Diwali Buying Guide: Laptops and Ultrabooks

Published Date
06 - Nov - 2012
| Last Updated
06 - Nov - 2012
 
Diwali Buying Guide: Laptops and Ultrabooks

Laptops as a category had become rather complex over time. You had the ultra-slim notebooks, the mid-range ones which companies liked to call “everyday computing” machines and then there were the gaming machines. Within these categories were sub-categories based on pricing.

As you can imagine, this situation did not improve when ultrabooks came into being! However, for those who wanted a slim computing device, this was like a god-sent device. Now that the second generation of ultrabooks is here, the startling power deficit compared to most mid and high-end laptops that was visible in the first generation has been pretty much bridged.

For this shopping season ahead of us, we have compiled a list of the best laptops and ultrabooks money can buy you, across multiple price points. Do keep in mind that you may not find the exact same model number at the store, as mentioned on this list. The trick is to keep a close eye on the specifications. The prices mentioned here are the approximate market prices we have sourced from multiple stores.

HP Pavilion G6-2009txWhere to buy 35656 (laptop)
Rs. 38,000
The HP Pavilion G6 range starts at just under Rs. 30,000, so if that is what your budget allows, do consider the same. The one that we have tested is the 2009tx version that offers excellent performance via the Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM. The real kicker is the excellent AMD Radeon HD7670M (1GB) graphics, which is the best in this class in terms of gaming performance.

There is a 500GB hard drive on the Pavilion G6Where to buy 625 1170 1199, and Windows 7 Home Basic is preloaded. The 15.6-inch display is very comfortable to use, since it is not very reflective. The build quality of the Pavilion G6 is much better than what you would expect in this price bracket. This one is worth considering on a limited budget, without really compromising on the performance. Read our complete review here.


Acer Aspire V3-571GWhere to buy 41500 42990 42990 (laptop)
Rs. 44,000
This machine was a real surprise, both in terms of the performance it offered and also the value for money package it turns out to be. For this price, the Acer Aspire V3 offers a latest generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and the very powerful Nvidia GeForce GT630M (2GB) graphics.

The Aspire V3Where to buy 699 699 sports a 500GB hard drive, coupled with a 15.6-inch display. It ships with Windows 7 Home Basic preloaded. The build quality is quite good, but the glossy finish is not the ideal one for anyone who detests scratches and visible dust on their gadgets. Read our complete review here.


Dell Inspiron 14zWhere to buy 199 200 450 (ultrabook)
Rs. 45,000
The Dell Inspiron 14z is a praiseworthy attempt to make an affordable ultrabook. This has a latest generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, 32GB mSATA for caching and a 14-inch display. It has fairly good performance, doesn’t miss out on the connectivity options.

The inclusion of an optical drive on the Inspiron 14zWhere to buy 199 200 399 is something that only a few ultrabooks have managed till now. The build quality is quite acceptable, and the clear family links with the Inspiron 14R Special Edition laptops are very evident. It is perfect for the college going crowd, and for anyone who wants to experience ultrabooks without spending a bomb. Read our complete review here.


HP Pavilion 14-B003tx SleekbookWhere to buy 40000 (laptop)
Rs. 47,000
This is a very recent launch from HP, and while this technically does not qualify to be an ultrabook, it almost is! A third generation Intel Core i5 processor paired with 4GB of RAM powers this one. The 500GB hard drive is the primary one for storage on the HP Pavilion 14-B003txWhere to buy 40000 Sleekbook, with a 32GB mSATA for the caching tasks.

The performance improvement is massive with the mSATA. The HP Pavilion 14-B003tx SleekbookWhere to buy 40000 has a 14-inch display, and the graphics are handled by the Nvidia GeForce GT630M (1GB). It ships with Windows 8 out of the box.


Lenovo IdeaPad U410Where to buy 54890 55491 99699 (59-342778) (ultrabook)
Rs. 53,000
There are multiple versions of the Ideapad U410 ultrabook, but the one that we recommend is this one with the third generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive 32GB mSATA and the Nvidia GeForce GT610M (1GB) graphics. The build quality is something that would comfortably do justice to even an ultrabook with a much higher price tag.

The Lenovo IdeaPad U410Where to buy 54890 55491 99699’s thickness is somewhere between that of a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro 13, which panders very efficiently to its appeal, albeit the U410 has a 14-inch display. Brilliant battery life and very good performance are essentially two cherries on the top of the cake! The U410 is built with classiness, sophistication and good quality in mind, and that shows. You would do well to consider this, if within your budget. Read our complete review here.

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Diwali Buying Guide: Laptops and Ultrabooks (contd.)

Laptops as a category had become rather complex over time. You had the ultra-slim notebooks, the mid-range ones which companies liked to call “everyday computing” machines and then there were the gaming machines. Within these categories were sub-categories based on pricing.

For this shopping season ahead of us, we have compiled a list of the best laptops and ultrabooks money can buy you, across multiple price points.

Do keep in mind that you may not find the exact same model number at the store, as mentioned on this list. The trick is to keep a close eye on the specifications. The prices mentioned here are the approximate market prices we have sourced from multiple stores.
 

Samsung Series 5Where to buy 99699 (NP530U4C) (ultrabook)
Rs. 54,000
The Samsung Series 5 ultrabook was one of the first to offer an optical drive in this form factor, something was considered impossible till then. The updated version with the newer Intel Core i5 processor, 6GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive 24GB mSATA performs brilliantly.

The Nvidia GeForce GT620M (1GB) graphics are fairly capable of mid-level gaming. The Series 5Where to buy 99699’s display is among the better ones, in terms of brightness, colour reproduction and the non-reflective nature. Build quality is unfortunately a bit of a downer, and you can feel the flex at areas on the chassis. Read our complete review here.


HP Envy 4-1002txWhere to buy 54990 (ultrabook)
Rs. 57,000
The HP Envy 4 is possibly the best ultrabook money can buy this side of Rs. 60,000. The Samsung Series 5Where to buy 99699 will rightly have something to say about it, but the Envy’s performance is slightly better in all respects – system performance and battery life, and considerably better in the gaming thanks to the AMD Radeon HD7670M (2GB) graphics.

The HP Envy 4Where to buy 200 450 1349’s 14-inch display is excellent in terms of colour reproduction and sharpness, but slightly less bright than the Samsung and the Lenovo ultrabooks. It steals the march with much better looks and a slightly more compact form factor. So much so that it the build and materials used could do justice to a much more expensive ultrabook. Read our complete review here.


Lenovo IdeaPad Z580Where to buy 900 31000 31250 (59-339355) (ultrabook)
Rs. 63,000
The IdeaPad Z580 is unbelievable in terms of the sheer grunt it can offer. On the outside, it looks as docile as any conventional laptop, but the power of the third generation Intel Core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM may just be too hot to handle for some.

The Nvidia GeForce GT630M (2GB) graphics make the Z580Where to buy 399 900 31000 pretty much a gaming laptop. The build quality is superb, and while there are no exotic materials used on the chassis, it doesn’t have any rough edges or flex anywhere. The 15.6-inch display is excellent. This is the laptop to buy if a lot of power is what you want. Read our complete review here.


Dell XPS 14Where to buy 2895 2980 3300 (ultrabook)
Rs. 85,000
The XPS 14 is an ultrabook that will make you feel rich and famous, thanks to the premium build quality. The lid is made of aluminum, magnesium on the keyboard deck and the heat absorbing and channeling silicon on the base. Switch it on, and the performance carries on the good work done on the outside.

The 14-inch display is very good in terms of text readability and colour vividness, but is slightly more reflective than the optimum level. That doesn’t subtract too much from the fact that the Dell XPS 14Where to buy 2895 2980 3300 is pretty much the premium package this side of Rs. 1,00,000. Read our complete review here.


Samsung Series 9 (NP900-X3C) (laptop)
Rs. 1,02,900
The Samsung Series 9 is one of the most amazing laptops that we have tested recently. It has everything to be called an ultrabook, yet Samsung has branded it as a notebook! Nevertheless, the blazing performance, the ultra slim form factor and the exquisite build quality are truly awesome. The version that we tested was powered by an Intel Core i7 processor with 4GB of RAM and a very fast 256GB SSD.

The Samsung Series 9’s 13.3-inch display is very bright and not reflective, but does lose out a bit in colour depth. The higher than usual resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels makes it brilliant for reading text on. It costs a lot of money, but then again, this is the best option for a Windows ultrabook that actually competes with and beats the MacBook Air, overall. Add up your savings, or beg, borrow and steal to get this one! Read our complete review here.

 

 

Vishal MathurVishal Mathur

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