Netbooks can be frustrating which is why budget laptops like the R450 exist.
Although netbooks are small and light to carry around, they don’t necessarily provide the horsepower required so run some of the everyday apps. And thus, you will always have a budget laptop category that may not necessarily be as aesthetically pleasing as a netbook, it does offer a much better performance. In that category, we’re looking at the LG Haier R450 notebook today which, as soon as you unpack, know right away that its a no frills machine.
Featuring a completely black look with a glossy top, the R450 isn’t much to look at. Construction quality is about average- although there aren’t any squeaking parts, it doesn’t feel extremely robust so you’d probably need a decently padded bag to carry it around.
Powered by the Intel Dual-Core T4400 CPU running at 2.20GHz, the R450 is based on the SiS 672/968 chipset. It comes equipped with 2GB DDR2-667 RAM and an 160GB Hard Drive split into two partitions. Since this is not an Intel chipset, the integrated graphics are powered by SiS Mirage 3 based on AGP and takes 256MB from your system RAM.
The R450 features a 14″ screen with a 1366×768 resolution. Above the screen, you have a 1.3MP webcam while below it you have a set of stereo speakers. The right side of the unit features 2 x USB ports and 1 x eSATA along with your wired network connection. The left side has a lone DVD writer while the front sports your audio sockets and a memory card reader. On the back, you have VGA output, Lock port and the power socket. A covered modem port is also present on the back for markets that might require one. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 2.1 and 802.11N based Wi-Fi.
Usability wise- the LG Haier R450 is about average. The keyboard is a bit too springy for my taste and the trackpad is a bit small for my liking but they work as well as you’d expect them to. As expected, the R450 certainly feels a lot more zippy than most netbooks and should be sufficient if you want to use it for things like Browsing the Web, Checking Email and Playing music- all at the same time. Watching YouTube and SD videos is not an issue either but 720p and 1080p playback gets choppy even though the notebook has a screen capable of 720p playback.
The following are the benchmarks for the R450 compared to an Acer Ferrari One 200 which is about AED 500 more in price and the Toshiba NB200 Netbook which is half its price. As you can see from below, the R450 has a pretty fast CPU but its 3D and Hard disk performance bring the overall score down.
With the included 4400mAh battery, battery life on the R450 was about 2 hours per charge which is a bit on the lower side but then again I wasn’t expecting anything phenomenal. This was calculated by random usage of Internet Browsing, Microsoft Office use, looking through photos and watching videos. Heat wasn’t an issue at all on the R450 and you should be able to use it comfortably as a laptop. The price for the R450 is roughly US680 or AED 2,499 which is I feel is about $100 higher than it should be.