Advanced Notebook Research – Neutron MMO review

competent notebook, brand-free price
Photo of Advanced Notebook Research – Neutron MMO
£999 + VAT (233MHz) or £1,049 + VAT (266MHz)

Why are some notebook computers so expensive? Like most other things in life, it seems that you pay a lot for the name. Proving that portable power needn’t cost a fortune, this notebook from ANR (no, I hadn’t heard of them either) has all the features of similar machines from the likes of Dell, Compaq and Toshiba, with one exception; it costs far less. For a thousand pounds or so, you wouldn’t really expect a great deal from a notebook. Either it should be slow, or appallingly badly made, or quite possibly both. But this is neither. The Neutron bears a striking resemblance to one of Dell’s notebook products from last year. It’s solid and well-made, comes with a floppy drive and 24-speed CDROM drive, and is powered by a long-lasting Lithium-Ion battery (with LEDs on it to show how charged it is).

At the heart of this notebook is a Pentium MMO processor, running at either 233MHz or, in the case of our review machine, 266MHz. There’s 32MB of system memory, and although the 2GB hard drive isn’t as spacious as those in some other machines, it should suffice for most business users. Despite being a fairly large notebook PC, there isn’t room for both the CDROM drive and the floppy drive to be installed at the same time. Both are supplied, however, and you can use either of them by plugging one into the expansion port. If you want to use both at the same time, you can do that too, but you have to plug the floppy drive in externally using the supplied cable.

The Neutron has a good comfortable keyboard, a large wrist-rest and a glidepad mouse with two buttons. Input/output features include an infra-red port, a USB port, the usual serial, parallel and monitor connectors plus a PS/2 mouse/keyboard port. There are also two PC Card (PCMCIA) Type II slots, while sound is generated by a Crystal FM chip. The 12.1-inch LCD display is very bright, so using it outdoors or in a brightly-lit office won’t be a problem. The maximum resolution available on this screen is 800 x 600, with 16.7 million colours generated by the NeoMagic graphics adapter. The Neutron comes with Windows 95 pre-installed on the hard drive, along with a copy of Lotus SmartSuite 97. It even comes with a carry case.

Company: Advanced Notebook Research

Contact: 01788 577 497


Verdict
This machine is something of a revelation. It's fast, well-made and costs far less than most of its competitors. It is unlikely to generate quite as much admiration on the train as one of the more stylish machines from the better-known vendors, but that doesn't matter; it's hard to fault the Neutron's value for money.