Updates to this site

Hi Everyone, unfortunately, due to study time constraints (Uni’s takes another level of commitment), I am not able to assess which are the best value for money notebooks at the current time.
However, My Site, #TechWithAaron, will continue to give latest Tech news and guidance to help YOU to choose a better notebook.

Also, at the same time, i changed by #techWithAaron Website url (So it’s easier to type for everyone).
However, this means that some weblinks here may stop working.

This includes the “How to choose the perfect and reliable computing device – By #TechWithAaron)”
To access my weblink, use the below url. I will try to resolve the remaining issues after finals (Perhaps by end may)

https://techwithaaron.wordpress.com/how-to-choose-a-good-notebooktablet/

I wish you all the best in your Life in SP – Enjoy while you can 🙂

Cheers! #TechWIthAaron

SP Notebook Reviews 2016: (UPDATED) Performance Comparison and Shootout Chart

In this performance shootout, we have compiled a summary of the performance indicators of ALL windows laptops offered by SP this year.

Without further ado, lets take a look at our summary of performance indicators for laptops.

GENERAL WORK PERFORMANCE COMPARISON CHART

This year, we noticed that the prices of SSD’s have become cheap enough to be used on many laptops. The speed advantages that only an SSD can provide has convinced us that it is best for students to buy a laptop with an SSD, because:

  1. Where a Hard drive may take 2 minutes to turn on the computer, an SSD can usually load the same thing in the matter of seconds, and
  2. External HDD’s are now readily available and cheap to put your less important files in. 256GB of storage space is actually sufficient for most users. Further, since SP is giving a 1TB external hard drive as well, why not put it to good use to store your personal stuff as well? 😉

Further, we feel that 8GB of ram should be the new minimum requirement for laptops as ram is important when multitasking between many apss (e.g. switching between many chrome tabs, powerpoint, and maybe that game you’re running in the background 😛 )

Thus, to pass our general work performance test this year, the laptop must be equipped with an SSD and have at least 8GB of ram.q.jpg

As you can see, many of the laptops offered by SP this year actually passes this rather stringent test. Take note that this test is not a good benchmark for graphics performance during games/graphics intensive apps, since having  good graphics performance depends mainly on your graphics card.

Their is nothing wrong with getting a laptop with a HDD actually. These laptops have been marked as yellow in the above sheet. Yes, HDD’s do offer more storage space and you don’t have to carry an additional hard drive around at times. BUT, the performance tradeoff will be very huge. Just take a look at this video below, which shows you how much faster an SSD can load windows and your apps, compared to the traditional HDD>

 

However, with that said, we don’t recommend that people buy the Dell Latitude E5570 at all, since it has only a HDD, and a very marginal graphics card in a rather heavy package. This is the reason why it is the only laptop in this test that we have decided to mark it in Red. :/

GPU & GAMING PERFORMANCE TEST SUMMARY

In this sheet, we have compiled benchmarks from various sources, so that you get an accurate idea of the graphics performance that each laptop model offered by SP would provide.

We have used benchmarking test results from videocardbenchmark.net and 3D mark 2013 (Firestrike) scores to let you have a rough idea of how powerful the graphics card in each other notebooks are, as well as let you compare them fairly. Furthermore, we have included Frame rate performance (FPS) of 2 popular games- F1 2014 (at ultra Settings) and Battlefield 4 (at high settings), so you will know exactly how good the laptop is at in doing your graphics-intensive apps work in poly (or your games) 😛

This year, we have decided that to pass our GPU Gaming performance test, laptops must be able to run F1 2014 with at least 29FPS average on ultra setting. 29 FPS is roughly the frame rate that most people would accept as fairly playable when playing a game. Furthermore, the user can turn down the graphics settings in future games released in the next few years, since new games released every year have the tendancy to require an even more beefier graphics card to give you an improved game experience.

Users who buy laptops with marginal graphics card may be able to play current games at low/medium settings, but what about games released over the next 1 or 2 years? These users would quickly get frustrated at the absymal performance of the GPU built into their laptops. And laptops usually cannot have their GPU’s upgraded!

Without further ado, lets take a look at the results of our GPU & Gaming performance tests:SPNotebook reviews2.jpg

As we can see, all laptops running the standard Intel HD graphics 520 would fail to pass our tests since they are not really built to handle gaming.

To our surprise, the Intel IRIS Graphics 540, which is only found in certain laptops with the special core i7 processor (Intel Core i7 6560u), such as the Dell Ultrabook XPS 13, is actually able to come close to (and in certain cases, beat!) the Nvida GeForce 930m, which we considered as a pretty good graphics card. This means that graphics intensive apps and games should be able to run well.

However, we could not find proper gaming FPS benchmarks for this graphics card so we would like to suggest that users only expect the graphics performance of the Intel IRIS graphics card to be roughly the same as the Nvida 930m (or slightly better at most). This is because many apps and games are optimized to run on Nvida and AMD dedicated graphics card, which would give those graphics cards a slight edge when pitted against this intel graphics card.

With that said however, we are confident that the Intel IRIS 540 Graphics card would offer better performance than the laptops running the NVIDA Quaddro “Workstation-Class” graphics card.

WHAT DISAPPOINTED US MOST

What is disappointing is that the Dell Latitude E5570, which at first glance has a dedicated graphics card, is actually containing a very poor performing graphics card! This graphics card would use more battery from the laptop, but only provide a maximum of 30% increase in gaming benchmark performance! In the real world, it only provided about 15% increase in gaming performance compared to the Intel HD Graphics rivals. This is really horrible performance for a dedicated graphics card (compared to the other SP models) and we suggest that SP Students look at other laptop models if they want to game (or in this case, buy a decent laptop!)

Update: According to Ren Jie (who has commented on the review of the above laptop model), The laptop is actually coming with a AMD R7 M370, and not the much slower AMD R7 M360 that is indicated onthe SP Website and Brochures. If this is true, then this laptop is actually a good performer for its price! Just take note it only comes with a hd ready screen and does not have an SSHD. Our reviews have been updated. Thanks for reading!

OUR CONCLUSION

Overall, We are happy to say that most of the models offered by SP this year actually are good buys for a student as they have priced their laptops rather competitively.

The Lenovo Yoga 700 and Asus X550 (2016 Edition) have both won our Editors choice award in the ultrabook and notebook category for this year, since they have very competitive pricing and are confident that these laptop models would provide very good performance which would suit most of the polytechnic users.

However, we still encourage SP students to take a look at what outside vendors have to offer as well, especially during the upcoming IT Show held from 10-13 march! This will present you with more opportunities to see if other laptops available in the market would  suit your needs/wants from a computing device better, so that you would not regret buying a certain computing model shortly after purchasing it.

And with this post, we have finished our 14 part series of SP Notebook Reviews for year 2016.

A THANK YOU MESSAGE FROM OUR CHIEF EDITOR

I would like to Thank you for reading SP Notebook reviews. We hope that that our web page has been useful for you. Do share this page with your friends, feel free to leave a comment, and we wish you all the best in your next 3 years in poly! 🙂

Cheers and have fun!

Aaron

Chief Editor of SP Notebook Reviews and Aaron Tech Tips

 

 

SP Notebook Reviews 2016 – Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon (2016)

This is the last model of Notebook that SP has offered to its students to buy this year. So, we are going to take a look at this model without further ado to finish this series.

Unfortunately, although this model is even more expensive that the Lenovo Yoga 700/900, you will not only lose the laptop to tablet convertible feature (via the 360 degree hinge), but also have a less sharp screen than the yoga 900. The lenovo thinkpad also skimps on having a dedicated graphics card, which means games and graphics intensive apps won’t run smoothly on it.

However, this is the lightest laptop model offered by SP, being only at 1.17kg!

However, in my opinion, users might be just paying more for the Thinkpad brand name. True, the build quality (outside finish) feels more solid and it is lighter, but is it worth the loss of features/specs? This is a question that most users have to ask themselves.

To us, we feel that it is not worth it to pay simply for a brand name. We still would recommend the Lenovo Yoga 700 if you use graphics intensive apps/games, or the Yoga 900 if you want the convertible (laptop to tablet) feature.

But, if you really need to have the ultimate lightest laptop, the thinkpad is still a good choice from SP!

Take a look at our scorecard of the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon below:

Slide14.JPG

And with that, we have reviewed ALL the laptops offered by SP today! we hope we have helped you to choose that perfect notebook for your poly studies, and have a blast in poly! 😀

Keep a lookout for our performance summary of all the Laptops offered by SP for purchase this year as well. This summary would allow you to quickly see which laptop offers the best performance, and may aid you in choosing the best notebook that suits your needs as well.

Cheers!

Aaron

Chief Editor of SP Notebook Reviews and AaronTechTips

SP Notebook Reviews 2016: Lenovo Yoga 900

This laptop offering from Lenovo is even lighter than the Lenovo Yoga 700. However, it skimps on the dedicated graphics card to achieve this weight.

However, it does offer a QHD+ (Sharper than Full HD) display, which will offer you lots of screen estate for general multitasking.

However, without the dedicated graphics card, you would be unable to play games or run graphics-intensive apps well on this model of the Yoga series. However, If you prefer to have the lightest ultrabook around (this laptop is only 1.29kg!), and do not need to use graphics – intensive apps, this model may be attractive to buy as it has a good pricing in SP as well.

Slide13.JPG

SP Notebook Reviews 2016 – Lenovo Yoga 700 (EDITORS CHOICE – ULTRABOOK CATEGORY)

This year, we are happy to announce the Lenovo Yoga 700 as our Editors choice for Ultrabooks offered by SP for year 2016!

For its price, you get a laptop to tablet convertible (via its 360 degree hinge), as well as an SSD and a good performance graphics card as well. In all, This allows the Lenovo Yoga 700 to steal the crown from the ASUS UX303, which offers the same performance – but without the convertible feature

We feel the ability to convert the laptop to a tablet is a cool idea and feature as it allows you as a student to not have to buy a tablet as well – especially if you were planning to buy one. You can use it as a presentation aid as well by converting it to the ‘stand’ mode.

Further it is actually quite light at 1.6kg as well! If your budget is tight though, you can check out other models offered by SP, or check with outside vendors as well to find a better fit.

Take a look at our scorecard for the Lenovo Yoga 700 below:

Slide12.JPG

SP Notebook Reviews 2016 – Lenovo Ideapad 700

The Lenovo Ideapad 700 is another good laptop model offered by SP this year for students to choose from.

It offers a powerful graphics card, but loses out alot compared to our editors choice (the ASUS X550), for the following reasons:

  1. The Lenovo Ideapad 700 only uses a SSHD, which means apps and games take a much longer time to load compared to a full SSD drive
  2. The Lenovo Ideapad 700 actually uses a slower version of the Nvida 950m Graphics card, as it only uses the old DDR3 Graphics memory at 2GB. The Asus X550 offers its users 4GB of the newer and more powerful graphics memory!
  3. The Asus X550 has more ram (12GB) compared to the lenovo Ideapad 700. If dealing with massive games, will be multitasking and dealing with heavy apps (e.g. autocad/graphics intensive apps), this is a key item to lookout for as well!

Take note that both models are heavy laptops as they are much bigger (15.6″ screens). Both are around 2.4 to 2.6 kg.

Thus, while the pricing of this laptop is good, we recommend that users take a look at the Asus X550 as well to see which laptop they would prefer – More style? or More performance? Your call! 😀

Slide11.JPG

SP Notebook Reviews 2016 – Lenovo Ideapad 500S

In this review, we take a look at the Lenovo Ideapad 500S, offered by SP for it’s students to consider purchasing for their new academic year at SP.

This laptop actually offers rather decent performance with it’s rather good performing GPU. But it only has a SSHD (A Hard Drive with some cache memory), which means the laptop can turn on quickly but will struggle to load games and apps as fast as laptops with a SSD.

Since external hard drives have become rather cheap and readily available, we recommend getting a laptop equipped with a full SSD instead for the best performance of your laptop.

However, it is rather light for a notebook in its price range, so it is quite enticing to buy this. Nevertheless, you can always look at other laptop models or outside vendors to see if you can find a better laptop suited to your needs at this price range

Our Score card for the Lenovo Ideapad 500S is shown below.Slide10.JPG

SP Notebook Reviews 2016 -DELL Precision M5510

In this review, we will be looking at the DELL Precision M5510, which is offered as one of the laptops that SP offers for its students to buy this year.

We cannot recommend this laptop as you would be paying alot for a ‘workstation-class’ graphics card, which is not needed for many apps. Furthermore, it would provide only rather average to poor graphics performance when running games.

Furthermore, it only uses a HDD which is very slow, compared to an ssd when loading your apps or games.

Thus, Paying for $2000+ for this laptop definitely does not sound like a great deal to us, so we recommend that you look elsewhere instead.

Slide9.JPG

SP Notebook Reviews 2016 – DELL Ultrabook XPS 13

This is the 7th laptop model that we are reviewing as part of our SP Notebook reviews for 2016.

This laptop from dell (The Dell XPS 13), offers extremely good portability, at 1.29 kg. It has a very sharp display (QHD+ resolution), and uses an SSD as well

While it does not have a dedicated graphics card, it uses Intel IRIS Graphics 540, which has rather good performance comparable to the graphics cards offered by Nvida. It’s performance is comparable to the Nvida 930m or 940m

However, a few apps may run better on laptops with NVIDA graphics as the apps are optimized to run on the more established graphics card brands (e.g. nvida graphics card). Thus, even though the Intel IRIS graphics beats the performance of their dedicated graphics card counterparts, your mileage might vary a bit, depending on the app or game you are using.

If you do require an NVIDA graphics card, be sure to check out the ASUS UX303 or Lenovo Yoga 700 as well!

Our Scorecard for the DELL XPS13 is below:Slide8.JPG

SP Notebook Reviews – DELL Vostro 14 5459

In the 6th review of the laptops offered by SP this year, we take a look at the Dell Vostro 14 5459.

This laptop did not disappoint as much as the earlier dell model which we reviewed. Unfortunately, compared to the rest of the laptop models, it lags behind because It only has a HDD, which is much much slower than an SSD. This means your apps and games will take a much longer time to load compared to your friends with laptops equipped with an SSD.

Thus, while this laptop has decent market pricing, we have to recommend that SP students look at other laptop models instead if they want the best performance (or portability) for their money

You can take a look at our score card for the Dell Vostro 14″ 5459 Below:Vostro Update.jpg