Dell rolls out ultralight notebooks

Dell Corp., taking advantage of the new small and energy-efficient Intel Pentium M chip, today introduced two new ultraportable notebook PCs: the Latitude X300 and Inspiron 300m.

To come in under 3 pounds, these notebooks can't carry much, such as drives. To make up for that, Dell includes an external modular bay with an optional CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive and two more USB 2.0 ports to bring the total USB ports to four.

Dell also offers an extended media bay called Dell MediaBase, which can accommodate a DVD+RW or second hard drive and spare battery charger bay. The battery bay can act as a second battery charger or it can power the system when operating under low battery power.

New to the Dell chassis design on this pair of portables is a Secure Digital slot. The SD slot should increase interoperability between the new notebooks and the company's Axim handhelds, which support SD cards.

A base unit version of the 2.9-pound Latitude X300 starts at $1,599 and includes Centrino 802.11b wireless capabilities on the 1.2-GHz Pentium M, a 20G hard drive and 128M of double-data-rate RAM. For the same price and weight, the Inspiron 300m comes with a 30G hard drive and 256M of RAM.

The GCN Lab will offer up more details about the Dell Latitude X300 in GCN's Sept. 1 issue, in which the review staff will rate more than a half dozen ultralight notebooks.

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