Bitsys | Laptop & Gadget Reviews

Month: September 2009

Toshiba Improves their Business Minded E105-S1602

Last year Best Buy introduced what they called Blue Label laptops – they were HP & Toshiba laptops that featured thin and lightweight designs, long battery life, backlit keyboards, and two-year warranties. This year Toshiba just released the the Satellite E105-S1602. It’s an improved Blue Lapel laptops with much lower recession pricing. Best Buy is the only store that sells E105-S1602 at the $899.99 price.

The E105-S1602 is built with sturdy construction, a longer 5.5hr battery life, and bright 14″ screen. The E105-S1602 comes with Intel Core 2 Duo (2 GHz), 4 GB (DDR2) RAM, 500 GB Hard Drive, has Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition, weights 5.1 lbs, and has a nice sized 14.1 TFT active matrix LCD screen. See it on Toshiba’s website.

Review Summaries

Entreprenuear Techreviews says the E105-S1602 has sturdy construction and pleasing overall design; comfortable keyboard and touch pad; backlit keys; lengthy battery life without bulky battery. The integrated graphics won’t allow you do to much gaming but will be fine for everyday businesss use.

According to CNET Toshiba improves on last year’s excellent Best Buy Blue Label laptop by slashing the price while serving up a nearly identical machine. The chassis is the same as last year’s & the keyboard is exceedingly comfortable. The 14.1-inch screen features a 1,280×800 native resolution which produces average image quality.  It topped the 4-hour mark on their demanding video playback battery drain test. Gamers searching for a bargain should keep looking, but for general mainstream use, the Satellite E105-S1602 offers competitive performance for a mainstream laptop.

The E105-S1602 provides adequate connections in this SupreMeva review: three USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, and a multiformat media card reader. One of the E105’s USB ports doubles as an eSATA port for faster data transfer times to external hard drives with this interface. This Toshiba lacks FireWire and a ExpressCard slot, but it has an FM radio jack. Toshiba includes a small FM antenna in the box if we want to listen to the radio over the airwaves instead of streaming it over the Internet. The speakers produce less than average sound quality.

User Opinions

You’ll only find the E105-S1602 available at Best Buy. It currently has 19 reviews an average rating of 4.4 stars. Here’s some recent reviews:

• ”Great Features: Lightweight, HUGE hard drive, webcam, wireless-N, lighted keyboard, fingerprint login, 5 hour battery life, bluetooth. Almost no “crapware” installed on the desktop that you have to remove and I love the lighted keyboard. As everyone has said, the speakers are just horrible, but I just use my bluetooth headphones with the laptop and no worries.”

• ”A huge selling point of this laptop is the 2-year warranty offered by Toshiba. The machine looks great without being gaudy and immature-looking. The touchpad is very easy to glide your finger over, the keyboard feels great, the display is bright and crisp, looks great playing movies.”

“I’ve been using this computer for about 9 months with no problems. It’s running Vista and I haven’t had a single issue. The battery life is great at 5 1/2 hours, especially when traveling. The processor is very fast, the webcam produces a great picture, the built-in microphone sounds great according to everyone I talk with on Skype, and the wireless N is incredibly fast. The system is very quiet and stays cool.”

Price Roundup

Best Buy currently sells the E105-S1602 ranging from $799-$899.

Acer-Timelines2-300x237Every once and a while a notebook emerges on the scene that sets a whole new standard. In recent years laptops have come forth that are powerful, sleek, and lightweight. However, until now, most laptops have been lacking in the most important feature of all: battery life. This summer Acer released the Timeline Series – 13″, 14″ and 15′” laptops that have stellar battery life.  The Acer Timeline 4810T has a 9 hour battery life! Imagine that! Turn your laptop on in the morning & use it on battery power all day. Other positives abound: wireless N connectivity, slim 1″ of thickness, 4.2lb package, cool & quiet system. It’s two negatives, the mediocre screen and choppy high-def playback, are frustrating but in this case the positives vastly outweigh the negatives.

The 4810T has dual core 1.4Ghz processors, a 320GB (5400 RPM) Hard drive, 4GB (DDR3) RAM, 14-inch 1366 x 768 resolution screen, and Windows Vista. This laptop is designed for the consumer looking for a basic laptop or semiportable business machine.

Review Summaries

InsideHW agrees the one of the main selling points of the 4810T is the 9 hour battery life. This long battery is the result of these factors: the CPU (Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500) only uses 5.5 watts of power, the screen has a LED backlight, DDR3 memory wastes less power, and the machine uses an integrated graphics card. To reach the full 9 hours Acer developed a technology that monitors all components in the system and shuts down what it doesn’t need. For example, if you watch movie from the hard drive the 4810T will shut down components that are not used at all (like optical device and wireless card). The moment you need those components power will be served and everything will be powered on and fully functional. All this is hidden from the eyes of user and functions automatically. Another interesting fact is that even if you were the use this laptop continueously (under full load) it manages to work 4 hours without a power source! Amazing!

CNET UK indicates that the 4810T’s CPU won’t blow your socks off in terms of raw speed, scoring a sedate 3,542 in the PCMark05 benchmark test. The 4810T didn’t shine in 3DMark06 either, with a score of 731 meaning you’re not going to be able to get any kind of sensible frame rate out of it for the latest 3D shooters. Again, this laptop is targeted at the basic laptop user who won’t be going crazy in the gaming world.

This Whatlaptop article says the 4810 keyboard features an unusual layout, with flat keys raised high above the main board. It feels incredibly well made, with no sign of flex or unwanted movement, but it’s not at all practical. The completely flat typing surface means it’s difficult to distinguish between the keys when touch-typing, so mistakes are a common occurrence even for experienced typists.

I4U explains that the glossy screen means means lots of glare in anything other than a dark room. The  screen does provide great color reproduction and is very good for movie watching on the go.

Most users cannot play high-def content from sites like YouTube, so don’t expect the smooth framerate you would see with a DirecTV system or digital cable; this is probably due to subpar Windows Vista operating system and the slower 1.4GHz CPU.


User Opinions

The 4810T currently has a rating of 4 eggs at with a total of 8 reviews. Here’s a few recent user options:

• ”Great price, amazing brushed aluminum lid, thin, light, sturdy, comfortable full size keyboard, and bright LED screen. With the battery at 90%, I still got 7 hours and 40 minutes, even though it wasn’t on the lowest brightness. Even on high performance, it doesn’t get hot, just a bit warm.”

• ”Conservative styling good for business, ample HD space (320 Gb), nice keyboard and touch pad with zoom, scrolling & more. Offers FREE Windows 7 Upgrade when available”

• ”Long battery life, thin, light aesthetically pleasing. After flashing the bios and updating video driver… worked like a charm. Proficient at the fundamentals (web,email,office).Was able to handle 720p streamed over home network as well as WoW on “fair” settings. Obviously not a powerhouse but what it does have works well.”

• ”I installed Windows 7 as soon as I got it, so I didn’t even deal with the Vista install with all the bloatware. The speakers are decent, but don’t have great bass. Using headphones, though, the sound was MUCH better. On a sunny day, the screen can be difficult to read unless you use it on the highest brightness. The light in front that indicates the battery status when plugged in is very bright and can be annoying in a dark room.”

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