Product Profile of Two Notebooks

Compaq Presario 1090ES 
by Terian Tyre

The first Compaq notebook PC being made available to educators and students under their Educator Purchase Program, the new Presario 1090ES has a lot to offer. Itís based on their 1060ES model, which institutions could previously buy, but not individual teachers or students. That model sold out and was replaced by the 1090ES, which debuted at NECC this June.

The differences are upgrades in processor and CD-ROM speed, a bigger hard disk and other details. All of which equate to more machine for about the same price. Under the Educator Purchase Program, that price starts at $2,600.

From this editor's use of a 1060ES, several features of Presario notebooks stand out.

First, the keyboard feels good -- not mushy or sticky. And the keys are set way back, so one's palms rest comfortably on the notebook itself. An integrated touchpad can be programmed with "intelligent edge detection" and more. A port to attach an external mouse or full-sized keyboard is standard and you don't need to reset the machine to recognize it.

The dual-scan SVGA screen is bright, crisp and big. Screen performance is snappy due to 128-bit accelerated graphics. Function keys adjust contrast and brightness.

Audio performance is outstanding on these notebooks. Compaq lured away Bose engineers to design the speakers, resulting in stereo sound that is rich and full, with a big bass presence. Two holes in the front edge of the unit are evidence of internal chambers used to create those bass notes.

Between the 16-bit PremierSound audio system, built-in 14x CD-ROM drive and bundled educational software that now includes HyperStudio, the 1090ES is truly multimedia-ready. For playing audio CDs in the unit, Easy Access buttons for play, stop, etc. are located on the front edge so that you can still use them when the top is closed.

A good selection of software is included with a 1090ES, but students and teachers also get their choice of one of six Compaq LearningPaqs, which comprise a dozen or more applications. Three suit K-12, two suit higher education and one is just for teachers. ClarisWorks, so prevalent in education, has also just been added to most of the LearningPaqs.

The Presario 1090ES is available now. Compaq Computer Corp., Houston, TX, (800) 836-0149,

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Tech Specs

150MHz Pentium CPU

16MB RAM (up to 48MB)

1.4GB hard disk

Internal 33.6 fax modem

14X built-in CD-ROM drive

Floppy diskette drive

10Base-T Ethernet PC card (upgrade to 100Mbps)

800x600 display; up to 1024x768 on external monitor

Lithium Ion rechargeable battery

16-bit stereo sound and integrated speakers

One Type III or two Type II PCMCIA slots

Three-year warranty (parts and labor)

Educator Purchase Program Price: $2,599


Gateway Solo 2200 
by Jeff Carmona

Educators who wish to buy their first notebook PC, as well as those experienced in mobile computing, should take a close look at the Gateway Solo 2200, which promises to do almost anything a desktop unit can. This model brings to market the latest technology backed by research in three core areas: usability, design and functionality.

Gateway 2000 introduced its Solo Multimedia line in August 1995, and since then has made a number of improvements. Topping the list, the Solo 2200 represents the firmís most modular notebook to date, with customers able to select the CPU, hard disk capacity, amount of memory, type of battery, screen size, docking solution and other features.

This build-to-order approach assures that every administrator, teacher or student gets a system tailored to their specific needs. In addition, key components such as the CD-ROM drive, floppy drive, and power supply can be shared between any member of the Solo family. If repairs or upgrades are necessary, simply remove the old component and put in a new one.

The Solo 2200 also offers "best-in-its-class" performance for presentations and graphic-intensive applications. Highlights include a SVGA display, 64-bit video with 2MB of EDO VRAM, and NTSC/PAL video output (for connecting the unit to a TV set or LCD projector). A Wavetable Music Synthesizer provides rich 3D sound.

When it comes time to share information with a desktop PC, users will appreciate the Solo 2200's docking solutions (sold separately). A mini-docking station has all the basic port replication, expansion for PCMCIA slots, and an IrDA-1 compatible infrared device. The full docking station connects the notebookís monitor, sound system, fax and network capabilities to the outside world.

Available now, the Gateway Solo 2200 ships pre-loaded with Windows 95 and Microsoft Office 97. Two Educational Bundles bring together popular CD-ROM titles for grades K-3 and grades 4-8 respectively.Gateway 2000, North Sioux City, SD, (800) 846-2000,

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Tech Specs

Pentium CPU (120, 133, 150 or 166MHz)

16MB RAM (up to 72MB)

1, 1.3 or 2GB hard disk

Modular 8X CD-ROM drive

Modular floppy diskette drive

800x600 display; up to 1024x768 on external monitor

Lithium Ion or Nickel Hydride rechargeable battery

16-bit stereo sound and integrated speakers

One Type III PCMCIA or two Type II slots

Mini or full docking station (optional)

One year limited warranty with VIP Express option

Pricing depends on configuration


In recent months, several companies have introduced notebook computers that are smaller, lighter and faster than ever before. Various improvements address the needs of mobile presenters as well as those looking to replace their desktop PC entirely. For example, all of the following products incorporate Intel Pentium processors with MMX technology, which allows the CPU to process certain types of data typically found in multimedia and graphics software simultaneously. As a result, users can experience life-like color, full-screen video, real-time animation and 3D audio on their notebooks, previously the domain of strictly high-end desktop PCs.

First, the PC-9800T from Sharp Electronics sports a 166MHz Pentium processor with MMX, 12.1î XGA resolution LCD, internal 33.6Kbps fax/modem and 10X CD-ROM drive. A Universal Serial Bus (USB) enables plug-and-play functionality with some 127 peripherals.

Educators will find that the PC-9800T has many features previously found only on desktop machines, such as 64-bit Peripheral Component Interface (PCI). For dynamic presentations, Super High Aperture technology increases screen brightness by 43% and decreases power consumption by 38% (compared to earlier LCDs).

A built-in IrDA 1.1-compliant port lets one wirelessly connect to a LAN, printer or another PC. Puma Technologyís TranXit software simplifies the swapping of data and synchronization of files with other IR-equipped PCs. Sharp Electronics Corp., Mahwah, NJ, (800) BE-SHARP,

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Fujitsu PC offers four new LifeBook computers based on MMX processors. Select configurations come pre-loaded with Microsoft Windows NT on request.

Priced under $2000, the LifeBook 435Dx features a 133MHz processor, 12.1î DSTN screen, 16MB of EDO RAM, 1.3GB hard drive and a modular 10X CD-ROM drive. The 435Dx shares many common accessories with the LifeBook 500 series, including battery and docking options.

The LifeBook 565Tx is the first model to deliver advanced video with 128-bit graphics and TV output, and advanced sound with 3D audio. With Fujitsuís MediaConnect, a pocket-sized module, one can extend the 565Txís connectivity ports. This 166MHz machine also has a built-in speakerphone for conference calls.

Finally, the LifeBook 635Tx and 656Tx are among the thinnest and lightest MMX notebooks in their class. A mobile Enhancement Unit provides stereo speakers, a port replicator and simultaneous access to a floppy drive and CD-ROM drive. Both models come with an internal 33.6Kbps fax/modem.

An expanded international warranty program allows customers to access toll-free technical support 24 hours/7 days a week from anywhere in the U.S., Asia, Europe or Australia. Fujitsu PC Corp., Milpitas, CA, (408) 935-8800,

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IBM has added 13.3" displays to selected ThinkPad 760 series notebooks and upgraded the ThinkPad 560 series with Pentium MMX processors. The firm's SystemCare package brings together technology, financing, service and support.

ThinkPad 765 models now feature 166MHz processors, up to 3GB of hard drive space and 32MB RAM (expandable to 104MB). An extra hard drive may be inserted into the unitís UltraBay for a total storage capacity of 6GB. For easy connectivity, the ThinkPad 765 provides a PC Card slot and docking station.

The ThinkPad 560E, meanwhile, offers 245K of level 2 cache and either a 150MHz or 166MHz processor. Other highlights are 2MB VRAM, 64-bit video acceleration, 16-bit audio and infrared capability.

All ThinkPad 765 and 560E models come pre-loaded with the following Lotus software: WordPro word processor, 1-2-3 spreadsheet, Freelance graphics, Approach database and Organizer scheduler. IBM Corp., Somers, NY, (800) IBM-4EDU,

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Finally, the Dell Latitude XPi CD M166ST delivers improved performance, yet retains compatibility with the batteries, memory, peripherals and docking stations from five previous generations. This design approach lowers the cost for customers by allowing them to reuse key system components.

For roughly $4200, one can order an XPi with a 166MHz Pentium MMX processor, 16MB RAM, 1.6GB hard drive, 10X CD-ROM drive and 12.1î SVGA active-matrix display. Four internal speakers with 3D Spatializer technology provide high-quality stereo sound.

Dell also offers two new advanced PC Cards, co-branded with 3Com: a 10/100 Fast Ethernet 32-bit card and a LAN+33.6 modem card. If desired, notebooks ship pre-installed with Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0. Dell Computer Corp., Round Rock, TX, (800) 388-8542,

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This article originally appeared in the 08/01/1997 issue of THE Journal.