Does RM's new portable offering really have it all? Desmond De Araujo thinks it's tough call
What's makes an ideal laptop? Power, features, connectivity and design are key elements and RM has taken all into account in producing the nBook Pro 6000. So is it an ideal laptop? It's not far off. It's powerful, with great features, excellent connectivity options and is also sleek. Encased elegantly in silver, and measuring just 354mm x 273mm x 29.9mm, it weighs just 2.8kg which, although it isn't the lightest notebook on the market, isn't much when you consider what it houses.
Most important, however, it has superb mobile processing power. It uses Intel Centrino mobile technology and the review model I was supplied with included a 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M processor, 1Gb of memory and a 60Gb hard disk. This dealt comfortably with a variety of multimedia applications and delivered exceptional mobile performance, with reliable and high-speed communication using both wired and wireless connections.
One of the key features is "hot-swap" technology that allows you to swap devices instantly - for example a second hard drive or battery or a different optical drive - using a quick-release button. Another well thought out aspect is the Audio DJ feature that enables users to enjoy their favourite music without actually starting Windows. This supports CD, MP3, DVD and VCD playback, and the multimedia control buttons are found, conveniently, on the left-hand edge.
Although not its primary purpose, the nBook Pro 6000 can be used as a mobile cinema. You can enjoy your favorite DVDs in style with the laptop's brilliant widescreen TFT and impressive four-way surround-sound speakers.
The high-quality graphics card (Mobility Radeon 9700) provides fine visual capabilities. Game players will be more than happy.
There are also a few neat, subtle touches. Instant launch keys allow you to launch your email and internet applications at the touch of a button. You can also disable and enable the touchpad and wireless LAN instantly, as well as toggle effortlessly between power-saving modes. The touchpad works smoothly and incorporates standard left and right buttons as well as up and down (roller) buttons. The keyboard has quality light-touch keys that operate with minimal noise.
The nBook Pro 6000 has outstanding connectivity options. There is a modem port, a LAN port, a FireWire port, four USB ports, an infrared port, a flash memory slot, a PC card slot, a parallel port, a monitor port and a TV-out port.
Although this should be more than enough for most, RM has even included an expansion port that can be used to connect an additional Slice Dock (pound;54) that offers even further connectivity. The Slice Dock includes four additional USB ports and further network, monitor and printer ports.
The battery life is good - up to four hours (more than enough to watch a whole DVD) and can be enhanced using the laptop's various power management modes. And the hot-swap technology adds extra assurance, allowing you to replace the optical drive with a backup battery.
The nBook Pro 6000 is an excellent laptop, emphasising the fact that RM doesn't just produce computers for schools. Other manufacturers will have to put in a lot of hours to beat this one.
Fujitsu Siemens P Series Lifebook 7010 Lightweight laptop with Pentium M (Centrino) processor running at 1.1 GHz, Windows XP Pro, 504 Mb of memory, 76 Gb hard disc, one firewire and two USB connections, WiFi (802.11bg), modem and Ethernet (10100), card slots for PC, CompactFlash, Secure Disc, multimedia disc and Sony Memory Stick Pro Price, pound;1,316 ex VAT
Fitness for purpose *****
Ease of use ****
Value for money ****