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Aboard the starship Centerprise

The search for the ideal laptop may just have reached a happy ending for Jack Kenny as he falls for a new Centerprise

The quest for the perfect portable. What makes a particular one stand out? One of my main requirements is lightness and the current favourite is a Fujitsu B110 Lifebook which weighs in at 1.5kg. That means I can take it almost anywhere without it being a burden. There are consequences, the keyboard is tiny and the screen is small but I am prepared for that. Before thinking of buying a portable you have to be clear what you will require it to do. What is your requirement in the perfect portable? Will it play second fiddle to a desktop? Will it be carried a great deal? Will you use it from the mains most of the time? Will you use it as your main machine?

The slimline Centerprise NB540i is heavier at 2.5kg but as a consequence it has a better keyboard. It also has many more connection ports and one disk drive is integral. You can choose between the CD-Rom or the floppy drive and you can swap them over without having to re-boot.

The screen (SVGA graphics) is a key feature and at 14 inches it is superb and the equal of a desktop. It is the best screen that I have seen in this price range. With many portables you yearn for a desktop - not wth this one.

A sign of the times, the 56K modem is seen as essential and is built in so you can be on the Internet very quickly. Another sign is that the hard disk is removable. You could share the machine with someone else and yet keep your own work secure. You can also use it to share work.

If you must, you can plug a monitor in with ease. The mouse pad is more positive than most and you might not feel the urge to override it with a conventional mouse.

This is a versatile machine, that is attractive to look at and so smooth and sleek that I initially couldn't find the CD drive. If you are in the market for a new computer, you could consider this. It might be that this machine will be the only one that you need. It is one of the recommended laptops for the Government's subsidy scheme for teachers in England.

Some people believe that the days of the desktop are numbered. You can begin to see what they mean with the NB540i.

Centerprise NB540i from Centerprise InternationalStatistics: 400 MHz, Pentium11, 4.3 gigabyte disk, 64mb RAM. Dimensions: 314mmx255mmx29.8mm.Price: pound;1,265Tel: 01256 378000


Suitability for purpose ****

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