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HWM+HardwareZone.com Tech Awards 2012: Editor's Choice - Part 2

Best Business Notebook

Best Business Notebook

So you’re a high-flying executive ready to take on the world on your own terms. Of course to do that, you'll need a pretty capable companion and that's what this product category is about - the Best Business Notebook. For this, we've set certain criteria like a 13-inch screen size, thin and light notebooks under 2kg, outfitted with security features and must feature the latest breed of processors. Bearing these aspects in mind, the following are our contenders.

Nominees:

  • Acer TravelMate 8481G
  • Dell Latitude E6320
  • Fujitsu Lifebook SH771
  • HP Elitebook 2560p
  • Lenovo Thinkpad X1
  • Sony Vaio Z
  • Toshiba Portege R830

And the Winner Is...

As far as business notebooks in this class go, their internal specifications are more or less the same. The higher the specs you choose, the more expensive they become, simple right? Except sometimes, more expensive machines don’t really mean they’re better. Like this year’s winner, the full-featured (with optical drive) 13-inch Toshiba Portege R830. This somewhat reasonably priced (Core i7, S$2599) machine admittedly has average performance, and doesn’t have the best benchmark scores. In fact, from the rating compilation below, you'll notice a couple more notebooks that have a higher overall rating, but were passed off in favor of the R830. Simply said, these notebooks deserve their respective ratings when evaluated individually, but when put into a comparison for a particular purpose, the ratings alone may not be able to tell the whole story.

To put things in perspective, imagine a scenario where you compare the R830, against one of its closest competitors. Assuming that the price and storage capacity were constant, the R830 will really stand out. That’s because it has got the most important feature by far when it comes to business productivity - superb battery life. This allows you to travel throughout most of the day without being shackled to a power brick or external peripherals, since it’s got the full suite of connectivity options built in. Add to that the R830’s very robust (aluminum-magnesium alloy) 1.4kg form factor, and you’ve got a tight little package that will meet your needs no matter which seat within the organization you occupy. It also comes with a slew of security features that are imperative when it comes to corporate machines. This means convincing your IT department you need one of these little productive machines will be easier than getting them to approve of your BlackBerry.

The one advantage that some other business machines have over the R830 is the solid-state-drive (SSD). To negate this advantage, you can simply swap the internal hard drive away for a performance enhancing SSD, or you can order as SSD packing R830 straight from Toshiba (S$3999 for 512GB). Once an SSD is on board, the Toshiba R830 will be an average executive’s dream combination.

Scoring Breakdown
Criteria/Model Acer TravelMate 8481G Dell Latitude E6320 Fujitsu Lifebook SH771 HP Elitebook 2560p Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Sony Vaio Z Toshiba Portege R830
Physique 8.0 7.5 8.5 8.5 9.0 9.0 8.5
Features 8.0 8.0 8.0 8.0 9.0 9.5 8.5
Performance 7.5 8.0 8.0 8.5 9.0 9.5 8.0
Value 8.0 8.0 8.0 7.5 8.0 7.0 8.0
Mobility 8.5 8.0 9.0 7.5 8.0 9.0 9.5
Overall 8.0 8.0 8.5 8.5 9.0 9.0 8.5
Price S$1,998 S$1,988 S$2,288 S$2,799 S$3,099 S$3,999 S$2,599

*Note: Prices and ratings listed are accurate at the time of individual product evaluation.

For more details on how we selected our winners, check out the full reviews and articles listed at the References section at the end.