15in Notebooks: Best Buys
The ones to choose
Group Test Choosing a winner from this group of 15.6in laptops was a tricky matter as they have a great deal in common. Apart from sharing the same size screen and 1366 x 768 resolution, they all come with 802.11n Wi-Fi and have a tray-loading multi-format DVD writer. So relatively small differences count for a lot.
The HP Pavilion dv6 stands out as it uses an AMD CPU which is weaker than the Core i3/i5 yet the HP managed to dominate in our 3DMark06 test thanks to its use of AMD's Mobility Radeon HD 5650 graphics chip. The HP can switch over to the Mobility Radeon HD 4250 graphics core embedded in its chipset, which helps it deliver the best battery life in the group.
HP's Pavilion dv6: recommended
Unfortunately it is also rather expensive. While I think the metal cladding on the chassis is worth a certain amount there's no excuse for the lousy mouse action. Still, the benefits outweigh the limitations and so the HP gets Reg Hardware's Recommended award.
Having said that, the most expensive laptop of all is the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge, which delivers a high level of performance thanks to its Core i5 processor, ably supported by a full set of features including an ExpressCard slot, Bluetooth and four USB ports.
Dell combined a Core i5 with decent AMD graphics and some funky cosmetics to come up with a laptop that was unlike any Dell that I can recall seeing. Alas, battery life was unimpressive. These aren't machines you'll use for long periods of time away from the mains, but three at least got me close to a couple of hours. The best the Dell could manage was an hour and a half, as did the the Sony and the Toshiba.
Next page: Performance Results
No windows please
For penguin aficionados out there you should add Novatech to the short list being considered, as they do a 15.6" AMD based laptop with 2GB RAM, Radeon X1200 mobile graphics, and best of all, without any OS for around £280.
Its not great in battery life (but comparable to the times shown here) or very fast, and it is rather plasticy, but excellent value for money if you don't want/need Windows.
Is it really so difficult
to keep the same colours for the same machines in the graph displays? Why does your form think colours is spelled wrong?
1366x768 is good only for watching tv. No serious work with that resolution.
MAJOR FAIL!!! I could do a better job.
I'm sorry you seem to missing the point here. You say the Acer is the best. ARE YOU MAD, or are you being paid by the company to say that. Considering the HP has got the best battery and also 3d mark score way over anyone elses. How can you justify the slow ACER being the best. No I was right first time your being paid either by ACER or INTEL to come up with that winner. Or are you anti AMD?