Currently, an entry-level laptop can handle applications that were difficult for even mainstream laptops to work with earlier. Since existing computing platforms are refreshed once a year and newer platforms are introduced every two years, the prices of laptops undergo revision every few months.
The changes in platforms include new chipsets, support for newer generation of CPUs and faster memory support for new wireless standards, better GPUs, and so on. So, unless you’re waiting for a new platform to release, it’s always a good time to buy a new laptop.
There’s no point in waiting for months in anticipation for a price drop, because it will further drop in the next few months. A lot has changed in the recent past, especially after the introduction of Intel’s new Core Series of CPUs. They have successfully replaced the old Pentium Dual Core and the Core 2 Duo CPUs. With technologies like Hyper-Threading, multitasking on laptops, even in this budget, is a piece of cake. Although today, you might find some older hardware on some cheaper laptops, on the whole, entry-level and mainstream laptops are certainly more powerful and feature-rich than what they were a year ago.
Single-core processors lost their charm two years ago. Whether your preference is a larger hard drive, more processing power or good battery life, you will surely find the one that suits your budget and application area. In this article, we compared a handful of entry-level and mainstream laptops, ranging from Rs 35,000 to Rs 50,000.
The chart above shows the hardware specifications, salient features and benchmark scores of the various laptops tested. On the basis of those parameters, there were two winners, Best Value award winner and Best Performance award winner.
Acer Aspire 5740
This laptop won the Best Value award for very good reasons, the main one being that, it’s very close to the best performer (Dell N5010) in this comparison and is almost Rs 5,000 cheaper. However, you won’t get the style and aesthetic appeal that the Dell N5010 offers, but again, this machine has an all-matte finish which is such a reliever from finger print stains. There’s another variant of this laptop, the Aspire 5740G, which features a discrete GPU, and the rest of the hardware and functionality is almost identical. To see the full review, click here.
Dell Inspiron N5010
The most striking feature of the Inspiron N5010 is the aesthetics, it looks truly stunning. It’s a good entry-level desktop replacement, in terms of performance, design and aesthetics. While it sports a gun metal brush finish on the lid and the wrist rest, the downside is that the entire unit is glossy and makes it prone to finger prints. This laptop is ideal not only for home users, but also for business people alike. While this one has a 15-inch screen, the 14-inch variant, the N4010, features similar hardware (see specs chart). To see the full review, click here.
From the entire lot, the Dell Inspiron N4010 (14-inch) and the Inspiron N5010 (15-inch) caught my attention the most, mainly because of their aesthetics. The brushed gunmetal finish, although glossy, gives them a classy look. Both are powered by the Core i3 330M CPU and have the same amount of RAM. If you see the tables, they are mainly different in terms of hardware, apart from the size factor ofcourse. If only the N5010 did not have the overly glossy body, it would have been my favorite. It has a discrete GPU, so it performs slightly better, especially in multimedia applications, and it has a larger screen, which is usually my preference. Also, the price difference between the two versions is almost negligible.
If you are already using any of these laptops, drop us a line saying how it is and tell us whether you are happy with it. Also, this list is not about the top laptops in this price segment, so if you have any suggestions, the comments section is all yours.
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Published Date: Aug 10, 2010 09:32 am | Updated Date: Aug 10, 2010 09:32 am