Laptops – Hybrid

December 18, 2015 — by Digit0


Is it a tablet? Is it a laptop? Which one among them is the true Superman?

Tablets that masquerade as laptops don’t stand to chance Zero1 Awards for at least one more year, as they continue to be powered by Intel’s Atom low-powered CPUs. The battle for supremacy is therefore limited to laptops that embrace tablet-like features. Here are this year’s best hybrids.

Zero1 Winner: Lenovo YOGA 3 14

In terms of weight and form factor, the Lenovo YOGA 3 14-inch isn’t as sexy or alluring as the HP Spectre x360. However, the YOGA manages to pip the Spectre in two crucial performance aspects – graphics and battery life. Rest is nearly the same. The YOGA 3 comes with a 14-inch Full HD IPS touchscreen that rotates full 360 degrees, Intel Core i7-5500U chip, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD and NVIDIA GeForce 940M graphics with 2GB DDR3 memory. It may look big in terms of form factor, but the YOGA 3’s a lean mean performance machine weighing just 1.6 kg.
Price: Rs. 86,990

Second: HP Spectre x360

Between itself and the YOGA 3 14, the HP Spectre x360 wins the looks and design war, hands down. There’s very little difference in terms of performance between itself and our Zero1 Winner, as they sport nearly identical hardware – 13-inch 360 degree rotating touchscreen, Intel Core i7-5500U chip, 8GB DDR3L RAM, 256 GB M.2 SSD, but only onboard Intel HD 5500 graphics. It also trails the YOGA in terms of battery performance – 212 minutes versus the YOGA’s 273 minutes.
Price: Rs. 1,30,990

Third: HP Pavilion 11-k106TU

Similar to the Spectre in terms of look and feel, the Pavilion is both stylish and packed with the latest hardware to deliver very good performance. Sporting the latest Intel 6th gen processor, compared to Spectre’s 61, this Pavilion 11 scores 56 out of 100 on the same performance scale. Quite impressive.
Price: Rs. 42,990

Best Buy: Dell Inspiron 11 3148

This 11-inch Dell hybrid scores 55 versus HP Pavilion 11’s 56 on the performance scale, offers best performance per Rupee.
Price: Rs. 40,690


Laptops – Ultrabooks

December 18, 2015 — by Digit0


Identifying the best performing size-zero laptop of the year is an interesting hunt. Performance matters here as much as in any other laptop category.

When it comes to ultrabooks available in the market, they don’t offer as much performance, say, as mainstream notebooks or gaming laptops would. They’re after all slim, trim, razor thin mobile computers, we mustn’t forget, and therefore we can’t high expectations in terms of performance. Having said that, ultrabook performance has only improved over the past year. Due to hardware improvements and shrinking components, thin and light laptops are able to deliver performance than ever before. Following are the year’s best performing ultrabooks. All of them are highly recommended for a wide variety of consumers who are looking to not only flaunt size zero notebooks but also expect speed.

Zero1 Winner: ASUS Zenbook UX305LA

The 13-inch Zenbook UX305LA weighs just 1.3 kg and it looks too thin to throw any sort of performance punch. However, its combination of Intel Core i7-5500U processor, 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD helps it score very high on our PCMark benchmark – higher than most Mainstream and Hybrid laptops we’ve tested and featured here within Zero1, and obviously all candidates here within ultrabooks. While its graphics capabilities are in line with the second placed Dell XPS 13, the Zenbook offers slightly better battery life in comparison with the Dell, which helps it score marginally higher overall in terms of performance – 64 vs 60 out of 100. All things considered, not only is the ASUS Zenbook is an attractive ultrabook to show off, it’s also a power-packed machine which scores high on processing tasks, multitasking and battery life.
Price: Rs. 97,990

Second: Dell XPS 13

If it weren’t for the Dell XPS 13’s Intel Core i3-5010U processor, which is vastly weaker in terms of the ASUS Zenbook’s Core i7, it would have easily won this year’s Zero1 Award. Sleek, sexy and appealing on the eye, the Dell XPS 13 (9343) actually is the lightest ultrabook we reviewed this year, weighing just 1.18 kg which is very good given its 13-inch form factor.
It also offers extremely minimalistic screen bezel, slightly better screen brightness and contrast ratio than the Zenbook, and an overall well-rounded thin notebook that is well-deserving of its runner’s up spot and easily one of the best ultrabooks to have launched in the Indian market this year. Recommended for anyone who’s looking to buy an ultrabook around the `70k mark. You will love it, it’s so good. No kidding.
Price: Rs. 69,390

Third: HP Elitebook Folio 1020 G1

Although sold as a business machine, the HP Elitebook 1040 is an equally minimalistic ultrabook. Solid, compact and well-crafted, the Elitebook strikes a very good balance of performance and ultraportability. It has an Intel Core M processor supported by 8GB of RAM and fast-paced 256GB M.2 SSD storage. The whole unit weighs just 1.2 kg, offers a better screen experience than both ASUS Zenbook and Dell XPS combined, and a respectable processor and battery performance. If anyone’s considering an ultrabook for business-facing usage (security, maintenance, support, etc) in mind, definitely take a look at the Elitebook Folio 1020 G1.
Price: Rs. 1,25,580

Best Buy: ASUS Zenbook UX305FA

A a slim, trim 13-inch ultraportable that can be easily mistaken for more than what it’s worth. It’s sleek, ultraportable, and has fast-paced internal hardware, covering most bases, if not more. The best part about is its price! It is recommended for everyone who wants a very good ultraportable notebook without having to spend a fortune to acquire it.
Price: Rs. 50,999


Laptops – Mainstream

December 18, 2015 — by Digit

True all-rounders of the laptop world that don’t cost a bomb

Priced under 1 lakh, as a category mainstream laptops sits just a cut below the mind numbing performance capabilities of gaming laptops. They’re laptops capable of doing everything – work, game and play – and they’re extremely good in all three facets of their intended usage. Think of them as all-rounders of the laptop world and you wouldn’t be far away from the mark. We didn’t see any truly path-breaking trend emerging specific to mainstream laptops this year. Just the same shift to a newer hardware platform, adoption of SSD storage, better wireless connectivity, etc.

Zero1 Winner: Lenovo IdeaPad Y50-70

It looks like Lenovo didn’t want to change the essence of its winning formula, as the Y50-70 continues to be a worthy successor to the 2014 edition of IdeaPad Y50-70, which was also the Zero1 Award winner in this very category last year. The 2015 edition of Lenovo’s IdeaPad Y50-70 comes with a power-packed hardware arsenal – 15-inch Full HD screen, quad-core Intel Core i7-4710HQ processor clocked at 2.5 GHz (with room to go up to 3.5 GHz), 8GB DDR3 RAM and 1TB HDD + 8GB SSD hybrid storage. What’s changed from last year is the addition of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics with 4GB GDDR5 memory as opposed to GTX 860M as seen in 2014. And that makes a big difference in the machine’s overall performance, elevating its 3D gaming prowess in the same league as the HP Omen 15 and Acer Aspire V15 Nitro – a noteworthy achievement. Not only can you game on the IdeaPad Y50-70, watching movies and videos is a treat thanks to its audio-visual experience which is enhanced by built-in JBL audio speakers that offer best in class sound. As always, typing on the Lenovo Y50-70’s keyboard is a pleasure. Battery life of 134 minutes is quite good, too, given its hardware firepower. Overall, this is a worthy winner.
Price: Rs. 89,489

Second: HP Envy 14-j008TX

Following closely on the heels of the IdeaPad Y50-70, the HP Envy is a deserving 14-inch runner up in the Zero1 Awards race. It has a Full HD display, is lighter than the IdeaPad and sports very good audio playback (thanks to its B&O speakers), sports 12GB DDR3 RAM in comparison. However, it has a low-powered Intel Core i7-5500U chip and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M graphics with 3GB GDDR5 memory, all of which is a notch below the Lenovo IdeaPad Y50-70’s performance prowess. Where the Lenovo scores 76 out of 100, the HP Envy gets 60 on the same scale. That number may seem low for comparison’s sake, but make no mistakes: the HP Envy 14 is very good for moderate gaming, general music and entertainment.
Price: Rs. 86,990

Third: Acer Aspire E15

The Acer Aspire E15 E5-574G-77RN actually trumps the HP Envy 14 in terms of CPU performance, as it sports a newer Intel 6th gen Core i7-6500U processor. However, it marginally trails the HP Envy 14 in terms of graphics and battery performance. Where the HP scores 60, the Acer gets 58 out of 100. Not too far behind, we know, and still a very good overall performer.
Price: Rs. 68,499

Best Buy: HP Pavillion 15-ab125AX

Scoring just below the Acer laptop in terms of performance (53/100), this particular HP Pavilion laptop sports 1.8 GHz AMD A10-8700P chip, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, and AMD Radeon R7 Series M360 graphics with 2GB DDR3 memory. All this under 50k is a real steal!
Price: Rs. 46,990


Laptops – Gaming

December 18, 2015 — by Digit0


The epitome of mobile processing and graphics performance is well and truly realized only on a gaming laptop. Here are the best in the business!

This year, too, gaming laptops have continued to mop the floor with some of the other category laptop candidates, underlining just how powerful they can be if you do choose to splurge on buying one of these performance behemoths. We saw the industry rapidly shifting towards adopting SSD storage, while the prevalence of Intel’s latest 6th gen Skylake CPUs hasn’t really gotten underway. NVIDIA continues to lead AMD as the preferred graphics solutions provider among almost all gaming laptops manufacturers. Another trend we saw is the emergence of thin gaming laptops which gave heavy, chunkier rigs a decent run for their money.

Zero1 Winner: MSI GT72 6QD

This machine is the undisputed king among all gaming laptops we’ve tested this year and also its competitors available in the market. Weighing in at 3.8 kg, it’s no ultrabook, but who cares? Just take a look at its specs – 17.3-inch Full HD display with NVIDIA GSync, powerful quad-core Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor clocked at 2.6 GHz (it can reach up to 3.5 GHz), 16GB DDR4 RAM clocked at 2133 MHz, 1TB 7200RPM hard drive and discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M graphics with 3GB GDDR5 memory.
With a PC Mark score of 5465, 3D Mark (Fire Strike Ultra) score of 1673, offers unmatched CPU-GPU performance that simply blows away its nearest competition. What’s even great about the GT72 6QD is the fact that it stays relatively cool at 42C even at full load and offers a respectable battery life of 147 minutes in our tests. We had absolutely no trouble playing the latest and greatest games on this laptop as it accommodated all of them fairly well with no lag or stutter. What’s more, its onboard Dynaudio speakers are probably the best we’ve heard on a laptop, providing very good audio performance as far as laptops go.
Price: Rs. 1,85,000

Second: HP Omen 15-5116tx

What’s great about HP Omen 15 is not only the fact that it has very good internal hardware, but it manages to deliver a level of superlative performance while keeping its form factor unbelievably slim and lightweight – a 15-inch machine weighing just a hint over 2 kg and giving the best performing laptop in the country a run for its money is a testimony to HP industrial design team. The HP Omen 15 packs in a PCIe SSD giving it a massive boost over traditional SATA drives, and it also has an Intel Core i7-4720HQ chip, 8GB DDR3 RAM, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics with 4GB GDDR5 memory. In terms of pure numbers, with a PC Mark and 3D Mark score of 4496 and 967, respectively, the HP Omen trails only the MSI laptop in terms of pure performance. It’s the second best performing gaming laptop that money can buy in India right now.
Price: Rs. 1,59,990

Third: Acer Aspire V15 Nitro

Close on the heels of the HP Omen 15 is Acer’s Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition gaming notebook – out of 100 on our performance chart, it received 81, whereas HP and MSI received 85 and 96, respectively. Scoring 3704 and 961, respectively, on the PC Mark and 3D Mark scale proves that the Aspire V15 Nitro is right up there among the best of the best when it comes to raw performance and gaming proficiency. It’s also the only gaming laptop we tested this year which supports 4K UHD (3840×2160) screen resolution.
Price: Rs. 1,10,000

Best Buy: Acer Aspire V15 Nitro

The 15-inch gaming thunderbolt from Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition wins the Best Buy Award fair and square simply because it offers close to 75-80% of the MSI GT72 6QD’s performance at nearly half the cost. Music to any gamer’s ears desiring great bang for their buck.
Price: Rs. 1,10,000