This resolution inevitably makes icons and text quite large and necessitates a lot more scrolling in web pages and long text documents. Personally I can’t abide low resolution screens though there are some who might prefer them as the larger fonts and icons means that everything is easy to see. Ultimately, at the price you’re paying for the notebook, a low resolution panel is inevitable. It’s also not surprising that there’s no high contrast reflective coating – such luxuries add cost and are largely unwarranted on a business tool. What is disappointing though are the viewing angles, which are poor. Even moving your head slightly sees the colours shift and it’s a problem vertically too. This is a shame as a large screen like this would lend itself for giving presentations.
There is however a VGA port on the back, which makes it easy to hook up to any external monitor or suitably equipped projector. In general, connectivity is very good. Round the back, along with the VGA port is a USB 2.0 connector, a modem and a Fast Ethernet (10/100) connector. There are three more USB 2.0 connectors on the left hand side and a mini four-pin Firewire port. There’s also an S-Video output, so you can hook up to a TV, useful for large screen DVD viewing. The DVD drive is a ‘Super-Multi’ which means that it will burn and read pretty much anything, including, DVD+/-R and RW. It will also burn dual-layer DVD+R discs.
Permanent storage is by way of a 60GB Seagate Momentus 4200.2 drive. This is spins at 4,200 rpm, which is on the low side for a hard disk. It has to be said that in use, the notebook did feel somewhat sluggish at times despite the good benchmark score and that can indeed be put down to the hard disk, which is becoming an increasingly noticeable bottleneck in PC and notebook performance. Interestingly the notebook failed to complete hard disk test in PC Mark ’04, which could indicate some kind of issue.
A card reader is integrated offering support for Smart Media, SD, XD, MMC and Memory Stick. Above this sits a Type I PC Card slot which just to the left is an infra-red port. 54G Wi-Fi is integrated and a button to activate it is conventiently located at the front. There’s also a button for Bluetooth to the left of this, but it’s completely redundant as there’s no integrated Bluetooth. Headphone and microphone ports are also located at the front, along with a perfectly reasonable pair of speakers.