Laptop supreme serves well as a replacement for most...


September 14, 1998|By Gareth Branwyn

Laptop supreme serves well as a replacement for most desktops

A big trend in mobile computing these days is "desktop replacement systems," laptops that have the firepower and features of desktop machines. These versatile computers used to cost big bucks. The latest generation, including Micron's Transport Trek 2, is more reasonably priced. The Transport Trek 2 comes in three models: a 233 MHz Pentium II for $2,400, a 266 MHz PII for $2,600, and the just-announced 300 MHz PII for $3,000.

The Trek 2 has almost everything you need to make you forget about a desktop unit: a 14.1-inch LCD screen, 64MB of SDRAM (upgradeable to 128MB), a 3.2-GB removable hard drive, 24X removable CD-ROM drive, 3.5-inch removable floppy drive, two PC card slots, a 4-megabyte, 3D graphics accelerator chip - the list goes on. You also get the usual suite of software, including Win98, MS Office 97 and Norton Antivirus.

The screen is obviously smaller than your desktop monitor, but the color is impressive. The stereo speakers, fed through large grills below the LCD screen, do justice to the machine's PCI sound chip. An amplified line-out jack allows you to connect external stereo speakers.

The only big drawback to the Transport Trek 2 (and similar systems) is its size and weight (7.2 pounds). It's also a struggle using a 14.1-inch screen on an airplane: "Hey mister, would you please put your seat up? I'm trying to design the Great American Web site here!"

Information: 800-209-9686 or Laptops, whether normal-size or extra-large, always have cramped keyboards. If you do a lot of work on a laptop, especially when it's your sole computer, the compressed keyboard becomes a nuisance. Darwin Keyboards has an intelligent solution: the NoteBoard ($69.95).

It's a full-size, 104-key keyboard with adjustable legs that hovers just above your laptop's embedded keyboard and plugs into your PS/2 port. The legs adjust in six positions to fit a wide range of laptops.

The NoteBoard is not only full-sized, but also well-designed, with an ample and comfortable wrist-rest. The optional NoteMouse can be purchased with the Note Board, bringing the total for the set to $89.95.

Information: 888-432-7946 or

You can find full reviews of these and other gadgets at

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