Two days ago, I posted about looking for a new netbook or notebook, and asked for people’s advice. Since then, I’ve done some investigation based on these suggestions.
First, I’ve outright rejected several options. The Thinkpad X100e was out, mainly because it doesn’t compare favorably to the Acer 1810TZ. The X100e’s battery life is worse than the 1810TZ, it is heaver, and has a single-core CPU. Secondly, the EeePC 1201N was ruled out. Again, its battery life was quite a bit worse than the 1801TZ, and also worse than my existing Eee 901. Finally, the EeePC was out because of its extremely slow performance.
I took information from notebookcheck for models I was interested in, and those suggested in the comments at the earlier post. After reviewing them, I made a comparison chart showing issues that matter most to me.
Candidates: Battery Life
Let’s start with battery life. The X200s presents an interesting picture here. In the 9-cell battery, we can expect over 15 hours of life in idle mode, and 7 hours when surfing the Internet over wifi. This was best in class performance for the idle and surf tests, but when under load it drops to one of the worst ad only 2.57 hours. This could correlate with what Lars Wirzenius commented, saying the X200s battery life is poor: obviously it is doing a lot of power management in software to achieve its runtimes, and if a default Linux installation isn’t doing that power management, battery life could be poor.
The other standard in terms of battery life was the Acer 1810TZ, with 12 hours runtime in idle usage and almost 6 when surfing the net with wifi: that’s an hour longer than my Eee 901. It was also the best performer under full load of anything on my chart.
Disappointing results were turned in by the HP 2530p. Even with a 9-cell battery, it couldn’t match the 1810TZ’s battery life. The Dell E4200, with its 6-cell battery, fared even worse — though I should note notebookcheck hasn’t tested the E4200, so those figures come from elsewhere.
Candidates: Size and Weight
Looking at weight, the X200s and E6200 turn in amazing weights at under 3 pounds for a 12″ notebook. HP’s 2530p is the heaviest in the group at 3.84 pounds with the 6-cell battery (the 9-cell will be heavier but I couldn’t find specs on it). The 1810TZ checks in at 3.1 pounds, a bit more than half a pound heavier than my Eee 901.
Considering size, the E4200 is the thinnest in the group at just 0.79 inches thick. The 2530p is also thin, but is one of the deepest. The Eee 901 is smallest in terms of length and depth, but it is the thickest of all.
Here you can really see why I complain about the Eee 901 being slow. On the PCMark 05 test, it had a third of the performance of the 1810TZ. The best performer was the X200s, followed by HP’s 2530p.
In terms of hard disk speed, the E4200 was fastest due to its SSD (though I suspect these tests are not fully evaluating write performance). The SSD on the EeePC 901 didn’t help it; it finished with less than half the speed of the E4200.
From this chart, it looks like there are only three really interesting models: the X200s with its top-of-the-line performance and display, the HP 2530p, and the 1810TZ with its stellar battery life. The disappointing battery life on the E4200 rules it out for me. The battery life on the HP 2530p is modiocre, but it has a touchpad.
For the 1810TZ, my main concerns are size of screen and the fact that the screen is glossy. I am not at all a fan of glossy screens.
For the HP 2530p, we’ve had an HP 2510p in at work. Its size is virtually identical to the 2530p, and felt a bit bigger than I’d like. It was also lighter than the 2530p, but still a bit heaver that I’d like to see. But the 12″ screen might be worth it.
The X200s lacks a touchpad, which is a major annoyance in my book. I have reports of 7-hour battery life on it with the L9400 CPU under Ubuntu. Another person has reported 12 hours on Arch Linux using a power saving guide (which looks helpful in general as well).
Considering size and weight, the X200s is lighter than the 1810TZ, though only by a little if using the 9-cell battery. It’s very slightly bigger in every dimension than the 1810TZ, but perhaps not enough to influence the decision.
What are your thoughts?