I bought this laptop mainly to act as a backup device for photos on a 2 week photo safari in Africa. I needed something light and compact, but with plenty of horsepower to copy photos quickly. But I also wanted a computer that would serve me well all around for other uses after the trip. Weighing only 2.98 pounds, this seemed like a perfect fit for travel.
For anyone not used to a fairly small keyboard, the size may take some getting used to. The trade-off for getting a small computer is it's a little bit difficult to use if you plan to be doing a lot of typing. I do not see this as an issue because I do not plan to be typing a lot on it, and I also have one of those roll up, full size rubber keyboards that I could use with it if needed.
The items that made this computer an attractive value compared to others I looked at were the fast and powerful i5-3317 processor, 6 GB memory, 500 GB hard drive, usb 3, and Windows 7. This little unit runs Photoshop CS6 as fast if not faster than my i7-920 desktop. The USB3 was also something I required because I need to back up large numbers of photos quickly without the fear of running the battery down. Doing a quick test with a USB 3 card reader, I transferrred 4GB of photos from a CF card to this laptop in 1 minute and 36 seconds. The same exact folder of photos took 3 minutes and 51 seconds with my usb 2 desktop and i7-920 processor. I was delighted with transfer speed amost 3 times as fast as I have on my home system.
This laptop does not have a CD or DVD writer due to its small size. But with today's small and slim external DVD writers avaialable for around $40 or $50, this was not a deal-breaker. I made my recovery DVDs using one of those and it was very easy. I also used the external DVD writer to load Photoshop CS6. You have the option of using a 16 GB jump drive for the backups, but I did not feel it was practical to tie up a jump drive forever on the odd chance that I may need the backup. DVD backup makes a lot more sense. You also have the option of using the compter's built in backup partition for recovery, but the drawback is if you have a total hard disk failure, this would not be available.
I've only had this computer for few weeks and I have not used it a great deal yet. But in the time I've had it and used it, I feel it is a very solid package and it's very fast. CNET reviews on this item indicated that the two negatives were a relatively short battery life (rated at 5 hours) and that it was a little bit thicker than some of the newer ultra thin laptops. If you feel you need more battery life, you do have the option of purchasing a spare battery for only $40. Since the battery is also fairly small and light weight, this would be a good option for someone who needs it.
One last thing that was a MUST for me is this computer has the Windows 7, home premium 64-bit operating system. It appears that Windows 8 is a train wreck, so I was not about to purchase a Windows 8 laptop. We have Windows 7, 64 bit operating systems on 2 desktop computers and on a larger laptop and are very pleased with it.
Once this model sells out, you would be stuck with windows 8 as all the new systems coming out have it.
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