Laptop has everything that you need, but needs to lose 0...

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October 19, 1998|By Gareth Branwyn

Laptop has everything that you need, but needs to lose 0) weight

Over the last few weeks, I've had a chance to spend some time with Dell's Inspiron 7000 D300LT on my lap (and boy, are my thighs tired!).

This $4,000 behemoth is 9 plus pounds of high-performance excitement with a 300 MHz Pentium II, 8-gigabyte hard drive and a 15-inch active-matrix monitor. It's not the kind of laptop you'd want to toss into your backpack for a retreat to your fortress of solitude at the North Pole, but if you need a serious PC with mobility, this system delivers.

The Inspiron 7000 is loaded with such impressive features as 128 of RAM, a Toshiba DVD-ROM/3.5-inch floppy combo, an 8 MB, 3D video card, PCI-based 3D surround-sound chip, built-in 56K modem, two USB ports and a Lithium Ion battery that gives you almost 2.5 hours of real-world power.

The only thing lacking was the stereo speakers that are ported out of thin slits on the sides of the unit. To get the most out of the sound chip (when the laptop's on your desk, anyway), you'll need external speakers.

I also found the 7000 odd looking, with all sorts of overhangs, curves in strange places and weird angles - no door to protect all of the plug ports in the back! But hey, contrary to popular $H opinion, I think the iMac looks tacky.

The latest issue of Maximum PC gives the Inspiron 7000 a perfect 10. That may be an overstatement, but if you need a high-performance laptop and you're not bothered by the price tag and Herculean requirements of carrying it around, you can't go wrong with this machine. An Inspiron 7000 with less memory, a smaller hard drive and fewer features is also available.

Information: 800-932-435 or www.dell.com

GenX BioThrottle helps you control flight, racing games

QuickShot Technology has added a little something to the analog/digital joystick with their $50 (try not to giggle) GenX 700K joystick.

Called a BioThrottle, the GenX's secondary controller sits to the left of the joystick proper and slides forward and back along the joystick base. For games that use a throttle (such as flight and racing simulators), you can set up the BioThrottle to accelerate and decelerate your vehicle. The throttle also has an extra set of four digital fire buttons under your fingers and thumb.

Another standout feature of the GenX 700K is a rotational 3D handle, giving you, in addition to X- and Y-axis control, rotational and side-to-side, torso-style movement. A 4-position multiview switch sits on top of the joystick; LEDs on the base tell you which mode you're in (digital or combined analog/digital).

The GenX 700 is freakishly large and looks uncomfortable, but it's not. With a weighted base, it sits securely on your lap.

The controller's only significant drawback is that it cannot be customized. Unlike other joysticks in its class, it comes with no software to change button functions. You have to do that within your game software.

Information: 408-263-4163 or www.quickshot.com

Look for full reviews of these and other neat gadgets at www.streettech.com.

Pub Date: 10/19/98

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