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There wasn’t a lot to separate the top seven laptops in the overall rankings, with the Dell Studio 1555 taking the top spot. While only third in outright performance, it scored very well for ease of use and had the highest battery life score. It was just one point ahead of the Apple MacBook, followed a further two points behind by the Fujitsu L1010 and Lenovo Thinkpad SL500 which tied. Just one point behind them was the Dell Inspiron 1525, then two points to the Acer Extensa 4360Z and one more point to the HP Compaq Presario. The Dell Studio 1555 at the mid-range price of $1299 offered very good overall package for the price you pay.
It’s no surprise that the top performers were powered by Intel’s upper range Core 2 Duo processors, with the highest scored Lenovo Thinkpad having the fastest processor at 2.4 gigahertz (GHz). Close behind in second place for performance was the Fujitsu L1010 at 2.26GHz, while both the Dell Studio and the Apple MacBook had 2GHz processors. What might be surprising however, is that the MSI VX600, Pioneer DreamBook M761S and Twinhead Slimnote J13S respectively had similar 2.1GHz, 2GHz, and 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors, yet achieved relatively lower performance scores. This goes to show that processor speed alone is not the best criteria for choosing a speedy laptop. Memory (RAM), graphics chips and hard drive performance all play a part in determining the overall performance score.
Our expert user panel looked at the design and construction of the laptops. Here are some notable points from the results:
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Video: The troublesome battery
The CHOICE team struggles with the Fujitsu L1010's battery release.