Super fast portables – and heavy – Power Computing’s PowerTrip 233 and Toshiba America Information Systems’ Tecra 750CDT Pentium-based notebooks – Hardware Review – Evaluation – Brief Article
MOBILE PCS PowerTip 233 Good 1/2
Configuration WIN 95 233MHz Pentium processor with MMX,
64MB of EDO RAM, 512K Level 2 cache,
2.1GB hard disk, 4MB of RAM (for video),
13.3-inch TFT active-matrix display, 20x
CD-ROM drive, K56Flex internal modem
List Price $4,599 (READER SERVICE 116)
Manufacturer PowerComputimg, 512-388-0559, 800-555-0559,
Tecra 750CDT GOOD
Configuration WIN 95 233MHz Pentium MMX, 32MB of EDO RAM,
4.7GB hard disk, 4MB of RAM (for video),
20x CD-ROM drive, 13.3-inch TFT
active-matrix display, 56K modem, DVD ready
List Price $6,799 (READER SERVICE 173)
Manufacturer Toshiba, 800-334-3445, www.toshiba.com
The one-to-four-star ratings Excellent
are based on performance,
features, setup, ease of Good
learning and use, availability, Fair
documentation, and price. Poor
A few years ago, buying a notebook meant sacrificing notebook meant sacrificing power, hard-disk space, memory, and features. Now, a new line of powerful desktop replacements that offer everything has emerged. If you need a notebook for a long-term project or consulting job, we recommend a desktop replacement that’s meant to stay in the office.
We took a look at a pair of mobile PCs, the PowerComputing PowerTrip 233 and the Toshiba Tecra 750CDT. Both are powered by the Intel 233-MHz Pentium with MMX technology, have 13.3-inch TFT active-matrix displays, and 56Kbps internal modems. The PowerTrip sports 64MB of RAM, twice the amount of the Tecra. But the Tecra sports a 4-7MB hard disk, twice the size of the PowerTrip. The Tecra 750CDT’s battery lasted more than four hours whereas the PowerTrip remained powered for only two and a half , hours, and its battery took a little longer to charge up–after using the notebook with the AC adapter for four hours, the battery was less than half-charged.
When we call these notebooks desktop replacements, we mean it. We felt like we were carrying our desks with these puppies. At 7.7 and 8.04 pounds, respectively, the PowerTrip 233 and the Tecra 750CDT won’t travel well at all, unless you have a strong back. If you trek with a notebook for the majority of your work, look for something lighter. Although we had a reliable computer bag, at times we thought the Tecra 750CDT would rip our shoulder strap.
Of the two units, the PowerTrip 233 has the better design. Both the CD-ROM drive and the floppy disk are built into the notebook; the Tecra, on the other hand, has a 20X CD-ROM drive with a hot swappable floppy drive. The Power-Trip uses a touchpad for mousing operations, and the Tecra uses the AccuPoint eraser nub pointing device. Both notebooks have responsive keyboards but the Tecra felt firmer when we were typing flat-out. On the software side, both units lack an office suite and a personal finance package.
The Tecra 750CDT strives to be a videoconferencing unit. A digital video camera comes standard and attaches to the upper right-hand corner of the display, enabling the unit to easily handle whiteboarding and videoconferencing. Setting up the camera was a breeze: Just clip the camera onto the display bezel and slide the cable into the special camera port.
If you need a notebook that will stay put on your desk rather than join you on frequent business trips, these are both fine units. The PowerTrip 233 is the better bargain for standard computing tasks. But if you need a mobile PC with videoconferencing capabilities, consider the Tecra 750CDT It’s an expensive but awesome machine.
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