Not too big, not too small; makers of notebooks aim for just-right size

Not too big, not too small; makers of notebooks aim for just-right size

Notebook computer makers'still striving for the Goldilocks balance between big and small'this month launched units weighing less than 4 pounds.

The Dell 400-MHz Latitude LS Pentium III notebook has an inch-thick magnesium alloy case. The $2,299 unit runs a full Microsoft Windows operating system and has a 12.1-inch SuperVGA display and a keyboard that is 95 percent of full size.

Lisa Howe, the product marketing manager, said the 13 percent price differential between desktop and notebook PCs is closing rapidly now that many large organizations have announced plans to adopt notebooks as primary computers.

The Latitude LS' $199, 13-ounce port replicator has pass-through for Ethernet, modem, serial and parallel, Universal Serial Bus, DC-in, media bay, microphone, line-out and PS/2 ports, she said.

Unplugged, the Latitude LS can draw power from its four-cell smart lithium-ion battery for about 1.5 hours, Howe said. A separate $169, six-cell battery will last about 2.5 hours.

The standard unit has an integrated 56-Kbps mo-dem and network card, 64M of RAM, a floppy drive and a 4.8G hard drive.

It accepts the same optional CD-ROM, DVD and other media modules as other Latitudes.

Hewlett-Packard's latest 4-pound iteration of the OmniBook 900 has similar features except for a 500-MHz Pentium III pro-cessor, a 13.3-inch display, a 6G hard drive, a PC Card slot and bundled wireless access time.

HP said the $3,500 unit has a running time of up to three hours.

For more information, visit Dell's site,at, and HP's site, at

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