Midrange Laptop Gift Guide Holiday 2005

by Reads (9,097)

As the second installment in a three part series we look at some top-picks for midrange laptops available for this holiday season.  Midrange for our purposes is defined as a laptop that costs between $1,000 – $1,600 and will provide performance and build that will last you for at least 3-years.  See our previous affordable laptop gift guide holiday 2005 for notebooks under $1,000.

This is not meant to be an extensive list by any means, so do your research outside of these laptops, but if you’re pushed for time to do shopping research (such as having 2-days left to buy something as a gift) this could be a good short list to start from.

MIDRANGE LAPTOPS ($1,000 – $1,600)

HP Pavilion dv4000 (readily available in bricks and mortar retail stores and the web)

 HP HP Pavilion Dv1000 Customizable Notebook Pc  

The HP Pavilion dv4000 is a popular 15.4″ screen multimedia laptop.  The dv4000 can be purchased in just about any major electronics retail store or configured to your specifications via HPShopping.com.  The dv4000 has a quickplay feature that allows you to play movies and music on the laptop without booting to the Windows OS.  The glossy screen (BrightView) option is great and the battery life and nice looks of the laptop make this one a winner.  To top it all off, if you’re into gaming HP recently added an ATI X700 128MB graphics card option, so you can easily power more graphics intensive games such as Half Life 2.  The HP dv4000 can actually be bought for as low as $900, but for a better configuration you’ll pay about $1,300, which is still a very good price for what you get.

Reviews: HP dv4000 Review List

Retail Price Comparison: HP dv4000 Price Compare

NotebookReview.com User Opinions: HP dv4000 User Opinions

NotebookReview.com HP Discussion: HP Laptop Discussion

Apple iBook G4 14-inch (readily available in bricks and mortar retail stores and the web)

Apple Apple iBook G4 (14-inch)

The Apple iBook G4 14-inch model notebook is constructed of an ultra tough polycarbonate plastic material and inside uses a sturdy magnesium frame for superior strength and reducing weight.  This notebook really is perfect for student types that will be carrying a notebook around a great deal and need a laptop for the ease of portability and using email, web and office productivity applications.  The iBook G4 is a pretty thing to look at, reasonably priced and backed by Apple’s excellent tech and customer support.  Plus it’ll match that iPod you have…right?  Prices for the iBook G4 14-inch can be found for around $1,300.

Reviews: Apple iBook G4 Review List

Retail Price Comparison: Apple iBook G4 Price Compare

NotebookReview.com User Opinions: Apple iBook G4 User Opinions

NotebookReview.com Apple Discussion: Apple Laptop Discussion

Sony VAIO S Series (readily available in bricks and mortar retail stores and the web)

Sony Sony VAIO S480B - Pentium M 730 1.6 GHz - 13.3

The Sony VAIO S series has been hugely popular for the fact it’s very portable and light (4.3lbs) and has a beautiful 13.3″ XBrite glossy widescreen.  To add to that, the VAIO S can be configured as a very powerful machine for its size, allowing for the configuration of a dedicated nVidia graphics processor.  With a Sony laptop you know you’ll be getting nice design, the build is fairly good although not as good as it could be and there have been some complaints regarding heat buildup from this notebook, but some updated bios settings from Sony is addressing these issues.  Bottom line, for excellent power in a small package with good design, the VAIO S is exemplary.  The mid-range S480 configuration is about $1,500.

Reviews: Sony VAIO S Series Review List

Retail Price Comparison: Sony VAIO S480 Price Compare

NotebookReview.com User Opinions: Sony VAIO S Series Opinions

NotebookReview.com Sony Discussion: Sony VAIO Laptop Discussion

Fujitsu S6240 (hard to find anywhere in bricks and mortar stores, readily available on the web)

Fujitsu Fujitsu LifeBook S6240 - Pentium M 750 1.86 GHz - 13.3

Fujitsu LifeBook notebooks are a little harder to find in retail stores, and that’s a shame because it means people are less aware of this great brand.  The Fujitsu LifeBook S6000 series is a particularly great line for a portable 13.3″ screen style laptop.  The LifeBook S6240 is the most recent product in this series.  The S6240 weighs in at 4lbs and gives fantastic 4+ hour battery life, a great look and the CrystalView screen from Fujitsu will knock your socks off.  The Fujitsu S6240 can be purchased for about $1,600 and there’s a $100 mail-in rebate valid until Dec. 31st of this year.

Reviews: Fujitsu LifeBook S6000 Review List

Retail Price Comparison: Fujitsu S6240 Price Compare

NotebookReview.com User Opinions: Fujitsu LifeBook S6000 Opinions

NotebookReview.com Fujitsu Discussion: Fujitsu Laptop Discussion

Lenovo ThinkPad T42 / T43 (available in Office Depot stores, and readily available on the web)

IBM (Lenovo) ThinkPad T43 (Think Express Program)

The IBM T series has been great for years now, and it just keeps getting better while maintaining the same superb build quality.  And that keyboard, oh that ThinkPad keyboard, it’s a study in usability — some will profess it’s better than many full size desktop keyboards even.  When buying a ThinkPad T42 or T43 you can get various configurations, including a 14.1″ screen or 15″ screen.  You can get a fast Pentium M chip and mid-range graphics processor.  The T42/T43 is very portable in the 14″ version, weighing around 5.6lbs.  The battery life on this notebook is also superb, rated at about 4 hours with the 6-cell battery.  The T-series is very popular with professionals for it’s power, usability and conservative looks.  Mid-range configuration prices start at about $1,450.  The T42 can be had for slightly cheaper than the T43, the T42 does not have an ExpressCard slot and uses a slightly older Pentium M chipset, but is purportedly cooler running than the T43.

Reviews: IBM / Lenovo ThinkPad T43 Review List

Retail Price Comparison: IBM / Lenovo Thinkpad T43 Price Compare

NotebookReview.com User Opinions: IBM / Lenovo ThinkPad T43 Opinions

NotebookReview.com IBM / Lenovo Discussion: IBM / Lenovo Laptop Discussion

Gateway CX200X Tablet PC (Available in some Best Buy locations, and at Gateway.com)

Gateway’s new Tablet PC offering, the CX200X, is the first widescreen Tablet PC convertible to hit the market.  It has a 14″ sized screen.  Take notes easily in Tablet mode, or swivel the screen and you’ve got a normal notebook style machine.  Prices on the CX200X are about $1,300.

Reviews: Gateway CX Tablet PC Review List

Retail Price Comparison: Gateway CX Tablet PC Price Compare

NotebookReview.com User Opinions: Gateway CX Tablet PC Opinions

NotebookReview.com Gateway Discussion: Gateway Laptop Discussion

Toshiba Tecra M3 (hard to find in bricks and mortar stores, readily available on the web)

The Tecra M3 is specifically designed to optimize notebook performance with a travel-friendly size and weight. It features an Intel Pentium M Processor, high speed wireless LAN (802.11b/g), the latest DDR2 memory architecture, nVidia GeForce Go 6600 PCI Express graphics and docking capability. It also features a Slim SelectBay, which allows you to increase battery life by swapping out the optical drive for an additional battery. And, as the flagship of the Tecra line, the Tecra M3 is designed for consistency, reliability and longevity.  The Tecra M3 starts at about $1,400 and is customizable at Toshiba.com.

Reviews: Toshiba Tecra M3 Review List

Retail Price Comparison: Toshiba Tecra M3 PC Price Compare

NotebookReview.com User Opinions: Toshiba Tecra M3 Opinions

NotebookReview.com Toshiba Discussion: Toshiba Laptop Discussion

Dell Latitude D610 (available only through Dell.com)

The Dell Latitude D610 is a 15.4″ screen business style notebook, it has a no frills design but it’s built to get the job done and not to impress the person sitting next to you.  The Latitude line from Dell is well built and does not have a bunch of annoying software, such as AOL, installed and cluttering the hard drive.  The D610 has proven to be a popular Dell notebook and received many positive reviews.  Prices start at about $1,100 for the D610 and can go up to $2,000 with a high-end configuration.  3-year support is the standard on Latitude notebooks.

Reviews: Dell Latitude D610 Review List

Retail Price Comparison: Dell Latitude D610 Price Compare

NotebookReview.com User Opinions: Dell Latitude D610 Opinions

NotebookReview.com Dell Discussion: Dell Laptop Discussion

Dell Inspiron 9300 (available only through Dell.com)

The Dell Inspiron 9300 laptop is a 17″ screen machine well known for the price to performance ratio it offers.  You can get a fast Pentium M processor  with a fast nVidia Go 6800 video card for around $1,600, use the Dell Coupon offers to get an even better price.

Reviews: Dell Inspiron 9300 Review List

Retail Price Comparison: Dell Inspiron 9300 Price Compare

NotebookReview.com User Opinions: Dell Inspiron 9300 Opinions

NotebookReview.com Dell Discussion: Dell Laptop Discussion

Toshiba Satellite M45 (readily available in bricks and mortar retail stores and the web)

The Toshiba Satellite M45 is a 15.4″ widescreen notebook.  It’s got a classy look, but nothing that’s going to turn heads.  The main selling point of this laptop is simply that it’s the mainstream Pentium M offering from Toshiba, runs fine, looks nice and super easy to find in stores at a good price to performance ratio.  Prices for the highly popular and highly available Satellite M45-S269 start at $1,250.

Reviews: Toshiba Satellite M45 Review List

Retail Price Comparison: Toshiba Satellite M45 PC Price Compare

NotebookReview.com User Opinions: Toshiba Satellite M45 Opinions

NotebookReview.com Toshiba Discussion: Toshiba Laptop Discussion



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