This is a guest post by Sam at Dealzon.com, thanks to the folks from HP.
There’s a lot of buzz in the tech industry about tablet computers. It seems like every day there’s a new article about the next Apple iPad or the next hot Android device. This past week, the Amazon Kindle Fire drew rave reviews from the media. It reminds me a little bit about the buzz around netbook computers a few years back. Acer and Asus created a similar kind of buzz by introducing a new very small kind of laptop with a long-lasting battery. Travelers flocked to them and the netbook craze was born.
It might have been awhile since you’ve heard netbooks making the news. Is it because they’ve been crowded out by tablets? Perhaps… but I have a different view. The tablet market is dominated by the Apple iPad, but at $500, it is hard to compare the iPad to netbooks which are often priced in the $250-$300 range. I think netbooks face more competition from the ultraportable laptop category.
Ultraportable laptops are slightly bigger than traditional netbooks. Instead of a screen of 9 or 10 inches, ultraportables usually have screens closer to 12 inches. That might not seem like much, but it allows manufacturers to build in a full keyboard for comfort and a better processor with a lot more power. With better specs than a netbook in a similarly portable package, you might think that ultraportable laptops would cost a lot more money. And if you’re like me, you might be surprised to find out that you can usually get them for the price of an iPad… or, in at least one case, even cheaper.
My favorite ultraportable on the market today is the HP Pavilion dm1z (after coupon, of course). The screen is 11.6 inches and has a 1366 x 768 resolution. At the risk of getting sued by Apple, that is the closest you are likely to get to a “retina display” on a laptop. (Please tell me Apple didn’t copyright “retina display.”) In addition, you’ll get 3GB or 4GB of memory (depending on the exact configuration) and more than 250GB of hard drive space. My $1,000 laptop from Dell has just slightly more memory and I rarely do stuff that requires all of it anyway. The dm1z’s dual-core AMD processors are many times faster than what you’d find in a netbook or tablet computer. In addition, you can expect to get about 7-8 hours of battery life, which should get you through the work day.
HP recently refreshed the very popular dm1z yet again, giving it an even slicker look, and throwing in a faster AMD Fusion E-450 dual-core processor with improved power efficiency. So you not only get more performance for the same price, you also get the same great battery life that all dm1z owners have been enjoying since earlier this year.
The late-2011 HP dm1z can be grabbed for less than $500 after coupon. You now also have the option of choosing a Core i3 model for a bit more money.
One of the nice new changes for the late-2011 HP dm1z is the front soft-touch cover finish, which gives you a rubbery, firm grip vs the plastic glossy smooth surface of the previous design (which also had a habit of collecting fingerprints). Another great design upgrade is that the laptop’s battery is now fitted into the chassis design, and therefore no longer protrudes from the back.
My favorite thing about the dm1z is obvious — the price. At around $400, you’ll save enough money to get yourself a nice case for it and still come out ahead of buying an iPad. There isn’t a better mix of portability, power, and value on the market. For me, traditional netbooks seem to compromise too much on power and the size is a little small for everyday use. Dealing with those limitations is not worth saving an extra $100 when you use a computer as much as I do.