Versatile Thinkpad can go from portable to full-blown...

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July 26, 1999|By Gareth Branwyn

Versatile Thinkpad can go from portable to full-blown desktop

IBM Thinkpads have always been coveted computers. The ad campaign in which workers fight over a departing employee's Thinkpad is not far from the truth.

The latest portable in the line is the Thinkpad 570 (starting at $2,663.95). This well-designed machine can be configured to act as everything from a 1-inch-thick, 4-pound featherweight to a full-blown desktop replacement system with multiple removable drives, a port replicator and external keyboard, mouse and monitor.

The basic system includes the 570 and an external floppy drive. An optional UltraBase ($119) adds two bays for disk drives (DVD, CD-ROM, SuperDrive, etc.) and a slot for a second battery. With the addition of the port replicator ($155), you can easily plug the unit into a desktop monitor and peripherals.

The 570 has a variety of configurations, including a 300 MHz or 366 MHz Pentium II and 4- or 6.4-megabyte hard drives. All but the lowest-priced system come with a crisp, 13.3-inch active matrix screen and all ship with a 56.6K internal modem.

The future of computing is mobility and fluidity, allowing users to adapt to changing conditions as they move from home to car to plane to office. The Thinkpad 570 is an impressive step in that direction.

Information: 888-411-1932 or www.thinkpad.com.

Small, responsive MailStation makes using e-mail easy, fun

Joining the growing list of low-cost e-mail and Web appliances is Cidco's new MailStation ($99.95-$149.95), a subnotebook-sized device with accompanying e-mail service. Targeted at late Internet adopters, senior citizens and those who want a second e-mail conduit, the MailStation is easy and fun to use.

Unlike devices that try to be mini-PCs with multiple features, the MailStation is designed mainly to send and receive e-mail. A simple calendar program and calculator are also included.

After you've set up your e-mail accounts (up to five), the built-in 36.6K modem dials at the touch of a button to send and receive your messages. You can also schedule the machine to dial up at regular intervals.

When the transfer is finished, the unit disconnects and soon shuts down. A flashing light lets you know if you have new messages. If you have existing accounts (standard, POP3 or AOL), you can have your mail forwarded to the MailStation.

The small keyboard is surprisingly responsive, although larger hands might have some trouble. I also wonder if seniors (a target market) will have trouble reading text on the 6- by 2.5-inch green LCD screen. An optional larger typeface improves legibility.

MailStation pricing depends on whether you pay the mail service fee monthly or yearly. If yearly, the unit is $99.95 and the service is $99.95. If you pay monthly, the device is $149.95 and the monthly charge is $9.95.

Information: 800-718-1242 or www.cidco.com

For reviews of these and other gadgets, visit www.streettech.com.

Pub Date: 07/26/99

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