Notebooks Guide

IT Show 2013 - Notebooks/Systems, Networking & PC Accessories Buying Guide

Notebooks

IT Show 2013 Buying Guide

IT Show 2013 is currently taking place at Marina Bay Sands for the very first time, at level 1 and basement 2. The show is on from the 7th to the 10th of March, and is open from 12 noon to 9pm. One of Singapore's longest running tech shows, IT Show 2013 will feature more than 800 exhibitors and cover over 350,000 square-feet of exhibitions space with products ranging from notebooks and tablets to televisions, automotive accessories and more. As usual, admission will be free!

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. Whether you're buying a new TV or a new pair of headphones, here's what you need to know before you buy your next gadget.

Buying Guide Index

 

 

HardwareZone IT Show 2013 Portal

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

 

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.

 

Notebook Deals at the Show

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

Acer Aspire V5 Touch

Acer's Aspire V5 Touch is a great value multimedia notebook with a 10-point multi-touchscreen display, Intel Core i5 processor, discrete NVIDIA GPU, Windows 8 OS and on-board DVD drive. 

IT Show 2013 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $899 (Usual Price: $1099)
  • IT Show Promotion: Free Ethernet to VGA combo cable, second year local extended warranty (carry-in)
  • Brochure

Location

Level 1, Booth 1209

Dell XPS 12

Dell's 12.5-inch convertible Windows 8 Ultrabook uses a swiveling screen to convert between notebook and tablet form factors. It also sports a gorgeous full HD display and solid build quality, with a machined aluminum body and Corning Gorilla Glass protecting the screen.

IT Show 2013 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $1799
  • IT Show Promotion: Free Sennheiser PXC310 headphones worth $439
  • Brochure

Location

Level 1, Booth 1305, 1332 and 1229

HP Spectre XT

HP's 13.3-inch Spectre XT Ultrabook boasts a sleek all-metal design, Intel core i5 processor, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD storage. Thanks to its four speakers and built-in Beats Audio, it also has much better audio quality than most other Ultrabooks. 

IT Show 2013 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $1299 (Usual Price: $1499)
  • IT Show Promotion: Free Symantec Norton Internet Security (2 years subscription), HP Carrying Case, Premium SmartCare Service Plan.
  • Brochure

Location

Level 1, Booth 1221 and 1225

Aftershock Titan

The 17.3-inch full HD Aftershock Titan is the most powerful notebook currently available featuring dual Radeon HD 7970M or GeForce GTX 680M GPUs and an Intel Core i7 CPU. 

IT Show 2013 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $3550 (Usual Price: $3661)
  • IT Show Promotion: Free upgrade to 16GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM, IC Diamond Thermal Compound, Professional Color calibration
  • Brochure

Location

B2, Booth B210

ASUS VivoBook Smart LTE

The ASUS VivoBook Smart LTE features an Intel Atom Z2760 dual-core processor, 64GB SSD storage and LTE connectivity. At just 9.7mm thin and 580g with a 10.1-inch LED-backlit IPS display, the VivoBook Smart is ideal for portable tablet usage, while an optional magnetic TranSleeve keyboard also gives it notebook-like functionality. 

IT Show 2013 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $899
  • IT Show Promotion: Scratch card for a chance to walk away with prizes such as the ASUS Zenbook, Nexus 7, ASUS VivoBook, ASUS MeMO Pad and more. While stocks last.
  • Brochure

Location

Level 1, Booth 1205, 1317

MSI  GE60-0NC

This affordable gaming machine is packing a powerful quad-core Intel i7-3630QM processor and discrete NVIDIA GT650M graphics. It also comes equipped with a 15.6-inch Full HD display, 8GB RAM, and an on-board DVD-RW optical drive.

IT Show 2013 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $1699
  • IT Show Promotion: Free MSI backpack and MSI HDMI cable
  • Brochure

Location

Level 1, Booth 1521

 

IT Show 2013 Notebook Portal