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TrustedReviews Awards 2010 - Laptops Award 2010

By TrustedReviews



Laptops continue their steady progress towards dominating the PC market, but in many ways haven't changed too much from their counterparts a year ago. The most influential and exciting launch in 2010 was probably that of the Intel Mobile Core i3 and i5. These brought the newer architecture to a budget price point, where before the high-end Core i7 - initially only found in expensive gaming-oriented laptops such as the Toshiba Qosmio X500-10T - reigned alone.

Unfortunately, AMD is still not a strong player in performance mobile CPUs, though its Athlon II Neo CPU (beating at the heart of the Dell Inspiron M101z, for one) is doing a good job in the netbook and ultra-portable notebook segment.

Speaking of gaming, graphics is probably where the biggest breakthrough this year has occurred, with powerful DirectX 11 solutions finally making their way into the mobile sector. The AMD Mobility Radeon HD5870, which we first came across in the Asus G73Jh, finally allows you to play a decent game of Crysis at an acceptable resolution - a first for a single-card solution. On Nvidia's side, meanwhile, there's now the DirectX 11 GeForce GTX 480M, which also enables you to run the latest games at something approaching their best.

On the general graphics front Optimus is also becoming more popular, as we recently saw in the MacBook Pro. It provides power when you need it and longer battery life when you don't, and it (or an equivalent) is the way we hope all laptops will go eventually.

Unfortunately, we're not seeing the same progress with storage: while many (high-end) desktop PCs now come with SSDs, in laptops these are still very much the exception rather than the rule. Admittedly this is largely because space limitations mean you can't usually install an SSD for a main drive with a secondary 2.5in hard drive for storage, but we wonder how many people would be willing to sacrifice space for speed.

Connectivity will likely be the next biggest evolution, with USB 3.0 already starting to make its way into some of the newer laptops and netbooks. We can only hope it will replace USB 2.0 across the board.

Probably the most original development in laptops this year was the long-awaited introduction of non-X86 compatible hardware, but unfortunately one of the more promising examples, the Toshiba AC100, failed to really impress. It will be interesting to see how, if at all, the increasing popularity of tablets and netbooks affects the laptop market.

meeto 0

November 3, 2010, 3:02 pm

Comparing it to what Hifi I think you could do with making the interface more simple to navigate. With their website each category is laid out on the first page.

Perhaps im a bit of a child and need pretty pictures to click on but I just think it was cleaner and easier to navigate.

Another thing Im not keen on is that some of the categories are too broad. I would have liked, instead of, best surround sound product you listed best amp, best speakers.

I still prefer your website and writing. Plus I know they are more focused on sound products and you cover far more.

Seems you both agree that the onkyo amp is best around. I think I will pick one up from RicherSounds.

Its a shame you dont get to test more amps and speakers (especially from Onkyo, B&W and pioneer)


November 3, 2010, 3:06 pm


not a single DSLR in the best DSLR and system cameras section......Interesting....


November 3, 2010, 3:14 pm

Will you guys be reviewing the HTC Desire Z anytime soon? I've opted to go for that rather than the Desire HD for quite a few reasons (screen quality, size, battery life, keyboard, Office onboard), so I'd really be interested to see how it stacks up to the HD in your opinion.


November 3, 2010, 3:36 pm

Looks a very comprehensive review, well done!

I do have a couple of questions tho, I was surpirsed that the Budget mobile phones included the HTC wildfire at number 2, since for half the price you can get the larger Orange SanFransisco/ZTE Blade (and then unlock it), so you get more phone for less money! Surely a contender?

Geoff Richards

November 3, 2010, 3:43 pm

@japester: it's certainly a sign of the times. These mirrorless system cameras offer interchangeable lens and loads of manual control, so technically does the user care whether there is a mirror or not?

I would also like to point out that our Annual Awards are always based on products we have reviewed over the previous 12 months. Here's the list of SLRs from 2010:


The 7D came 2nd in 2009 so wasn't included this year.

@coderkind: yes, HTC Desire Z review is in production as I type :)

@Stelph: perhaps true, but we haven't had a sample yet and so didn't make the shortlist.


November 3, 2010, 4:47 pm

Umm, about Office 2010 being product of the year... sorry but can't agree with that one. It does nothing really new, is still massive overkill for the vast number of users out there and, while the basic bundle for £75 is decent value for money, there are other free alternatives that'd do just fine for the majority of users. For businesses it's a worthy upgrade but product of the year? Really?

Frankly I think the reader vote got it right on this one with the iPad. Regardless of personal feelings (which seem to have had an impact here, the 'honourable mention' seems very grudging) it's taken a market segment that was basically dead outside of niche uses and made it THE hot sector to be in. It's proven to be very competitivley priced, very reliable and has been very well received by those that own one. Time will tell how long the tablet market will last but judged on its impact on 2010 it seems to stand apart from everything else out there.

It's also a bit of a shame that you do this so early in the year. There's another two months to go after all and, off the top of my head, that'd include a brace of Smartphones, the new Macbook Air, Kinect and possibly the first of the next wave of TV's.


November 3, 2010, 6:54 pm

You gave iOS an award for adding Folders and Multitasking?




November 3, 2010, 7:09 pm

I'd have to agree with BOFH UK - Office 2010 & 2011 as 'Product Of The Year' seems an odd choice. Mac Office 2008 Home users got royally screwed over the pricing of the Entourage to Outlook upgrade (that'll be an extra £90 thankyou). Plus there are serious omissions like being unable to sync Outlook 2011 calendar with anything if you're not an Exchange user.


November 3, 2010, 7:46 pm

I wondered why TR had been a bit quiet lately, you've been compiling this list! As @BOFH says, a bit early but I guess people can start planning their Xmas shop from this. I also think this shows how TR needs a bit of a redesign, one comments page for 20 odd categories. Is there something in the works? If I had more time I'd offer my services.

Office, at that price I really think people shouldn't complain. Sure there's free alternatives but they aren't as sleek or intuitive and while people love to say "Office has more features than the average user needs", fact is it does the simple things beautifully and for those that do need more you're not left wanting.

Good to see the Kindle up there as well, it's matured and become so cheap it deserves the recognition. Still it's a shame eInk tech hasn't matured faster so that we could get Kindle quality with the colour & ecosystem offered by the iPad. As for it's inclusion again yeah fair enough it's changed the landscape. Better (subjective) tablets will be half the price of the iPad in 6 months (already the Archos 7 is very tempting at £250), it'll be interesting to see where things go and how Apple can remain competitive (not that they've ever competed on price much in the past).

Not surprising that the netbook market has been stagnant, CULV is where it's going (if you're not going tablet that is). Still some lovely under £500 machines there, i'm still waiting for the perfect docking tablet that can bridge the netbook/tablet market though, guess that'll be 2012.

I still prefer the Samsung Galaxy S over the Desire, but I can see how the Desire can swing it for some with it's slightly more polished look. Still can't go wrong with either and Android is really taking off now.

Now time to go shopping...

Geoff Richards

November 3, 2010, 7:56 pm

@HK - about the page design, we know, and yes something is in the works :)

Nothing to see, or announce, just yet but stay tuned.


November 3, 2010, 8:56 pm

BOFH - we thought long and hard over our choices, and we felt that the vast numbers and value you mentioned had a lot of influence on our decision. There have been some stunning products which have had prices to match, or innovations in niche areas, such as home audio and projectors, however, we felt that greatest benefits for tech users overall were reflected in our winners.

drdark - I think those two pieces of functionality oversimplify the criteria of the whole package. iOS 4 took a product which was already a leader in its class and made it better. We're not saying it won't be surpassed (and already has in some areas), but it set the benchmark for usability.


November 4, 2010, 6:24 am

It's nice to see TR phasing out DSLRs. And about time. CSC (ILC) Mirrorless cameras for the future!

There is a typo in the section on the Samsung NX10:

"Samsung is putting a lot of effort into the NEX range.." - Should be NX range.

I think the NX10 should be placed above the NEX5 though. Mainly because Samsung should get the ticket for producing the first APS-C sensor body in a mirror-less design - months before Sony came out with the NEX. Also the NX10 is more ergonomic, more compact with 30mm pancake, has a proper on-board powerful flash and better battery life. The available NX kit lenses (especially the 30mm/F2 pancake) are also leagues better than the NEX lot. Not really sure why the NEX nabs first place here.


November 4, 2010, 6:35 am

I'm sorry to nitpick after you guys spent so long mulling over all these products to come up with those awards, but you really should lay out the winners in reverse order - it spoils half the fun if you immediately reveal who came first... first. I found myself turning my head and scrolling to the bottom. (Is that weird?)

Geoff Richards

November 4, 2010, 11:21 am

@Rizwan: typo fixed thanks. And I'd just like to point out we are not "phasing out DSLRs" - we just review what's on the market. CSCs are on the rise but we have a Canon 60D review in the pipeline and I hear Nikon has made some good strides recently.

What we MIGHT see is that DSLR goes more upmarket (£1000+) and CSC takes over at the £500-ish pricepoint for prosumers. Or we might not. I have read that Nikon is working on a CSC model, and I imagine Canon is too. The question for me is whether I could still fit my 24-70mm L to one or whether it means all new glass...?


November 4, 2010, 4:21 pm


a) I was trolling. I do this on every Apple thread. You should know this by now ;).

b) It set the benchmark for usability way before iOS4, Folders are quite good, Multitasking solution is in no way class-leading, IMO.


November 4, 2010, 9:43 pm


Perhaps I was too absolute in saying "phase out DSLRs". I've been a little disappointed at the uptake of CSC cameras and take every opportunity to promote them. For some reason the general photographic public feels as though CSCs are not comparable to DSLRs at all. That they are best ignored. When I visit photography forums I see plenty of hobbyists and professionals enthusiastically recommending the entry level DSLRs and lenses to the newbies but ne'er a peep about the good CSC alternatives that are compact, more comfortable to use and just as good for the beginner purpose.

I believe that CSCs are the future and will eventually replace the DSLRs. The EVF, though initially slow and sluggish, has now come a very long way and present more information than an OVF can. At this rate soon it will become the preferred option.

As you say, the DSLR will very likely go more upmarket and CSCs will dominate the entry level market. Soon after though CSC cameras should take over the professional shooter's arena. Adapters will provide the compatibility that is needed. After all, with the elimination of the mirror/prism, the digital camera truly becomes "digital".


November 4, 2010, 11:02 pm

Pleased to see the Kindle got a mention. e-books seem to have decisively taken off this year... according to Amazon sales have now overtaken print books, even while print book sales continue to grow:

"For the top 10 bestselling books on Amazon.com, customers are choosing Kindle books over hardcover and paperback books combined at a rate of greater than 2 to 1. Kindle books are also outselling print books for the top 25, 100, and 1,000 bestsellers -- it's across the board".

I also echo the enthusiasm above for the Orange San Francisco. I appreciate it missed the timeframe for this year's awards, but it genuinely redefines what you can expect from a budget smartphone. If you liked the HTC Wildfire at £199 with a 320x240 TFT, the £99 San Francisco with an 800x480 AMOLED, more RAM and the newer MSM7227 processor would have been a shoe-in.

Have just bought one, and can't believe what I got for my money. Unfortunately the experience was soured by having to deal with Orange, who in the brief time I've been dealing with them have taken my expectations of the outer theoretical limits of how bad Customer Support could be and likewise redefined these.


November 5, 2010, 4:04 am

Wow. Office 2010 product of the year - guys is that a joke? There are products out there like IBM Lotus Symphony 3 and Open Office 3 that are free, and probably hit the 80/20 rule (if not better) and at absolutely no cost. The only thing keeping MS Office in most businesses these days (for all but perhaps a very few high power users) is familiarity and concerns over file compatibility when moving to a different product (which are actually mostly unjustified). Many organisations could save vast sums of software maintenance charges by ditching that product !


November 5, 2010, 2:53 pm

Orange San Francisco (ZTE Blade) should have been in the budget mobile category, apart from the not so great camera, the phone is an absolute steal for under £100!


November 7, 2010, 6:50 pm

Unless I missed it, there is no category for PVR's. Aren't there more PVR users than Blu-Ray users out there ?


November 9, 2010, 8:34 pm

I'd like to thank Trusted Reviews for their support during the development of the Game Cube marking 2010 as the year in which small form factor gaming PC stopped being a pipe dream and became a reality.


November 10, 2010, 7:51 pm

id like to see a review of the new high performance Samsung RF710, please please please get a hold of a machine! it looks incredible maybe this is Samsungs Sony beater :D

Nick G

November 16, 2010, 10:56 pm

Funny - none of the top "SLRs" are actually an SLR! What a joke...

> These mirrorless system cameras offer interchangeable lens and loads of manual

> control, so technically does the user care whether there is a mirror or not?

Not if they're looking for one of the cameras in your list, but if they were looking for an SLR then obviously they WOULD care there's no mirror because it would mean it's NOT AN SLR! Unbelievable... If you were looking for a motorbike, would you want someone to keep suggesting peddle cycles to you? The entire point of an SLR is that you can look through the lens you're shooting through and see all the detail that the lenses and filters are projecting. You cannot do that with any of the cameras in your list, so apart from having changable lenses, they are nothing like SLRs. To not even have one SLR in your list is just stupid. These cameras should be "also considers" not category winners!

It's about time you got some editors on here who know about cameras and photography. It's getting tiring reading articles by people who know absolutely nothing about the devices they are reviewing.


November 19, 2010, 1:02 pm

@ Nick Gilbert

Actually I find the reviews on this site quite good. The word progressive comes to mind. TR is one of the few sites that dares to put CSC cameras ahead of traditional DSLRs, and rightly so for they are the future of photography. The removal of the mirror(or prism)-box means less mechanical components, meaning less wear and tear and longer durability. The cameras are also smaller with little to no compromise made to image quality and features. CSCs are in fact DSLRs made truly digital. In short, the days of the DSLR are numbered. Soon they will be outdated relics of a former bygone era.

CSCs allow the user to see the image as though it is already taken. This is an advantage of having this type of camera. On this basis I do believe your statements are rubbish.

PK Son

January 3, 2011, 11:35 am


I do agree that being progressive and maybe even unconventional is a virtue in the tech world, and TR is laudable in that sense. However, it says "SLR" which means the "digital" part has been omitted, not the "reflex" part. (Dunno why..) The cameras which won were all non-reflex. DSLs, maybe I would agree, but in the SLR category, I would definitely side with Nick's opinion. If it comes to technicality, "cameras with interchangeable lenses" would be a more comprehensive undebatable category.

Also, I think Canon and Nikon (and Pentax) have all made very good efforts (much more noteworthy than the Olympus Pen at least) in 2010. If the deciding criteria is that the cameras have to be reviewed here at TR, then the best that can be said is that it's very biased, don't you think?

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