INDEX BY: Edition / Title
Reviewed model:
Cyrix 200 processor, 32Mb RAM, 2.1 Gb Hard Drive, external 24x CDROM drive, 8.4" TFT Screen, external 3.5" drive, built in sound and speakers (800 plus vat for students, 900 plus vat non-students). Entry point system has 8" DSTN display and no external devices for 595 (695 non students). Comes with Windows 98. Centerprise can be contacted on 01256 378024.

Centerprise

As a committed Psion 3 user I am reluctant to carry round large weighty notebook PCs, but this is a true delight. Weighing in at less than 1.65 Kg you could sling this over your shoulder and take it almost anywhere. I even found out what the stowage bins under the passenger feet in the Renault Scenic are for - yes you can get the carry case with PC, CDROM and floppy drive into one!

But size isn't everything! Although the screen was only small the resolution was so good that I had no problem using it, and it had a wide angle of view too so others could work with me. The keyboard was full sized and comfortable to use and the Toshiba style keyboard centred joystick mouse was fine. Adding an external mouse was instant as was adding an external screen for small group presentations and the LCD projector for larger groups. Power management was good with the supplied NiMH battery giving the expected 2 hours of normal use.

For a month this machine became a major part of my life - I prepared and presented lectures from it - I wrote on it (my son even tried running games on it) and it took it all with gusto. My students and colleagues lusted after it and I hoped that I wouldn't have to return it. The combination of size and flexibility made it an ideal portable. Plugging in the supplied external devices was simple. The only thing I didn't try was to use an external Iomega Zip Drive - as the external CDROM already used the parallel port this would have been an interesting experiment.

This machine was previewed at BETT99 so we may see a successor soon, but as long as it surpasses the specification of this machine it will be worth looking at and if you are considering buying loan systems, the ability to prevent users modifying the software on the machine by only lending the main unit and then letting them use floppy or the optional networking links to port their work across when in the loan base could be a real work saver.

I want one - please, please, please!

Neil Stanley, Reviews Editor