Best Full Size Notebook
Product Model: Gateway NV7901U
Our Review: Gateway NV7901u 17.3-inch Multimedia Notebook
One of the best notebooks that I looked at this year was the Gateway NV7901u. This machine had both impressive performance and a very impressive price. Those two things are not commonly noted in the same machine, making the Gateway NV7901u a standout in the class. The MSRP for the notebook is under $900, yet it managed to post performance on par with machines costing much more than that.
The good things about the machine include the big and very nice 17.3-inch screen. The machine packs in a Core i5-430M CPU, 4GB of RAM, 500GB of storage, WiFi, Bluetooth, and ATI HD 5650 graphics. All that hardware adds up to very impressive performance. The machine was standout in benchmarks and does an excellent job as a multimedia machine. The only real downsides here are that it lacks a Blu-ray drive and the 17.3-inch screen means that this is a big and bulky notebook.
That said, the performance and usability of the Gateway NV7901u mean I would certainly schlep the beast around campus or from the home or office if I needed one machine that could do it all. The Gateway NV7901u certainly can do it all; you just won't do it away from an AC outlet for a long time. This is an excellent all-around notebook.
Product Model: Acer Aspire TimelineX 1830T-68U118
Our Review: Acer Aspire TimelineX 1830T-68U118 11.6-inch Notebook
The line between the netbook and the ultraportable notebook is becoming more and more blurred as netbooks creep up in screen size to match the ultraportables on the market today. The Acer Aspire TimelineX 1830T-68U118 is easily my favorite ultraportable machine that I tested this year.
The standout feature of this notebook for me was its fantastic keyboard. Typically, we give up a lot of comfort, especially in the keyboard area, when we go ultraportable or netbook. The thing about the Acer Aspire TimelineX 1830T-68U118 keyboard is that it is larger than many notebooks with much larger screens. Other than just being large, the keyboard also had good typing feel and the machine is very good all around.
The Acer Aspire TimelineX 1830T-68U118 lacks an optical drive, which is common in the segment. It has graphics that are good enough for streaming media online from Hulu or YouTube and makes a surprisingly good all around ultraportable with very small stature and usability that is better than many larger and more expensive machines. This is easily the best netbook/ultraportable of the year for me.