This portable has a 14.4G hard drive but is too heavy

This portable has a 14.4G hard drive but is too heavy

By John Breeden II

GCN Staff






The large display overhangs the notebook's base by about half an inch, saving weight but costing in vulnerability to bumps and bangs.


The old joke, 'I just flew in from Las Vegas, and boy, are my arms tired,' takes on a whole new meaning when traveling with the heavy Quantex I-1511.

I like to test a notebook by writing and filing stories from planes, trains and automobiles. The I-1511's large, 15-inch XGA active-matrix display and 400-MHz Pentium II processor impress me. But there are immutable forces weighing against it'primarily gravity.

Six is tops

Outside its carrying case, without any support cables weighing it down, the unit still tops the scales just shy of 10 pounds. I've traveled happily with systems weighing up to 6 pounds, but the 10-pound mark puts this unit in the luggable, not portable, class. After carrying it through one airport terminal, my shoulder hurt.



The case does not have a strap, which forces the user to tote it like a brick. I felt like an Army recruit carrying a heavy weight in my left hand so I would turn the correct direction during drill.

In use, however, the Quantex has about everything users might ever need on the road, starting with a huge 14.4G hard drive.

Move in

That is enough space to hold several office suites, reams of documents and a game or two.

The unit's 128M of synchronous dynamic RAM gives it plenty of punch for multimedia applications.

The component that contributes most to the weight is the 12-cell lithium ion battery. In the GCN Lab's maximum drain test, the battery lasted only 1.25 hours'a rather disappointing result for so many cells. Less taxing work in the field extended life to about one hour, 30 minutes.

The sheer number of components probably drains the battery much more quickly than usual.

The single biggest drain is also the I-1511's best feature: a 15-inch display. Users can make conference room presentations right from the unit. The screen has about a 90-degree viewing angle, which is not ideal but adequate.

Images tend to wash out when viewed from extreme horizontal angles and at slight angles along the vertical.

But the horizontal distortion is slight, so people sitting beside the computer should be able to read everything on the screen.





Box Score '''''''''''

I-1511

Desktop replacement notebook PC



Quantex Microsystems Inc.;

Somerset, N.J.;

tel. 800-346-6685

www.quantex.com

Price: $2,899



+ Excellent 15-inch display

' Too heavy for a notebook

' Screen overlap could expose LCD to damage



Usability '''''''''''''''''''''''' D+

Features and configuration ''B-

Benchmark performance ''''A-

ZD's Winstone '99:'''''19.6


About 96 percent better than a 233 MHz Pentium MMX

The overall grade comprises scores for three factors: usability (60 percent), features and configuration (20 percent), and performance (20 percent). The lab used ZD's Winstone 99 Version 1.1. The baseline for 10.0 Winstone units is a 233-MHz Pentium MMX. For benchmark information, go to www.gcn.com/gcnlab/benchmark/index.html.



Lip overlap

The screen extends a half-inch wider than the base of the unit. Quantex did this to produce a unit with a large screen, without the extra weight of a larger base. Problem is, when the unit is closed, part of the screen is unprotected where it overlaps the keyboard and bottom of the unit.

Using the internal 56-Kbps V.90 fax modem, I connected at close to the maximum speed over standard phone lines.

The modem was reliable and, even when connecting over more than two analog-to-digital conversions, came close to 33.6 Kbps, the maximum with more than one analog line thrown into the mix.

The drive bay combines a floppy drive and a 4X DVD-ROM drive. In back are one Universal Serial Bus and one fast infrared port in addition to the standard serial and parallel interfaces.

The I-1511 is too heavy and has too little battery life for most mobile users. If you work in an office with very little space or must have a high-end multimedia system on the road, the I-1511 might make a good choice.

But before you carry it on travel, make sure your gym membership is paid up.

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