I was canvassing for a 40k laptop for my office use; thanks to Angelo, I found out that there was a recent drop in Centrino-Powered Laptop prices; which fit right within my budget. P 39,900 was what it cost me for the unit alone (VAT included).
Initially I was eyeing some lower end laptops with Celeron processors but because of the price drop, owning a Centrino suddenly became more of a reality. I found some Laptop brands which dropped their prices to fit my 40k budget, but the 3628 beat all of them in terms of speed because it had an Intel Centrino 1.7Ghz. The others that I canvassed could give me only 1.5 Ghz of Centrino power at most.
From the Box print:
Intel Centrino® Mobile Technology
Pentium M 735A (1.7Ghz, 2MB, 400FSB)
Intel® 915GM Chipset
14.1″ WXGA TFT Crystalbrite LCD, 1280 x 800 pixel resolution
Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 900
128 MB Shared Memory ( DVMT 3.0 )
40 GB IDE HDD
Built-in Combo Drive
Weight 2.35 kg
Dimension 334 (W) x 243 (D) x 28.6/35.2 (H) mm
Linux Operating System
Built in 56K Modem, Built in 10/100 Mbps LAN
Built-in Intel® PRO/Wireless 2200( 802.11b/g)
PCMCIA 5 in 1 Card Reader
6 Cell Battery, 42W Li-ion battery pack
2.5 hour Battery Life
Definitely what I’m enjoying most about it (aside from 1.7Ghz and 2Mb L2 cache;) is the 1280 x 800 screen (14.1″ Crystalbrite TFT LCD … Sweet!), yep you read that right, 800 and not 768… which means I can place more apps on my desktop when I multi task. My IM program fits well on my desktop without taking much space from my other applications. With my programming cap on I like to have a lot of space on my desktop because I have a lot of references open. Before I used to remember having a book in front of my keyboard when programming, now it’s always me having the browser or adobe reader on.
After using it in some real work-life situations I found out a few things:
1. If you are using Windows XP, the standard 256Mb DDR RAM just won’t cut it. Upgrade to at least 512 by adding an additional Php 1,700 to the unit cost. Since video memory is shared and the minimum allocation is 64 Mb, you have effectively about 192 Mb of RAM available to you. Without the additional 256 I felt that I was in first gear all the time with my gears gnashing as the OS would freeze whenever I loaded additional apps. After about a week of using it; I was already calling the shop; reserving some RAM for an upgrade.
2. The 3638 doesn’t come with the standard Parallel port for the printer, in it’s place are 3 USB ports. I found out the hard way when I had to print to an old Laser Printer outside of our office. Good thing I had my trusty thumb drive to transfer docs between PC’s.
3. It comes with Linux OS, upgrading to Windows XP was a breeze as the driver CD came complete with all it’s drivers. I was up to speed and working in just a few hours (Hence the reason it was also cheap). Next to install for me is Ubuntu 6.06.
4. There is only one PCMCIA slot available and it doesn’t have one of those flip down hinges which cover the slot if you don’t have anything in it. In place of that is a dummy PCMCIA card.
5. Battery endurance came as promised, it lasted for 2.5 hours (I must be so geeky already to actually test that).
6. The combo DVD/CD Burner sure did come in handy when I had to distribute some last minute presentation materials.
7. I’m spoiled using the Wireless 802.11b/g transmitter, the built in 10/100 Mbps LAN is just going to gather dust. Although I did kill an RJ45 jack when it didn’t want to disconnect from the built in LAN.
When I bought it, it came with some freebies; a PCMCIA 5-in-1 card reader, a laptop bag (Acer brand attache case type) and some thumb-drive-memory-compression-thingy that I threw in the back seat of my car because of my lack of faith in compression technologies.
All in all I spent about P41,880: adding the cost of 256 Mb RAM and an optical mouse.
Another funny thing was that 2 shops had lucked out in getting my 40k cold cash by :
1.) Not having the 3628 in stock and not allowing me to place an order for it. Yep, I was willing to wait to purchase from these guys because of corporate reasons. And no these guys wouldn’t give me a discount even for corporate reasons.
2.) Having their one (and only?) technician go out on an 11 AM lunch break while the two other sales ladies weren’t allowed to entertain any of my laptop queries because only the technician can handle the laptops. They wanted me to wait an hour for him to comeback; even when I asked if they could call him because I was in the market to buy immediately.
Just goes to show that sometimes just being at the right place at the right time, with the right thing could net you some money.