One sleek 12.1″
Is this the hottest, cheapest 12.1″ branded laptop in the market today? I think so. At Php 35,950, it’s closest rival would be Acer’s Aspire 2920Z which costs Php 39,900. It’s already ahead in the price category, so let’s see what else this sleek machine has to offer. And to think I bought a slower Php 39,900 worth 14.1″ Acer exactly a year ago.
The shopping spree
I recently crashed my company-given blue laptop, so while I was out shopping for a new memory module (the culprit), I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful Compaq Presario B1200 – the one I always wanted – in a cheaper, downgraded version. It tickled the impulse buyer in me. Bank was already closed, plus I needed a day’s worth of research, so to quote Douglas McArthur – “I shall return.”
Truth is, there wasn’t really much stuff in the internet about the B1256TU (fairly new), so the next day I shop-hopped Town Center to find out the best deal for the B1256TU. No luck, prices were exactly the same (as expected). All except 1 shop had it in stock. I couldn’t base my shop of choice on anything, so I tried to base it on store aesthetics. I landed on PC Live, the newest, most organized computer store in ATC. I was just about ready to cough up plastic when I heard the salesman say something about a free memory upgrade. Wait a minute, so stores sold it for the same price, but what about freebies?
Halt. I had to check what the other stores offered. PC Live was willing to upgrade my memory to 1GB and give me a 1GB flash drive. I told exactly that to Electroworld but they couldn’t top PC Live’s offer. They were however, willing to give a Php 2,000-worth printer. One last, most cluttered shop left – Silicon Valley. They had the same RAM upgrade, with a 2GB flash drive. They came out on top, but I told them PC Live offered the same thing and asked if they could give me a 4GB flash drive. So 40,050 pesos and 0 centavos later, I went home with a new laptop, a new copy of Windows XP, a 4GB flash drive and was happy. But would I be satisfied?
Specifications and a comparison
In the spirit of competition, I’ll consider both laptops – my Compaq Presario B1256TU and the Acer Aspire 2920Z – in it’s base form. No free upgrades or add-ons. The B1256TU has a Core Duo T2370 1.73 Ghz, 1MB L2 Cache, 533Mhz. FSB processor – same as the Acer 2920Z. They both have 512MB RAM, 1.3 MP webcam, 8X DVDÂ±RW, 80 GB hard drive, Bluetooth, card readers, the works, and all that jazz. So what else is left?
Aside from being cheaper by Php 3,950, the Compaq is a lot more gorgeous. Don’t get me wrong, I love Acer and I love their new Gemstone design as well, I just feel that they didn’t quite get it on the 12.1″ version. In my opinion, it looks a little bulky and feels like a toy. The Compaq is just plain sexy and sleek with it’s black theme and carbon fiber-looking design. By the way, both units don’t come stock with operating systems.
You already know how much I adore this laptop so I’ll just do a short summary of what could have been made better – borderline unimportant. For starters, the touchpad feels sticky. It has this certain gloss to it so my finger sticks instead of slides. The whole design is “takaw-gasgas” like a Mac, especially the shiny black plastic surrounding the screen. Being an OC, it bothers me knowing that scratching is inevitable. However, it’s what makes it sleek-looking.
Two USB slots on the left side are too closely situated with the power adapter slot. This makes inserting USB stuff like flash drives difficult. The unit does not come with drivers. Drivers are to be downloaded from HP’s site. It’s slow as hell and it took me 6 hours to download a 6mb file (no exaggeration). The laptop was obviously designed for Windows Vista, so I encountered some problems installing Windows XP, especially with the SATA hard drive.
What else… It came with a free microfiber-type cloth which won’t scratch the finish. The laptop bag is nice, but is quite big. The sound from the headphone jack is quite ok (important to me), but Acer’s is better. The quick launch buttons are like the ones from an elevator’s – touch sensitive. I’m not seeing any firewire but I don’t really care. So all in all, I’m really, really satisfied and happy with this purchase. After all, in line with Robert Kiyosaki‘s philosophy, I don’t shy away from buying stuff that will help make me money.
I’m quite surprised though how Compaq suddenly offered budget laptops. If at all, we should probably be thanking Acer for starting the budget class slash barebones category of laptops. But Compaq beat Acer in the 12.1 category this time. I wonder if Acer will start slashing prices once again. I also wonder what’s in store for next year’s laptops. At the rate I’m going, I spend the same amount of money (circa 40k) every year, and just see what upgrades I get. To sum up this year from last year, I got an additional core (processor), 512 more RAM, Bluetooth, a smaller screen, a 1.3mp webcam and a dvd writer. All for the same amount. Cool huh?