Marcello, who knows his away around this stuff, put me on to this $800 notebook, Acer Aspire Timeline AS3810T-6775 NoteBook Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400 13.3” 4GB Memory DDR3 1066 80GB SSD HDD Intel GMA 4500MHD.
Half the price of the Samsung. 0.7 lbs heavier, but still only 3.5 lbs. A little slower — PC Mark Vantage of 2678, compared to the Samsung's 3158 and X301's 3157. But the Acer's battery life is even better than the Samsung's.
Three caveats (nothing's ever perfect):
- Windows Vista Home
UltimatePremium 64-bit, no XP downgrade, and no word on whether there's an upgrade to Windows 7. I'm sure I have something incompatible with WVHU64WVHP64. [Update: According to the Acer website, the 3801T is eligible for upgrade. Acer says Vista Home Premium goes to Windows 7 Home Premium. Which, if I understand this, is bad — XP Mode requires at least Win 7 Pro, which is one level up.]
- The review at LaptopMag.com says,
While the temperatures ranged from cool to warm toward the beginning of this test, they rose from warm to hot by its end. The keyboard, touchpad, and bottom of the notebook were all 88 degrees to start (the bottom of the notebook got as cool as 82 degrees). Any temperature below 90 degrees is fine. But as time went on, the temperature in these three places rose to between 92 and 93 degrees (the bottom of the notebook even got as hot as 100 degrees). Despite these temperatures, though, both the keyboard and bottom felt more warm than hot.
- Many users have complained about the mouse buttons; LaptomMag says,
Hands down, our least favorite feature is the 3810T’s stiff single mouse button. We would have preferred two separate buttons.
Even so, it looks like a steal.
Update: One other small disadvantage of the Acer: Max screen resolution 1366 × 768 of compared to the Samsung's 1280 × 800 and the X301's awesome 1440×900. (On the whole, for document work, the vertical is the key statistic.)