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My overall impression of the chassis is a good one. The keyboard was nice to type on and the rounded edges made sure my wrists were comfortable. The left hand side has two USB 2.0 ports, one towards the back and one towards the front. There is a third USB 2.0 port on the right hand side in the middle, alongside a mini FireWire connection. On the right we also have an S-Video TV Out connection as well as a Gigabit Ethernet port. Supplied is a USB DVB-T tuner, which is around the size of a large flash drive. The “Presto PVR!” software is included as well, which seemed fine.
The expansion slot is a PC Card rather than an Express slot, which is probably used by more people right now, but Express card slots are obviously the new standard, so it’s surprising this isn’t included instead.
There is an SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO card reader, which covers most commonly used standards. On the back of the device, things are minimal with power and D-SUB output only. Audio connections are at the front of the chassis next to the wireless switch. There is a stereo out as well as microphone in. There is an integrated microphone too, should the facility come in handy.
Finally it is worth noting that there is a system recovery partition which can very quickly repair Windows, or restore the system back to its factory state.
Testing was done using our usual array of MobileMark 2005, SYSmark 2002 and PCMark 2005. I decided to compare this to the Asus W3J that Benny recently reviewed as it is the only other notebook we’ve reviewed that uses the T2400 processor. The Asus uses an X1600 mobile graphics chip which has its own frame buffer, so it will be interesting to see how much difference using the system memory for the graphics affects system performance.
MobileMark up first, showing just over three hours of battery life (203 minutes). That's not bad at all for a Core Duo notebook – especially not one that weighs only 2.1kg.
PC Mark's overall score was rather skewed by the poor graphics performance, but the individual scores give a good indication. Naturally CPU performance was identical (although it is very rare to get a 100 per cent identical score such as this). Memory performance was slightly higher than the Asus, although not as much as expected. The dual-channel memory should increase theoretical performance significantly, as would the low latency Corsair memory, but the fact the integrated graphics share the system memory would bring this score down some too.
SYSMark's results were a little lower than I would have expected, with a significantly lower office productivity score. Comparing the two systems, I can only really strike this down to memory performance due to integrated graphics sharing the memory.
Still, performance was still impressive and I certainly didn't have any gripes when I was using it.
I really got on well with this notebook. Its performance is good and over three hours of battery life is satisfactory. It's not the most attractive of notebooks, but the screen is lovely and it does have a lot of nice features like the five per cent overclocking, InstantOn and silent operation.
At £938.38, this is close to the price of the Zepto Znote I took a look at recently. It's extra money and you don't get the gaming performance, but you do get the extra battery life. Compared to the Asus W3J, it's quite a bit cheaper and offers just as much, save the gaming performance.
As long as you don't expect to play the latest games, this is decent notebook that is ideal for anyone on the move, at a budget price.
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