As more people work on the move, the need for a mobile computer that doesn’t weigh a ton, isn’t the size of a briefcase and yet gives you enough storage space and battery life to keep up-to-date while on the move becomes increasingly vital.
JVC’s second generation Mobile Mini Note PCs (the MP-XP7230 and the MP-XP5230) are designed with these factors firmly in mind. For a start they’re A5 in size and JVC happily boasts that they are the smallest PCs in the world to incorporate the Ultra Low Voltage Mobile Intel Pentium III Processor 933MHz-M as the CPU.
The daddy of the two, the MP-XP7230, weighs in at 905g (the MP-XP5230 is 880g) although the additional external battery that comes with the package will just tip you over the 1kg barrier. Working in power-save mode, the two batteries give you a possible nine hours of typing time, which should be more than enough for most journeys. It certainly wouldn’t be worth relying on the built-in battery alone, though, unless you’re only on a short trip; it ran out after about an hour and a half in our tests.
The MP-XP7230 is equipped with an internal wireless LAN module, which means no more fruitless sitting around in airport terminals unable to log on to the Internet. As long as there’s a ‘hot spot’ access within reach you should have no problem checking your e-mails. Windows XP Professional comes pre-installed and there’s 30GB of storage space on the hard drive.
In the same box is a separate CD-ROM drive which is attached via PC Card, but there’s no floppy drive. It’s curious that a system that’s designed to be compact doesn’t make use of either of the two USB 2.0 ports (which are excellent for high-speed data transfer) to connect to the CD-ROM, as the other one would be perfectly adequate for digital cameras, MP3 players, removable storage drives, etc.
JVC has boosted the sound quality in its ‘CC Converter’ (Beethoven’s 9th Symphony had a particularly satisfying bass response) but like most notebooks, you don’t buy them principally for their sound reproduction while on the road. The 8.9-inch wide-screen SVGA display (1024 x 600 dots, 16 million colours), on the other hand, is impressive, with crisply defined icons and colours – video playback is especially good.
Despite its size, the keyboard handles pretty well after some practice but one main complaint is with the tracking mouse pointer, which needs to be elevated further above the keyboard to avoid striking keys by accident. That aside, it’s hard not be generally impressed with the amount of useful hardware and software that has been squeezed into such a small space.
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