Best bang for the buck Core i3 Ultraportable? - HP Pavilion DM1-4012TU

With the switch to Sandy Bridge, low cost 11.6-inch Intel Core i3 ultraportables disappeared from the store shelves. This was because the lower cost Core i3 Sandy Bridge units were not released by Intel until the second half of 2011. We have seen several now hitting the Philippine market. 

The first one we first saw on store shelves middle of last year on stock with Philippine retailers was the HP ProBook 4320S came in priced at Php36,990 bundled with an external DVDRW and Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010. Without the DVDRW and Office, you could get it a less than 30K. Next we saw the Lenovo Thinkpad EDGE e120 which is priced at about Php33,000, but note, that is without an operating system.

Another option we found for a low cost Intel Core i3 ultraportable is the HP Pavilion DM1-4012TU. 
As compared to the Lenovo ThinkPad EDGE e120. The HP Pavilion DM1-4012TU is priced at Php29,900. It is powered by the same Intel Core i3 2367M processor you find in the Lenovo ThinkPad EDGE e120. As compared to the Lenovo ThinkPad EDGE e120 the HP Pavilion DM1-4012TU is better equipped with a larger 640 GB hard drive and pre-installed with Windows 7 Home Basic (64-bit) for a lower price. The other specifications of the two are similar with 2 GB of RAM, 6-cell batteries and the usual ports and connectivity options. Disappointingly, neither one has a USB 3.0 port.
As compared to the ProBook 4320s. As compared to its HP sibling, the ProBook 4320s, the ProBook comes with a smaller 500 GB hard drive and Windows 7 Home Basic. There is one difference you should take note off first. The HP ProBook 4320s is has a larger 12.1-inch (1280 x 800) display. The Pavilion DM1-4012TU has a smaller 11.6-inch (1366 x 768) display.
The biggest difference between the two is that ProBook 4320s comes with the faster, but hotter running, Intel Core i3 2310M (2.10 GHz, 35W TDP) while the Pavilion DM1-4012TU has the slower, but cooler, Intel Core i3 2367M (1.4GHz, 17W TDP). 

Another difference is battery life. The ProBook 4320s will give you less battery life. While both come with batteries rated at 4400 mAh (ProBook: 4-cell, 4400 mAh, DM1: 6-cell, 4400 mAh) the hotter running Intel Core i3 2310M eats more juice and will keep the fans running a bit harder.

Which is the best? The Lenovo ThinkPad EDGE e120 has a much nicer and crisper keyboard. But bundling in the price of a Windows operating system, and this become a rather expensive proposition.

I prefer the larger 12.1-inch screen of the ProBook 4320s, but I would rather have the Intel Core i3 2367M found in the Lenovo ThinkPad EDGE e120 and HP Pavillion DM1-4012TU.

It is pretty clear than overall the HP Pavillion DM1-4012TU has the best specifications for the price. But it is not a hands down winner. Take a look at the three, and see which one you like best. If you have no preference among the three, the HP Pavillion DM1-4012TU is probably the best choice for you.