Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2013)
Alienware 14 (Core i7, 16GB, 256GB SSD, Nvidia GTX765M)stars
No complaints about the performance, but the design changes don't go nearly far enough.
The Compaq Presario X1000 series nearly matches the Dell Latitude D800 series in almost every category, making it one of the best desktop-replacement systems on the market. It also shoehorns a lot of capabilities into a comparatively trim profile. The model we tested featured a 15.4-inch, wide-aspect display; a top-shelf 1.6GHz Pentium M processor; 512MB of RAM; and an 80GB hard drive. In our tests, it readily crunched spreadsheets, displayed presentations, and ran DVDs and games. In fact, the only mobile hot button the Presario X1000 series lacks is a DVD-rewritable drive. (The company expects to offer a DVD+R/+RW burner as an option later this summer.) If you need a desktop replacement that's easier on the shoulder than many, the Presario X1000 packs in the features without packing on the pounds.
How do you compete with the Dell Latitude D800 series, one of the best desktop-replacement notebooks on the market? The Compaq Presario X1000 series does it by fitting a long list of features into a trim (for its class) package.
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The touchpad features a power button and a separate scroll section.
Trim is a relative term, of course. The Presario X1000's wide-body dimensions (14.2 inches wide by 10.2 inches deep) may strain the seams of the typical notebook bag, but it's slightly smaller and narrower than the Latitude D800 series; both are a reasonable 1.5 inches thick. At 6.6 pounds, the Presario X1000 weighs a pound less than the Sony VAIO GRT series and 10 ounces less than the Latitude D800 series.
The notebook's extrawide base is largely due to its 15.4-inch, wide-aspect screen, which makes for an ultrasharp and detailed viewing experience when you're fighting aliens, watching a DVD, or viewing huge spreadsheets. The case also provides enough room for one of the best keyboards we've seen among current models. Its 20.0mm keys, with 2.9mm of depth, feel firm, sound quiet, and respond well. The JBL Pro stereo speakers on each side of the keyboard achieve a wide volume range, but the louder they get, the hollower they sound. Compaq also placed volume and mute buttons by the right-hand speaker for handy access.
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|The Presario X1000's firm, responsive keyboard is one of the best we've seen on current notebooks.|
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|The JBL Pro speakers sound decent when they're not pushed to the max.|
The touchpad has other conveniences: a sliver of its right side is reserved for scrolling, and an On/Off button above the pad prevents accidental cursor strokes. Two mouse buttons form a curve underneath the pad.
Currently, Compaq offers only one preconfigured Presario X1000 model, with a 1.4GHz Pentium M processor, 512MB of RAM, and a 60GB hard drive. However, the company will soon offer a multitude of configuration options. In addition to the 1.4GHz unit, the Presario X1000 will be available with a 1.3GHz, 1.5GHz, or 1.6GHz Pentium M processor, and a 40GB, 60GB, or 80GB hard drive running at 4,200rpm, or a high-performance 60GB hard drive running at 5,400rpm. All models come with a 15.4-inch screen, but you can choose among native display resolutions of 1,280x800, 1,680x1,050, and 1,920x1,200. The Presario X1000 is the first notebook we've tested with the new ATI Mobility Radeon 9200; ours came with 64MB of video memory, but you can also get 32MB. You can also opt for the older ATI Radeon 7500 with 32MB of video memory. Our test unit came with a 1.6GHz Pentium M processor, 512MB of RAM, and an 80GB hard drive.
With one notable exception, the Presario X1000 series has room for every conceivable mobile feature to make life on the road a little easier. Parallel and serial ports let you connect older input devices and peripherals, while a trio of USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire port, and an S-Video-out port hook you into newer storage and multimedia devices. You'll also find a Type II PC Card slot, audio ports, and a handy SD slot for those who want to swap files with a digital music player or a digital camera. We're surprised, however, that such a multimedia-oriented system lacks an S/PDIF optical connector for linking the notebook with a high-end set of speakers or a digital amplifier.
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|The notebook comes with a DVD/CD-RW combo drive, but a DVD burner is not an option yet.|
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|The Secure Digital (SD) slot is great for swapping files with a digital music player or a digital camera.|
At least the notebook covers communications well. The Presario X1000 series features a 56Kbps modem, integrated gigabit Ethernet, an infrared port, and Intel's Pro/Wireless 2100 802.11b radio. An optional Bluetooth adapter is also available.