Somewhere between a laptop and a netbook is the lighter, thinner, notebook. As the name suggests, notebooks are smaller than laptops, but don’t let the size of these machines fool you. Most notebooks are every bit as powerful, if not more so, as laptops are. Notebooks range in price from $400 to $1000+ depending on features, components, and performance.
(Note: All prices are estimates at the time of this article’s writing.)
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch -- $1,199
As sleek as ever, the MacBook Pro 13-inch (2010 model) earns its reputation as the ultimate notebook. Apple has placed the MacBook Pro in a category of its own by creating the entire shell from one solid piece of titanium. As a result, this notebook is a tough as it is efficient. Exterior aside, the MacBook Pro includes 4GB of RAM (upgradeable to 8GB), a 250GB hard drive, and an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. Apple has also included a touchpad like none other. Rather than outfitting the MacBook Pro with a left and right mouse button, this notebook simply has one large touchpad that does it all. A Firewire 800 port tops off the MacBook Pro 13-inch nicely.
While seemingly perfect, even the MacBook has flaws. When this notebook heats up, you’ll feel the burn on your fingertips – literally. As a result of its design, the MacBook Pro can become uncomfortably hot if used for more than a few hours. Another drawback is the overall design of the MacBook Pro. As eye-catching as the Pro may be, some users may find the non-ergonomic design straining after awhile.
Dell Vostro V3300 -- $732.99
Notebook manufacturers seem to be stepping up to the plate when it comes to design, and Dell is no exception. The first thing you’ll notice about the Dell Vostro V3300 is its chic design. Vostro’s brushed aluminium shell (available in Lucerne Red, Aberdeen Silver, or Brisbane Bronze) is a true fashion statement that’s sure to please aesthetically-minded consumers. The second thing you’ll notice is that the Vostro has a Core i5 processor. 3GB of RAM (upgradeable to 8GB), a 320GB hard drive, and 13.3” screen add to the Vostro’s attributes.
Sadly, Vostro’s battery life is disappointing. Travelers can expect the Vostro to last for no more than a couple of hours on one charge. Another drawback of the Vostro is the amount of heat generated after streaming a video or two. Yet, for a notebook that is less than $1000, heat concerns and battery life can be overlooked quite easily.
ASUS U33Jc -- $999+
Not only is the ASUS U33Jc an eco-enthusiast’s delight, it’s also an excellent all-around notebook bargain. Asus went the extra mile when they made this notebook’s lid and palm rest from bamboo. The sustainable wood choice works well for the ASUS U33Jc, providing a warm exterior that rivals its metal-clad competitors. Asus made another good choice when they added an Intel Core 13 processor to the U33Jc. 4GB of RAM, an Invidia graphics card, and a 500GB hard drive are also appealing.
The ASUS U33Jc doesn’t have an optical drive even though the notebook itself is not particularly lightweight (4 lbs.). Not unlike other notebooks, this Asus also tends to heat up quickly. Other than these two drawbacks, the U33Jc is an optimal notebook option.