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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Attention Gurus, And Wise Mentors Of The HTPC World,


I seek guidance on the matter of portable enjoyment and practicality. I already own a "HTPC Of Sorts" and am hoping to get a laptop in my budget.


I've got a budget of about $1500 USD Flat.


What I want is a new laptop that will do the following:


1. Play DVD's, look awesome, and sound awesome doing it.


2. Have a decent battery life.


3. Something that is more than just a standard portable dvd player.


4. Be able to work as a decent backup system for doing divx and mpeg-1/2 encodes (while plugged in of course).


The choices I seem to limit myself to are the following, but if you can think of any others let me know:


1. A Compaq Presario 725US

Presario 725 US


2. A Fujitsu Lifebook P-2040

Fujitsu Lifebook P-2040


Let me know what I should do guys, any help is greatly appreciated.
 

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I'm liking my Compaq N600c. Its a bit over the 1500, but IMHO very worth it. Its a 1.2Ghz Intel with 768Mb RAM.

http://www.compaq.com/products/quick.../10886_na.html


Things I like about it (vs laptops I've had before)

1. DVD/CDRW Combo drive (watch DVDs, backup DVDs, watch Divxs)

2. 1400x1080 resolution

3. Multiport for wireless connectivity

4. Multi-head video. Pretty handy if you're in a semi-decent hotel-room and want to watch some stuff on a TV with RCA inputs.

5. Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. I've always had good luck with the Compaq's (Armada, now this). I get pretty brutal with my laptop at work when I'm travelling (cramped space, oops, it dropped, oh, its still ok, etc) ;)

6. Good battery life. I can watch a 2 hour movie on a flight and still have battery to spare (about 30% remaining). 2 batteries will outlast all continental flights.

7. The radeon chipset onboard is fast enough for most games too, which is neat.

8. Sturdy case which locks down tight when it closes.


Well, off on a tangent, but I hope that helps :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Darn. Now ********** has a zero dead pixel policy on some of their projectors. Geez. Its so hard to decide now.
 

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As a portable DVD player nothing beats a Titanium Powerbook or an iBook. 5hrs of battery life and about an inch thich. Both around 5lbs. PQ, specially on the wide Titanium screen is excellent.


Unless you require multichannel sound on the go....
 

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... except maybe this, Alric:

http://www.fujitsupc.com/www/content...less_color.pdf


It is truly portable 10.6"(w) x 7"(d) x 1.59"(h) @ 3.4lbs; has built in wireless networking / DVD+CD-R/RW / USB & FireWire of course; comes with Toslink optical digital out and WinDVD (but its audio chipset is also supported by PowerDVD for digital bit stream out to receiver); wide aspect screen and Transmeta CPU help extend battery life (up to 7 hrs with large capacity battery).
 

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I really like the new Toshiba laptops. They have a nice look and powerful specs. This one at Amazon is a bit pricier than your were asking for, but there seems to be a $100 mail-in rebate right now which brings it down to $1699.

Toshiba Satellite 1905-S277


For $2499 you can get GeForce4, SPDIF, Firewire, Wi-Fi, SmartMedia, SecureDigital, TV-out, DVD/CD-RW, 15" screen, etc.


Satellite 5105-S607
 

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Hi, Alec and all,


I am very interested in the Fujitsu P-2000 series. Seems to fit my requirements very well.


Now my question is: Where to buy? I did a search on the web. Looks like everybody is selling at list price. Where did you get yours?


Thanks, in advance.


Charles
 

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Charles,


You're certainly right re: the price: it is the same everywhere. This notebook is so much in demand (esp. the 2046 with the wireless LAN buillt in) that it flies off the shelves (I was told) and is often backordered at many places - it would be silly of any shop to discount it.


I ordered mine at PC Connection (pcconnection.com) - nice folks; same price as everyone else, but they had it in stock, did not charge sales tax in my state (NY) unlike Fujitsu USA's own web store, and were ready to ship overnight for a fair price, and willing to match Fujitsu's (modest) discounts [if ordered at the same time as the notebook from Fujitsu online store] on some accessories (notably the small nylon slipcase, the auto adapter, and the large capacity battery).


Brief experience with the notebook:
  • I must say that I am really liking it overall!!!
  • Runs very quiet (fans wise). The DVD drive is also very quiet once it spins up.
  • Standard battery life playing a DVD is around 2 hours at modest backlight levels (longer when not using the drive). This is a bit short for many movies.
  • I wish they'd provided the WinXP Pro software on CD rather than having a backup partition on the hard disk (they did provide the WinDVD and CD-R software on CD though)
  • Built-in speakers may not be loud enough for some environments.
  • Exit the VirusScan process (in the system tray) when playing movies to further assure smooth playback
  • Fujitsu, being conservative, won't state that the USB jack power supports any USB peripherals (they seem to confuse it with the FireWire jack which does not make use of the power pins), whereas it obviously powers their floppy drive as well as any other accessories I have tried.
  • Likewise they're mum RE: using the optical SP/DIF (TOSLINK) line out for surround sound connection to DVD receiver for DVD playback (they're mainly saying it's for digital music interface to MP3 / MD players/recorders, etc.). Oh well, it's engineered in Japan and I guess not all knowledge propagates to the sales force stateside ;-) I find Dolby Digital and DTS surround (and PCM digital audio) work perfectly out of the box for me (except the new 6-channel DTS-ES discrete) using the supplied WinDVD 3 (note: you may get the recently released WinDVD 4 instead - I did not bother to upgrade since it works for me as is)


Among my favorite accessories for this notebook are:
  • I highly recommend the 2046 which has everything - wireless LAN (even if you don't haveone set up yet) is useful to work anywhere at home untethered
  • The large capacity battery
  • The small and neat and inexpensive Fujitsu slipcase - compact and nicely padded (though it does not provide much room for any accessories)
  • An auto/air adapter. This one is pricey as it is actually a high quality 3rd party universal adapter that can support additional voltages by getting other adapter cables.
  • Koss KSC50 headphones - VERY comfortable and some of the best sounding in this convenient form factor (yet under $20). Aesthetically a perfect match for the notebook, too :) Note: I got 2 pairs and a Sony mini-stereo Y adapter. RadioShack also sells the Y adapter but the metal Sony one is nicer if you can find it
  • A digital optical audio Mini->standard TOSLINK cable. MonsterCable sells a nice one that's expensive. Sony makes an also nice (and a bit cheaper) versatile TOSLINK cable with removable Mini adapters at both ends. The cheapest one is half the price of the Sony and works fine but has plastic rather than metal Mini plug tips. You can see them all at jandr.com
  • InterVideo WinDVD remote http://www.intervideo.com/jsp/Produc...p=WinDVDRemote (a great way to control WinDVD when e.g. using the notebook like a DVD player connected to a TV or projector)
  • A good S-Video cable like a midrange one from MonsterCable
  • Portable silver Sony amplified speakers SRSA27 (less than $20, for richer speaker sound / multiple listeneers)
  • I am also thinking of getting a USB GPS receiver + street / topology moving map software
  • I am in the process of getting a solar power cell (L-15 or L-16 + voltage regulator), at http://www.ecomall.com/biz/sunwatt.htm
  • I also got the USB 3Com HomeConnect webcam (best ever!) and am eyeing a USB TV tuner + capture card


Hope this helps.


Good luck!


Alec
 

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Alec,


How does the Crusoe processor feels. The Toslink is a real plus!


Consider the new 700 MHz iBooks. For example the iBook has a REAL battery life of about 6 hrs and the wireless range of the (integrated) WiFi is excellent. They all weigh less than 5lbs and have combo DVD/CDRW drives and firewire.


The graphics card is a 16 MB radeon with an excellent screen.


All for less than $1500 for the iBook. The 700 MHz processor feels faster than the fastest pentium laptop I have tried.


I love that the time to wake from sleep is virtually zero..


Cheers,
 

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Alric,


It feels fine overall. I have not tried it specifically at video editing though (but it did fine capturing webcam footage even using the CPU-intensive Radius codec), where I suspect it would lag behind e.g. the recent mobile P4's.


I must say I am also impressed with the latest Apple notebooks; the display is gorgeous on the big one and they're quite thin, the overall hardware engineering being top-notch as usual.


About 6hrs battery life on the iBook? That's quite excellent for this day and age in any case, more so if you're talking about the practical results seen from the standard battery when playing DVD's.
 

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Hi, Alec,


Thank you so much for such a detailed reply.


I have three more questions:


1) How does the optical S/PDIF connection work? Is it a mini-plug on the computer? If so, does the product come with a mini-plug to standard TOSLINK cable? I mean, do I have to buy another cable? The reason I ask is that you said in your post one of your favorite accessories is "A digital optical audio Mini->standard TOSLINK cable."


2) What applications are supplied with the product? MS Word?


3) I believe that it comes with a VGA out? so that I can connect it to my front projector?


Thanks, again. This little baby is really interesting.


Charles
 

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Charles,


1) The notebook has a headphone jack and a line out jack (both 1/8" mini form factor). The line out jack is multi-function: it acts as a regular analog stereo audio out if you put a regular mini plug in it. It also has an optical out integrated, so if you plug an (also mini plug shaped) optical connector in it, you get optical digital audio out (i.e. there's no "electrical S/PDIF -> optical TOSLINK" conversion that some fancy cable would have to do or anything).


No it does not come with that cable. You'd have to buy it ... unless you also happen to plan to buy a portable MD recorder or the like, many of which devices come with this sort of cable. Like you've quoted, it has a 1/8" mini plug shaped optical connector on one end and a standard TOSLINK optical connector on the other. I think it can be had as cheap as $10 though $30 will get you a nicer Sony cable. I got the $10 variety which worked perfectly fine for me (all of these type cables except the Monster one are a regular Toslink - Toslink cable with two Female Toslink/ male Mini optical snap-on caps). At this point I am using the snap on Mini cap from the $10 cable with a regular (non-Mini connector) optical Monster cable I already had, for no other reason as to keep the more expensive Monster cable hooked up rather than damaged or misplaced in storage.


2) There's no MS Word or Office, an unfortunate omission. There's WordPad ;-)


3) Definitely! I use it with my Sony VPL-CX10 LCD XGA front projector. (Note that I also have a Malata DVD-N996 progr. scan DVD player with VGA - not XGA - output, but the notebook does deliver better scaling). The notebook has a miniature VGA out and comes with a short mini VGA to standard VGA adapter cable (which is thin not to stress the notebook socket, and has a pushbutton latch rather than thumbscrews for attachment / detachment (always depress the latch when detaching)). The internal screen resolution is I think 1280x800 (true color) and you can of course switch to 1024x768 (true color) or anytyhing of the sort to drive whatever native resolution of your projector. You can have internal or internal and external or external only display turned on.


Alec
 

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Alec,


Many thanks.


Your reply is really great! Very helpful! I'm definitely seriously thinking about getting a Fujitsu.


Best,

Charles
 
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