submitted by ennoia
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
by Jerrett Taylor, British Columbia - Canada
LG LW70 17.1-inch screen notebook (view larger image
M Dothan 1.86GHz(730) ~, 533MHz FSB, 2M L2 Intel 915PM Chipset
Windows(r) XP Professional with SP2
1024MB DDR2 RAM
80G 4200rpm Hard drive
DVD Super-Multi(DVD-R/RW, +R/RW, RAM)
Ports and Output: Stereo Speakers(0.8W), Woofer, High Definition Audio(Azalia, 24bit), Internal MIC 4 USB(2.0), VGA, S-Video, PIO, IEEE1394, MIC-IN, RJ11, RJ45, IrDA Headphone Out, S/PDIF(sharing with Line-In), IR Receiver
Dimensions : 392 x 275 x 30.6mm
Weight : 3.1 kgs
Screen: 17.1" Glare WSXGA+(1680 x 1050, Wide View, 200nit)
Graphics Card: ATI M24(RADEON X600, 128MB)
Connectivity: Intel(r) Pro/Wireless 2200BG(802.11b/g), Hexa-band Antenna 10/100 Ethernet, 56Kbps MDC Modem(Azalia Interface)
4-in-1 Memory Card (SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro)Expansion Slots
: ExpressCard/54, PCMCIA Card Type II
The LG LW70 is the biggest of the new LG lineup of notebooks. It features a bright 17.1-inch "glossy" widescreen. Glare meaning it's reflective, and widescreen meaning you should watch lots of movies on it. The design of the new LGs carry on the same style that they started with, very simple. Like the previous LGs, they use heat piping to help keep the notebooks cool and reduce the need to use loud fans. While they do have fans, and they do come on when the notebook is under a lot of load, they generally come on at a low speed keeping the notebooks very quiet. LG seems to be taking aim at the part of the market that wants it all - long lasting battery life, nice bright screens, high performance machines, and all in a thin & light package without any noise. They seem to be doing a pretty good job at pulling it off, although the battery life on the LW70 isn't nearly as good as on their smaller notebooks - for obvious enough reasons. Still, on the 6 cell it nudges 4 hours.
I recently read a review touting the Dell Inspiron 9300 as being the longest running, lightest, thinest 17" PC notebook available - I'd say it's safe to say that if that was true, the Dell has been dethroned. The LG LW70 is faster, lighter, thinner, runs longer, and has a 17.1" widescreen - with wide angle viewing (courtesy of IPS) to boot. Presented inside a sleek designed case with a very quiet cooling system, the LW70 shines as a strong example of what a 17" notebook should be.
The design is nice and simple not straying far from their previous designs, except there is a big "mobile intelligence" indent/bevel thing above top right of the keyboard. I'm not a fan of that, and don't really see why they put it there. The power/volume buttons are centered above they keyboard now, and there is the addition of two "instant on" buttons, "DVD" and "Music" . More on these later. The top has two latches which lock it closed, and they are placed near the sides so it's easy enough to open - however you need both hands to do it. It sure would be nice if they used some kind of magnetic system instead! The overall fit and finish of the LW70 was what you would expect from a premium notebook, I was not able to find any problems with it, and the notebook is very rigid and sturdy.
The front of the notebook has 2 decently sized speakers (woofer on the bottom) and a remote-control sensor, the left side has the 2 PCMCIA slots with a 4-in-1 memory card under it (SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro), a parallel printer port (with a cover, so you don't have to look at it!), and a standard video out. The back has power, 2 USB plugs, network, modem, audio-in, and S-Video out. The right side has 2 more USB plugs, DVD Multidrive, 1394 'firewire', IrDA, audio out, and microphone in. The top has nothing except for the LG logo in the center. They got rid of the strange black line on top, which I think was wise. It was after all, a strange black line. The bottom is fairly standard, with access to RAM, HDD and a little vent for a fan. Two things to take note of on the bottom are the woofer and a plug for a docking bay. I'm not sure what docking bay this docks too, but there is definitely a plug for a docking bay here. The LW70 is about 34mm (1.33-inches) thick with the lid closed, so it's not remarkably thin, but it's not very thick either... especially for a 17.1-inch screen. The indicator LED's are small and to the point, which is nice to see. There is a blue LED integrated into the power button, and the rest are green (num-lock, scroll lock, wireless activity, battery light that blinks when low and is solid when charging, AC power, and HDD activity).
Right side of LG LW70 (view larger image
Left side of LG LW70 next to Sony Ericsson T-610 phone for thickness comparison (view larger image
Top view of LG LW70 (view larger image
The dimensions of the notebook are impressive for such a big screen, 3cm thick (1.18-inches) with the lid up and it weighs in at 6.8lbs. This is definitly not a heavy or bulky notebook by any stretch, if it wasn't so wide it wouldn't be very far off from 'thin & light'
The keyboard is a joy to use, and because there is plenty of room, the touch pad stays out of the way when typing. There is a hot key to toggle the touch pad if needed, which is always nice to have.
Speaking of hot keys, the special function keys are: 3 User functions, sleep, standby, touch pad toggle, wifi toggle, video mode (laptop, external, laptop and external), hibernate, screen brightness up/down, and two buttons to modify battery miser settings. These are all accessed holding down the function button and hitting the appropriate key, which are clearly marked in a blue color.
LG Notebook lineup (LG LW70 review unit far left) (view larger image
)Sound and Display
Well the display is fantastic. The 17.1" WSXGA has a resolution of 1680x1050. For those who are keeping track, it's a 200nit screen - for those who are not, it's nice and bright, and razor sharp. The IPS (In Plane Switching) is apparently responsible for the wide view angles, but whatever the case is, it works. To test it I fired up a DVD, and spun the laptop away from me, I was able to watch it from any angle side-to side. Viewing from above does wash out colors towards white, and from below they get darker.. but both top/bottom only happens at extreme angles. What this means is that it's not a problem to watch DVD's on the laptop with several people on a couch, all viewing at different angles. I tried using it outside and had no problem viewing the screen, however it was overcast. I haven't had a sunny day to test, but I imagine it would hold up as well as any other 'glare' type notebook on the market. The screen has 8 brightness settings, all of which are very usable, even at the lowest setting.
The glare screen really works with DVD's, it kind of makes me want to replace my TV with an LW70. The sound is good too, it's 5.1 channel audio, and it's quite clear and full, which is a nice change coming from a notebook. There is some nifty mixing software that comes with it, with a full on equalizer for all audio output. An internal mic is built into the left corner.
The HD on the unit I got is an 80GB 4200rpm drive. There is a very small (204mb) partition for the instant-on stuff. The instant-on stuff is really cool but It's too bad it's on the HD, this can cause complications with people who want to install alternative operating systems, or just rebuild their system from scratch. A better option would be to have the instant on stuff moved off somewhere else, I know other laptop manufacturers have done this, but it seems most common with instant-on type things to just use a partition on the HD.
The CD drive is a combo drive, reading and writing both CD's and DVD's For DVD writing it does +/-. I wish my current LG LM50 had that!Software
I'm not a windows user, but there did seem to be a nice little suite of software. The battery miser software really lets you adjust how your laptops battery management works, and it seems very intuitive. One thing that really impressed me was a link on the desktop called "LG Intelligent Update" - running this opened a window with three options: Update Drivers, Update Software, and Windows Update. There were not updates available when I got the notebook, however it's easy to see what it does - essentially checks for any updates to the drivers and software that comes with the notebook. Very nice. It also checks for updates and notifies you when there are updates (for drivers and software), in the same manner windows updates does it, with a little notification icon. Bundled software included PowerDVD and Nero Express. Also included is a rescue CD and a "Instant-on Installation" CD. I'm assuming this sets up the partition for instant-on stuff in the event of it being destroyed. This could be very handy if you get a new hardrive. It might also let you put it back on after wiping the partition table and installing linux... I will play with that later.
Another interesting piece of software is the IP Operator software, which is a profile manager for roaming. From poking at it, it looks like you setup different profiles with wifi keys and whatnot, making it easier to take your laptop from home to work and so on. We don't have wifi at work, so I don't really have much opportunity to play with this - but hey, it looks neat! They also give you a copy of Norton Antivirus, which for windows users I would assume is somewhat essential these days.
The Instant-On stuff deserves a separate little mention here. It seems to be a very small (and fast booting) Linux system on a 200mb partition of the HD. When you push the DVD or Music instant-on buttons when the notebook is turned off, you get quickly into either a DVD player or a music player, depending which you pressed. For the music system, it lets you locate music on the CD drive as well as on the Hard drive, which means you can play all your favorite MP3s off your HD without having to boot windows. Both the DVD player and Music Player work very well with nice clean interfaces. I would imagine the battery lasts longer too, since you don't have the overhead of Windows. A bunch of buttons on the bottom part of the keyboard have light grey imprints on the front of them. They are not all that noticeable but easy enough to read, which act as special functions while in these modes... things like play, pause, stop, next, menu, setup,ff, rewind,etc.. standard multimedia stuff. They are logically laid out in a way that would become familiar very quickly. This is a very nice feature if you are going to be watching lots of movies or listening to lots of music. When you are in windows the buttons launch appropriate programs within the OS to do the same tasks.
Keyboard / Touchpad
Keyboard view of LG LW70 (view larger image
The keyboard is a full size 99 key keyboard with a dedicated number pad. The keys have a really nice feel to them, and no longer have the clicking sound that my LM50 does - they are now nice and quiet. While I don't have any problems typing on my LM50, there is a very noticable improvement on the LW70. Not just because it's a bigger deck with more room for slightly more spacing, but the new feel of the keys is much more pleasant. The trackpad is the same, standard Synaptics trackpad. It now features the dedicated scroll area. The left/right buttons are much nicer now, they are more subtle and blend in with the deck very nicely. They also lay flush with the deck of the notebook, so they don't get in the way unless you are pressing them.
Heat / Cooling
The LW70 has several variable speed fans and internal heat piping. After using it for awhile the fans did come on but they are not very loud. One of the fans on the notebook I was testing had a very faint whine to it, but otherwise the fan noise wouldn't have been noticable without listening for it - and even the faint whine was not really noticable unless I listened for it. (I discovered it by going into a quiet room and specificly listening for fan noise so that I could write this paragraph, I hadn't noticed it before). The laptop stayed fairly cool under use. When playing Far Cry for awhile it heated up, but not enough to be uncomfortable sitting on my lap. It stayed cooler than my LM50.
The wireless card is an Intel 2200BG (b/g) internal PC card. The unit has a hex-band antenna, which let me wander around my yard without losing connectivity. There is no built in bluetooth, but it has IrDA Infrared and a remote controll sensor.
Performance, Benchmarks & Battery Life
The battery that came with this was the standard 6 cell battery. After using it for awhile, the number windows gave me seemed about right, 3 hours 50 minutes on a full charge with wifi on and the screen brightness at about half - which is surprisingly bright - doing things like browsing, word processing, etc.
Using the windows Power Meter It returned the follow times:
Min Brightness (1/8) : 4 hours
Medium (4/8) : 3 hours, 50 minutes
Full Brightness (8/8): 3 hours, 15 minutes
While watching a DVD the battery life decreases a bit, watching a fullscreen DVD at 4/8 brightness the battery dropped to 2 and a half hours. This still gives you enough time to watch a full DVD. Lowest brightness (which is not bad at all) 2:45, and full brightness dropped it to 2:20, which still makes it feasible to watch a DVD on battery at full brightness!
If you need more battery life you can always get the high capacity 9 cell battery.
The performance of this notebook is very snappy, I haven't had any problems with speed - although with the modern processors I think this is becoming less of an issue, So I will simply post the benchmarks. I installed Far Cry, and cranked all the detail settings, including "Ultra High" on the water. At 1400x1050 it was playable, but fairly choppy. I changed all the settings to "High" and it seemed much better, however dropping it to 1024x768 smoothed it right out, without any real noticable stretching. I'm not much of a gamer, so this is the extent of my testing for games :)
Comparison of notebooks using Super Pi to calculate Pi to 2 million digits (plugged in):
Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits
LG LW70 (1.86GHz Alviso Pentium M)
Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Alviso Pentium M)
IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86GHz Alviso Pentium M)
Compaq R3000T (Celeron 2.8GHz)
Dell Inspiron 600m (1.6 GHz Dothan Pentium M)
Dell Inspiron 8600 (1.7GHz Banias Pentium M)
Futuremark PCMark04 Scores
IBM T43 (1.86GHz)
LG LW70 (1.86 GHz)
Multithreaded Test 1 / File Compression
Multithreaded Test 1 / File Encryption
Multithreaded Test 2 / File Decompression
Multithreaded Test 2 / Image Processing
Multithreaded Test 3 / Virus Scanning
Multithreaded Test 3 / Grammar Check
Web Page Rendering
DivX Video Compression
Physics Calculation and 3D
Graphics Memory - 64 Lines
Futuremark 3DMark05 Scores
908 3D Marks
GT1 - Return To Proxycon
GT2 - Firefly Forest
GT3 - Canyon Flight
CPU Test 1
CPU Test 2
There is lots of good stuff about this, but here are some of the things I thought were highlights
Very nice, simple, design.
The screen. Oh my, the screen.
Great keyboard, only made better by the full number pad
Instant On - this is a good and a bad. A good, because it's really well done, and really handy. The bad because of it being on the HD.
The notebook stays quiet
Good battery life keeping in mind the screen size
For it's size it's very light, and pretty thin. It's width robs it of any hopes of being categorized as "thin & light", but it wouldn't be far off if you discounted that.
This is a great piece of hardware, I had to dig to find up with some bad points, but I did find a few:
The instant-on stuff would be nicer if it was not on the HD
Although it comes with a 1 year warranty, it would be nice if it was a 3 year warranty like the LM series notebooks.
In summary I think this is a great laptop. it's too big to be taken seriously as a real portable notebook, but in reality it's not really that big. It's fairly thin and light, even compared to a lot of 15" notebooks. The screen is fantastic, and having nice audio really helps fill out the role of being a multimedia notebook. The keyboard is really nice as well, and it boasts some good performance and a strong video card. From the looks of things LG is getting ready (or already) to sell notebooks in the US, they now have a service center in the USA and are listing the notebooks on the www.lge.com
site. If this is the case, I'd say the notebook market is in for a shake-down with the new LG lineup