Portable powerhouses

Nick Edmunds reviews the latest notebooks to top the league in PC Magazine

Despite notebook PCs being small enough to fit into a briefcase and light enough to be easily carried, the latest and most powerful portables lose out little to the desktop computer.

The notebook PC, with its A4-sized format and weighing as little as 4lb, packs in a fast processor, huge hard disk and lots of that all-important RAM. So capable are the newest portable PCs that increasing numbers are purchased in place of desktops models.

Why, the argument goes, buy a hulking great box that occupies half your desk when a notebook PC will do the same job but in a much more convenient package? On top of all this comes its ability to be used on the move - running off batteries - in places your desktop machine most definitely could never reach.

The downside of these computing mighty midgets is price - you pay more for the miniaturised technology - and, in a minor, but important, respect, the display quality. The picture on even the most expensive portable is not as good as on the cheapest desktop.

Nevertheless, portable screens have improved enormously in recent years. The latest thin-film transistor (TFT) screens have vibrant colours, are big (up to 13in) and have resolutions matching desktop monitors of 1024 by 768 pixels.

The October issue of PC Magazine reviews 14 of the most powerful 133Mhz Pentium notebooks on the market, with a series of laboratory-based tests for overall speed measurement and battery life.

The winner - receiving PC Magazine's Editor's Choice Award - was the Micron Millennium Transport P133. It was judged to be excellent value for money at pounds 3,595 as it combined a top performance score along with an excellent set of features and good battery life.

The Micron comes with 16Mb of RAM, a 1.2Gb hard disk drive and has stereo sound and a quad speed CD-Rom drive built in, plus the best-selling Microsoft Office Pro package, making it a very good buy.

Delivering quite superb battery life, was the Dell Latitude XPi P133st. This machine managed three hours of flat-out use and a chart-topping, near-seven hours of more typical typing and pausing usage. The Dell has a 770Mb hard drive and mono sound and, at pounds 2,749, is "recommended" by PC Magazine.

One further "recommended" notebook is the AST Ascentia P50 P133 CTS11, representing a good alternative to the Micron. It is almost as fast, has similar battery performance, a slightly better keyboard and, best of all, is cheaper at pounds 3,149.

Continuous improvement in portable PC technology means that the notebook PC is now a great buy for both the home and office as well as for mobile use. And there is, today, a dazzling choice on the market.

For more details, see October's `PC Magazine'. All prices quoted are exclusive of VAT. The `PC Magazine' Editors Choice and recommended products are based on objective benchmarks developed by Ziff-Davis Labs. These independent benchmarks incorporate real-life computing tasks and are accepted as worldwide industry standards.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: HGV Fitter - Technician

    £16 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity for someone ...

    Recruitment Genius: Automotive Service Advisor - Franchised Main Dealer

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful, family owned m...

    Ashdown Group: Account Payable Assistant - SW London

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Account Payable Assistant - SW Londo...

    Recruitment Genius: Bathroom Showroom Customer Service / Sales Assistant

    £14560 - £17680 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Even though their premises have...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence