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InfoHQ Tech Watch Newsletter No. 11 -  Review of $699 Laptop Deals                           August 17 , 2003
 
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Welcome to our ninth InfoHQ Tech Watch Newsletter - Review of $699 Laptop Deals. In this newsletter we review the latest $699 laptop deals from Dell and Toshiba.

Related InfoHQ Articles

Shopping for a Low Cost, Full Featured Notebook, Toshiba Satellite 1135-S155/ A15-S127 Notebook Review - Shopping for the low cost, full featured $1,000 notebook demonstrated with the Toshiba Satellite 1135-S155, A15-S127 notebooks. Includes a full review of the Satellite's features and specifications.

Introduction

Just a a short month ago, our InfoHQ Newsletter No. 9 featured $499 desktop deals from Dell and HP. Apparently, discount fever has now percolated into the laptop market as Dell and Toshiba are both offering a $699 laptop.
We decided to do a head to head comparison of their systems to see if these laptops were truly good deals.

The Comparison

Dell and Toshiba were both offering a 2 GHz Celeron system with a CD-RW drive for $699, but there were many differences between the two systems.
To help highlight their differences, we detailed the main features of both systems in the table below. Features that we considered substandard are highlighted in red. Features that are different, but not necessarily substandard, are highlighted in purple.

Review of $699 Laptop System Features
Company
Dell
Toshiba
Model
Inspiron™ 1100
Satellite A15-S127
Processors
2 GHz Celeron
2 GHz Celeron
Video Chip
Intel Extreme Graphics
Intel Integrated
Screen
14.1 inch XGA TFT
15 inch XGA TFT
Main System RAM
256 MB Shared DDR SDRAM
256 MB Shared DDR SDRAM
Maximum RAM
512 MB (but not offered)
1 GB
Hard Disk Drive
30 GB
30 GB
Floppy Drive
No
No
DVD/CD-RW combo drive
Yes
Yes
Sound
Integrated Chip
Integrated Chip
Speakers
Yes
Yes
Modem
Yes
Yes
Network Interface
Integrated 10/100 Ethernet
Integrated 10/100 Ethernet
USB 2.0 Ports
2
2
Application Software
WordPerfect® Productivity Pack
Microsoft Works
Operating Software
Windows XP Home
Windows XP Home
Weight
7.22 lbs.
6.1 lbs.
Warranty
1 Year Limited Warranty
1 Year Limited Warranty
Free Shipping
No ($50+ to ship)
No (can be avoided by buying in retail stores)
Online Service
Free 6 Months of America Online Membership Included
Depends where you buy it
Price before Taxes and Rebates
$949
$949
Rebates
$250 (8-10 weeks to process)
$250 (8-10 weeks to process)
Net Price
$699 + shipping + taxes
$699 + taxes
Manufacturer's Web Site
Recommended Place to Buy
Go to Dell's web site above and type E-value code 18440-D80809d
Can be purchased at Best Buy for $699, or for $749 at CompUSA and Circuit City
Offer Expires
8-20-03
8-23-03

Reviewer's Conclusions

Dell Inspiron™ 1100

The Dell Inspiron has two advantages over the Toshiba Satellite, it has a faster 3D graphics chipset (Intel Extreme Graphics) and it comes with 6 months of free AOL.

Toshiba Satellite A15-S127

The Toshiba Satellite A15-S127 has many advantages over Dell's featured system, it has a larger screen, its system RAM can be upgraded to 1 GB, it comes with Microsoft works, it weighs a whole pound less than Dell's inspiron, and it should cost at least $50 less as you don't have to pay shipping charges.

And the winner is...

While both laptops are very good entry level computers, the Toshiba Satellite has better features combined in a laptop than weighs a whole pound less than the Dell Inspiron. While Dell's faster 3D chipset is nice to have, it is not significantly faster than the chipset Toshiba uses.
These are both very good entry level laptops that can be used for school and office computing chores like; using the Internet, burning CDs, and watching DVD movies. These are not good laptops for 3D graphics tasks, or for high use computer applications.

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