HP’s first configurable 13-inch notebook starts at a reasonable $799. We like that even though it’s a budget notebook it has an LED-backlit display, which is both brighter and more energy efficient than a standard LCD. Otherwise, its specs are pretty run-of-the-mill: a range of AMD CPUs, ATI graphics, a DVD burner, webcam, and optional fingerprint reader, and a choice of hard drives. The touch-sensitive multimedia controls and Altec Lansing speakers are nice final touches.
Why You Should Wait For It: Although there are more budget-friendly 13-inch notebooks than there used to be, there still aren’t that many of them. In the meantime, the HP dv3 remains cheaper than the entry-level MacBook, and its starting weight is 1.4 pounds less than the Gateway UC Series’, which also starts at $799.
Why You Shouldn’t: It comes only in bronze, so if you find the color garish, you should keep shopping. The Gateway UC series, also announced at CES, offers similar specs, a completely different design, and Intel’s Centrino 2 platform, which delivers better performance than AMD’s latest platform, Puma.
CES Notebooks: Worth Waiting For?
This 12.1-inch system, starting at $1,799, is a refresh: the system is already available for sale with Intel Centrino 2 specs, a gesture-enabled touchpad, solid state drive option, integrated optical drive, and an LED-backlit display. Later this quarter, it’ll be available with Clearwire WiMAX.
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An update to its MC Series, the MD series forgoes its predecessor’s backlit keyboard and glass-to-glass display, bringing the starting price down to $799. At the same time, its glossy chassis is still easy on the eyes, and its specs (including an eight-cell battery) translate to few performance compromises.
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