Elonex ProWire E-W review

£1106
Price when reviewed

Only three notebooks in this Labs boast a 2GHz Core Duo T2500 processor, and one of them is the Elonex ProWire E-W. The others, Dell and Hi-Grade, sit first and second in the 2D performance chart, but the Elonex falls slightly behind with 0.94.

Elonex ProWire E-W review

With such similar core components – including the Intel 945 chipset and 1GB of DDR2 RAM – the only major difference is the ProWire’s hard disk. Not only is it 20GB smaller than the others at 80GB, but crucially it spins at 4,200 rather than 5,400rpm. That’s not to say it isn’t a powerful machine, and you’d be hard-pressed to notice the difference in day-to-day use.

Like the Dell, the Elonex isn’t a gaming machine, relying on integrated Intel graphics for 3D processing. But unlike the 9400, the ProWire uses a much smaller chassis. The 14.1in screen matches the 15.4in contenders with a 1,280 x 800 resolution, and weight is kept to a reasonable 2.6kg.

It isn’t as portable as the Asus W5F or Sony’s SZ1M, but it’s a workable compromise between screen size and weight for those who split their time between the office and the road. However, Samsung’s X60 has a 15.4in screen and weighs the same. The Elonex offers reasonable battery life; you’ll see around three hours, 48 minutes with light use, but, again, this is soundly beaten by the Sony.

More bad news comes from our judges, who didn’t like the dark, drab styling. Also, the keyboard came under fire, as the left half was flimsy and all the keys were rattly. Overall build quality isn’t up to the standard of the Dell or Sony, leaving the screen less protected than the competition. It’s also awkward having all four USB ports together in a cluster on the right-hand side, rather than spread out around the casing. There’s an optional port replicator, though; it costs £55 and has VGA, Ethernet, parallel and four more USB ports.

Like the Dell and Evesham, it’s great to see Windows XP Media Center Edition installed. But like the other two, there’s no remote control in the box nor a TV tuner. You can add these for £84 exc VAT. There’s a webcam and integrated microphone, though, and we appreciated the basic carry case and copy of Works Suite 2005 in the box.

At £1,106, the three-year collect-and-return warranty is what we’d expect (something lacking from others at this price), but overall the ProWire doesn’t stack up against the others here. It can’t claim the best portability or power.

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