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Review: LG P1 Express Dual notebook
Written by Rondog   
Monday, 09 October 2006 12:51
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Review: LG P1 Express Dual notebook
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Rondog takes us through his thoughts on a Notebook solution offered by LG. A good, lightweight mobile soultion with an impressive spec.

At first glance this unit appears to be a very good deal at $2499 AUD. Similarly priced HP only features a nVidia GO7400 and a Centrino Duo 1.73 GHz. And identically priced LG comes in with the bigger brother processor, a Centrino Duo 2.0 GHz but only features a GO7300.
LG P1 Express Dual

The LG P1 Express Dual features the following:

  • Intel Centrino Duo 1.83GHz
  • 1 GB DDR2 667 MHz RAM
  • ATi Mobility X1400
  • 100 GB SATA hard drive
  • 5.1CH Surround Sound
  • 5-in-1 card reader
  • S-video out
  • 2600mA Battery
  • Numeric keypad
  • 15.4" WXGA screen
  • Hexa Band Antennae
  • Direct Media Button
  • Dual layer dual format DVD burner
  • 3x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1x 1394 port
  • 1x VGA out

At first glance this unit appears to be a very good deal at $2499 AUD. Similarly priced HP only features a nVidia GO7400 and a Centrino Duo 1.73 GHz. And identically priced LG comes in with the bigger brother processor, a Centrino Duo 2.0 GHz but only features a GO7300.

It is a very lightweight unit, easily able to be carried around in ones briefcase of backpack. I think perhaps the nicest feature, is the inclusion of the numpad, a rare find on laptops with screen sizes of only 15.4” (only is used loosely in this case), it is usually reserved for the larger units with 17” screens.

The screen itself is trimmed with black while the unit being a basic off-white colour with a silver lid. While on the subject of the screen, I can only find one word to describe it, BRILLIANT. Coming in at a 1280x800 resolution, crystal clear images and stunningly bright. It is suitable for everyday office use, or as a portable cinema. It is good for viewing for more than one person, because the screen is viewable from almost any angle, above below or almost parallel.

Further enhancing its use as a portable cinema, the speakers, are not the Marantz of home cinema or the Pioneer of car sound systems the world over. They are however, acceptable. Offering 5.1 CH surround compensates for the lack of power. After all, the unit is tiny, how can you fit powerhouse speakers inside it?

Typing on the unit is very easy, as all the keys (numbers and function keys) are placed in identical places to a standard US-101 keyboard. The trackpad is brilliant to use, I actually bought a Targus Ergonomic Laser mouse to go with the laptop, but after using the trackpad, I decided it wasn’t needed because the trackpad is very smooth and easy to operate and free from the problematic issue or an erratic cursor.

Coming with the standard compliment of software the LG doesn’t vary from all other models in this price point. Seeing how Microsoft Office of the like doesn’t come packaged any more, quite a shame really if you ask me. It does however include Cyberlink's Power DVD. This is standard now, all laptops with DVD players feature either Power DVD, Win DVD or something similar.

After several hours use (mainly setting up, installing games, software, etc) I could not fault the laptop. It did feel warm on my leg, but not warm enough to make it uncomfortable. The USB ports, I have discovered, where places very intuitively. Being located against the side, about the natural resting place of a persons arms. Making it a breeze to plug in a wireless mouse or USB memory key.

Talking about other capabilities of the laptop. I’m sitting here in a local park, in a town near where I live, and I find myself wondering about network security, I’d been sitting down all of 2 minutes when the laptop detected an undetected wireless network. So what do I do? I start using MSN. It must be a good wireless laptop, because I can’t even see the building where the wireless is originating from!

Battery life on the unit is very good as well. Downloading off the net, playing music, writing this article, and with the screen at maximum brightness while charging my wireless mouse. It is currently showing 90% battery life with 2 hours and 3 minutes of use remaining.

Now, let’s get down to what really matters. Real world performance. The benchmarks that I will be using, include, Super PI, 3DMark, 01, 03, and 05.

Super PI comes in at 33sec for the 1M test. Not a bad result for a laptop. The processor does manage to do itself justice. Let’s see how ATi’s Mobility X1400 fares when punished with 3DMark.

Not a totally stellar result for 3D Mark 01, considering the world record is now well over 60,000 marks. This is a laptop though, not a pair of 7950 GX2’s in SLI on an Intel Conroe X6800. It is still enough to hold its own though. My A64 S754 3200+ 9600XT scored 12600 at stock, but reached 15682 when overclocked. So it’s still a reasonable enough score to warrant light gaming.

The 3DMark03 result appears to be quite second rate. But taking into account that this is an office unit, not a gaming machine, and looking at the individual scores, it suddenly takes on a new appearance. The first test “Wings of Fury” scored extremely well, generally placing in the 100-140 FPS range. “Battle of Proxycon” was not as good, it averaged about 25 FPS. “Troll’s Lair” was slightly better averaging approximately 50 FPS. The laptop really struggled with the nature test scoring only about 15-20 FPS.

Same as the other 3DMark results, nothing stellar, but perfectly acceptable for the hardware of the laptop and the cost of the unit. “Return to Proxycon” did poorly, averaging 20 FPS. Was more like witnessing a slide show than a game. The test where the firefly is buzzing around the forest fared ever so slightly better achieving approximately 23 FPS. I imagine with some overclocking, this would really fly. But realistically, who overclocks a laptop? They are built for portability not performance enthusiasts.

Overall, the 3DMark results were not mind blowing, but as I have already said, it’s a laptop, not an SLI or Crossfire gaming machine.

Looking at actual game performance, we will be looking at an older game that is still well loved and played by gamers the world over, Unreal Tournament 2004, and a newer game that stunned gamers and non-gamers alike with its superior graphics and clever AI, FEAR.

This was a very very long game of CTF Instagib. Myself (Rondog) and one of my mates (Biotechnology) were playing, one on one with bots. Needless to say this game went for quite some time. About an hour and a half for the one map I believe. That’s not the issue though, taking notice of the green writing in the upper right hand corner. We can see that it averaged 82 FPS during the gaming. The lowest I noticed it dip to was 48 FPS and that was only once. This is running at maxed settings and 1280x800 (the laptops native resolution).

The test was conducted at 800x600 while running the CPU and graphics card at the preset ‘medium’ settings. There was no noticeable slow-down while playing this game. It is easily as fast as running it on a desktop machine. As you can see from the image above, 64% of the time the X1400 was rendering frames between 25 and 40 FPS. Which is a bearable result.

During my time using this laptop, it was thrashed, I installed games, apps, downloaded, updates, copied 40gb of files to the laptop over the network, and wrote this article all at the same. Did it struggle? In a word, no. No matter what I threw at this machine I did not experience slow downs, or freezing while the cache caught up. This is without a doubt, the fastest computer I have ever used, including my desktop. The wireless network performance was simply stunning, it managed to connect to wireless network at what I estimate at 300 metres from the building (rough estimate), it was intermittent, but managing to connect at all was quite a feat I believe.

I had intended to include HDD tacho and SiSoft Sandra tests as well, but the laptop got wrecked in my car accident before I could get to that stage. Now that I know the laptop is breakable, ALWAYS keep the laptop in the back, that will at least offer some protection when it hits the dash at 60km/h.

Based on the following criteria I have come to a judgment on the LG P1 Express Dual:

Screen quality: 9/10
Ease of use: 8/10
Games performance: 7/10
Network performance: 8/10

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