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The Search for the Perfect Laptop.

on April 24, 2012

So my laptop died. A 3 year old HP dv2.

The HP laptop was my first buy when I came to Singapore – even before liquid detergent and toothpaste. Small (12.1 inches), light (1.7kg) and quite sleek, it immediately caught my attention. At that time in my life, processor speeds and RAM-ROM s were Greek to me. Hell, I barely knew the words and reading laptops specs was as unknown to me as Latin.

Well, the laptop was working out pretty well. I loved the fact that I could carry it around and not end up with a backache at the end of the day. It was just the last few weeks that it started acting more like a furnace than a data-processing machine. And finally, it gave up.

Living laptop-less in NTU is difficult. And for me, everything depends on it – lecture notes, mail, favourite shows, games, music. Everything.

So began the urgent quest for a new laptop. The perfect laptop – performance, looks, price, reliability and good consumer service (being less than happy with HP’s ‘service’.). Now honestly, that seems like the Holy Grail of the Laptop World. Oh and before anyone says “Mac!”, I was hoping for a Windows laptop. (And well Macs tend to fail in the price criteria for me. Student life.)

A quick search told me I had previously ended up with the most unreliable laptop brand with so-so consumer service. Wow! That’s  terrible HP! Will not repeat that mistake again!

I hunted down laptops that met my criteria by painstakingly reading through reviews on CNET and Engadget. The final elimination was driving me a bit crazy switching from page to page and scrolling up and down to match specifications. So I made this. A Laptop Decision Chart.


XPS 14z

XPS 15z

HP Envy 14

HP Envy 15




MBP 13

OS W7 W7 W7 W7 W7 W7 W7 Mac
Processor  i5-2450M  i5-2450M i5-2467M  i7-2670QM i7 – 720QM i7 – 720QM i7-2630QM Dual core i5
Speed 2.5 / 3.1 GHz to 3.5 GHz 2.5 / 3.1 GHz 1.6 GHz


2.2 GHz (no turbo)  1.6GHz, 1333MHz


1.6 GHz


2 / 2.9 GHz 2.4 GHz
Memory 4GB 1333MHz 4GB 1333MHz 4 GB DDR3 8 GB 1333 MHz Upto 8GB RAM 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 4 GB 1333 MHz
Hard Drive  750GB SATA hard drive (7200RPM)  750GB SATA hard drive (7200RPM) 128 GB Solid State Drive Flash Module 1 TB SATA Upto 500GB 640GB HDD+32GB SSD 750GB SATA HDD 750GB 5400-rpm
Graphics NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 520M 1GB NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 525M 1GB Intel HD Graphics 3000 Radeon HD 7690M (1 GB GDDR5) nVidia® GeForce® GT 240M DDR3 1GG ATI Radeon™ 5730 DDR3 1024M nVidia® GeForce® 555M DDR5 1GB Intel HD Graphics 3000
Audio JBL JBL Beats Audio Beats Audio Dolby Home Theatre Dolby Home Theatre JBL Stereo
Battery 5 hours 7 hours, 46 minutes 5 hours 4 hours NA NA NA 7 hours
Weight 2 kg 2.5 kg


1.8 kg 2.7 kg


2.7 kg 2.7 kg 2.7 kg


2.04 kg
Heating Good Slight Slight Good
Price $1500 $1800






NA NA NA $2000
Looks Not so sleek Not so sleek Amazing Amazing Mac.
Issues Limited viewing angles Trackpad, Limited viewing angles Trackpad, slow to resume, expensive, battery, memory and SSD not user-replaceable,
It’s HP again
Trackpad Not Windows


Keypad Backlit Backlit Backlit Backlit
Display 1366 x 768 1920 x 1080 1600 x 900 1366 x 768 1280 X 800
Last Remarks “the XPS 14z is nonetheless a sensible choice, even if it’s not the fastest or prettiest” “When Dell tells you that the XPS 15z has no compromises, that’s not quite the case — it’s a solid choice at this price point, but corners were cut to get here” “Unless you’re a diehard display aficionado, the Envy 14 is a bit overpriced for what it is, even if it is a pleasure to use.” “If you do go for the Envy 15, we hope you have a pretty stationary setup in mind: you’ll want an outlet close by and also, a mouse.” Mac.

Yeah, it took time but once the chart was made, the good and the bad of every laptop were right there in your face. Pure facts. The strike-through words are the deal-breakers for that laptop and the bold words are the deal-makers.

I am now buying a Dell XPS 14z. It has really good specs for a laptop of its price, is not too heavy, has amazing sound and yes, very good consumer support. And it looks pretty good!

Dell XPS 14z

Dell XPS 14z

I feel good. For a girl who 3 years ago didn’t know the GHz and GB language of laptops, I think I did a pretty good job!  Though, I think I did drive a few of my friends mad by constantly confirming Rules of the Laptop World with them!

All excited about my new buy!


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