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Samsung SF510-A01 Laptop Review

December 19th, 2010 3 comments


The Samsung has been a less popular brand in the area of the notebooks in US where quality conscious customers prefer Sony ( Decent quality for $100 to $200 extra) or Apple ( Way expensive and therefore avoidable). And then, we have Toshiba, HP, Dell and Lenovo, Gateway and Asus brands. For a given price range the number of the notebooks available are myriad making it difficult for the customers to choose a particular brand or a model.

The best course of action for a customer will be to look for available models available in a price range and read the reviews including, most importantly processor, display, graphics, availability of inbuilt camera and whether it offers a DVD or a Blu Ray player. There are few things that are offered almost universally in all notebooks and possible does not need an in depth check. These include the USB, wired and wireless internet ( yes almost all notebooks now a days come with wireless internet). Of course, you may also like to check availability of HDMI port, if that concerns you and the battery life if you plan to use your notebook a lot without power supply.

There are few things special about the Samsung SF510-A01, that makes it part of the reason we chose to review it. The Samsung SF510-A01 is available at bestbuy for a decent price of $629.99 at the time of writing. If the core i3-370M processor ( it is 2.4 GHz, 2 core, 3 MB Cache), 4 GB DDR3 RAM and, Intel Wireless Display, Embedded 4G WiMAX along with inbuilt camera and 500 GB hard disk looks attractive, you may like to rush to best buy – it is probably a decent deal for the price it is offered. For more details read on.

Samsung SF510-A01 Pros

– Top of the line core i3 processor core i3-370M
– In Built Intel WiDi ( Wireless Display)
– Embedded WiMax
– Good price to performance
– 7 Hours of battery Life

Samsung SF510-A01 Cons

– The screen resolution is only 1,366×768
– Do you rely on Samsung Brand
– Speakers not great
– No Bluetooth

The Look, Style and Keyboard

White and cream colors have started to become the synonym of the stylish look ( remember Apple and Sony Viao), but Samsung SF510-A01’s cream color gives a out a cool look that you will really appreciate. The curvy edges and glossy finish that further adds to its charm, if you care for its “looks”.

Inside, we have a contrasting dark color, unlike typical Apple or some of the Sony series notebooks. The dark brown inside has raised keyboard which is very good for typing. HP, for example had highly disappointed with it flat keyboards with some of its notebooks making it hard to feel as we type. While we find, for example, the Sony Viao VPCEB23FC to have even better keyboards we found Samsung SF510-A01 to be almost as good.

Samsung SF510-A01 Processor

Samsung SF510-A01 is powered by the core i3-370M processor, a dual core processor which has a clock frequency of 2.4 GHz. If you are tech savvy, we encourage you to read the Intel Core i7-370M review and its exotic properties including integrated memory controller, smart cache and the fast DMI bus. If you do not wish to go into details, bear in mind that core i3 processors are the newest processor which has significantly better performance at compared with similarly clocked Intel core 2 processors. If you do think you need higher processing power you may like to take a look at Intel core i5 based processors ( and the notebooks that are powered by them) that has turbo boost enabled.

Samsung SF510-A01 Display

Display is the next important parameter in any notebook and Samsung SF510-A01 impresses with the quality of the 15.6 inch display at 1366 x 768 resolution. The Graphics is driven by Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD. The Samsung SF510-A01 also has an HDMI output that you can use to watch movies on a HDTV, in case you need.

The Intel WiDi and WiMax

There are two key ingredients worth mentioning in the Samsung SF510-A01 as these are not available in all notebooks. The First is the support for the Intel Wireless Display – with which you can display the content of the notebook on a Tv wirelessly. Of course you will need a Netgear Push2TV unit ( that hooks with your TV). You will get a 720p resolution of streaming video. Do not expect that you will be able to play any game when you use the WiDi because of the time lag. But it is decent for watching movies. The second ingredient worth mentioning is the included WiMax antenna which should be a good option if you want to add a 4G wireless connectivity.


Other Key Features

Without going into too much details it is worthwhile to point out few key feature that will make you appreciate points about this notebook

– Integrated 0.3 MP Camera
– HDMI Coonection
– Weight without AC Adapter 5.4 lb
– 500 GB Hard Disk, 5400 rpm
– 4 GB RAM

We found the Samsung SF510-A01 to be better that many other notebooks around the same price range in best buy. For example the Dell I15R-1835MRB selling for $649 has the i3-350M ( has 2.26 GHz) Vs core i3-370M processor in the Samsung SF510-A01. The Dell I15R-1835MRB has the same amount of the RAM, Hard Disk, same display size and resolution but does not support WiMAX.

Sony Viao VPCEE25FX/W at $649 is another notebook at $649 that impresses us. It has however AMD Athlon II X2 320 processor (2.1 GHz dual core), which turns out to be inferior than the Core i3-370M in the Samsung SF510-A01 . Sony viao vaio ( thanks lol for pointing typo), though, impresses with its quality and durability. It also has 4 GB RAM, a 15.5 ” Display but a smaller 320 GB Hard Disk.

Dell Studio S1558-5691MSL at $699 will get you a core i3-350M processor ( 2.26 GHz), 4 GB RAM, 15.6″ screen and a 500 GB RAM Hard Disk.

If you are looking for a notebook with greater power we recommend you take a look at Gateway Nv55c26u – for $699 you get Intel core i5-460M (2.53 GHz, with turbo boost to 2.8 GHz). The extra money is worth given the processing power you get. In case you are a developer you need to do video processing.

Asus U52F-BBL9 is another $699 processor that also features faster Core i5-460M. There has been customer complaints about this notebook and the way its keyboard is arranged. Asus still needs to do something more in terms of the quality.

Sony Via VPCEE37FX/WI at $699 could be a decent buy. You can rest assured with the Sony quallity. You get a decent white out look. The processor is AMD Turion II P540 ( dual core 2.4 GHz).

We at starredreviews, expect that the review is helpful in the process of decision making, if you are considering to by a notebook in the $600 to $700 price range. In the conclusion we highly recommend this notebook unless you come across something better than this in sale and deal. We also recommend to explore Gateway Nv55c26u for a better processing power. Sony Via Viao ( Thanks again  lol for pointing out the typo) is a perennial quality notebook, but you do not get a higher end processor in this price range.

Gateway ID49C notebook review

September 23rd, 2010 No comments


The processor in the Gateway ID49C notebook is Intel Core i5-450M – intel’s flagship processor (at least at the time of writing) The core i5-450M is a a dual-core processor with a nominal clock frequency of 2.4GHz nominal clock. The core i5-450M does support turbo boost whereby it can temporarily increase the frequncy of its core upto 2.66 GHz for short period of time. The performance of the i5-450M processor should be good enough for most of your tasks. The notebook has 4 GB of DDR3 memory which can be expanded to 8 GB if required.

Priced at $849 at the time of buying ( according to the gateway website at http://www.gateway.com/systems/product/529668689.php), the notebook seems to be priced proportionate to the feature it provides.

The Gateway ID49C comes with NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M. The GeForce GT 330M comes with NVIDIA’s Optimus technology. Usually any decent graphics support comes in bigger laptops ( usually 17 inch or at least 16 inch). However, a high end graphics in the ID49C, a 14 inch notebook, is a pleasantly good combination and another reason to buy, especially if you are a gaming enthusiast. The GT 330M has 48 CUDA cores and a 128-bit memory bus.

The Gateway ID49C has 14 inch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768. The part number of the display is LG Philips LP140WH2-TLA2.

One of the interesting feature of the Gateway ID49C is its ability to shut down the GT 330M graphics use the Intel HD graphics built into the i5 processor when the unit is running on the battery.

The left side of the Gateway ID49C has an Ethernet jack, a VGA connector, an HDMI, USB 2.0 in addition to a Microphone and a Headphone jack. The right side of the notebook has three USB 2.0 and an optical drive. The power supply enters through the right side of the notebook. The notebook also has 1.3 Megapixel in built camera.

The ID49C has 6-Cell, 11.1V, 4400mAh, 48Wh battery. According to Gateway the battery will last for six hour. However, you must note that this assumption is based upon the fact that the gateway will shut down the GeForce GT 330M graphics and let the core i5 processor’s graphics run the display. Also the the notebook’s diplay will be dimmed according to the Gateway’s in built dimming software. Nonetheless, the battery life is really decent especially since the notebook has a mainstream processor.

The Keypads needs some serious design thoughts. If you need to type a lot while working on this notebook, you may better like to look at Sony Via based notebooks. The backlight on the touchpad has been found to be anooying by many users.

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A round up of Notebooks available at Staples

August 29th, 2010 No comments

August 29, 2010

If you are planning to buy a notebook, we advise you to make a trip to Staples in addition to Best buy or Walmart or other online shopping places including amazon, newegg and tigerdirect. You may be surprised by some of the rebates offered at Staples.

Here is a roundup of the Notebooks available at Staples as observed on August 29, 2010 on one of its store in Attleboro, MA.

1. HP G42-230US

Available at $499.98, this notebook features AMD’s Turion II P520 processor. Some noteworthy features are, the 4GB RAM, 14 inch screen,  inbuilt camera and the HDMI port. If you are looking for a small and light notebook with decent performance, then HP G42-230US is the one to go with. The same notebook is available at Walmart and Amazon at above $600 at the time of writing.

2. HP Pavilion DV6-3010US

Available at $499.98, the HP Pavilion DV6-3010US also features the Turion II P520 processor and has 4GB of RAM. However it has a bigger 15.6″ LCD screen as compared to 14″ LCD screen in the  G42-230US. Going by the specifications, this notebook   gives the best value for the money.  However, the customer reviews at amazon has not been positive and mechanical issues has been pointed out. Amazon is selling it at $563 at the time of writing. So, if you decide to buy  DV6-3010US, Staples still saves you money. It does come with HDMI port – another plus point for this notebook.

3. Compaq CQ62-225NR

The the Compaq CQ62-225 is available at  staples at the same price of $499.98. It  features Athlon II P320 processor and has 3GB of memory instead of 4GB available in  DV6-3010US or the HP G42-230US.  If you do plan to buy – there are better places to buy than the Staples. Amazon, for example, has it at $429 at the time of writing.

The morale of the story is do a little bit of search for prices before taking a decision to buy.

4. Dell Inspiron 14R

If you want somewhat higher end processor, you may like to consider Dell Inspiron 14R. Available at $749.98 Dell Inspiron features the intel core i3-350 processor, a 2.26GHz Dual core intel processor with improved performance than the similarly clocked core 2 intel processors.  Notice that other places, including amazon has better pricing ($619.99 )  for Inspiron 15R at the time of writing. The $499 HP G42-230US is almost as good,  for about $120 less compared to the amazon pricing of Dell Inspiron 14R.

5. Acer AS5334

The Acer AS5334 is the lowest priced notebook available for $399.98. However, its Intel Celeron 900 processor ( It runs  at 2.20GHz)  is a big turn off. While its  3GB RAM is decent, you may like to invest $100 more and buy either the HP G42-230US or the HP Pavilion DV6-3010US. You may however like to note that this notebook is available at $450 at amazon. So, in case you do decide to go with Acer AS5334, you may like to consider Staples.

7. Dell Inspiron 501R

Another Dell notebook available at staples is the Dell Inspiron 501R that features Athlon II P320 processor and has 4GB of RAM.  Available at $529 this notebook has 15.6″ LCD.  The Athlon II P320 is a 2.1G hz low power ( consumes just 25Watts) processor and has decent performance.

8.  Dell Inspiron 17R

The Dell Inspiron 17R  features intel core i5-450  processor and has 4GB of RAM.  Available at $799.98 this is one of the highest performing notebook. Its 17 inch notebook is great for multimedia, gaming and the developers who need to keep multiple screen  open simultaneously.

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HP Envy 14 Review

May 28th, 2010 No comments

HP recently announced their second generation of Envy laptop/noebook series HP envy 17 and HP envy 14.  We have previously discussed about envy 17. Today I am going to write about HP Envy 14 review.

Whenever HP releases a new model, it becomes breaking news. Here it also not an exception. HP Envy 14 equipped with promising feature and will be available at attractive price. The basic model starts with $999 only.

Basic Specifications of HP Envy 14

Envy 14 integrated with choices of processor Intel core i3, i5 and i7. The screen is of 14.5” having resolution of 1600*900 pixels (16:9) format

When Graphics is concerned HP Envy comes with switchable graphics ATI Mobility Radeon 5650  and Intel HD graphics. So when u need to watch movies or playing games ATI Radeon will come into use and for daily chores Intel HD graphics are perfect.

Extra Features:-

HP envy 14 comprises of  HDMI output, VGA output, Mini DisplayPort along with common connectivity features

It also comprises of elective 3G/WWAN.

It comprises with ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology which allow user to watch three additional displays at a time. This technology permits connection with three external displays

For enhancing music experience it comes with Premium Beats audio technology

When comes battery life, it has an impressive up to 8 hours long battery life. Of course for enjoying prolongs battery hours, you need to switch off your dedicated graphics.

Like HP envy 17, it also has backlit keyboard. Here it differs from HP envy 13 which is lack of backlit keyboard.

HP envy 14 weighs only 5.25 pounds and 1.1 inch wide and has magnesium/aluminum alloy cover.

Finally, HP envy series provide great speed and performance compare to latest laptops and notebook having similar specifications and I hope HP Envy 14 will become a promising one like it predecessor.

Update : The HP Envy 14 craze has come and gone. Now is the time for Sandy Bridge based notebooks

ASUS Eee PC 1215 review

May 18th, 2010 No comments

Asus Latest netbook Eee PC 1215 promises two new things. It has a pair of USB 3.0 ports. The USB 3.0 will increase the speed of the data transfer from the current rate of 400 Mbits per seconf to 4.8 Gbit/s. This will be a great for transferring movies using Flash drives. It will also make large file transfers almost immediate. If you are willing to save time on the peripheral data transfers you may like to put your money in  Eee PC 1215.

The second great thing about Asus Eee PC 1215 is that it has NVIDIA Optimus tech for switching graphics hardware on the fly. Other than these two innovations this machines is the same as the Asus 1201. It has the dual core  Atom D510 processor. It does has the iopn graphics that supplements the

The Eee PC 1215 is expected to be launched soon. It is expected that it will make the older versions obsolete. The users will, off course, have to pay a premium for it. Notice that the USB 3.0 devices are not available en-masse. But it is expected that it will take some time before USB 3.0 devices will start coming soon. Buying this notebook will future proof your investment.