Panasonic: tough enough
Panasonic has added a business-oriented model to its line-up of Toughbook ruggedised laptops - the CF-48. Designed with DVD or CD, and floppy or LS-120 Superdisk drive, it can withstand a 30cm drop due to its magnesium-alloy LCD cabinet and shock-mounted hard disk drive. Cable connections are also more vibration-resistant and a water-resistant screen and keyboard are optional. Hardware specifications include 13.3-inch or 14.1-inch , a PIII processor, 128MB RAM expandable to 512MB, removable 20GB or 30GB shock-mounted HDD, internal 56Kbps modem, electrostatic mouse pad with scroll bar, Win 98, NT or Win 2000, and an executive carry-bag thrown in. The Toughbook has an RRP of $4199 (inc GST) and a one-year warranty.
Panasonic: (02) 9986 7400, www.panasonic.com.au.
Pioneer: white-box worth
Pioneer's new 2200T series has hit the street, significantly undercutting the tier-one brands on price. The unit sports PIII options of 700MHz-1.4GHz or Celeron 566MHz-1.4GHz and 14.1 or 13.3 inch screens. It comes standard with a built-in CD-ROM that can be swapped for a DVD, CDRW or DVD/CDRW combo. It has a built-in LAN, 56Kbps V.90 modem, three hot keys for e-mail, Web and applications. Weighing in at 3kg, the unit has an RRP of $2315 (inc GST) for the 1GHz SOHO model and $2999 (inc GST) for the 1.26GHz version. Both have a one-year warranty.
Pioneer: (02) 9690 2888, www.pioneercomputers.com.au.
Toshiba: bestseller reborn
Toshiba has revamped its popular Satellite Pro product, with the Satellite Pro 6000 and TE2000 being the latest members of the series. The new models have adopted the 1GHz-plus PIII chips. Connectivity covers the spectrum, from modem, Ethernet, fast infrared integrated potential to Bluetooth (6000 only) and Wi-Fi (802.11b). Users can interchange DVD/CD-RW, DVD, CD hard disk or second battery options via Toshiba's slim SelectBay. They share docking/accessory options with other Toshiba ranges including older models of the Tecra and Portégé ranges. Win XP is preinstalled with fast boot and shutdown features. Weighing 2.4kg, the RRP of the Satellite Pro 6000 starts at $5088, while the TE2000 starts at $3108 (inc GST). Both have one-year warranties.
Toshiba: 1800 021 100, www.isd.toshiba.com.au.
Targus: armed and alarmed
The new Defcon 3 alarm from Targus combines the convenience of remote control with an ear-splitting 94 decibel siren. The small padlock-looking device is attached to the notebook carry-case with a stainless steel cable activated by remote control from up to 10 metres away. If the cable is severed or the case moved or shaken, the piercing alarm is triggered. It has six different tones to choose from and at 94 decibels makes its presence felt even in high-noise environments such as airports. An LED visual deterrent indicates "armed" status. The Defcon 3 has an RRP of $110.
Targus Australia: (02) 9807 1222, www.targus.com.au.
CMS: backup a breeze
CMS has developed an automatic backup system for notebooks and desktops, giving users instant disaster recovery or an external bootable hard drive. The pocket-sized laptop solution plugs into the PC-card slot without the fuss of power cables and automatically launches a backup cycle of altered files. No software configuration is required and the latest version 4.1, based on USB2 or FireWire, enables scheduled backups. Files are stored in Native Format and are secured by optional password protection. RRP starts from $650 (ex GST), with a three-year warranty on hardware.
Available from Elantra: (02) 9328 5808, www.elantra.com.au.
STM: in the bag
Australian-born laptop luggage designer STM has injected some much-needed spunk to the notebook carry case. The parachute backpack is part of STM's latest range, made with two main compartments. The back pouch fits machines with 15-inch screens, securing the notebook with both drawstring and velcro. The large front section has space for books and folders. Shielded by the signature parachute flap is an organiser pocket and multi-purpose pouch, ideal for portable music players (the pouch has earphone access) and/or mobile phones. The parachute backpack has an RRP of $170 (inc GST).
STM: 0414 305 440, www.standardtm.com.au.