Magazine article Technology & Learning

Notebooks for the Masses

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Notebooks for the Masses

Article excerpt

Entry-Level Entities

These notebooks are for users with relatively simple needs: word processing, simple presentations, Web surfing, and e-mail. These models weigh around 8 pounds, have an average screen size of 12.1 inches, and range in price from $1,500-$2,000.

* Gateway (N. Sioux City, SD; 800-846-3860; offers the Solo Portable PC 2500SE that has a 12.1-inch TFT color display, a 233-MHz Pentium processor, and 32MB of SDRAM. Other features include a 2GB hard drive, a modem, and integrated CD-ROM and floppy disk drives.

* Compaq Computer Corporation (Houston, TX; 800-88-TEACH; www. makes the Armada 1700, a notebook that features a Pentium II 233MHz processor with 512K cache, 32MB of EDO RAM, a 12.1-inch display and a built-in 56K modem. The 4-gig hard drive, CDROM drive, and floppy disk drive can be accessed without removing modules.

* The Inspiron 3500 D233XT from Dell Computer Corporation (Round Rock, TX; 800-388-8542; clocks in with a 233MHz Pentium II processor, a 3.2GB hard drive, and a 13.3-inch TFT display. It also offers a graphics accelerator and 16-bit stereo sound.

* The Panasonic (Secaucus, NJ; 800-662-3537; Toughbook 45 is a good choice for kids, as it has a fiberglass-reinforced magnesium alloy case, yet weighs just 6.4 pounds. Other features include a 233MHz processor, 32MB of RAM, and a 12.1-inch active matrix screen.

Mid-Level Multimedia

An extra $1,000 will get you a notebook with a larger screen, usually 14.1 inches. 64MB of RAM is a minimum requirement for multimedia, and these machines usually meet or exceed that requirement. As you spend more money, you can also expect lighter and slimmer models with greater battery power.

* Apple Computer Corporation's (Cupertino, CA; (408) 996-1100; PowerBook laptops run on the G3 processor with Apple's OS 8.5 operating system. A 266MHz model comes with a 4GB hard drive, 1MB of cache, a 20x CD-ROM drive, and an internal modem. The G3 weighs 7.8 pounds and has a 14.1-inch active matrix screen.

* Sony Electronics, Inc. (San Jose, CA; 888-315-SONY; offers the VAIO PCG-808, which measures 11.7x9.3x1.75 inches and weighs 5.7 pounds. This notebook has a 266MHz processor, a 13.3-inch active matrix screen, 64MB of RAM, and 2. …

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