I’ve been needing to get a new laptop for a while, the question is, what kind? With all the hype about 3D stuff  these days (Avatar, 3DS, TV’s, etc), I decided to see for myself.

After playing around with my new laptop, and the review is ready.

Here’s the base specs of the Satellite A665:

  • 1.73 GHz Intel Core i7-740QM processor
  • 4 GB DDR3 memory
  • 640 GB SATA hard drive, Blu-ray Disc® Rewriteable(RE) and DVD SuperMulti drive with Labelflash® supporting 16 formats
  • 3D-ready, 15.6-inch widescreen HD TruBrite LED-Backlit display (720p resolution)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTS 350M with 1 GB of dedicated DDR3 video memory
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, 4.4 hours of battery life

Note the size of the glasses allows other glasses to fit inside them.

As the product page suggests, this laptop has a screen which refreshes at 120Hz. Combined with the included NVIDIA shutter glasses, you get the illusion of 3D. I got this laptop for 3D gaming purposes and on that frontier I have had positive results. The problem is that not all PC games were made with this in mind, so the 3D effect can range from excellent to nonexistent.

Case Study 1: Portal

After the lengthy configuring process that one goes through with new computers, I started up Valve’s Portal. The first thing you notice is that the commercials were wrong. The 3D effect does no “pop out” at you at all, but is rather the opposite. It makes the screen seem much deeper than it really is, as if the screen is a view portal into the game. I played with and without 3D, and the 3D effect seemed to enhance the experience, but I suspect that’s just me trying to  subconsciously trying to justify getting such a system. Looks good, but needs more testing.

Case Study 2: League of Legends

In order to shutter at the same time as the screen does, the glasses sync up with a little IR emitter box. This box allows you to control how strong of a 3D effect you want. I had it on max for Portal, but for this game, a weak effect is best.

The 3D effect is pretty cool with this game because the menus and health bars seem to float over the field.

Case Study 3: Crysis Warhead

Unlike Portal, Crysis has a spastic camera that bobs and shudders constantly. With 3D on, this game was virtually unplayable.

Case Study 4: Deus Ex

No 3D effect that I could tell, though the graphics are retro enough that you don’t really want it.

Pros:

  • 3D!
  • Huge hard drive; good for storing all your HD torrents.
  • Good performance on Crysis, with or without 3D.
  • Not very heavy.
  • Great speakers.

Cons:

  • Playing in 3D is cool and all, but it tends to dampen the colors in the game because of how the glasses work. Things are not nearly as bright as they are without 3D. In LAN party settings you won’t notice but in bright settings you will.
  • The 3D effect strains the eyes after a few hours.
  • The keys on the keyboard are glossy so after a little while most of them look filthy from your fingerprints.
  • The space key is less responsive than it should be.
  • The laptop runs kinda hot, though the battery shape ensures that the bottom of the laptop gets enough ventilation.
  • It’s a slight hassle to set up the 3D.
  • Lower resolution than other laptops with the same screen size.
  • 3 USB ports, not 4. With a mouse taking up 1 port and the IR emitter box taking up the second, there’s only 1 USB port left!
  • The touch pad is huge, so it’s easy to accidentally touch it while typing.

Conclusion

This is a great high-end laptop overall, though for the same price you could get a much more powerful non-3D system. If you are on the fence about getting 3D vs. a more powerful system, my advise is….go for 3D. The difference between 4GB RAM vs. 8 GB is indistinguishable for most people (and you could upgrade to 8 gigs on this system anyways), the processor can’t be beat at this time, and the graphics card will be sufficient for a while considering  the resolution.

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