Friday, September 20, 2013

Apple Macbook Air VS Toshiba Satellite S40T - Next Gen Of Notebooks!

Apple Macbook Air13": All-day battery life

Apple recently updated its MacBook Air lineup in lieu of the release of Intel’s fourth generation Core processors which promise better performance and longer battery life. The company claims that its refreshed 13-inch MacBook Air can now last up to 12 hours on typical workloads. Nothing much has changed on the outside as the new MacBook Air retains its predecessor’s chassis, which means it is still only 17mm at its thickest point and weighs slightly over 1.3kg. The only notable exterior change is that it now has dual microphones to improve the notebook’s noise canceling abilities.
The 13.3-inch display also remains unchanged. It still has a maximum resolution of 1440 x 900. A Retina-class display would have been welcomed, but that would certainly have an impact on battery life due to higher power consumption.

Significant changes are more apparent under the hood. The most notable is the new Intel Core i5-4250U 1.3GHz dual-core processor with a maximum TDP of 15W. The low TDP is crucial to the 13-inch MacBook Air’s claimed 12-hour battery life. The processor also features the latest Intel HD Graphics 5000 integrated GPU for better graphics performance. It also supports the latest 802.11ac wireless standard for faster wireless performance.

Another significant change is that the updated MacBook Air now uses a PCIe-based SSD. Using the Blackmagic benchmarking utility, we found that read and write speeds averaged 720MB/s and 320MB/s respectively. For comparison, a 2011 MacBook Air with a SATA-based SSD would only average around 265MB/s read and 245MB/s write. In terms of overall system performance, the new MacBook Air achieved a score of 6752 on Geekbench. This is an improvement of about 12% when compared to a 2011 MacBook Air.

As for battery life, we ran our usual 720p video loop test with Wi-Fi turned on and the screen’s brightness, volume, and keyboard backlit levels at 50%. The MacBook Air lasted 8 hours, which is quite impressive. When we were doing lightweight tasks such as web browsing, it easily lasted over 13 hours. The stellar battery performance is attributed to a slightly larger battery and a more efficient CPU.

All in all, while the new MacBook Air might not be a significant update to Apple’s mainstream laptop range, it brings about welcome improvements such as greater battery life, faster storage, and support for the latest wireless standard.

Intel Core i5-4250U (1.3GHz)
13.3” IPS LCD (1440 x 900)
US$ 1,099

Toshiba Satellite S4OT: Dependable Multimedia Notebook

These days, the limelight might be on Ultrabooks with their slim, sexy form factors and speedy response times. However, most Ultrabooks lack key features like optical drives and discrete graphics – both of which come standard on the new 14-inch Toshiba Satellite S40t. The Satellite S40t might be no Ultrabook, but it provides performance and features that bring in more bang for the buck. To maintain its competitive pricing, the notebook is mostly made up of plastic, though thankfully, has an aluminum lid and palm rest for added rigidity and premium feel. Thanks to its plastic build, it isn’t that heavy at 2.15kg.

Display-wise, Toshiba’s use of a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution display is somewhat lacking. This could be a decision to keep the price of the machine low while offering new features such as touch functionality. Thankfully, the sound department is handled by a pair of capable Onkyo speakers, which were loud and clear for music, as well as video playback. The S40t comes with two different ways to outsource its display with an HDMI and VGA port. Along with the video connectivity, the S40t also comes with two USB 3.0 ports and one USB 2.0 port.

When it comes to non-touch user input, its island-style keys, while also made of plastic and quite shallow, do have a satisfying click feedback for a comfortable typing experience. Same goes for its trackpad, which isn’t too mushy. Under the hood, the S40t comes with an Intel Core i5-3317U processor for longer-lasting battery performance while providing sufficient processing power. It also comes equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GT740M GPU which takes care of all your multimedia needs.

This notebook managed to put out 1790 marks on 3DMark 11 (Performance). These numbers give the S40t enough power to comfortably run casual games at modest settings. However, in PCMark 7, the S40t was about 20% worse off than typical Ultrabooks, mostly due to the lack of an SSD. As for battery performance, the S40t managed to stay alive for 178 minutes in our Powermark benchmark, which is good enough to get you quite a bit of work done.

So if you’re looking for a capable multimedia machine that is reasonably priced, the S40t is definitely recommended and will serve you well as long as you’re mindful of what you’re getting: a thin and light mainstream notebook with touchscreen functionality and a discrete GPU, plus an optical drive for multimedia ease of mind.

Intel Core i5-3337U (1.8GHz)
14” HD LED (1366 x 768)

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