LG T1 14.1-inch Screen Portable Notebook Review (pics, specs)

by Reads (42,516)

by Darren Hewer, Canada


The LG T1 is a thin-and-light 14.1-inch screen notebook with a Core Duo processor.  The LG T1 offers performance and portability, it weighs in at only 4.2lbs.  In addition to these features, it is arguably one of the most stylish and unique looking notebooks on the market right now and has been chosen for design awards.


The LG T1 with a stylish piano black shiny lid (view large image)


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LG T1 Specs:

  • Screen: 14.1″ WXGA+ (1440×900), Fine Bright Technology *
  • Graphics: Intel Integrated 945GM 256MB
  • Processor: Intel Core Duo Processor 1.66GHz (L2400) *
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Memory: 1gig (2x512MB) DDR2 667MHz
  • Hard Drive: 60GB(PATA) 4200RPM
  • Optical Drive: DVD Burner
  • Input/Output: 3 USB2.0, VGA, RJ11, RJ45, S-Video, IEEE 1394 (Firewire), Mic-in, Line-in(S/PDIF), Headphone
  • Size: 13.1″ x 9.4″ x 0.85″ (334mm x 240mm x 21.5mm)
  • Weight: 4.2lbs / 1.9kg (with included 6cell battery)
  • Wireless: Intel Pro/Wireless 3945ABG (802.11a/b/g)
  • Modem: 56kbps
  • Bluetooth: BlueCore
  • Security: Fingerprint, TPM, HDD Security
  • Memory Card Slot: 5-in-1 (XD/SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro)
  • PC Card Slot: ExpressCard/34
  • Battery: 6cell (Li-Ion)
  • Software: IP Operator, Battery Miser, On Screen Display, Norton Anti-Virus, CyberLink DVD Solution, Recovery CD, LG Intelligent Update CD
  • Warranty: 3 year international limited warranty
  • Cost: $1,799.99CDN (approx $1,622.17US; before 15% CDN taxes)


Some features of the T1 listed on a sticker at the front right side of the notebook (view large image)

Please take note:

The specs listed on the current official LG T1 page differ from the laptop I have in two important ways. The model number on my laptop is listed by Windows as T1-5316A9, while the model number of the only English T1 listed on the LG site is T1-5300A9. The processor and screen resolution on my laptop are actually higher than what is listed on the LG site as can be seen below:


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  LG site: My Laptop System Info Reports:
Model #: T1-5300A9 T1-5316A9
Processor: 1.5ghz T2300 1.66ghz T2400
Screen: WXGA 1280×800 WXGA+ 1440×900


Many stores list the specs of the notebook according to the “official” LG specs on their website, but as you can see, the processor and screen are actually better than advertised!


Reasons for Buying:

The reason I got the LG T1 was to replace my Asus Z70V laptop. While I was pleased overall with the Asus, I wanted a laptop that was smaller, lighter and quieter, since I realized that I don’t really play games anymore, and the Z70V is more of a gaming machine. I browsed around online for awhile but none of the laptops I found really caught my eye until I saw the T1…it’s a nice looking machine!  The T1 actually won several awards in the 2006 ‘Red Dot’ awards for design, including ‘Best of the Best’. Cost was not a major concern, but this notebook is not priced much higher than similarly spec’d models from other manufacturers.

Where and How Purchased:

This laptop was purchased in Canada at CanadaSys, their North York location. They were selling this notebook for $1,870.00, but price matched another local store for $1,799.99. CanadaSys is in the process of changing their name to MilestonePC. They are changing their name to better reflect an upcoming focus on serving both the local Canadian and also the US markets. As before when I purchased my ASUS Z70V their staff was friendly and helpful. Currently they have limited methods of payment; in the future they will accept credit cards and online secure ordering.

Since no notebooks are listed on the LG USA site, if you live in the USA you’ll have to find an importer, or buy from a Canadian store that will ship to the USA, such as MilestonePC (in the future) or NCIX.

Build & Design:


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Sweet! Take a look at the pictures. I love how this laptop looks. Actually, Sony seems to have copied the design in their latest batch of VAIO notebooks. Anyways, it’s light (4.2lbs) and thin (less than 1-inch). The outer case is glossy black, which looks fantastic but is easily marked up with fingerprints. (However, the T1 includes a cloth to clean the outer case!) Inside, around the screen is also black, while the keyboard and touchpad are white. The silver LG logos on the lid and below the screen are subtle but classy.


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The build quality is good but does not feel extremely tough. My old Asus (which was carbon fibre constructed) feels sturdier.  Of course the Asus Z70V is also much heavier than the LG T1, which is mostly made of plastic. By pushing with some force on the back of the screen, you can see some ripples on the LCD. I don’t think you’d want to drop it or let your five year old nephew or niece use it, but it feels tough enough to withstand normal everyday use. Since it is so light and thin, you’d expect that it would be a bit more delicate than a heftier model. The hinges on the screen feel solid though, and the screen stays wherever you put it. There is no latch, but it stays shut without one.


LG T1 thickness compared to a DVD (view large image)


LG T1 14.1-inch screen notebook next to the Asus Z70V 15.4″ screen notebook (view large image)

I would have appreciated a thicker manual explaining all of the different features, as (in my box at least) there was only a small pamphlet; though most functions are self-explanatory. A full manual in Windows Help format is available on the LG website.

Screen:


Screen view (view large image)

The screen is widescreen 14″ WXGA+ (1440×900). It is glossy, bright and generally very nice to look at. There’s 8 levels of brightness, from extremely dark to very bright, controllable through function keys (and also can be regulated by the included Battery Miser software). I use it on brightness level 7/9 and that’s bright enough. The glossy screen really makes colors look vibrant. Of course, because its glossy you also get some glare on the screen, but I never notice the glare except when I’m actively looking for it, and only then on darker backgrounds. There are no dead pixels on my screen and I haven’t noticed any light leakage.


You can see the reflection of the keyboard due to the glossy screen finish (view large image)

Speakers:

The speakers are located at the front edge of the laptop, pointing outward, which is preferable if you’re watching a DVD on it, but less so if you’re listening to music while working. They sound like average laptop speakers, and do the job well enough. Not surprisingly there is no bass, with rather “tinny” sound. There is a S/PDIF plug on the left side to plug in your own speakers, which you’ll probably want to do whenever you’re listening to music, DVDs, gaming, etc.

Processor and Performance:

Below you can see the benchmarks that I ran on this laptop. I’m pleased with its performance so far. Gamers take note: This is NOT a gaming notebook. It uses Intel integrated GMA945 for video graphics, meaning it will handle older games but if you enjoy playing the latest 3D games this is NOT the notebook for you. I didn’t run 3DMark on it since it’s not intended to run 3D stuff. I use my laptop for web surfing, web design, Photoshop, listening to MP3s, OpenOffice, occasional light gaming, etc and it works great for my purposes.

My main concern with performance before buying this notebook was the 4200RPM 60GB hard drive. The 60GB size is good enough for my purposes, but I was concerned that it would be slow with the 4200RPM rotation speed. I’m happy to say that I haven’t noticed slowness in my everyday usage. If you need optimum hard drive performance, check the HDTune results below to see if it meets your requirements, but its good enough for me.

Benchmarks:

The T1 is not meant as a gaming notebook, so here are some benchmarks aimed at testing its speed for non-gaming related tasks.

PCMark05:

As can be seen below, this notebook achieved a score of 2600 in the PCMark05 test.

Notebook PCMark05 Score
LG T1 (1.66 GHz Core Duo) 2,600 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
Toshiba Satellite M70 (Pentium M 1.86GHz) 1,877 PCMarks

 

Super PI:

The T1 Calculated PI to 2 million digits in 1:30. (The 1.66GHz Core Duo processor in the T1 got a faster time than the 1.7GHz Pentium M in my Z70V by 21 seconds; ie it calculated PI 19% faster.)

Notebook Time
LG T1 (1.66 GHz Core Duo)  1m 30s
Alienware M770 (AMD Dual Core FX-60)  1m 23s
 Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 53s
 IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 45s
 IBM ThinkPad Z60m (2.0 GHz Pentium M)  1m 36s
 Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Pentium M)  1m 48s
 Dell Inspiron 6000D (1.6 GHz Pentium M)  1m 52s
 Dell Inspiron 600M (1.6 GHz Pentium M)  2m 10s
 HP Pavilion dv4000 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 39s
 Asus Z70V (1.73GHz Pentium M)  1m 51s
 Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)  1m 18s


Also since probably the low point of this system’s specs is the 4200rpm hard drive, here’s the results of the HDTune benchmark:


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Heat & Noise:

This is where this laptop shines. It is very quiet; the fan is hardly noticeable. Certainly you won’t notice fan noise during light usage. The fan seems to come on when I’m using it on my lap instead of my desk, and/or when I’ve been using it intensively for a long time. In terms of heat, I’m able to use it on my lap because it doesn’t get hot. It gets warm, but never uncomfortably so (moreso on the left side where the hard drive is). It includes built-in fan control via Fn+F11 so you can choose one of three fan settings (Normal, Silent and Cool). And because it’s only 4.2lbs, it’s quite easy to use resting on my lap. This is one of the main reasons to get this computer: If you want thin, light, quiet and cool, this is the notebook for you. The DVD drive is of average loudness compared to other notebooks I’ve seen and it spins down quickly when not in use.

The noise made by the hard drive is not loud, but I must note the occasional “plunking” or “clicking” sounds that the hard drive makes every 10 seconds or so when it’s in use on/off, as when web surfing or word processing. As best as I’ve been able to find out, it’s a normal sound the Hitachi 1.8″ hard drives make when the hard drive head parks. This is partially a security feature to prevent damage. Its not a loud sound, but you’ll hear it if you listen for it. I’ve gotten used to it, but a bit disappointing that manufacturers can’t make a hard drive that can park the head silently. For what it’s worth, I’ll mention this is the same hard drive that is used in certain ThinkPads such as the X40 and X41.

Keyboard and Touchpad:


A look across the T1 keyboard (view large image)

The keyboard on this notebook looks and feels good. The keys are not loud and have a satisfying feel to them. There is no keyboard flex. Of special note are the special function keys. Controlled by the LG “On Screen Display” software, the special keys (ex. brightness control, volume mute, toggle touchpad, etc) all work instantly when you press the Fn+key combinations. A nice touch is Fn+Esc which opens up the DVD drive. Also the Ctrl key is in the correct position (in my opinion at least), in the very left corner of the keyboard. (The order is Ctrl, Fn, Windows, Alt).  The touchpad was somewhat of a surprise when I first tried it because it is not smooth like most notebooks I’ve used, its texture is slightly rough. There are four dedicated buttons beside the power button: Direct Media (runs PowerDVD or whatever), – and + volume buttons, and SRS control (for changing SRS sound modes).

Input and Output Ports:

Three USB 2.0 ports (two on the left edge, one on the right edge) and a Firewire port (on the left edge). The S/PDIF (speaker out), headphone and microphone ports are also located on the left edge. In addition to the microphone port, there’s also a built-in mic on the bottom left corner. The VGA out port is also on the left edge, while the S-video out is on the back. The DVD burner is on the right edge. The network and modem plugs are on the back. There is no DVI port or parallel port.

On the right edge there is an express card slot. The 5-in-1 memory card reader is located on the front edge, right in the middle, between the two speakers, which is a slightly odd location for it, but its much better than putting the DVD drive in the front. There is also a fingerprint reader on the far right corner under the keyboard. I haven’t used it so I can’t comment on its accuracy.

Wireless:

I have wireless Internet working through our Linksys wireless. The included LG “IP Operator” software will work only for WEP-based networks, so if you are using WPA or WPA2 (like I am) you’ll need to turn off IP Operator and use the default Windows networking methods. Internet speed is just as fast as any other computer on our network. This notebook also includes Bluetooth, which I have not been able to test because I own no Bluetooth devices. However it’s nice to know I have that option available.

Battery:

Battery life is a strong point of this laptop. I just now unplugged it from the A/C, and currently it is estimating 4:25 hours of battery life. This is with wireless on and the screen 7/9 brightness. After turning the brightness down to level 5/9 it went up to 4:55. This is pretty good, especially with at 14″ screen. I have not done a systematic test of the battery, but it’s safe to say you’ll get at least about 4 1/2 hours of battery life out of the T1, and probably more if you adjust the settings. (As usual though I think the company is being a bit optimistic with their estimate of 7hrs!)

LG includes “Battery Miser” software which automatically dims the screen when the notebook isn’t in use. The software is totally configurable, so you can automatically set the screen brightness for A/C and battery power, plus a host of other options.

Operating System and Software:

The LG T1 comes with XP Pro preinstalled. It also comes with Norton Security Suite and OmniPass, both of which I promptly uninstalled. For CD/DVD burning CyberLink DVD Solution is included. LG also gives you some of their own software, including Battery Miser (great), IP Operator (good except it only supports WEP) and On Screen Display. Not a fantastic software package, but I prefer this to having dozens of applications pre-installed like on some other name-brand notebooks.

Customer Support:

I have not yet had to contact LG’s customer support, so I cannot comment on how helpful they are. The Canadian service center is located in Mississauga, Ontario, there is a separate LG service website and the Canadian tech support number is 1-888-542-2623. A form to contact LG Canada is found here on the LG Canada website. If you live in countries other than Canada, you’ll have to browse from the LG Global Site to your specific country page for support. This notebook comes with a “3 year limited warranty”, and a thick booklet describing the warranty in detail.

Conclusion:

If you’re looking for a notebook that is thin, light, quiet, and cool, but still features a decently large widescreen, this may be the notebook for you. There are no other 14 inch WXGA+ laptops that I know of that are close to this one in terms of size, weight and features. Also, the battery life is great at well over 4 hours, and even 5 hours is possible with the included 6-cell battery. Overall, its great and I highly recommend it!

Pros:

  • Lid, case, and overall design is superb
  • Lightweight (4.2lbs) & only 0.82″ thick
  • Very nice glossy widescreen
  • Doesn’t get hot & stays quiet
  • Long battery life
  • Great keyboard with useful function keys
  • Duo Core, 1gb of RAM standard
  • “Bonuses”: Bluetooth, fingerprint reader, internal mic, SRS

Cons:

  • Mostly made of plastic, not as durable as, say, carbon fibre
  • 60gig 4200rpm hard drive
  • Bundled software is not spectacular
  • Hard drive’s “plunk”/”click” noise
  • Not meant for 3D gaming

 

Note about the author:  Darren runs the website www.dosgames.com, you’re encouraged to check it out!


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