I’ve been a laptop junkie for the longest time. Even though I couldn’t afford the latest, greatest model, I’ve always been on the lookout for great deals and for machines with specs to make any serious gamer drool. Of course it helps that I write for a laptop blog, too. I guess it’s just too bad that I haven’t been sent units for review, like Gary of Exchange.PH (I’d love to have a MacBook Pro–or two!–sitting on my bed!).
Having been in the market for a new laptop to replace my aging ThinkPad the past few months, I’ve finally settled for a Compaq Presario V2617TS earlier last month. It’s probably not the greatest in terms of specs, but hey, it’s a brand new Compaq Presario for PhP 31k. Not bad for a branded model and for a laptop with teh sexy looks (or so they say).
Still, I’ve been monitoring prices lately, and it seems inexpensive Centrino-based branded models are popping up here and there. Check out the Acer 3628, which retails for a little less than PhP 40k. That’s a Centrino system running on a Dothan core Pentium-M 735A (1.7GHz) with a 256MB DDR2 RAM and a 14.1-inch anti-reflective widescreen. Well, 256MB isn’t that great for systems today, but that’s already dual-channel DDR running at 400MHz (faster than single-channel DDR running at the same speed) and less than a couple of thousand pesos more, you can up that to 512MB DDR2.
Granted it’s still not the latest Sonoma-core Pentium-Ms, or even the Yonah class processors (Core Solo, Core Duo, etc.) that have been popping up on laptops of late, but that’s still a good deal. It’s in the same price range as ODM Centrinos, and even cheaper than Celeron-M based laptops from other brands.
I’m not much of a fan of Acer, though (I do have a Pentium-100 class Acer still lying around somewhere at home), but it seems this brand is coming up with good deals lately. And why am I too brand-conscious when it comes to laptops, when there are quite a number of whitebox/ODM brands coming up with better specs at lower prices? I’d have to agree with Cooltoyz in its argument for branded laptops. You get better support with branded laptops.
Also, I tend to think it’s like buying a car. Funds permitting, which would you go for? A Benz, a Bimmer or a Civic? Or rather, if you had a million pesos lying around at home, would you get a 2006 Civic or a pre-owned series-5 BMW? It can be a matter of preference. But you also get to appreciate the value of great engineering and great design. But we digress.
So if you’re looking into buying a new laptop it pays to be in-the-know It seems prices are dropping every couple of months or so locally, especially with the fast pace by which the chipmakers are updating their processor lines. Take note that with the recent marriage of AMD and ATI, we can expect better processor+chipset designs in the near future. What made “Centrino” such a good marketing move is that it espoused a good balance in terms of power, efficiency (the battery life factor) and size. Perhaps competition with AMD will even produce better systems.
Back to the inexpensive Acer Centrinos, a friend just bought one (for P39k and that includes an extra stick of 256MB DDR2) and asked me if he got a good deal. I said “yes.”