- Review Price: £1327.00
If you get a sense déjà vu when looking at the pictures of the Systemax TourBook 5202, that’s understandable, since this machine is using the same chassis as the TourBook 5127 and 5112, both of which we have reviewed in the past. It has however been given an internal overhaul and but the price reflects the component upgrades.
The processor has been upgraded to a 2GHz Pentium M with 2MB of Level 2 cache, but the system memory remains at 512MB. The graphics card has been given a boost and you now get a Mobility Radeon 9700 instead of the 9600, but the graphics memory remains at 64MB. Saying that, 64MB should be more than plenty on a laptop, since the VPU isn’t capable of handling the latest games at the native resolution of the display anyhow.
Strangely, the hard drive has been downsized to 60GB, instead of the 80GB drive in the TourBook 5127. That said I think I’d rather have the extra performance of the faster CPU instead of a slightly larger hard disk. You do however still get a DVD writer that will burn DVD+R media at four-speed and DVD+RW at 2.4-speed. While the 15in TFT display with a resolution of 1,400 x 1,050 remains from the previous models.
The same goes for the networking options, but with built-in 56k modem, 10/100Mbit/sec wired Ethernet and 802.11b/g Wireless networking, you’ve got pretty much every base covered. Then there is the integrated memory card reader that accepts SD, MMC and MemoryStick as well as a single Type II PC Card slot, just in case you want to add Bluetooth or a 3G data card. The expansion options haven’t changed and there are still three USB 2.0 ports, a four-pin FireWire port and an IrDA port.
A copy of Microsoft Works 7.0 is included as well as the Phoenix cME system recovery utility which is excellent as long as your hard drive doesn’t give up the ghost. A copy of Norton AntiVirus is also supplied to keep you virus free. As with the two previous models, you get a two year return to base UK hardware warranty, which is handy as long as you’re not abroad at the time.
But what really matters with an upgraded model like this is the performance, since we’ve seen this machine twice before already. How much faster is the 2GHz Pentium M compared to the 1.8GHz version? Well, not that much really, or at least not in SYSmark 2004 where it only manages an extra four points over the previous model. It is however apparent that the Internet Content Creation part of SYSmark gains more than the Office Productivity section – the score was up by 17 points for Internet Content Creation while the Office Productivity score actually came out worse by four points.
However, looking at PCMark 2004 we’re seeing fairly large gains across the board and the 60GB hard drive seems to be a fair bit faster than the previous 80GB unit. The 3D benchmarks also show a small improvement, but you still won’t be able to play the latest games on it.
This time around we were able to run MobileMark 2002 and with a battery life of three hours and 51 minutes, you could do far worse if you need a mobile workhorse. It’s a few minutes short of Systemax’s stated “more than 4 hours”, but this is dependant on what type of applications you use while on battery power.
Although very little has changed, the TourBook 5202 is still a very appealing laptop with a well rounded feature set. Of course the price is always important, and at £1326.58 inc VAT it’s not overly expensive, but it is a fair bit more pricey than the previous models. You can get far cheaper notebooks out there, but not with a 2GHz Pentium M processor and full Centrino branding – ultimately you get what you pay for.
Overall the Systemax TourBook 5202 is a well rounded machine with all the features you need as well as very good battery life. The increased performance is welcome, but it comes with an associated price rise over its predecessors.
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Score in detail