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Old 01-28-2009, 11:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb How important is portability really?

I mean picture the average businessperson or college student moving from location to location. Do they really need a five lb. laptop that can compete against supermodels? I mean you're going to have to carry other things anyways, and the extra weight can be good excersize :P

It just doesn't seem right in any way for people to sacrifice processing power for a few pounds. Why would anyone buy a macbook air when they could get a comparably priced macbook pro? It's not like portability matters that much for five lbs. I've never found it difficult to carry my laptop to the library this summer.

To quote:MacBook Air vs. the MacBook & MacBook Pro : Ben Patterson : Yahoo! Tech

"Specs:
Size/Weight: 15.4-inch screen, 5.4 pounds; 17-inch screen, 6.8 pounds
Processor: 2.2-2.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
RAM: 2-4GB
Storage: 120-250GB hard drive
Optical drive: Combo or SuperDrive
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT processor, 128-256MB of dedicated memory
Ports: DVI, FireWire 400 (1), FireWire 800 (1), USB 2.0 (2-3), headphone out, Ethernet, ExpressCard slot
Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Base prices: $1,999 (15-inch 2.2GHz, 120GB HDD), $2,499 (15-inch 2.4GHz, 160GB HDD), $2.799 (17-inch 2.4GHz, 160GB HDD)

Pros: Fast Intel Core 2 Duo processors, up to 2.6GHz; dedicated NVIDIA graphics processors for speedy graphics performance and external monitor mirroring at high resolutions; ExpressCard slot for wireless broadband cards; plenty of ports, including two to three USB 2.0 and FireWire 800; backlit keyboard.
Cons: Heaviest of the Apple notebooks, especially the 6.8-pound 17-inch model; pricey.
Who it's for: Business users and pro-level image and video editors who need speedy mobile performance; on-the-go gamers who demand smooth 3-D graphics.
Who it's not for: Casual users, non-gamers, anyone who's never fired up Final Cut Pro or Photoshop; on-the-go types looking for a light load (especially when it comes to the 17-inch MacBook Pro).




MacBook Air

Just announced, and thus still untested by reviewers, this whisper-thin notebook was the big news at Macworld last week, and at just 0.76-inches thick (at its thickest point) and weighing in at a mere 3 pounds, it's one of the sexiest notebooks I've ever laid eyes on. That said, the Air's slim good looks come saddled with some serious compromises.

Specs:
Size/Weight: 13.3-inch screen, 3 pounds
Processor: 1.6-1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
RAM: 2GB
Storage: 80GB hard drive, 64GB solid-state drive
Optical drive: none ($99 external drive available)
Graphics: Intel GMA X3100 processor (integrated)
Ports: Mini-DVI, USB 2.0 (just one), headphone out; no FireWire or Ethernet ports (USB Ethernet adapter available)
Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Base prices: $1,799 (1.6GHz, 80GB HDD), $3,098 (1.8GHz, 64GB solid-state drive)

Pros: Super light and thin; guaranteed to make friends and neighbors green-eyed with envy; full-sized, backlit keypad; multi-touch track pad; solid-state drive makes for lightening-fast data access.
Cons: Test results aren't in yet, but the Air's specs point toward slower processor speeds compared to the MacBook and MacBook Pro; no dedicated graphics card (similar to the MacBook); no built-in Ethernet; only one USB 2.0 port; battery is sealed in the casing; no built-in optical drive (although the Air can wirelessly share the optical drive on another Mac or PC); no ExpressCard slot for 3G broadband cards; the solid-state drive-equipped Air is hideously expensive.
Who it's for: Good question, actually. My best guess, for now: Apple fanatics who must have the latest hardware; style mavens who love droll-worthy tech; road warriors with deep pockets who need the lightest possible laptop (and who, ideally, have another system back at the office).
Who it's not for: Video editors, gamers, or anyone else who might need speedy processing power; bargain hunters; road warriors who depend on 3G networks for data; jet-setters who need to swap out the battery."
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Old 01-28-2009, 11:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How important is portability really?

It kind of depends upon the person. I would rather have heavy ultra powerful laptop and screw the weight. The president of the company I consult for travels all of the time as lightweight as possible. To him 6oz makes a big difference.
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Old 01-28-2009, 12:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How important is portability really?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hefemeister View Post
To him 6oz makes a big difference.
Probably because he can afford it :P
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How important is portability really?

I like portability, I've already got a gaming PC and I need my laptop to be lightweight and get long battery life for school, studying, etc. Having a 4 or 5 pound laptop that gets 5-6 hrs of battery life is exactly what I want.
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How important is portability really?

Whether portability is an important attribute, I think, depends on the user's preference and their requirements. Also, people have different tolerances for weight and size. For example, I'd be happy to use a laptop with a screen size between 12.1"-14.1" (anything lower than 12.1" screen is too small for me) and weight below 5.5 lbs.

Personally, the portability, battery life and noise of a laptop are of particular importance to me. I'm a University student, and I carry my laptop around to use on campus. My current Thinkpad T400 notebook (in my sig.) weighs about 5.4 pounds (2.4 kg) with a 6-cell battery, which gives me up to 5 hours to runtime. It has adequate performance, and it's the quietest notebook I've ever owned. The size and weight, to me, makes my laptop acceptably portable.

Having put an emphasis on portability, performance is still important to me, just not as important. I used to use an HP 2510p ultraportable (12.1", Core 2 Duo ULV U7600 1.2GHz, 4200RPM HDD, 3.56 pounds/1.6 kg), and while it was very light indeed and had excellent battery life of over 5 hours with a 6-cell, its performance was poor. I've since replaced it with my T400.
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Old 01-28-2009, 04:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How important is portability really?

"Probably because he can afford it :P" Yeah I agree, so the person who has $8000 to spare, or sees that a computer is more useful than a car, might just get a powerful laptop with good performance. I didn't think of that.

I also want to point out that on windows vista home premium at least, and probably every other system, there is an option to select a lower battery usage in power options.

So I'm not sure the longer battery life theory holds.

Why is the difference so large?

There's a lot on Vista, I'll read through the forum for the new updates.

Sorry for the rant. I just thought that this isn't a product that shouldn't have appealed to any niche.
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Old 01-30-2009, 10:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How important is portability really?

portability is one of the key factors of purchasing a notebook. but when a notebook doesn't have an optical drive, that's going too far. Netbooks are another story
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Old 01-31-2009, 12:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How important is portability really?

If you're using a notebook for portability how enough do you really need the optical drive? My notebook doesn't have an internal one and nor did my previous ultraportable. I'm not installing software left and right, 90% of stuff can be transferred via a flash drive, so it's not a requirement for me to have an optical drive. I can use an external one easily enough.

Like a previous poster said, that's all preference, though. You probably use your optical drive a lot more often that I do.
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How important is portability really?

Quote:
Originally Posted by obesechicken13 View Post
"Probably because he can afford it :P" Yeah I agree, so the person who has $8000 to spare, or sees that a computer is more useful than a car, might just get a powerful laptop with good performance. I didn't think of that.

I also want to point out that on windows vista home premium at least, and probably every other system, there is an option to select a lower battery usage in power options.

So I'm not sure the longer battery life theory holds.

Why is the difference so large?

There's a lot on Vista, I'll read through the forum for the new updates.

Sorry for the rant. I just thought that this isn't a product that shouldn't have appealed to any niche.
Your not taking into consideration anything that these laptops have to do.

Yeah someone could get a ultra portable, but if they need to connect to a projector or other media device then they would need something more than what it could offer. Maybe they need that extra connector for the external monitor so they can do a presentation.

Maybe they need it to have a bit better specs cause they are going to be running some intensive programs that need more power over portability.

Which can be reversed as well. If they only need it to connect to a WiFi Hotspot, be able to be carried on a plane, or to be able to be packed up quickly then yeah a Ultra Portable is perfect.

The battery thing comes into play cause even on "Low" Power settings Vista still eats up battery life like it was going out of style. You want a accurate comparison run the laptop without dimming with normal power usage and you would be lucky to get a couple of hours out of that battery.

Now dim the display and put it in low power, yeah you may get a extra hour, but that still isnt enough. If you are on a 8 hours flight and you have to work what good would it be to have a battery that lasted only 4 hours? What if you are in a car in a foreign country? What if you are in a business meeting with no way to plug in external power?

Things like this have to be taken into consideration. Cause they are factors for the business person when they travel.

So yeah people would want something like the Air cause it is small, quick and convenient to be able to pack up, carry and use for a extended period of time.

While others need the power. It all depends on the person using it and what they are using it for. Just like any other PC that is out on the market.
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