Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

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In terms of connectivity the G20 features two USB ports on the left side and a further two at the rear. Also on the left side are headphone and microphone sockets and a switch for activating the built in 54g wireless. Towards the back there’s a modem port for when there’s no broadband connection and your desperate to get online. On the right hand side, is a slot for both a PC Card and the newer Express card format and above that a memory card reader for SD, XD and Memory Stick. There’s also a small four-pin FireWire connector.

At the rear of the machine, along with the two USB ports already mentioned is a network connector and also a VGA output. Next to this is a proprietary digital output and a cable is supplied that ends in a SCART adaptor. I was initially quite pleased by this as it meant that I could connect the system up to my 36in CRT TV. However, when I did so I was disappointed to find that the image quality was quite simply terrible. It was clearly a composite only output but even so, it was poor, which was a shame.

As a Media Center machine there’s an integrated TV Tuner. The one included was analogue only but I was informed that models released in a month or so will have a digital tuner so it's probably worth waiting for them. With analogue picture quality is dependant on reception but you can’t receive proper widescreen broadcasts over analogue.

If you want to use a set-top box you can provide a picture via the composite and S-Video inputs. The supplied USB dongle receiver comes with IR extenders so MCE can change channel on your Sky or Cable box. The USB dongle for the remote is smaller and slightly smarter than the standard OEM one but it’s seems like a missed opportunity not to have integrated it into the notebook. The remote itself has been smartened up a little and adds direct buttons to the ‘My’ folders, such as My Videos.

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