As notebooks go, this is quite a large one. It is not exceptionally deep or wide, but is considerably higher than some of the other notebooks reviewed here. The main reason for this size is the use of a stacked floppy and CD-ROM drive, with the Sanyo CD reader located above the slim-line 1.44Mb floppy drive. This notebook is not particularly light, either, but it does feel very well made, seemingly able to take a few knocks and bangs during its working life.
Opening the case lid reveals a comfortably-sized keyboard with rather plasticky keys - a more solid key-press action would have been preferable.
Nestled in between the G, H and B keys is a trackpoint mouse pointing device, with two buttons located in front of the space bar in the large wrist rest area. The trackpoint is quite unobtrusive, and shouldn't interfere with touch-typing for the majority of users.
Set into the case lid is a 12.1in TFT LCD screen whose brightness is controlled via a slider at the right hand side. The screen itself is capable of a maximum resolution of 800 x 600, at which the NeoMagic NeoGraph 128XD graphics adapter, with its 2Mb of memory, can provide 16.7 million colours.
If an external monitor is attached to the unit, it is possible to display a resolution of 1024 x 768 with 65,000 colours.
Storage is managed by a 4.8Gb hard drive, split into three partitions because of the use of FAT16 under Windows 95. The disk driver has a hibernation system for suspending the contents of the memory to disk. On the audio front, there are two quite large speakers set into the front panel of the notebook, powered by a Crystal FM 16-bit synthesis chip. Unusually, IBM has fitted a manual volume control to the side of the notebook.
The usual array of ports is present at the rear of the IBM notebook, including serial, parallel and USB connectors. There is also an infra-red port for printing, along with a pair of PC Card slots into which can be inserted either two Type II or one Type III card.
Supplying power to the notebook is either a small external mains transformer or the Lithium Ion battery pack which can be quickly removed and replaced if necessary. IBM provides a copy of Lotus SmartSuite 97 with this notebook, along with IBM's own recovery tools that can reinstall the default software in the event of a total system crash.
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