By 10 December 2010 | Categories: feature articles


2010 was a very good year for notebooks. Not only did you have the new Windows 7 operating system contributing to a generally smoother notebook experience, but also Intel's powerful Core-I range of processors and the new Microsoft Office working the magic. We had a number of good units entering our office this year; here is the best of the best.

Apple MacBook Air

The new Apple MacBook Air is so thin and light that if we were its parents we would be seriously concerned. At 1.7 cm at its thickest point it's actually thinner than some smartphones, an incredible feat achieved in part by Apple swopping the regular hard disk drive for a solid state one. Its 2 GB RAM was a bit restrictive and it will cost you a pretty penny, but Apple has a way to design products that makes it really difficult not to want them.

We said online: "If you have the iPad and use the iPhone 4 you might as well make the jump and get the whole shebang by ordering the new Air."

Full review:

Acer Aspire TimeLineX 5820TG

Although Acer's 5820TG is one of the heavier thin-and-light machines out there, it still cracks a nod for good battery life, included number pad and really solid performance. It easily matched the specs of midrange notebooks we tested, even performing amicably on the gaming front - all in a 2.4 kg body without a price tag that gives the giggles.

We said online: "So while it might not be the thinnest or lightest out there, compared to notebooks matching its processing power and screen size the Acer is a more manageable machine.”

Full review:

Asus G51J gaming notebook

Although some might say this whole 3D thing is all hype we would like to invite them to a round of Call of Duty on the Asus G51J 3D notebook. Thanks to Nvidia's 3D capable GeForce GTX260 graphics card, gaming was a smooth experience, made even more engrossing in 3D thanks to the wireless 3D emitter and glasses. A solid design coupled with top of the range specs, rounded off this excellent gaming machine from Asus.

We said online: "What is most striking about this machine is its ability to demonstrate just how far 3D technology has come in a very short time."

Full review:

HP EliteBook 2540p

HP took business seriously with their excellent EliteBook 2540p thin-and-light. Not only was it fast, carrying Intel's speedy (but battery friendly) Core I7 640LM processor, but our model also sported a lovely 160 GB SSD drive providing faster boot-up speed. All presented in a military grade body ready for on-the-road business thrills-and-spills.

We said online: "We wouldn't hesitate for a second to buy one ourselves."

Full review:

Alienware M17X

We waited long to see the Alienware brand in SA, and when it landed we were blown away. Their M17X gaming laptop's performance simply obliterated every notebook we've ever tested. No wonder since it carries the powerful Intel Core i7 Q720 CPU, a crazy 8 GB of RAM and two, yes two ATI HD 4870 GPUs. Combine this with an aggressive design and what feels like unlimited lighting customisation, and it's no wonder that the Alienware M17X mothership easily captures the no. 1 spot in our notebooks of the year.

We said online: "If we lived in a perfect world the entire office would be outfitted with these babies."

Full review:


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