At just 1.4kg, the TravelMate C100 has a 10.4” LCD screen capable of 1024x768. Using active digitiser technology, you can write with either the bundled EMR stylus or smaller EMR pen. The latter slides nicely into the C100’s chassis. Being convertible, its display can swivel 180º away from the user in addition to folding into Tablet mode. Internal specifications include an Intel 800MHz PIII-M processor, 256MB of RAM, a 30GB hard disk, 8MB Lynx3DM+ graphics chipset, built-in microphone and a speaker. An external 24x CD-ROM is also included. Ports include two USB 1.1 ports and single FireWire, 56Kbps modem, Ethernet, infrared, VGA-out, line out and mic-in ports. The C100 comes with two Smart Cards for its Smart Card reader slot and supports a single Type II PC Card. Also implemented are integrated Wireless LAN, quick launch and Tablet controls. RRP: $4999 (includes Microsoft Office Small Business Edition and a two-year warranty). The C100 is distributed by IT Wholesale, Express Online, Digiland and Blue Chip IT.
Even though it was a preproduction sample, the TC1000 was the Tablet that drew attention when it came out of the box. The ‘wow’ factor was due to the TC1000’s split personality: it either folds into tablet mode with its keyboard or with the keyboard detached it becomes just a slate-style device. Either way, the TC1000 could then clip into its dock. The Toshiba and Acer models can be opened and closed just like traditional notebooks in a clamshell-type configuration. However, with the TC1000, you lift the display out of tablet mode and then twist it around to use the keyboard. The TC1000 is a tablet first, a notebook second, whereas the Toshiba and Acer could be either. The engineering on this device, in particular, felt robust and well thought-out. Weighing about 1.9kg with keyboard, the TC1000 boasts a 10.4” display (maximum resolution of 1024x768) that uses an electromagnetic digitiser and active pen for handwritten input. Seeking longer battery life combined with a small form factor, Compaq has opted to include a 1GHz Transmeta Crusoe TM5800 processor, 256MB to 768MB of RAM, a 30GB hard disk, and a 16MB GeForce2 Go graphics controller. Connectivity includes two USB 2.0 ports and single 56Kbps modem, Ethernet, stereo headset and mono headset connectors. The latter two items work with the supplied silver earpiece/microphone for use with speech recognition. The TC1000 has a built-in stereo speaker, Wireless LAN, Compact Flash slots, and three programmable buttons. RRP: from $4000-$6000. The TC1000 is distributed by Tech Pacific, Ingram Micro, Express Data and Dicker Data.
This pre-production sample had the best handwriting response of the three tablets we saw. For instance, if you pressed harder on the stylus, the 3500 would draw darker lines. The stylus’ end could also be used just like a pencil-end eraser. In addition, the Sensiva gesture-command software could be customised to increase your efficiency. Made of magnesium alloy casing with a stainless steel reversible display hinge, the 3500 weighs 1.5-1.7kg and has a stated battery life of up to 4.5 hours. The 12.1” polysilicon display was the biggest of the three and uses a Wacom active digitiser. A maximum resolution of 1024x768 was delivered by the 16MB Trident CyberBlade XP graphics controller. The 3500 used a 1.3GHz Intel PIII-M processor, 256MB of RAM and a 40GB hard disk. External optical drives are optional. Ports include two USB 2.0 and single 56Kbps modem, Ethernet, microphone, headphone, infrared and VGA-out. RRP: $4840. The 3500 is distributed by Dicker Data, Ingram Micro and Tech Pacific.
Hi-Grade’s UltiNote M6600 is the first PC notebook we’ve seen to feature an incorporated DVD writer — DVD movie making and/or high-capacity data storage (4.7GB) on the road has now become a reality. The writing drive can write DVD-RW and DVD-R discs at 2x and rewrite at 1x (roughly the equivalent of burning a CD at 9x), and write and rewrite CDs at 16x and 10x, respectively. It can also read DVDs at 8x and CDs at 24x. An optional external USB floppy drive is available. Weighing 3.9kg combined with its power supply, the M6600 uses an Intel Pentium 4-Mobile processor running at a speedy 2.2GHz, and has 512MB of DDR (double data rate) SDRAM and a 60GB hard disk. Graphics are delivered to the large 15.1” active TFT display by the NVIDIA GeForce4 420 Go graphics controller, itself wielding 32MB of DDR memory. This provides a maximum resolution of 1280x1240. Complementing such a multimedia-driven feature set is the inclusion of single FireWire, S-Video TV-out and S/PDIF audio line-out connectors, and no fewer than four high speed USB 2.0 ports. These features are further boosted by an integrated two-slot flash memory card reader: Multimedia Memory Card (MMC), Secure Digital (SD), SmartMedia and Memory Stick media can all be used. Support is also provided for one Type II PC card and an optional mini-PCI card for wireless networking. Additional connectors include PS/2 (for keyboards or mice), microphone-in, parallel, infrared, VGA-out (for an external monitor), 56Kbps modem and Ethernet. RRP: from $3195. The M6600 is distributed by QD Innovative Company.
If not the outright thinnest notebook on the market in Q1 2003, Toshiba’s new ultra-light Portege 2010, at just 15mm, is definitely one of the slimmest. We looked at a 2010 that used Intel’s Mobile Intel Pentium III processor running at 866MHz, 256MB of SDRAM and a 40GB hard disk. Due to its small size, the 2010 has only a 12.1-inch active TFT display capable of 1024x768 courtesy of a 16MB Trident Cyberblade XP graphics controller. Just missing out on a place in the $3000-$6000 charts this month due to the high competitiveness of that corner of the market, the 2010 proved it could stand up to most productivity tasks. An excellent result for such a highly portable product. Our test results showed that this is no gaming beast for the road. The 2010 has two USB and single infrared, VGA-out (for external monitors), Ethernet and 56Kbps connectors, in addition to an SD memory card slot. One Type II PC Card is supported. Toshiba has opted to integrated a Wi-Fi antenna complete with Mini PCI card, so you are ready for wireless networking. The optional $415 external CD-RW drive the 2010 is pictured with here was being replaced with a new and improve model at the time of writing. The 2010 is backed with a three-year warranty. In addition to new mid-range models with 15” displays and others with DVD writer drives, Toshiba is set to release its first sub-$2500 offering. RRP: $4290. The 2010 is distributed by Dicker Data, Ingram Micro and Tech Pacific.
The update of its GRX3P predecessor, the Sony Vaio PCG-GRX5P is still the only notebook we’ve seen to sport a massive 16.1” active TFT display (a viewable area equal to, if not greater than, most 17” CRT monitors). The GRX5P supports resolutions up to 1600x1200 and the image quality is superb. It falls (heavily) into the desktop replacement category with a weight of 4.2kg with power supply and 3.7kg without. Our test Vaio was powered by a 2GHz Pentium 4-M processor twinned with 512MB of DDR SDRAM. Put to the test, the 32MB DDR ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 graphics controller ensured smooth 3D performance. A 60GB hard drive offers plenty of storage space. The 8x24x10x24 DVD-ROM/ CD-R/RW combination drive is great for back-ups and uses a hot-swappable multibay into which an optional second battery could be placed. The software bundle is generous, although several of the inclusions are Sony utilities. RRP: $4999.
Twinhead’s Efio 2617 notebook has the same chassis as the Hi-Grade Notino R5400 — Twinhead is its manufacturer. Therefore, the Efio 2617 features the same semi-ruggedised, rounded silver casing as the R5400. However, the Efio doesn’t come with as good a warranty (namely, covering accidental damage) as the Hi-Grade offering. The notebook comes with a three-year warranty (parts and labour for first 12 months; thereafter, labour only). This value-orientated model uses a 1.7GHz Intel P4-M processor and has a 20GB hard disk. Like the R5400, it features a 14.1” active TFT display that works in conjunction with the S3 Graphics ProSavageDDR graphics controller configured to take the maximum 32MB from the unit’s 256MB of DDR SDRAM. Twinhead has opted for an 8x DVD-ROM drive and next to this is an S-Video TV-out port and two USB ports. These USB ports are high-speed USB 2.0, and a third USB port on the left-hand side is USB 1.1. Other ports include Ethernet, 56Kbps modem, VGA-out, infrared, and microphone and headphone sound jacks. RRP: $2799.