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IT Show 2014 - Notebooks, Networking, & Gaming Gear Buying Guide

Notebooks

IT Show 2014 Buying Guide

IT Show 2014 is currently taking place at Marina Bay Sands, Levels 1 and B2. The show is on from the 27th February to 2nd March, and is open from 12pm to 9pm. There will be a ton of products at the show, so in this handy buying guide we'll be giving you tips and tricks on what to look for in a great product, specifically notebook, networking and gaming gear peripherals.

Before we begin our recommendations, check out our video roundup of top 10 new gadgets you might want to have a hands-on at the IT Show and who knows, you might get some of them!

 

Buying Guide Index

 

 

HardwareZone IT Show 2014 Portal

For more on IT Show, including maps, brochures and Twitter updates, click on through to our IT Show portal.

 

Notebook Deals at the Show

Here are some highlighted Notebook deals at IT Show this year.

Aftershock XG13

Winner of our Tech Awards 2014 for Best Portable Gaming Notebook, the XG13 is one of the few notebooks in its class to offer a Full-HD IPS display. It is also powered by the latest Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA's very capable GeForce GTX 765M GPU.

IT Show 2014 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $1,850 (Usual Price: $2,048)
  • IT Show Promotion: Free upgrade to
  • Brochure

Location

Level B2, Booth B100

ASUS G56JR

Making its debut at the IT Show is ASUS' new 15.6-inch G56JR gaming notebook. It is powered by a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M GPU and has 8GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD.

IT Show 2014 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $1,898 (Pre-order only)
  • IT Show Promotion: Free copy of FIFA 14, ROG backpack, ROG headset and gaming mouse (worth $467)
  • Brochure

Location

Level 1, Booth 1205, 1317

MSI GS70 Stealth

Slimmer and lighter than the Razer Blade Pro, the MSI GS70 Stealth is also powered by a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M GPU and also comes with 256GB of flash storage configured in RAID 0.

IT Show 2014 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $2,499
  • IT Show Promotion: Free MSI gaming bag + HDMI cable +gaming mouse
  • Brochure

Location

Level 1, Booth 1538

Dell XPS 11

Weighing just a scant 1.13kg and measuring just 15mm thick, the Dell XPS 11 is the company's latest convertible Ultrabook / Tablet device. Aside from boasting the latest Intel Core i5-4210Y processor and a fast 128GB SSD, it also has a 11-inch 2560 x 1440 display.

IT Show 2014 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $1,999
  • IT Show Promotion: Free accidental damage coverage +  Mini-Displayport to VGA cable + $50 shopping voucher.
  • Brochure

Location

Level 1, Botth 1313, 1423, 1538, 1229

HP Envy 14 TouchSmart

With a QHD 3200 x 1800 pixels resolution touchscreen display, the HP Envy 14 TouchSmart is also powered by a the latest Intel Core i7-4200U processor and NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M GPU.

IT Show 2014 Offer

  • IT Show Price:$1,199 (After trading in any Core i5 notebook. Usual price: $1,599)
  • IT Show Promotion: Free HP carrying case + 1 year accidental damage production
  • Brochure

Location

Level 1. Booth 1221 and 1225

Acer Aspire V5

If you want a no-frills touchscreen-enabled notebook for general purpose computing such as web browsing, emails and the occasional word processing and photo editing, the Acer Aspire V5 is worth a look.

IT Show 2014 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $599 (Usual Price: $899)
  • Brochure

Location

Level 1, Booth 1209

 

IT Show 2014 Notebook Portal

 

Notebook Buying Guide

Whether you're after a lightweight touchscreen convertible Ultrabook, a subwoofer-toting monster gaming machine, or something in between, you'll be spoiled for choice at IT Show 2013. Read on as we give you some tips on choosing the right notebook for you and also show you some of the standout deals from the show.

 

NOTEBOOKS TODAY

With the introduction of Microsoft's touch-enabled Windows 8 OS we've seen a wealth of new convertible and hybrid notebooks enter the market. Of course, you'll still find slim and light Ultrabooks, great value multimedia notebooks and powerful, high-end desktop replacements too.

 

 

 

Convertible & Hybrid Notebooks are designed for Windows 8's touch-enabled Modern UI, utilizing a touchscreen and the ability to transform into a tablet-like form factor. Convertible Notebooks are defined by having a permanently attached keyboard section, while Hybrid notebooks utilize a separate keyboard and screen that can be docked together. If you want to get the most out of Windows 8, these are definitely the way to go, as they offer the dual-functionality of both a notebook and a tablet. 

Note that not all convertible or hybrid notebooks can be classified as Ultrabooks, as some of them use different processors such as the Intel Atom processor found inside HP's Envy X2.

 

 

Ultrabooks are becoming more and more affordable and make a great choice for anyone looking for a lightweight, portable notebook. All Ultrabooks must meet Intel's strict specifications which include an Intel CULV processor, thickness less than 18mm for 13-inch models, or 21mm for 14-inch models, a minimum battery life of 5 hours, a maximum of 7 seconds wakeup time from hibernation, and a storage transfer rate of at least 80 MB/s.

Ultrabooks are also available with touchscreens for use with Windows 8, however, we have found these to be less than satisfactory, and we recommend a convertible or hybrid Ultrabook instead if you want a touchscreen.

 

 

Multimedia Notebooks offer great value as they often pack top-of-the-line specs and other features not found on an Ultrabook such as a Blu-ray optical drive and better speakers. These notebooks will handle most tasks with ease and thanks to their discrete GPUs, can often be used for some light gaming as well.

 

 

Desktop Replacements are the most expensive notebooks available but are also the most powerful. Packing quad-core Intel i7 processors, powerful discrete GPUs, and full HD 17-inch displays, these machines are made to run the most intensive applications and games. Some also offer 3D displays or superior sound with built-in subwoofers.

Ultra-portable gaming notebooks are a new breed of notebooks that are slim and lightweight (compared to traditional gaming notebooks) but pack serious firepower under their hood, and are more than capable of playing the latest games at decent resolutions and settings. These notebooks typically have 13 or 14-inch displays, quad-core processors and a mid to high-end discrete mobile GPU.

 

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

Processor: Most notebooks today use an Intel processor, but how do you choose between an Intel Atom, Core i5 and Core i7? Intel's Core i7 processors are the most powerful, with Core i5 following close behind, while Atom processors are quite a long way behind them that are meant for light content consumption needs. In our experience, only choose a Intel Core i7 processor on a desktop replacement or high-end multimedia notebook. The CULV-class Intel Core i7 processor found in Ultrabooks isn't much more powerful than the i5 version, and will also drain your battery faster.

Windows 7 or Windows 8 OS: While all convertible and hybrid notebooks will come with Windows 8 as standard, others may come with an option of either Windows 7 or Windows 8. If you're given the choice, you may want to opt for Windows 8 even if you don't have a touchscreen, as most notebook trackpads are capable of handling gesture and swipe commands that work just as well for navigating the Windows 8 Modern UI.

Screen Resolution: While a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels is considered standard for most 11 and 13-inch notebooks, some notebooks offer much higher resolutions, up to 1920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD) on a few models. Our preference is for a resolution of 1440 x 900 or 1680 x 1050 pixels as you an cram more information and do more on a given notebook size than the standard resolution screens. However, the latter could help keep costs down, so it's really a matter of your criteria in getting a notebook.

Check out the latest Notebooks and reviews at our HardwareZone Notebook Product Guide.