by Kevin O’Brien
The LG P300 Express Dual Series notebook is a super light, high performance 13.3″ notebook. This notebook packs a massive punch with its T8300 Penryn processor, NVIDIA 8600m GS graphics card, and high-gloss 13.3″ LCD in a package that weighs roughly 3.6 pounds.
This notebook has the following specifications:
- Intel Core 2 Duo T8300 (2.40GHz/ 800MHz Front Side Bus/ 3MB L2 cache)
- Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
- 2GB DDR2-667 dual-channel RAM (2 x 1GB)
- 13.3″ WXGA (1280×800) Glossy
- Nvidia GeForce 8600M-GS graphics card with 256MB dedicated memory
- 250GB Fujitsu 5400rpm Hard Drive
- No Internal Optical Drive, External USB DVD-RW Drive included
- Intel Wireless WiFi 4965 AGN (802.11a/g/n)
- Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
- Built-in 1.3 megapixel webcam and microphone
- Ports: 3 USB, Kensington Lock Slot, LAN, Headphone/Mic, S-Link, HDMI, VGA, SD Card Reader, ExpressCard/34
- Size: 12.4 x 9.4 x 0.87/1.38″
- Notebook 3lbs 8.6oz
- AC Adapter 1lb 1.1oz
- USB DVD/RW 12.5oz
- 90w AC Adapter
- Warranty: 1 Year standard
- Price: $1,799 CDN available at Future Shop(approximately $1,800 US)
Build and Design
The LG P300 is a slim and compact design that could fit very well with the Macbook Air and Thinkpad X300. The notebook is very thin, and has no bloated plastic to round out edges or even out parts of the chassis. The screen bezel is very thin, with the overall LCD section being no more than a few millimeters thick. In terms of design it looks and feels a lot like a Fujitsu business grade notebook, not counting the colorful “red wine” lid design which looks a bit like a violet zebra.
Build quality is nothing short of top notch. The chassis feels extremely rugged, with no flex or sagging anywhere but the thin LCD lid. The main body and keyboard surround is metal alloy, and the LCD frame is sturdy black plastic. One thing some advanced users will notice from the pictures is this notebook lacks any panels on the bottom for RAM, CPU, or HD access, which is instead located under the keyboard. In some ways the solid bottom section does reduce flex and creaking which might come from separate panels rubbing against each other when carrying the notebook around.
Below are side-by-side comparison images of the LG P300 next to the Lenovo ThinkPad X300.
The display is very bright, with clear whites and vibrant colors. Black levels are solid, with only mild backlight bleed at the highest backlight setting. Viewing angles are about average with colors inverting and washing when you start to change your vertical viewing angle. Horizontal angles are much better, without much color distortion until extreme angles.
My personal backlight preference on this notebook was setting it to 50-60 percent brightness for average use, and 100 percent when gaming in bright rooms. Below are images showing how the screen looks at maximum brightness from straight on as well as all viewing angles.
Keyboard and Touchpad
This notebook had a slight culture clash during the review, as it had a different keyboard layout that I was used to. This specific model had a target market of Canada, and a few keys are located in other positions, or shaped in different ways. The keyboard itself though was excellent, having solid support and did not feel cramped at all when typing. The overall width of the keyboard is similar my ThinkPad, and key size was perfect.
The touchpad is above average, with a decent touch surface and enough space for easy movement. Sensitivity was perfect, leaving nothing to be adjusted from factory defaults during the review. Still, you do have access to the Synaptics control panel if adjustments are needed. The touchpad button has soft and shallow feedback, and is a single rocker bar design. The touchpad has a right and left clicker, but both share the same bar.
The speakers on this notebook were more than adequate for listening to music, watching a movie, or playing video games. Treble and midrange was clear, and like the majority of notebooks bass was completely lacking.
The headphone jack provided clear and hiss free audio, making it a perfect alternative for private listening.
Performance and Gaming
The power of this 3.6 pound notebook was nothing short of phenomenal. With a 2.4GHz Penryn processor and NVIDIA 8600M GS this thing screamed compared to anything else in this weight range. I could play Portal at native resolution and at medium settings and have enjoyable framerates. One performance enhancing item I did not see on this notebook was a 7200rpm drive, but the system performed well enough where that downside was glossed over.
Listed below are benchmarks that give you a better idea of how well this system compares against others in its category:
wPrime comparison results (lower score means better performance):
Notebook / CPUwPrime 32M timeLG P300 (Intel Core 2 Duo T8300 @ 2.4GHz) 32 seconds Lenovo ThinkPad X300 (Intel Core 2 Duo L7100 @ 1.20GHz)98 secondsApple MacBook Air (Intel Core 2 Duo P7500 @ 1.6GHz)68 seconds Asus Eee PC701 4G (Intel Celeron M ULV @ 900MHz)200 secondsSony VAIO TZ (Intel Core 2 Duo U7600 @ 1.20GHz)76 secondsDell XPS M1330(Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2.20GHz)38 seconds
You can see from the results in WPrime the Intel Core 2 Duo T8300 processor is much faster than processors typically found in ultraportable notebooks.
PCMark05 is a benchmark that measures the overall system performance, so it considers the processor, hard drive, memory and OS as part of the mix.
PCMark05 benchmark results (higher scores are better)
NotebookPCMark05 ScoreLG P300 (2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8300, Nvidia 8600M GS 256MB) 5,767 PCMarks Lenovo ThinkPad X300 (1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo L7100, Intel X3100)3,467 PCMarksApple MacBook Air (1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7500, Intel X3100)2,478 PCMarksSony VAIO NR(1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250, Intel X3100)3,283 PCMarksSony VAIO TZ (1.20GHz Core 2 Duo U7600, Intel GMA 950) 2,446 PCMarksLenovo ThinkPad X61 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100)4,153 PCMarksLenovo 3000 V200 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100)3,987 PCMarksLenovo T60 Widescreen (2.0GHz Intel T7200, ATI X1400 128MB)4,189 PCMarksHP dv6000t (2.16GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400)4,234 PCMarksFujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400)3,487 PCMarksAlienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60, Nvidia Go 7800GTX)5,597 PCMarksSony VAIO SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400)3,637 PCMarksAsus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, Nvidia Go 7400)3,646 PCMarks
3DMark06 graphics comparison results (higher score meens better performance):
Notebook3DMark06 ScoreLG P300 (2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8300, Nvidia 8600M GS 256MB) 3,027 3DMarksLenovo ThinkPad X300 (1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo L7100, Intel X3100)475 3DMarksApple MacBook Air (1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7500, Intel X3100)502 3DMarksSony VAIO NR(1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250, Intel X3100)504 3DMarksToshiba Tecra M9 (2.20GHz Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA Quadro NVS 130M 128MB)1,115 3DMarksSony VAIO TZ (1.20GHz Core 2 Duo U7600, Intel GMA 950)122 3DMarksHP dv2500t (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB)1,055 3DMarksHP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400)827 3DMarks
HDTune measures the storage performance of a PC, the numbers for the P300 are typical for your average 5400 RPM hard drive:
Ports and Features
The P300 has an excellent selection of ports for such a compact notebook. The only obvious omission in terms of ports is the lack of a FireWire port. Rather than provide FireWire, LG decided to include the “S-Link” port. S-Link is a USB file transfer protocol using a standard Mini-USB connection. This is great for people who need to sync files between a laptop and a desktop or workstation, but average consumers probably would find a FireWire port more useful for uploading digital video from a camcorder.
Now that the S-Link rant is out of the way, here is an overview of the ports:
Front: SD Card Reader
Left: Kensington Lock Slot, 2 USB, ExpressCard/34
Right: Volume Switch, Headphone/Mic, S-Link, 1 USB, HDMI, VGA, LAN, AC Power
Rear: No ports.
Heat and Noise
For browising the web or other simple activities the LG P300 warmed up to mild levels, and was fairly tame. When gaming on the other hand, the notebook got very hot. Being such a small notebook with a very powerful processor and graphics card, the heat had nowhere to go but out the vents and into the thin metal case. Most of this heat would go away after your session of gaming was complete, but it would be very toasty during gameplay.
Below are images with the temperature readings listed in degrees Fahrenheit:
Battery and Power
The stock configuration has a six-cell battery, without an option for any extended life battery. With screen brightness at 70 percent, and the notebook set to the “balanced” power profile, the system managed a bit more than 3 hours and 40 minutes. I found this to be more than acceptable given the notebooks crunching capabilities.
To cut down on weight, the LG P300 opted to remove the optical drive from the notebook, and include a free external drive instead. The drive they give you is verynice. In fact, this drive is better than anything we can find on the US market. It is a slim drive, black glossy colored, and has a retractable USB cable built into the case. This means no wires to worry about when traveling, and the total package is easy to store. For consumers worried about this notebook having no internal drive, unless you frequently watch DVD movies on a plane, I would personaly rather game or use digital movie files than worry about DVDs.
This notebook is on the top of my list of notebooks I wish I could buy. Unfortunately LG is not offering this notebook for sale inside the USA at the time of this writing. For a small almost-ultraportable sized notebook, you get more than enough performance to replace a desktop, and enough gaming capabilities to play most games on lowered detail settings. In my opinion this notebook scores much higher than the X300 or MacBook Air ever could, and could smear them across the floor in terms of raw power. Combine this with great build quality, and you have a notebook that has no problem flying off the shelves.
- High build quality
- Excellent system and gaming performance
- Bright and Vibrant LCD
- Not currently for sale in the USA
- Runs hot while gaming
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