[QQ]WHAT IS IT?[QQ] looks at a slimline notebook PC with a Pentium processor which proves you don't have to be big to be powerful. 166MHz laptop computer.[QQ] Laptop PCs have traditionally fallen into one of two categories: thin and light or desktop replacement. In the past this has meant that people who need a light, highly portable machine have had to sacrifice performance levels.[QQ] Recent advances in mobile processors by Intel have changed all that and, these days, even the slimmest of notebooks can be fitted with a top-of-the-range Pentium processor.[QQ] The upshot of this is that the line dividing the two categories has become increasingly blurred, as the Ultra 2000 illustrates beautifully. The device measures a mere 1.5in thick and weighs 3kg, but enjoys a specification rich enough to easily cope with day-to-day tasks and can be coupled with a multimedia-focused docking station.[QQ] The system is based on a 166MHz MMX Pentium processor and 32Mb of main memory, with a healthy 512Kb of second-level cache memory. The hard drive is a 3.2Gb Hitachi device that can be easily accessed and removed simply by lifting up the machine's keyboard. Unfortunately, as the machine is so slim, it is unable to use a combined CD and floppy disk drive unit, so if you want to use the 20x CD-ROM drive you have to swap the modules over and reset the machine. The system uses a fairly standard Lithium Ion battery which offers up to four hours usage on a good day.[QQ] A major point of interest is the large 14.1in TFT screen which is clear, crisp and offers a viewing angle sufficiently wide to allow you to make presentations to the most crowded of meeting rooms. Also useful is the internal 33.6Kbits/sec fax-modem which features telephony capabilities allowing it to act as a phone and answering machine. Digital will supply a 56Kbits/sec upgrade at a later date.[QQ] Our review machine came with Windows 95, but NT 4.0 is also available.[QQ] Other software includes Digital's manageability package, Clientworks, and MS Explorer. There are two docking options available: a simple port replicator and a more substantial Multimedia Dock, which features an extra drive bay for the CD or floppy disk drive. The unit also features a more powerful speaker system as well as an extra pair of PC Card slots and an NTSC/PAL video output so you can use TV screens for presentations.[QQ] The docking solutions do their job well, but are not as comprehensive as those sold by, for example, Siemens Nixdorf.[QQ] A 200MHz version would give it a greater chance of success but, as it stands, this is far from being a bad option, if a little overpriced.[QQ] [QQ] HINOTE FACTS[QQ] Contact: Digital on 01734 868711 or www.digital.com[QQ] Price: #4,449; port replicator #239; multimedia docking station #575[QQ] Applications: portable computing; the large screen makes it particularly useful for making presentations.[QQ] The 166MHz processor is set to become the entry-level for laptops, which is sadly out of step with the otherwise good specification. The docking station isn't exactly 'feature rich' and focuses on multimedia, which may be of little use to many users. Otherwise, the Ultra is a fine machine.
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