In no particular order, we present the best gadgets of the year, starting with laptops. Our mantra: Nothing over 3 pounds.
1. 11.6-inch MacBook Air (64GB). Ordinarily, Php51,990 is a lot to pay for a notebook with a 1.4GHz Intel Core2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. But this is a MacBook Air, with a gorgeous aluminum unibody which is 0.68 inches at its thickest point, build quality second to none and weighs in at an amazing 2.3 pounds. The 1.4GHz processor is not fast, but mated with Mac OSX and the 64GB SSD which launches applications, it runs much faster than the specifications would indicate. The 64GB SSD drive is painfully small but should give you 40-45GB or so usable disk space after you install your office suite and other software. The Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics card is fast. It blows away the Intel HD graphics you will find in similar 11.6" ultraportables in the market. Battery life is just okay, at 5 hours.
Yes, it is expensive, but if you wanted a reasonably fast 11.6" laptop which weighs in at 2.3 pounds, you are not going to find one. You will pay a premium price for the size and the weight, but at Php51,990, we would like this laptop even if it did not have an Apple on the lid.
There is an 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 128GB SSD drive, but that costs 10K more at Php61,990. If you are thinking about this one, we suggest you look at our next recommendation...
2. 13.3-inch MacBook Air (128GB). The larger 13.3" MacBook Air weighs in at just 2.9 pounds and is as thin as its 11.6" sibling. Priced at Php67,990, it costs 16K more than the entry level MacBook Air. It comes with the larger 128 SSD drive which is a Php10,000 item. The additional Php6,000 gets you a much faster 1.86GHz Core Duo processor, a card reader and 2 hours more battery life. The screen is the highest resolution screen on a 13.3-inch MacBook at 1440x900. The added 16K is worth every peso in our opinion.
3. Acer Aspire TimelineX 1830T. You may prefer its bigger 13.3" brother, the 3820T, but 3 pounds is as much as I want to carry day to day. The 1830T comes in at 3 pounds, just light enough to make the grade. It comes with a tiny power adaptor similar to that used by a mobile phone making it a lightweight package overall. Powered by a 1.33GHz Intel Core i3 processor, it is powerful enough to do anything you want to do with a laptop with an 11.6-inch screen. It has a 1366 x 768 resolution screen, and its Intel HD graphics can play HD videos with ease. It also has an HDMI port so you can output HD content to an LCD or LED TV. It is also more convenient to use an HDMI cable, rather than a VGA cable if you plan to use your HD TV as monitor when not on the road. Battery life is 6-hours. At Php32,500 (as low as Php28,500 cash), we really love this little low cost box.
4. Acer Aspire AOD255. Since we wrote our Christmas 2010 Netbook Buyers Guide, the price of this netbook has dropped from Php23,900 to Ph22,400. The Acer Aspire AOD255 has the same specifications as rivals with a dual core Intel Atom N550 processor, 1GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive, and an 8-hour battery life. It has one advantage over its rivals. It is smaller and lighter. At 2.4 pounds and with dimensions 10.17 x 7.28 x 0.95 inches, it is lighter than the 2.8 pound 10.3 x 7.1 x 1.4 inch Asus Eee PC 1005PEM or the 2.7 pound 10.6 x 6.6 x 0.9 inch Lenovo Ideapad s10-3s.
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