Acer Ferrari 3200

Ferrari32003£1545

The lowdown
This is the second time Acer has got together with Ferrari to produce a branded laptop. The first one was something of a disappointment. Will this one be any better?

What’s good?
If you like red you’ll love the outside of this machine: it’s extremely red indeed. This is a powerful machine with decent specs at a reasonably affordable price. While it’s not an ultraportable, it’s light enough for the odd trip out.

What’s bad?
The fussy interior styling won’t suit everyone. The keyboard rattles and the small touchpad is sluggish to respond (luckily, there's a matching red USB mouse included as standard). The screen buckled too readily under pressure and was poorly lit.

Do you need it?
If you’re a big fan of Ferrari you can be sure of getting something very individual in this machine. It’s got decent enough specs, but the build quality was disappointing.
6/10

www.acer.co.uk

October 11, 2004 in PCs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sharp Mebius Muramasa CV50

Whitemebius$1750

The lowdown
Forget the Sony X505, forget the JVC Mininote, this is the smallest laptop out there. So much so, that it’s probably more accurate to call it a sub-notebook. Those that remember the old Psion Series 7 will have a good idea of what to expect.

What’s good?
It looks great. The stormtrooper-white shiny plastic casing won’t suit everyone, but we were sold. The lovely clear screen helps to keep your mind off how tiny it is, while the inclusion of a touchpad (instead of a pointing stick) – and such a usable one at that – is a big bonus. There’s also two separate slots for an SD and a CF card and wireless.

What’s bad?
Having the full version of Windows XP is all well and good, but since everything’s shrunk so small that you can barely see it, it really does limit your use. The keyboard is also too small to use properly – you’ll be limited to two-finger typing.

Do you need it?
We could live with the keyboard if the screen was just a little bit bigger. If you can afford it, it will make a nice little organiser and word processor with added functionality. For anyone else, there’s more practical laptops to spend your money on.
6/10

www.icube.us

September 27, 2004 in PCs | Permalink | Comments (0)

BT Voyager

bt_mediaplayer £160

The lowdown
The easiest way to pipe MP3 tunes and internet radio stations round your home is to tether a laptop to a wireless connection. If you want a cheaper option, there's BT's Voyager. It's a mini hi-fi device which, apart from an integrated FM tuner, has no direct music sources. Instead, via an FM transmitter plugged into a PC's USB socket users can stream music from a computer/the web (MP3, CDs, internet radio stations) to the Voyager that can be sited anywhere in your home.

What’s good?
It works reasonably well, too, with the on board speakers just about loud enough to cover the background FM hiss.

What’s bad?
Operating the Voyager is, however, quite tricky. Both the PC software and the device's interface are intimidating and there's no easy way to access or search for MP3 tunes on the player.

It may be the cheaper option, but the Voyager is not especially tasteful.

Do you need it?
Overall, the Voyager is worth a punt if you have five or six net radio stations you'd like to hear elsewhere in your home.
6/10

www.voyager.bt.com/mediaplayer/prodinfo.htm

September 10, 2004 in PCs | Permalink | Comments (0)