reviews : Xeno-m - What Laptop (November '02)

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What Laptop (November '02)

The past two years have seen the arrival of two different kinds of laptop from UK vendors. On the one hand, there are large desktop replacement machines, fitted with regular PC processors and designed to be used at the owner 's desk. On the other, are machines fitted with mobile processors, a slimmed down chassis and a feature set that are intended for portable life. The Xeno-m clearly fits into the latter category. While at 2.8kg, it wasn't quite light enough to fit into our ultra-portable group review, it 's still a machine that few users would resent having to carry in their briefcases. Its measurements are 305 x 260 x 30mm,which means the laptop will fit into a regular briefcase.

Fitted with a 2GHz Mobile Pentium 4-m processor, alongside 512MB of RAM, the Xeno-m offered extremely high performance levels. The fastest machine in our group review, the ACi PowerLite and Compaq Evo N610, achieved joint overall benchmark scores of 189.6; the Xeno-m scored 198.3. Predictably, it scored particularly well in the processor test, with a result head and shoulders above the competition. The MMX, memory and hard drive tests were also good. Graphics performance was a little weaker. The Xeno-m features an integrated SiS video controller, rather than a dedicated graphics chipset, reducing 2D and especially 3D performance. That said, the overall impression is of a very snappy machine that is well suited to demanding use. In our tests, the Lithium-Ion battery lasted 109 minutes - considerably longer than machines with desktop processors, but not quite so good as the best ultraportables. To make up for its increased weight, the Xeno-m offers a number of features that aren't 't found on many of the machines in our group review. The display is a 14.1-inch TFT panel with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. Image quality is extremely good. The narrow viewing angle makes it less well suited than some machines for presentations to a group of people. Only the Compaq Evo N610c in our review group offered this screen and image size. The 40GB hard drive is also better than average for this price bracket, and offers more storage than any laptop in the group review bar the Hi-Grade. Also impressive, and unexpected, is the inclusion of a DVD/CD-RW combination drive. Some ultraportables offer no built-in removable media drives whatsoever and the ability to install, backup and view data on CD-R and DVD discs is a considerable advantage. The drive is the 'slot 'type, as fitted on the Apple PowerBook G4 rather than the usual ejecting tray found on Windows systems, keeping the height of the drive down to little over one centimetre. As might be expected, there is no floppy drive. Usability is generally good. The membrane keyboard is closer to the touchpad and the edge of the chassis than is commonly the case, and was comfortable to use. The downside of this was that we found it easy to accidentally scrape against the touchpad while typing, sending the cursor to another position in the document. A further inclusion is the built-in Wireless LAN antenna, supported by a system tray applet, which reports on the nature and strength of any connection.

The provision of Windows XP Professional means that establishing a connection through this or the standard wired Ethernet port is relatively pain-free. Connectivity is good, with two USB ports,FireWire,PS/2,S-video and VGA ports. There 's also a single Type II PC Card slot. The absence of infrared, parallel and serial ports may inconvenience the owners of older peripherals, but any equipment purchased within the past two years ought to connect without any problems. The Xeno-m bundle also includes McAfee antivirus software and a leather carry case. The Xeno-m is a very good example of how portability and power needn 't be mutually exclusive. This is a fast machine with lots of features which won 't weigh you down. At 1526 (inc.VAT), it 's unlikely to empty your IT budget either.

MODEL Rock Xeno-m
RATING 5/5 Stars
PRO'S .......
CON'S .......
VERDICT The overall impression is of a very snappy machine that is well suited to demanding use
PROCESSOR Intel Mobile Pentium 4 2GHz processor
RAM 512Mb
OTHER 10/100Mbps Internal LAN
OTHER Internal 56k modem and IEEE 1394 Firewire
WARRANTY 3 Year Collect and Return
PRICE 1,368 (ex vat)

What Laptop 5/5stars

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All Xeno reviews

Xeno-m - What Laptop (November '02)
Xeno - PC Advisor (June '02)

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