The move from traditional 16:10 laptop displays to 16:9 ones that mirror HDTV screens is shift that's here to stay, judging by the mini-flood of new 18-inch and 16-inch systems that have crossed our desk. What's a little odder is that we've also run into a couple of systems that have 15-inch 16:9 displays (making them 15.6-inches, diagonally, to be precise).
This is a good illustration of how to be a smart laptop comparison shopper, because one of these two 15-inch 16:9 laptops is a much better deal than the other (and both are part of our Holiday 2008 Retail Laptop Roundup).
The HP G60-125nrwas in retail stores for $729, and has a 2.0GHz AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core RM-70 CPU, 3GB of RAM, and a 250GB, 5,400rpm hard drive. We were surprised to see this AMD CPU in a system that expensive, especially as the performance on our benchmark tests was more in line with an entry level laptop.
Meanwhile, the other 15-inch 16:9 we reviewed, the Acer Aspire 5735-4624, offered a 2.0GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core T3200 CPU, 2GB of RAM, and a 160GB, 5,400rpm hard drive. It only wins in the CPU department, but it was about 33-percent faster in our multitasking test, so that's a significant difference to the user experience. The real hook is that the Acer had a retail price of $499, and was occasionally discounted to $399, earning it an excellent four-star rating.
Paying less and getting more is always a win for consumers, but this example is for illustrative purposes only. In the short time since we published these two reviews, the Acer has been sold out at retail stores, and, more interestingly, Best Buy is suddenly offering a deep discount on the HP G60, knocking it down from $729 to a more reasonable $549, saving you $180.
Read the full review of the HP G60-125nr.
Read the full review of the Acer Aspire 5735-4624.