Solo 9300XL makes a case for having all the options

Solo 9300XL makes a case for having all the options

The features in Gateway's Solo 9300XL fill a road warrior's entire wish list.

Gateway's Solo 9300XL packs a 15.6-inch screen, a 4X DVD-ROM drive, 128M of RAM and an 11.5G hard drive into a unit with a travel weight of less than 10 pounds. It's priced at $4,023.

The 650-MHz notebook PC comes loaded with DVD, Dolby Digital audio output, two Universal Serial Bus ports, FireWire, two Type II PC Card slots, NTSC/PAL video output, and parallel, serial and PS/2 ports. This giant also has an LS-120 Super Disk drive, a 56-Kbps modem, and a 2X Accelerated Graphics Port with 8M of synchronous graphics RAM.

I was impressed by the large 15.6-inch diagonal measure screen, which is easy to view even when sitting in a car on a bright day. Maximum resolution is only 1,280 by 1,024 pixels, but that's plenty for most tasks.

Its DVD movie presentation was great, with no delays and front-edge speakers that provided decent sound quality with excellent stereo separation.

Because of the large screen, which is the same size as the base because the top hangs over the sides, there is plenty of room to rest your wrists on the computer. In fact, the keyboard is so far from the front edge that some people may find it uncomfortably large.

Apparently the front two inches of the base were added to a smaller base, but it's a pleasing design and gives the notebook a unique appearance.

I had no compatibility problems with the 650-MHz Pentium III SpeedStep microprocessor or with any of the ports.

A useful feature is the battery condition indicator that shows how much power remains.

You can choose one of four power management modes for the SpeedStep processor:

•'Maximum, under which the CPU always runs at top speed

•'Battery optimized, under which it always runs at low speed

•'Automatic, which lowers speed when operating on battery

•'Disabled, which disables all SpeedStep power management features and which can be used to ease compatibility concerns.

More power management menus for DC and AC power modes provide dozens of possible settings.

Some notebook PCs are slightly faster and some are much lighter , but none have a larger screen. And the 9300 is loaded with features and ports at a good price. Even with the AC adapter, it still weighs less than 10 pounds.

'John McCormick


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