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    Port selection on the Acer Gemston Blue was decent, but was missing a few common ports that we would have liked to see. Firewire was nowhere to be found, and for those who selected lower configurations, all you get is a blank HDMI and TV tuner port. Acer included 4 USB ports, instead of just 3 which you sometimes find on 15" or even 17" notebooks. Below is the full port selection list: Dell W7H3N


    eSata and a true docking connection were also missing. I would have personally enjoyed not seeing a modem jack and the extra space used for eSata or a proprietary docking connection. Dell 4T7JN

    The Intel Core 2 Duo T5750 processor found in our review configuration isn't exactly the fastest processor on the market, Dell 9T48V J1KND but it was more than fast enough for your average workload. Office productivity applications and internet browsers were no problems for this computer. Even more difficult tasks such as compressing audio or video files in iTunes completed without much delay. Overall most users will have a hard time telling the difference between a top of the line processor and base budget model during day to day work. Gaming and more stressful applications where something with that amount of grunt is needed. Dell 312-0234 383CW

    The lack gaming abilities of the X3100 integrated graphics chipset on the other hand really put a damper on any fun with this notebook. Dell 312-0233 Without a more powerful dedicated graphics chipset, you won't be able to play current or even last generation games without horrible frame rates, or even getting the game to load at all. Another downside to the X3100 graphics on this notebook is the removal of the HDMI port (come standard in higher configurations), leaving you with only VGA out for connection to a larger display. Dell 04YRJH

    WPrime is a benchmark similar to Super Pi in that it forces the processor to do intense mathematical calculations, but the difference is this application is multi-threaded and represents dual core processors better. Lower numbers indicate better performance. Fujitsu-siemens S26391-F405-L810 battery

    Are you looking for an inexpensive sub-$500 notebook for basic home and office use? The 15.6-inch HP Pavilion g6 might just deliver the best bang for your bucks. We took an in-depth look at this budget laptop to see if you can save money and still buy an impressive new PC. Fujitsu FPCBP251 battery

    Build and Design
    The HP Pavilion g6 ($499) has a generic-looking exterior of black and gray. Nearly all visible surfaces of the notebook are made of glossy plastic, which is unfortunate since it smudges up easily and is not as durable as matte plastic over time. Strangely enough the screen bezel is matte plastic. Fujitsu CP335311-01

    The g6 is rather sturdy for a budget notebook. The chassis is stiff and takes effort to twist. Additionally, Fujitsu-siemens Lifebook E8420 battery the palm rest and surrounding areas don't flex or bend when pushed down upon. The display panel (and more specifically the screen lid) is the only part that needs improvement; it is flimsy and twists easily; ripples also show up on the screen when pushed in on from behind. I was impressed however by the display hinges, which are metal and very securely anchored to the chassis. The display hardly wobbles at all. Fujitsu-siemens LifeBook E8410 battery

    In the end the build quality is slightly better than expected for this price range. Those seeking to add additional RAM or replace the hard drive will be able to do so with ease; a single panel on the bottom of the notebook holds both components and the wireless card. Fujitsu-siemens CELSIUS H250 battery


    There is an average selection of ports with nothing special or unexpected. The g6 lacks USB 3.0, eSATA, DisplayPort, and an ExpressCard slot. We would have liked to see USB 3.0 for quicker transfers of large files like high-res photos and HD movies, but you can only expect so much from a budget laptop. All picture descriptions shown below are listed from left to right. HP HSTNN-LB2I

    The UX31 is all about design -- and it is truly stunning. Constructed almost entirely of aluminum, the UX31 is solid as, well, metal. The chassis has almost zero flex and the lid is just as strong. Even the keyboard keys are made of aluminum. HP HSTNN-E04C

    The edges of the notebook are tapered off to give the impression the notebook is even thinner than it actually is. All corners and edges of the notebook are smoothed off and not sharp in the least; overall fit and finish is excellent. HP QK643AA

    The UX31's lid has a darker metallic surface with has a circular pattern giving it a more robust look and feel than the competing MacBook Air. I like how the lid can be opened with one hand. The lid almost seems to be a bit too loose but I had no issues with the design during the evaluation period. HP HSTNN-LB2H

    ASUS pulled out all the stops with this design and it shows. Many notebooks pass through my hands; it is not often one comes around that makes me do a double-take. The UX31 is certainly one of the few. HP HSTNN-DB2H

    Ports and Features
    A casualty of being so thin is a lack of ports; all of the ports sit at the rear because the chassis gets thinner towards the front. ASUS includes two port adapters: a USB-to-Ethernet and mini-VGA-to-VGA (which is the first time I have seen the latter on any notebook). The only major item the UX31 is lacking is a built-in HDMI port; it has mini-HDMI however you will need to purchase an adapter on your own. All picture descriptions are left to right. HP QK642AA

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    The next-generation MacBook Pro with Retina Display - it's a mouthful of a name. Apple's latest notebook represents the culmination of a number of trends from one of the industry's most visible players - from unibody aluminum construction to soldered-in components; from solid-state storage to the much-vaunted Retina Display. HP HSTNN-LB2G

    Apple clearly has a vision for where they want to take portable computing, and while impressive, it has its drawbacks, too. Let's jump into things by taking a look at the MacBook Pro's most talked about feature: its stunningly high resolution display. HP HSTNN-CB2F

    Apple started the trend of ultra-high resolution screens with the iPhone 4, back in 2010. The iPhone 4's display doubled each dimension of pixels over its predecessor from 480x320 to 960x640. The iPad 3 did the same thing - the best-selling tablet jumped from 1024x768 to 2048x1536. Lenovo 3ICP5/56/120 battery

    A Retina-enabled MacBook Pro follows the same trajectory. Previously, the 15-inch MacBook Pro shipped with a standard resolution of 1440x900. This new MacBook Pro, then, uses 2880x1800, which equals a more than 5 Megapixel image. In terms of sharpness, it figures out to almost 221 pixels per inch. This compares to 315ppi for the iPhone, and 264ppi for the iPad. LENOVO IdeaPad Z580 battery

    So why are they still called Retina I mean, "retina screens" are just a marketing concept, but there exists real science behind the nomenclature. LENOVO IdeaPad Z480 battery

    It has to do with how your eye works, and how you use your specific device. You hold a phone closer than a tablet, and you'll probably hold a tablet closer to you than you would your laptop. So despite the MacBook Pro employing a lower pixel density than its more mobile counterparts, it still gets to lay claim to the Retina Display name. LENOVO IdeaPad Z380 battery

    If you're handy with math, you can figure out that your HDTV is probably pretty close to Retina quality, in terms of your ability to distinguish between individual pixels, now. LENOVO IdeaPad Z480AX battery

    The screen - oh my god, the screen
    While the sharpness plays a role in how good the screen looks - and the new MacBook Pro's screen looks better than any other notebook that has ever existed, Lenovo u410 battery bar none - so does the panel technology. I want to make that clear - if display quality is paramount to you, for whatever reason, this is the only laptop you should remotely be considering. It's simply that good. Apple uses IPS screens in their next-gen MBP, just like in the iPhone and iPad. It's a welcome step up from the screens they've used in the past; as TN panels, they suffered from color distortions and poor viewing angles. LENOVO IdeaPad U310 battery

    You might hope that with such a high resolution display, we've finally entered the era of resolution independence. Regrettably, it's not quite the case. As a result, Apple has been forced to hack together a way to make balance the sharpness of the display and the usability of the UI. Mind you, "hack together" makes it sound worse than it is; as these solutions go, it is really quite elegant, and quite a bit better than simply changing the DPI settings in Windows. Lenovo L10M4P12 battery

    When you boot the MacBook Pro up for the first time and dive into the resolution settings, you'll be confronted with a new settings pane. Apple forces you to choose between two options: one is balanced by default for the Retina Display ("Best for Retina display"), while the others let you choose between five different resolution settings("Scaled"). LENOVO IdeaPad U300s battery

    Unlike traditional screens, there aren't any resolution numbers here. At least, not at first. Inside of the 'Scaled' option, you get to choose between five different display orientations. Larger text, which Apple says "Looks like 1024x640", one higher, "Looks like 1280x800", the 'Best for Retina' default, "Looks like 1440x900", a fourth, which "Looks like 1680x1050", and 'More Space', which "Looks like 1920x1200". Lenovo IdeaPad U260 battery

    A warning pops up beneath any non-default resolution that "Using a scaled resolution may reduce performance." This is because Apple doesn't simply scale any resolution beneath 2880x1800 up to the native resolution of the panel - they do a little scaling wizardry. LENOVO IdeaPad Y580P battery

    For the 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 modes, OS X actually renders the display at 3360x2100 and 3840x2400, respectively. They do this in order to supersample the ultra-high (9.21MP!) resolution and maximize the clarity of the non-native resolution. Clear it is, too; it's probably the clearest screen we've seen for an LCD displaying non-native imagery. LENOVO IdeaPad Y580N battery

    Retina vs. non-retina
    Applications that are "Retina-aware", however, get to employ even more trickery! If you're mucking about in software such as Aperture, iMovie, Final Cut Pro X, or most other Apple applications (Adobe has promised Photoshop updates, but they've not yet been released), the UI elements get doubled, but the media - photos, videos, etc. - get displayed on a 1:1 basis. If you're editing, for example, a 3000:2000 image in Aperture, you'd get to see the entire image displayed on screen, while the UI remains clearly visible. It's a neat sort of hybrid resolution that lets crafty developers really take advantage of super pixel dense displays. LENOVO IdeaPad Y580M battery

    Software that isn't Retina-aware, however, doesn't fare nearly as well. Anything that isn't rendered on screen by some sort of OS API looks fuzzy. That means that any web browsing, unless you use the included Safari browser, isn't going to look so hot. A lot of legacy applications, unless updated, will look similarly. Samsung AA-PB6NC6B

    Compare this, meanwhile, with how things are handled in Microsoft's Windows OS. When you install Windows via Apple's Boot Camp software, then install the Boot Camp drivers, Apple makes a few modifications for you. The DPI is changed, for example, making fonts and some UI elements look larger than normal - it's a pretty clunky result. Samsung AA-PB4NC6W

    You do have a lot more freedom to set how you want things displayed, however, including the ability to push the screen to its native, Samsung AA-PB4NC6B 2880x1800, eye-searing max. Seriously. Eye-searing. It's sort of interesting, in an academic sense, to run the OS at that resolution, but it's pretty uncomfortable. Windows doesn't by default allow you to pick a pixel-quartered resolution of 1440x900, either, which is puzzling. Unless you really need to stay in Windows, you should probably avoid it; unlike prior Intel-based Macs, OS X just plain looks better. Samsung AA-PB2NX6W

    The real exception to this is Metro. The Start Screen and Metro applications look gorgeous at the full 2880x1800 display, with things rendered at human-readable sizes. Everything just looks pretty. Still, Metro isn't supremely useful on the desktop quite just yet, but that's a story for another day. Samsung AA-PB2NX6B

    Viewing angles Solid - you can lay the display flat against a table and not experience the color shift and distortion you find on other screens. Backlighting was similarly commendable, with zero noticeable light bleeds - everything is really quite surprisingly uniform. Samsung AA-PB2NC6W

    According to our measurements, the average static contrast ratio was roughly 945:1, which is quite good for a mobile display. Parts of the screen ranged from 827:1 to 1048:1, but on the whole, the differences are completely unnoticeable to the naked eye. Samsung AA-PB2NC6B

    One of the specifications picked up by a lot of tech blogs and papers after the WWDC announcement was the fact that the new MacBook Pro with Retina (abbreviated herein as rMBP for brevity) featured a "less glossy" screen. It's true - the display is less glossy. That's because Apple finally managed to rid themselves of that ridiculous extra panel of glass in front of the LCD. Toshiba PABAS178

    I have never been a fan of pushing screens in that direction, since it adds a frustrating amount of extra gloss, shine and reflection, not to mention thickness and weight. In this respect, the rMBP is very similar to the MacBook Airs. The new panel has glass bonded directly to the screen. It's still glossy, but it's actually usable at angles, unlike some MacBooks in the recent past (glare monsters). Toshiba PABAS117

    Impressively thin
    I know it seems overboard, but I really can't speak highly enough about the display on this computer. This is the measure by which future displays will be judged. Toshiba PABAS230

    The rest of the rMBP's design is still impressive, if subdued. It looks mostly like its predecessor, save for the fact that it's about a quarter of an inch thinner. Coming in at 0.71 inches, the new MacBook Pro is just three hundredths of an inch thicker than the MacBook Air line - of course, the rMBP doesn't follow the same wedge-shaped design; it runs straight in all directions, apart from some tapering at the edge. Toshiba PABAS229

    It all adds up to an impressively thin profile. There are definitely thinner notebooks on the market, but none that can match the same feature set. Similarly, the new rMBP weighs 4.46 pounds - not the lightest we've seen for a 15-inch notebook, but still impressive. Users used to an old MBP will appreciate the weight reduction, while those jumping ship from a MacBook Air may find it a bit clunky in comparison. Toshiba PABAS228

    As a whole, the build quality is impressive; the machine feels like a solid block of aluminum. There's little to no give anywhere on the computer, and the hinges are stiff without being exasperating. Fun note: thanks to the engineering upgrades to the screen, there wasn't an easy way for Apple to blaze their logo all over the bottom of the bezel, and so it got stuck on the underside of the machine. The pure minimalism of the design is impressive, as a result. Toshiba PABAS227

    Ports and features
    The MacBook Pro with Retina Display has a full two Thunderbolt ports. This underused high-speed interconnect is looking to come into its own over the next year, as we've seen a number of companies prepping compatible products for release (let's hope they actually make it to market). Toshiba PABAS118

    These can serve as mini-DisplayPort ports, too, with no special adapter required, save for converting mini-DP to DP. Toshiba PABAS117 They're located on the left side of the notebook. An HDMI port on the right, the first on an Apple portable, means that you can hook up three external displays. The built-in screen makes it four. I have a USB 3.0 - HDMI adapter sitting here, but haven't tried it yet; five displays would be weirdly impressive. The MagSafe adapter has been shrunk down to fit into the smaller chassis; Apple replaced the "L" style connector to the previous "T" style one. Toshiba PA3819U-1BRS

    Toshiba PA3819U-1BRS Charger


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