CPU: low-voltage mobile AMD64 2800+ 1.8Ghz
RAM: 512MB DDR333
Hard Drive: 80GB 4200rpm
Video: Mobility Radeon 9700, 128MB
3 in 1 card reader
15" screen (1400x1050)
Design - 9/10
The design of the machine is intuitive and well-laid out. The ports are all neat and organized, and are generally in good places. The exceptions could include the 4 USB ports, which are all lined up on the left side - this can be of a minor annoyance to right handed users who are connecting a mouse. The other is the placement of the wi-fi and bluetooth buttons on the front - when resting the laptop on your legs, it's not uncommon to accidently hit the buttons. Also, the left palmrest does tend to get hot under heavy gaming due to the hard drive being placed there. All in all though, well designed and that red lit is absolutely gorgeous.
Input - 8.5/10
The keyboard is very good - I was using a Logitech Elite for my desktop and think the laptop feels much better. The key depth is a little shallow, but it doesn't take too long to get used to. As for the 5 degree curve, I can't really say it makes much of a difference. The one major complaint with the keyboard is that there's no dedicated key for the home and end keys - you have to use the Fn key to access them. The touchpad is good, although the scroll area on the far right side is rather erratic. Sensitivity is good, although the area of the pad could be slightly bigger. The button click is a little on the loud side, especially compared to a Thinkpad X31.
Screen - 8/10
The screen looks rather average, but it gets the job done. It's decently bright, although I wouldn't mind if it got a little dimmer than it does. The viewing angles, however, are pretty horrible, since you have to look at it pretty much dead on to be able to see it.
Optical Drive - 7/10
The optical drive is very flexible as it can work with DVD+RW, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, CD-RW. Slot loading is pretty cool as well. On the downside, the drive's pretty slow (16x for CD-R) and is very noisy compared to the (much faster) drive on my desktop.
Software - 7/10
The included software is adequate, no more. Since I usually like to install my own software, this wasn't an issue with me. Windows is preinstalled, although it's FAT32 - most of us would have prefered NTFS. On a side note, the BIOS is very basic - guess it lives up to it's name, eh.
Battery Life - 7/10
I usually get 3:15 on a full charge. This includes surfing and word processing. Haven't tried a DVD yet, but gaming really burns though the battery (not to mention the CPU/GPU is throttled automatically). It's good enough for work on the go, but I'm going to be wishing for an outline on transatlantic flights.
Portability - 8/10
The laptop's 6.6lb and has a 15" screen. It's bigger and heavier than a thin and light, but far more portable than a desktop replacement. The weight isn't too bad - just another textbook. All in all, very reasonable for the performance.
Well, the part everyone's been waiting for. Since I'm coming from a 1.1 Ghz with a GeForce4MX 440, to me, this laptop flies. Gaming is a blast on this machine. UT2004 runs at 1024x768 with full settings (to the announcer's "holy s***") in Onslaught (Redplanet) at +40fps. The game rapes Farcry demo at 1024x768 with full graphics settings. Half Life 2 is decent - I usually run it at 640x480 with full graphics since I'd rather trade resolution for detail. It can run smoothly at higher resolutions, but loading and stuttering starts to become an issue. Doom3 runs very smoothly at 640x480 on high, and can run at 800x600 with lower settings easily. Painkiller and HALO were slight disappointments though, since both would slow down horribly through large explosions - I finally set the resolution down which help things.
Two areas which could be improved upon are the hard drive and RAM. The HDD is 4200rpm, which is mildly annoying in installation but downright aggrivating in the long load times of UT2004 and HL2. Also, 512MB of RAM is a little on the low side - it is slow to alt-tab out of games, and too many processes at once will bog down the machine. Also, when exiting out of resource-hogging games (like HL2), the machine takes too long - I'll assume it's because windows is clearing the memory or something.
All in all, this is an amazing improvement over my desktop. I'd recommend it to the casual gamer, but not really to the hard-core crowd who absolutely have to play everything at 1024x768 or higher. Performance = 8/10.
Haven't done too many benchmarks - just the 3Dmarks
01 - 11225
03 - 3099
05 - 1332
In the end, this seems to be a nice balance of portability and performance. Honestly, I'd prefer this over an Alienware Area-51M 5500 due to it's comparable performance, but much greater portability. This is not a dedicated gaming machine and is hindered by it's RAM and slow HDD. However, it's perfect for people who want good gaming performance and who want to be able to easily move it around and don't want to be tied to a outlet when doing light work. The price is pretty good for machine too.