The Bottom Line
- Wide Range Of Customization Options
- High Resolution Display
- Well Priced
- Limited Running Time
- Lacks Numeric Keypad
- Intel Core i5-520M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 320GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 15.6" WUXGA (1920x1080) Display With 2.0 Megapixel Webcam
- ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5650 Graphics With 1GB Memory
- v.92 56Kbps Modem, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Four USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, Fingerprint Scanner, 3-in-1 Card Reader
- 14.8" x 10" x 1.5" @ 6 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium
Guide Review - iBUYPOWER Battalion 101 CZ-11 Ultra 15.6-inch Thin And Light PC
May 12 2010 - The iBUYPOWER Battalion 101 CZ-11 Ultra is a gaming centric laptop that has a very affordable price tag. With a base price of just $1000 it offers some solid features that won't blow out one's bank account like the prestige class systems.
The system is powered by the new Intel Core 2010 series of processors. The base configuration uses the Core i5-520M dual core processor model that provides it with a solid experience for gaming that typically does not need more than two cores. It also uses 4GB of faster DDR3 memory running at 1333Mhz compared to more traditional 1066Mhz. If either of these isn't enough though, iBUYPOWER offers upgrades to 8GB of memory or the quad core processors.
The base storage features are fairly typical of systems in this price range. A moderate sized 320GB hard drive that spins at a 5400rpm rate provides storage for data and applications while a dual layer DVD burner handles playback and recording of CDs and DVDs. What is different is that customers have a very large selection of customization options including a large number of solid state drives. SSD options range from 30GB all the way up to 512GB with varying levels of performance but all at added cost over the base drive. Traditional drive options are also good with 7200rpm drives for those needing a bit more performance with lower upgrade prices.
One of the key markets for iBUYPOWER's laptops is mobile gamers. This makes the display and graphics important features. The 15.6-inch display offers a very high 1920x1080 resolution that is uncommon for a laptop that can be purchased for $1000. It isn't the highest quality of screen but it more than acceptable for gaming or video. Driving the graphics is an ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5650 processor with 1GB of memory. This will handle most games without issue but some more intensive games will have problems running at acceptable frame rates at the full screen resolution. It is Direct X 11 compatible though for the highest graphics support in Windows 7 compatible games.
The low price for the Battalion 101 CZ-11 Ultra means that features such as the battery are trimmed for costs. Rather than a larger 9-cell pack, it uses a more traditional 6-cell pack that limits its running time. In my playback tests, the laptop was able to play a DVD movie for roughly two and a half hours. This translates to between three and three and a half hours of more traditional usage. Gaming will likely reduce the time to well under two hours.
One thing that the design of the laptop lacks is a full sized keyboard plus numeric keypad. Many gamers in particular can benefit from the additional keys. While the addition of the fingerprint scanner maybe useful to some, it would have been nice to see it have the full keyboard like many of the laptops in this size range are now including.