The hottest fall laptops for Canadian business users

Dell, HP and Toshiba have all announced new business-class notebooks for the fall season, and the focus is on battery life, weight, durability and security.

Dell’s campaign addresses mobile professionals who need to be always connected, everywhere they go. The company announced two breakthrough features for the fall — Latitude mainstream E6400 and E6500 models can support an extended 19-hour battery life, while the E4200 and E4300 ultra-portables are equipped for the upcoming instant-access-to-email-and-Web feature (no booting into main OS necessary) called Latitude On.

HP is focusing on faster hard drives, more processor options and increased durability for its new ultra-portable Elitebooks. The company made specific adjustments to the new 2730p and 2530p based on feedback from customers using the models’ predecessors. The new S-series Compaq will be available to Canadian business users who shop at retail in October. HP is also preparing for mobile broadband with an optional module that supports multiple networks.

Toshiba’s big feature for the new Satellite Pro and Tecra series is Intel’s fifth-generation Centrino 2 processor, which also enhances battery life. Increases to sound and security are also taking place in the form of high definition audio and Webcam facial recognition. Addressing durability, Tecra’s come equipped with shock absorbers and spill-resistant keyboards.

Feature check

Weight and battery remain top user concerns. How Dell, HP and Toshiba are holding up.

? Battery Dell currently leads the race in longest battery life. With a nine-cell battery plus the optional 12-cell battery slice (a $410 add-on), the Latitude Mainstream models provide up to 19 hours on a single charge.

Extended battery attachments from HP can provide a full day’s worth of battery — up to 11 hours, according to Leroux.

The standard two to three hour battery life is “unacceptable at this point,” said Kudera. By incorporating Intel’s new Centrino 2 platform, which provides a 15 to 20 per cent increase in battery life just by the design of the chipset, Toshiba offers an advantage without touching a thing. With 6- and 9-cell batteries standard on most machines, users can now expect a battery life of four to eight hours.

If you go to extreme high-end performance notebooks, you’re not going to get six or seven hours of battery life, said Eurocom CTO Mark Bialic. Battery expectations for Eurocom’s customizable high-performance notebooks are roughly 2 to 2