The recently launched ThinkPad A30p weighs in at 3.45kg, measures 44 x 329 x 272.5 (HxWxD) in total and has a 15-inch active matrix TFT display. It features a Pentium III-M processor at 1200MHz, 128MB of RAM which is expandable to 1GB, and a 48GB hard drive. IBM has gone all out on the connectivity side, configuring in a 56Kbps data modem, 14.4K fax modem, 802.11 Ethernet card, built-in Wireless LAN plus integrated Bluetooth. The 8x DVD-ROM has been ungraded to include a combined CD-RW, and mouse control is via IBM's trademark mini joystick. Security has also become a focal point with the addition of IBM's embedded security sub-system, which automatically encrypts data while the user is typing.
The ThinkPad A30p retails for approximately $7299.
IBM: 13 24 26, www.ibm.com.au.
Due for release late this month, Acer's new TravelMate 741LCF weighs 3.2kg and features a PIII-M 1GHz, 128MB of RAM, PC 133 speed memory and an 8MB ATI Rage Mobility video controller - the Radeon 3D hardware engine. As well as the 8x DVD-ROM drive of its predecessor, the 741LCF combines a 24x8x4 CD-RW. The lithium ion graphite battery has an average lifespan of four hours and it comes standard with on-board Ethernet, on-board 56K modem and a 30GB hard drive. The unit measures 38-48 x 324 x 271mm (HxWxD), has a thinker at the back due to the speakers, and accommodates a 15-inch active TFT screen. Mouse control is via a touchpad.
The unique feature of this notebook is the biometrics security pad - a built-in fingerprint sensor made to withstand over one million finger contacts and to resist spills. The machine will not boot unless you press the ID sensor. The
The TravelMate 741LCF retails for $6299.
Acer: 1300 366 567, www.acer.com.au.
Toshiba has upped the ante in its Tecra 9000 range, installing a PIII-M 1066MHz processor in its top-end model. At 2.2-2.4 kilos, the unit is one of the lightest on the market, with a 14.1-inch active TFT screen and measuring 32-39 x 310 x 269mm (front to back x W x D). It features 256MB, 30GB hard drive, built-in modem and an integrated wireless LAN antenna. Bluetooth remains optional. The 9000 comes standard with a CD-RW/DVD and Toshiba has replaced its joystick mouse control for a touchpad. The vendor has also standardised some of its "rugged" aspects, encasing the Tecra in a tough magnesium alloy clam and shock-protecting components.
The Tecra 9000 retails for $8140.
Toshiba: 1800 021 100, www.toshiba.com.au.
Leveraging its expertise in LCD screens, Sharp's PCAR50 notebook features a 14.1-inch screen - SXGA+ (1400 x 1050) - built with black TFT low-reflection coating for improved outdoor visibility. The unit weighs 2.6kg and uses a PIII 850MHz processor, 256MB of RAM, 20GB hard drive and 8MB ATI Rage Mobility video controller. It features an IEEE1394 FireWire port to add external devices for imaging, processing and storage, and comes standard with a 8x4x24 CD-RW and built-in 56Kbps network modem. The lithium ion battery has an average lifespan of 2.8 hours and mouse control is via a touchpad. Sharp has also added five quick-start keys to provide access to frequently used applications such as e-mail, Internet or Word without having to exit programs in use.
The PCAR50 retails for $5995 and comes with a two-year warranty.
Sharp: (02) 9830 4773, www.sharp.net.au.
Apple's new titanium PowerBook G4 comes with a choice of 550MHz or 667MHz PowerPC processor with an additional 256KB of on-chip level-2 cache running at the same speed as the processor. The notebook weighs 2.4kg and has slot-loading DVD (now complemented with a build-to-order CD-RW drive), a five-hour battery, AirPort and a 15.2-inch mega-wide screen. In wireless terms, the unit has an in-built Gigabit Ethernet, an infrared port and a 56K V.90 modem. Aimed at Apple's atypical creative professional market, the PowerBook G4 ships with an ATI Mobility Radeon graphics accelerator and 16MB of DDR video memory. The 667MHz model comes with 256MB of RAM, expandable to 1GB. The hard disk uses the high-speed Ultra ATA/66 interface to enable large video files to be transferred in real-time directly from a DV camcorder. Two 4200rpm drives with 20GB and 30GB storage capacities are available in standard PowerBook configurations.
The 667MHz Powerbook retails for $6995 and is currently supplied with a free additional 128MB of RAM.
Apple: 13 3622, www.apple.com.au.