LG P1 Express Review (pics, specs)

by LG_Reviewer Reads (75,273)

The LG P1 “Express Dual” is a 15.4-inch widescreen multimedia laptop series based on the Centrino Duo technology. The P1 could be called the poor man’s S1, offering new technology for a much cheaper price than LG’s 15.4” flagship. As for many notebook series, there are quite a few models of the P1 available. Different mixtures of components form quite an impressive range to choose from. The J2RRV1 is somewhat of a budget version, still offering a dedicated graphics card.

The technical specifications of the reviewed P1 are as follows:

  • Processor: Intel Core Duo T2400, 1.83GHz/2MB
  • Hard Drive: 100GB 5400RPM SATA
  • RAM: 2x512MB DDR2 SDRAM (667MHz)
  • Screen:15.4", WXGA 1280×800, Fine Bright
  • Graphics: ATI Mobility Radeon X1400,128MB (512 HyperMemory)
  • Optical drive: DL DVD+-RW
  • Ports:
    • PCMCIA Type II or ExpressCard/54 -slot
    • 5-in-1 memory card slot (XD/SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro)
    • AC adapter
    • Docking-port
    • Firewire (IEEE1394)
    • 3x USB 2.0
    • Microphone
    • Headphone
    • S/PDIF
    • RJ-11 (modem)
    • RJ-45 (LAN)
    • S-video
    • VGA-out
  • Battery: 6Cell(Li-Ion)
  • Dimensions: 13.99”(W) x 1,25” (H) x 10.29” (D)
  • Weight: 6.13lbs
  • Audio: Intel High Definition Audio, 3W stereo speakers, integrated microphone
  • Integrated communications: Modem (56k), Gigabit Ethernet, WLAN (802.11a/b/g), Bluetooth (BlueCore 4)
  • Other: Fingerprint reader, Kesington lock slot
  • OS: Microsoft Windows XP Home (SP 2)

Reasons for Buying:

As my desktop has rather many years on its neck, I started thinking about getting a new computer. I travel quite a lot due to studies, work, and several other reasons, which made me put an eye on the laptop scene. After half a year of looking for a not too expensive, high quality ultraportable laptop with a dedicated graphics card, I decided that I had to cut down on my demands. I made the conclusion that I would have to manage with a not that portable piece of machinery, if I’d like to get one within this year. I had been looking at LG’s laptops from the beginning as they offered components that suited my needs, nice design and good quality. Finally, when my favourite technology store made a very decent offer, I clinched the deal and got the package the next day.

Build and design:

LG has managed to really impress me with the build and design of their products. The blue backside of the screen combined with the silver coloured main parts and almost white keyboard gives a pretty elegant impression. It might be worth mentioning that I find the blue colour looking a bit darker (and thereby better) in real life that on most of the pictures. The design is, in my opinion, very appealing, even though the S1 might be even more so.

The case is made out of plastic, but it feels solid and sturdy, and manages to give an impression of good quality. The only minor downside might be that there is no lock that holds down the screen when the laptop is closed. This has not though caused me any problems yet, and I believe it won’t. The screen doesn’t open easily, it stays down when it’s supposed to, but I still think some sort of locking mechanism could’ve been a better solution.


Top view of LG P1 lid (view large image)

For a 15.4” notebook the P1 is neither too heavy nor too big, but it isn’t very portable either. You can of course carry it around when needed, but there are smaller laptops out there.

Screen:

The J2RRV version comes with a 15.4” screen running in 1280×800. I have to say that I find this a bit too low, as I’m used to running much higher resolutions. This isn’t a huge problem, I manage fine with 1280×800, but I would still prefer a higher resolution. Notice though that most of the P1 models are running on a higher resolution.

The screen looks pretty sharp and the viewing angles are really wide. The screen is bright enough on the highest level and it’s easy to get a brighter view with the included software, the lower brightness settings are very dim though. There is also a bit of light leakage, but nothing that extensive.

Speakers:

Usually you don’t expect that much from the speakers of a notebook. That was the case with me. When I finally dared to remove my headphones I was a bit surprised. The sound from the integrated speakers is clear, and overall very enjoyable. Of course the bass is almost equal to nothing, but I guess that’s just something every laptop owner has to deal with. Unfortunately I had no opportunity to plug in external speakers. The sound I get from the laptop with my decent headphones is as good as the sound I get from any regular high-end soundcard.

Performance:

The Core Duo processor seems to be working well and the laptop performs well enough in normal usage. Also, the amount of RAM seems to be enough. I can’t say that I’ve at any point been disappointed with the performance, but I don’t usually run anything that requires exceptionally high performance. As for gaming, I guess the x1400 might have problems with new and demanding games. It can still handle less demanding games flawlessly. Of course the performance could always be improved, but for me, and probably most people, the P1 offers enough. You should also be aware of that the JR22V1 model comes with 2×512 ram, which isn’t very update friendly as there are only 2 memory slots.

Benchmarks:

Super Pi comparison results:

Notebook Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits
LG P1 Express (1.83GHz Core Duo) 1m 19s
HP nc8430 (2.16GHz Core 2 Duo) 0m 58s
Compaq V3000T(1.6GHz Core Duo) 1m 26s
Dell Inspiron e1505 (2.00 GHz Core 2 Duo) 1m 02s
Toshiba A100(2.0GHz Core Duo) 1m 18s
Acer Aspire 5102WLMi(1.6GHz Turion64 X2 TL-50 2m 22s
Gateway E-100M(1.2GHz Core Solo ULV) 2m 02s
Dell Inspiron 600m (1.6 GHz Dothan Pentium M) 2m 10s
HP dv5000z(2.0GHz Sempron 3300+) 2m 02s

 

PCMark05 Comparison results:

 Notebook PCMark05 Score
LG P1 Express (1.83GHz Core Duo) 3,851 PCMarks
Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo) 3,487 PCMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60) 5,597 PCMarks
Sony Vaio SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400) 3,637 PCMarks
Panasonic ToughBook T4 (Intel 1.20GHz LV) 1,390 PCMarks
Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400) 3,646 PCMarks
Sony VAIO FE590 (1.83GHz Core Duo) 3,427 PCMarks

 

3DMark05 Results and comparison:

Notebook  3DMark 05 Results
LG P1 Express (1.83GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB) 2,104 3D Marks
Apple MacBook Pro (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB)  2,866 3D Marks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60 Nvidia GeForce Go7800 GTX)  7,078 3DMarks
ThinkPad T43 (1.86GHz, ATI X300 64MB graphics)  727 3DMarks
 Asus V6Va (2.13 GHz Pentium M, ATI Radeon Mobility x700 128 MB)  2,530 3D Marks
 Fujitsu n6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)  2,273 3DMarks
 HP dv4000 (1.86GHz Pentium M, ATI X700 128MB)  2,536 3D Marks
 Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 256MB)  4,157 3DMarks

 

Heat and Noise:

The laptop is very silent at normal usage. The fan runs only in short periods and even when running they are not that noisy. Also the hard drive is most of the time very quiet. Under heavy usage, for example, when booting your OS, you can hear it running, but the sound isn’t very loud or annoying.

The laptop of course generates some heat, which is mainly ventilated out on the left side and underneath the laptop. This is good when it’s used on an even surface as it keeps most parts of the machine fairly cool. It might though be a bit uncomfortable to have the computer in your lap for a long period of time, as the underside warms up a little. The hottest part is by far the memory slot on the underside. Overall the laptop runs very cool.

Keyboard and Touchpad:


LG P1 Express keyboard and touchpad view (view large image)

The keyboard is one of the parts of this laptop that I like the most. As LG’s 15.4” notebooks are used to, the P1 comes with a full size keyboard with numeric keypad. This makes a total of 99 keys plus four media buttons (vol. +/-, “direct media” and “srs”). I’m a big supporter of numerical keypads, and I find it very useful to have one on a laptop. The buttons are well placed and are easy to use. There’s no flex whatsoever and the quality of the keyboard feels good. Before I got the computer I was a little bit concerned about the keyboard getting dirty easily due to its light colour. I haven’t had any issues with this yet, but I guess it might look dirtier than a black keyboard if you use it with really dirty hands.

I’ve not had any problems using the touchpad thus far. Both the vertical and horizontal scrolls work well, and the pointer moves as you want it to most of the time. The touchpad does what it’s made for as well as any other touchpad out there.

Input and Output:

The P1 comes with most of the common ports and slots. The only port I can think of that would be missing is DVI, at least when LG calls P1 a multimedia laptop. It has a VGA output port so I guess it won’t be a problem for most people. All ports I’ve used so far (USB, RJ-45, memory reader, VGA, soundcard) have worked perfectly. The ports and slots are also, in my opinion, very well, almost perfectly, placed.

As do quite a few notebooks nowadays the P1 has an integrated fingerprint reader. It is located in the left front corner, where it’s easily used with your right (a bit difficult with the left) hand when needed, and it stays out of the way when not used. The reader scans the print carefully; I’ve not been able to deceive it yet.

Also the wireless communications seems to work well even though I had some minor issues with the Bluetooth. Luckily I got rid of them by reinstalling the drivers. The wireless network is as you expect it to be and works well.

The optical drive is a dual layer DVD burner. I’ve not burned any DVD’s with it yet, but at least the CD burning and reading works fine and rather fast. A couple of times the drive has performed autorun without any reason. As you can imagine this is very annoying when it happens.

Battery:


Battery and underside view (view large image)

LG’s product sheet claims a battery time of 4h. As usual the real capacity is not that good. When I was working with windows remote desktop, listening to music and watching some short video clips I could get 2h 45min runtime. I guess you can get quite lot longer times, probably over 3h, with more optimized settings and working with even less demanding applications. Of course the time will decrease correspondingly under very heavy usage.

From what I’ve heard, times such as these are about average for laptops in this category. I personally manage with times over 2h, as I’m most of the time capable to plug the notebook to an external power source. However, if you are in need of a better battery I believe there’s a 9 cell option. There are also some models of the P1, which are claimed to have a runtime up to almost 7h.

Software:

The P1 is delivered with a software package including; IP Operator, Battery Miser, On Screen Display, OmniPass, Norton Anti-Virus, CyberLink DVD Solution and LG Intelligent Update. Most of the software is preinstalled, and you can easily install/uninstall/update according to your needs using LG Intelligent Update. The software also comes on 3 disks (DVD Solution, LG Intelligent Update and Recovery CD).

The software I use has worked pretty well. Especially Intelligent Update and Battery Mister come in very handy when managing your computer. The only downside is the OmniPass software (which handles the fingerprint sensor). I’ve had some problems getting the program to work with all applications, but it might just be me (I’ve not put much effort into it).

Besides of the included OS (which is Windows XP Home for the JR22V1 model) I need, and prefer Linux. I repartitioned the hard drive and put Ubuntu on a new partition. This was easily done without formatting, and the dual boot works perfectly. Ubuntu runs fine, but some functions are not working yet (for example the media buttons).

Conclusion:

I’m mainly very satisfied with the laptop as it has only a few minor downsides, which you can easily live with. Clever and handy solutions combined with fairly good build quality and performance makes this computer rather attractive in its price class. I highly recommend the P1 to anyone searching for a cheap quality notebook with a 15.4” screen.

Pros:

  • Runs rather cool
  • Fairly good performance
  • Numeric keypad
  • Overall quality
  • Design

Cons:

  • Screen resolution (J2RRV1)
  • All memory slots used (J2RRV1)
  • XP Home, not Pro (J2RRV1)
  • Minor software issues (Omnipass, Bluetooth)


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