- Review Price: £758.00
The G220 is different to the machines that we’ve seen from AJP in the past. For a start, it’s small, affordable and offers pretty good battery life. Due to the fact that it weighs 2.2kg, the G220 almost fits into the ultra-portable category. And while it might not be the most powerful laptop on the market, you’ll certainly have a hard time finding anything lighter for the same kind of money.
This latest model is based on a Celeron M processor running at 1.5GHz. This, in combination with the Intel i855GME chipset and the Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG 802.11b/g wireless network card, means that it gets the Centrino branding. Perhaps AJP could have put together an even more affordable machine if the G220 had used a different chipset and wireless solution, but the fact is that the Centrino branding sells.
However, while it boasts Intel branding, its clear that compromises have had to be made to hit the price point. As the G220 is a budget laptop you only get a 40GB hard drive spinning at 4,200rpm, which isn’t that fast these days. On the other hand, AJP has somehow managed to squeeze in a dual layer Sony DVD writer, which is no mean feat for a budget machine. The drive writes to DVD + and – R media at 8x and RW media of both types at 4x, but its dual layer media performance is limited to 2.4x.
Further evidence that the G220 is a budget offering is the inclusion of only 256MB of RAM. Sure, this will run Windows just fine, but it’s not enough for heavier tasks, especially as some of the memory is shared with the graphics. As a result, any applications that need 256MB of dedicated memory will not run.
The connectivity options on the G220 are quite good considering its size. Three USB 2.0 ports are located on the right hand side, while on the front are headphone and microphone sockets as well as a card reader for MMC, SD, Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro. On the left hand side is a 56k V.90 modem, a D-SUB connector, and an Ethernet port for the onboard 10/100Mbit Realtek network controller. There’s also a single Type II PC Card slot and a four pin mini FireWire port. The only connector around the back is for the power adaptor as most of the back is taken up by a fairly large protruding battery.
The good news is that the screen is very good considering the price of the G220. AJP wasn’t specific as to what technology the screen employed, aside from describing it as featuring a “glare” effect, which isn’t really helpful. To put it simply, it’s one of the new reflective displays that have become popular since Sony launched them across its entire laptop range.
Widescreen is rapidly becoming the de facto standard for laptops, which is no bad thing. With a resolution of 1,280 x 800 the display on the AJP is very comfortable to use despite the fact that it only sports a viewable area of 12.1in diagonal. The horizontal viewing angle is very good, but while the vertical viewing angle is fine head-on, uneven back-lighting means that the colours don’t stay true as you move up and down.
Just above the screen is a rotateable 1.3 Megapixel web camera. It’s fine for video conferencing but the relatively low resolution means that it’s not great for stills. The camera can also be angled slightly upwards or downwards, making it easy to get it in line with your face, while keeping the display at a comfortable angle.
I was generally happy with the keyboard, though it was a touch on the bouncy side. The enter key could be bigger too. Most people though, would not have any issues typing comfortably on the G220 and keyboard layouts tend to be one of those things you get used to. As for the touchpad, there’s not much to comment on, other than the fact that it worked well.
Above the keyboard on the right hand side is a row of buttons, including the power switch and the on/off switch for the wireless antenna. There are three others, consisting of a shortcut to your web browser, your mail client and another that can be programmed to launch an application of your choice.
As far as aesthetics go, everyone in the office agreed that the G220 looked pretty generic. The magnesium alloy cover on the back of the screen does improve its looks, and more practically, provides a degree of protection. A small piece of protective metal has also been added to the bottom of the screen to cover the speakers and a further piece of metal has been fitted around the touch pad. The lid doesn’t use any hooks or latches to keep it closed, but has locking hinges that close firmly. The lack of a fiddly latch also makes it easier to open the laptop.
When testing battery life, I encountered some problems running our usual MobileMark 2002 benchmark, which refused to complete. Further investigation revealed that this was an issue with the benchmark rather than the laptop. Instead we ran MobileMark 2002’s run-down test. However, this doesn’t apply as heavy a load as our normal test, merely running web browsers and such like. As such, it’s not comparable with our normal tests. Nonetheless, the G220 managed a pretty impressive four hours and 17 minutes, which isn’t bad for a budget notebook.
The overall SYSmark 2002 score of 132 is not that impressive, but considering that the G220 is using a Celeron M processor this is in line with the expected performance. At the end of the day the G220 will be able to cope with any standard Windows applications, which is what this machine is aimed at. The AJP G220 might not be the best notebook on the market, but taking into account that it will set you back only £758 plus delivery, it’s a pretty good deal. That said, I would have liked to have seen 512MB of memory as standard, even if that pushed the price up.
AJP has proven that there are affordable lightweight widescreen laptops on the market. Although it might not be able to compete with the likes of Sony and Fujitsu-Siemens in terms of style, it beats them hands down in terms of price, which to many, is what really matters .
Score in detail
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