This notebook really goes

This notebook really goes

BY CARLOS A. SOTO | GCN STAFF

The rugged little magnesium Itronix GoBook resists bumps and splashes that would kill another notebook PC. I know, because it traveled with me to the beaches of the Bahamas.

Box Score
GoBook
RUGGED WIRELESS NOTEBOOK

Itronix Corp.;
Spokane, Wash.;
tel. 509-626-6600
www.itronix.com
Price: $4,500

+ Wireless Internet access
+ Sturdy magnesium case
- Expensive
- Cumbersome antenna design



The GoBook, a finalist for a Best New Technology Award at FOSE in the category of wireless devices, has a 600-MHz Celeron processor, 256M of dynamic RAM and a 20G hard drive.

It's so versatile I found it difficult to find an excuse not to work on vacation. But the feature I liked best was a 12.1-inch, thin-film-transistor SuperVGA touch screen.

With a stylus, I could effortlessly navigate through applications even when my hands were wet with saltwater or too sandy to type.

A flexible, rugged antenna at the side of the screen connected to the Internet with little or no setup.

The connection

This integrated wireless connection, working like a wireless phone on various carriers' Cellular Digital Packet Data networks, sent and received digital packets at about 19.2 Kbps.

According to Itronix Corp., the GoBook functions with CDPD cells throughout North America and in some parts of Europe and Israel.


The GoBook's wireless antenna and stylus make Net navigating easy, even on the beach.


Even though 19.2 Kbps is the CDPD standard rate, in most cases the GoBook transmitted faster than a 56-Kbps modem. Outside the wireless coverage area, I could still log on to the Internet over a phone line with the built-in 56-Kbps modem.

The unit also had an integrated network card, a Universal Serial Bus port, and RJ-11 and RJ-45 jacks. A side media bay can hold an 8X DVD-ROM drive, a second battery, or a CD-ROM or floppy drive.

The 5,400-milliampere-hour, lithium-ion battery gave decent performance. I ran the DVD-ROM drive and performed hard drive functions for almost three hours before the battery died. A second battery would double the operating time.

Except for some case design flaws, my test unit was nearly perfect.

The cumbersome plastic antenna often got in the way. And the screen portion did not attach or lock to the body, so sometimes the screen seemed to have a mind of its own.

Despite a $4,500 price tag, the Itronix GoBook should be just about perfect for anyone whose office is the world.

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