Review: Roundup: 4 Vista-Free Big-Screen Notebooks

Used to be buying a 15-inch notebook meant parting ways with at least two grand. Not anymore. Plenty of big-screen machines now offer up loads of features for prices well south of a thousand bucks. What’s better, all of the laptops tested in this roundup have XP as an OS option — no need to “downgrade to Vista” before Windows 7 hits in a few months.

1. Lenovo ThinkPad SL500

It’s something of a Porsche in the otherwise rarefied world of ThinkPad. With the SL500, Lenovo offers most of the line’s high-end features while still landing at a rock-bottom price.

With its startling, glossy lid, the SL500 is initially only recognizable as a ThinkPad from to the logo in the corner (complete with glowing red LED dotting the “i”). But opening the laptop reveals many of the ThinkPad’s signature features: a rock-solid, spacious keyboard, dual pointing devices and a comfortable selection of ports (four USB and even HDMI output). There’s plenty more under the hood, too, including Bluetooth, integrated WWAN (AT&T) and GPS built right in. The 15.4-inch LCD also features LED backlighting, and there’s even a 1.3-megapixel webcam above the screen. Speakers are loud and crisp, and screen brightness is about average for the category.

Really, what’s not to like? With a 2.26-GHz Core 2 Duo, 250-GB hard drive, and 2 GB of RAM, the SL500 was a top performer among these XP-configured systems, though it suffers badly in one area: battery life. Its scrawny power pack pumped out a meager 90 minutes of DVD playback time, the worst in our roundup. How are we supposed to know how Slumdog ends?

Other than that, we found little to complain about Lenovo’s base-level offering, which comes complete with XP pre-installed, not on a disc you have to use to downgrade yourself. And at $865, even the price makes us happy.

$865 (as tested), thinkpad/p>

#item_stats {display: none;}#item_specs {display: none;}

Spread the love