Itronix GoBook MR-1
GCN Lab review
THE GOBOOK MR-1 from Itronix is more than ultraportable ' perhaps we should call it superportable. In any case, its size and ruggedness make it perfect for certain jobs, although not for the typical laptop PC user in an office.
At only 6 inches long and 4 1/2 inches wide, the device is comparable in size to a personal digital assistant, but its weight of 2 pounds, 6 ounces is heavier than the average PDA. What keeps the GoBook in the laptop category is its functionality, running a full version of Windows XP. We found its 5-inch display small even at a medium 1024 x 600 resolution. The keyboard is also small and took a little getting used to.
MAIN STORY: Portability meets performance
The hardest feature to get used to was the touchpad mouse. The pad is about two-thirds the size of a typical one and is above the keyboard on the right. The buttons for right and left mouse clicks are on the top left side of the keyboard. This configuration probably is more natural in two-thumb texting use.
The GoBook MR-1 meets the Mil-Std-810F military standard for vibration, temperature, humidity, and drops as high as 36 inches onto plywood over concrete, so it can fall off a table safely. The GoBook withstood our rugged testing perfectly.
However, in our benchmarks the GoBook MR-1 scored 190.6, the lowest of the pack. This is understandable considering the system's ultra-low-voltage processor. In our battery life test, it only lasted 2 hours, 27 minutes.
The base unit only has one USB and one serial port, but the GoBook comes with a mini docking station that sticks out only 1 3/4 inches and adds video, networking, sound, and an additional USB and serial port. The docking station helps align GoBook with other ultraportables in terms of features without adding much weight or size.
The MR-1 has a retail price of $4,450, which is high even for a fully rugged unit with a Global Positioning System receiver. The government price of $3,547 is closer to what we expect, but it's still not cheap and keeps the unit in the realm of specialized equipment.
The Itronix GoBook MR-1 is a laptop designed for a specific user. It would be perfect for someone who needs full functionality and extreme portability in harsh environments ' motorcycle law enforcement officers perhaps, or military Special Forces.General Dynamics Itronix, (509) 624-6600, www.gd-itronix.com
John Breeden II directs the GCN Lab.
Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.