minitab? Matlab? Origin? Even with Photoshop, you're not going to working with 100 RAW images or anything of that sorts. You don't need to pay for extra performance that you're not going to use or need. When you decide to get a laptop, you have to realize you're saying portability and battery life[0] takes priority over everything else. Don't get seduced by all the other bling bling.

When you become a road warrior, which you will be since you're taking your laptop to school everyday, even a 0.1 lb difference can feel significant. Every extra hour of battery life becomes huge (especially since battery life deteriorates over time.)

If a Full HD screen (1920x1200 resolution) is that important to you, get a nice laptop (easily obtainable for $2K) with a docking station with a 24" screen (another $1K at most) and enjoy Full HD goodness when you are home. This is something I will think about doing myself. Don't pay $4K for a 17" monster that is really too big and heavy to lug around everyday, and not as good as decent desktop. It's like overpaying for the worst of both worlds. That's my opinion at least.

[0] I think the x200s is better than the x200 mainly for this reason. Yes, the better screen is nice, but a slower but leaner CPU (which a b-schooler won't notice) means the same battery lasts long with the x200s.
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2010, 10:54
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For anyone who was thinking about getting a new Thinkpad, Lenovo recently released two new models, the Thinkpad Edge and x100e. Key differences include a new keyboard style, different colors and finishes, and smaller screen size. It looks like they're trying to appeal to the consumer market more, which is confusing because I thought that was what the IdeaPad line was for.

Edge Review: http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=5450
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 12 Jan 2010, 18:22
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the two i've kept my eye on for awhile are the acer 1810t, and the asus ul-30a.

http://www.amazon.com/Acer-Timeline-AS1 ... 130&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/UL30A-X5-Light-13 ... 161&sr=8-1

they're pretty much the same price, the asus has a slightly bigger screen, both claim 7+ hrs battery life, neither has a dvd drive, and both are under 4 lbs. i dont think the video card is great on either of them, but if you have to do heavy image editing in b-school, you must be doing something wrong lol.

there are also cheaper versions of both of these out right now (slower processor, less RAM). personally, i'm going to wait till the last second possible to buy a new laptop, as 7 months is a long time in the computer world. prices will probably be cheaper later in the year.
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 11 Feb 2010, 01:00
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was looking around at the darden portal and realized that they "strongly urge" you to buy their own laptop bundle. it's got all the software preinstalled, and runs windows corporate ed.

per website, you could use an existing laptop BUT you'd have to have it configured by an accredited 3rd party technician, at a cost of ~ 400US$, including software and technical support.

moreover, if your laptop dies on you over the course of the program, you can have a loaner laptop from them if you buy their package, but this option is not available to you if you use your own laptop.

sounds to me like they're making a pretty compelling case about buying their laptop vs. other brands.

best check your school's requirements before going out and buying yourself a laptop. might save you a lot of grief.
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 15 Feb 2010, 20:14
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pochcc wrote:
per website, you could use an existing laptop BUT you'd have to have it configured by an accredited 3rd party technician, at a cost of ~ 400US$, including software and technical support.

moreover, if your laptop dies on you over the course of the program, you can have a loaner laptop from them if you buy their package, but this option is not available to you if you use your own laptop.

sounds to me like they're making a pretty compelling case about buying their laptop vs. other brands.


OMG. Do you buy extended warranties?

I am sure you can argue to not have to do the $400 thing - it is absurd and effectively holding you hostage for something unnecessary. 2010 - business school student needs help organizing computer. I am sure GMAT club would not endorse my approach so I won't post it. It involves notes and palms.

As for the tech support - unless you are a muppet, you are unlikely to bust a laptop in two years. If you do, tech wise, they are like any IT function. If you don't break hardware, you are done, and if you break the screen they tell you it breaches the warranty.

That said, nothing wrong with getting used to writing checks above and beyond tuition to your future alma mater.
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Schools: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) - Class of 2010
Followers: 11

Kudos [?]: 132 [0], given: 10

Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2008, 22:10
http://kakaku.com/specsearch/0020/ allows you to search for your specs, and lists the shops which sell them (In Japanese though)

cheapest i found is :-
FMV-BIBLO MG75X FMVMG75X
Core 2 Duo T7250 2GHz
1GB RAM
7.5 Hour runtime
1.75kg. (3.9lb)
14.1 inch screen
approx $1500 USD with current exchange rate

Japanese OS though!
http://kakaku.com/item/00200216011/
Re: The great Laptop discussion forum   [#permalink] 19 Mar 2008, 22:10
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