Breaking with the ritualistic structure of how reviews are supposed to go, we’re going to start with the criticisms here. The reason for this clearly radical approach will shortly become clear.
The Mobeus AV is a laptop that doesn’t lend itself to anyone with big hands. Its thumbpad lacks a ridged edge, meaning your fingers will frequently slip off it. It’s not much cop if you want to play games and we also found the screen release catch a little fiddly.
But that’s it. Our grumbles stop there, as for the purposes it’s clearly intended for, the Mobeus AV is an excellent piece of kit. Aimed at both the mobile worker and someone looking for a portable entertainment centre, the Mobeus has two killer tricks, both activated by hitting the ‘P’ button on the top right of the keyboard.
That button, when the machine is off, instantly – and we mean instantly – takes you to a media centre-style menu. Where it differs from many such media centre devices though is that you have hard drive access. This means that in addition to the usual CD and DVD playback options you’d expect, you can draw upon media files already resident on the machine, such as MP3 songs. CyberLink’s PowerCinema software is the package behind the scenes that does all this, and it’s intuitive to the point where you’d be hard pressed to spot that it wasn’t a Windows application.
The other use for that ‘P’ button is when the machine is working as a PC. One tap of the ‘P’ and in kicks stealth mode, which clocks down the processor when its full power isn’t required (for instance when word processing) and consequently saves on battery life. Employed properly, this mode can extend the already impressive three to four hour battery life to nearer five hours.
Its portability is aided considerably by the lightness of the unit and its slimline casing. Furthermore it has a minimal footprint, and while this does result in a slightly cramped keyboard, there’s no denying just how easy it is to cart around.
The machine itself packs a Pentium M 1.6GHz processor, along with 512MB RAM, a 40GB hard drive, integrated 802.11g capabilities, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive and an impressive 12.1-inch wide aspect display. MV offers numerous upgrade options, but as it stands, for the price it’s a punchy machine. It also, incidentally, comes with Ability Office, Panda AntiVirus and WinDVD, along with Windows XP.
The bottom line here is that for your money you’re getting a versatile, extremely portable machine. It’s as happy entertaining you as it is providing a vehicle for you to work with, and providing you never want to put a 3D game near it, it’s a desirable little package.
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