The 'Book Review

'Rolls Royce of Laptops', Notebook Fuel Cell, Tiny Battery Monitor, Mac Feet, and More

This Week's PowerBook and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.03.11

The week's PowerBook, iBook, and Notebook news

General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

'Book News

Windows Watch

Bargain 'Books

Apple Polishes PowerBook Line: Rolls-Royce of Laptops

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Performance Comparison: 14" iBook G4/1.33 GHz & 12" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz

MacReviewZone's Ask Johnny Appleseed has posted a comparison between a 1.33 GHz 14" iBook with SuperDrive vs. the bottom of the line 1.5 GHz 12" PowerBook.

The PowerBook tested from 15% to 69% faster depending on the benchmark test run.

Notebooks Squeeze Juice out of Fuel Cells

CNET's Michael Kanellos reports:

"Though a number of companies have shown off fuel cells for cell phones and MP3 players, a company out of New Jersey says it has come up with one that can power a notebook.

"Millennium Cell is showing off a fuel cell at the Intel Developer Forum that it says can run a notebook for eight hours. The company's goal is to produce fuel cells for notebook manufacturers by 2007.

"Fuel cells are tiny power packs that generate electricity through a chemical reaction between oxygen and a fuel such as methanol. Unlike most other fuel cells, this one doesn't rely on methanol. Instead, it extracts hydrogen from a metal-hydrogen compound (in the prototype, it's sodium hydride). Methanol provides less energy than hydrogen - which is why most developers are aiming fuel cells at low-energy devices like MP3 players - but it is easier to store.

"Millennium Cell gets around the hydrogen production and storage problem with a plastic box, measuring 3 inches by 5 inches by 1 inch, that sits alongside the notebook. This box converts the metallic hydride into hydrogen. Ultimately, this unit will be capable of being integrated into notebooks."

SlimBatteryMonitor 1.3 Battery Meter Monitors Laptop & UPS Power

SlimBatteryMonitorPR: SlimBatteryMonitor is a replacement power gauge for Mac OS X that monitors both laptop batteries and many UPS batteries. Multiple-battery systems (e.g. older PowerBooks) are supported as well. A graphical icon shows the power remaining, and can be accompanied by a text description (battery charge in percent, or time remaining). Colours can indicate whether the system is fully charged, charging or on battery.

  • Takes up to 70% less space than Apple's monitor.
  • Monitors laptop batteries and many UPS batteries as well.
  • Select different views for when powered, charging or on battery.
  • Monitor can hide itself automatically when desired.
  • Three different text displays show percent full or time remaining
  • Much smaller than Mac OS X's gauge

SlimBatteryMonitorBest of all, you can choose different display options for each battery state (fully charged, charging or on battery). You may wish to see the time remaining while on battery, for example, but show only the icon during charging, and hide SlimBatteryMonitor entirely when batteries are fully charged.

SlimBatteryMonitorAgrees closely with Apple's monitor, as both are producing a gauge from the same raw data. SlimBatteryMonitor is a better choice because it presents the same information in a much more space efficient manner, allowing you to fit other menu bar items on the screen as well.

SlimBatteryMonitor operates as a background application, so it won't use up a space in your dock. It is compatible with Mac OS X 10.2 and up, and it is very easy to configure.

New in this version:

  • Added a French localization (credit to Daniel Robillard)
  • Added a Czech localization (credit to Frantisek Erben)
  • Improved SlimBatteryMonitor's memory footprint by correcting a minor memory leak associated with the system's update of battery status.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.2 and up

SlimBatteryMonitor is freeware.

iProtect Cleaning Cloth

PR: The iProtect Cleaning Cloth is a convenient way to clean an LCD screen. Each side has a different surface for the most comprehensive cleaning requirements. One side is micro fine for removing all dust particles. The other side is more course for removing fingerprints and grease.

Safely remove greasy fingerprints and dust from your LCD monitor.

The iProtect Cleaning Cloth is made with ultrafine microfibers especially to effectively remove dust particles, grease and fingerprints that reside on the LCD surface.

iProtect LCD Cleaning Cloths do not scratch the LCD surface but will pick up and hold particles from the LCD screen.

iProtect LCD Cleaning Cloths have two different surfaces designed to effectively clean LCD screens. The soft vanquished surface (front surface) is designed for fine particle removal and dust cleaning. The rough and interlacing strands of the knitted surface (reverse side) is designed to clean fingerprints, grease and marks on the surface etc.

The iProtect LCD Cleaning Cloth features a fringe wave design that will not scrape the LCD panel compared to the fringe stitch found commonly on most cleaning cloths.

Cleaning Applications:

  • Use soft surface of the cloth to clean fine particle and dust from the object
  • Use rough surface of cloth to remove fingerprint or grease; rub gently
  • To get rid of stubborn grease damp the cloth with water, clean gently and wipe
  • Cloth is machine washable; use only PH-Neutral agent; tumble-dry
  • After drying, keep cloth in the protective box it is packaged in.

The iProtect Cleaning cloth is ideal for cleaning LCD displays, notebook computers, MP3 players, lenses, compact discs, computers, cameras, musical instruments, and a large range of optical equipment.

Temperature Monitor 2.5 Displays Current CPU Temperature

PR: Temperature Monitor is an application to read out all available temperature sensors in Macintosh computers. The program can display and visualize measured values in a large variety of fashions. The application supports the following operations on the measured readings:

  • display in a default window
  • output in a screen display in front or in the background of the screen
  • tabular display in an overview window
  • display in the menu-bar
  • display of a maximum of two readings in the Dock
  • graphical display of short-term and long-term history curves
  • speech output of readings
  • display of minimum and maximum values
  • export to text files

Moreover, the application can display additional technical information about your computer. Among other information this includes:

  • Processor type
  • Processor and bus frequencies
  • Manufacturing information

Of course the application can read out the data only if your computer is equipped with the necessary sensors, and if Mac OS X can access them without needing third-party device drivers. Beginning in summer 2002, Apple has begun to massively drive forward the use of monitoring probes in the PowerMac series, the Xserve series, and in portable computers. Some models are equipped with 38 and more sensors. But Temperature and Hardware Monitor can detect sensors on many older systems as well if they are available.

Note that Apple does not support an official or standardized way of reading out sensor data in Mac OS X (the only exception is the Server Monitor application for the Xserve series). Moreover, there is no documentation or other technical note about the individual function of the sensors. For this reason, the development of Temperature Monitor and Hardware Monitor is very costly because the necessary data has to be determined by reverse engineering and tests run on a variety of computer models.

New in this version:

  • Added support for the 12", 15", and 17" PowerBook G4 models released in February 2005. Note that current versions of Mac OS X are not capable of refreshing most temperature sensor readings of the February 2005 15" model and the February 2005 17" model.
  • Support for temperature sensors of several hard disk models has been added.
  • Added new feature to display disk monitoring detail data for Apple Xserve drive modules.
  • Added new feature to display the number of charge/discharge cycles as well as the maximum capacity of battery units of portable computers (Hardware Monitor only). This feature is only available on Mac OS X versions which are capable of supporting this.
  • History data and current sensor readings can now also be exported in CSV format in addition to text files.
  • Because different versions of Mac OS X handle the sign of the battery amperage values differently (indicating that the battery is charging or discharging), Hardware Monitor will now display positive values only to avoid confusion.
  • By user request it is now possible to launch the Lite version from the preferences panel of the full version. This allows a simple switch between the Lite and full version when the user wants to change preference settings for the menu-bar display.
  • Fixed a problem where the option to display readings in Celsius and Fahrenheit simultaneously could cause an incorrect display of temperature extreme values in the minimum/maximum window.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.2.5 or higher

Temperature Monitor is freeware.

Targus Offers One-Stop Online Shop for Customizing Universal Power Adapters

PR: Targus Inc., maker of notebook cases and accessories, has announced the launch of its online Tip Store. Targus' new device-specific adapter tips are available for current and previous models of its universal power adapters and allow users to power a notebook computer (including iBooks and PowerBooks), mobile phone, camera, DVD player, MP3 player, PDA, or printer.

Targus' line of universal power adapters allows mobile professionals to charge their devices through standard AC wall outlets at home or at work, or through DC outlets found in the car or on a plane. Targus' universal power adapters eliminate the need to carry more than one power source while traveling and reduce carrying case weight. Device-compatible tips for Targus power adapters are available for most major notebook and consumer electronics brands, and the company will continue to add new tips as different notebook models and other devices emerge in the market. Currently, Targus has tips compatible with more than 3,900 notebooks and 800 digital devices. Users can quickly and easily find the correct tip for their device by using Targus' online Tip Configurator.

"The addition of our online Tip Store allows customers to completely customize any of our power adapters to suit their individual needs," said Scott Smith, senior product manager for Targus. "By allowing customers to power one or multiple devices with one adapter system, we have reduced the total cost of ownership and eliminated the need for mobile professionals to carry a dedicated power source for each device."

Available in Q1 of 2005, customers can also purchase Targus' optional Accessory Power Adapter cable to allow multiple devices to be charged simultaneously. The expansion cable can be used in conjunction with select models of Targus' universal power adapters.

Tips for Targus Power Adapters are available on the Targus website. The tips have a suggested retail price of $9.99, plus $2.00 shipping and handling, and include Targus' limited two-year warranty. The Accessory Power Adapter will be available in Q1 of this year on the Targus website. The adapter has a suggested retail price of $19.99 and includes a limited two-year warranty.

Laptop LegsLapWorks Launches Mac Feet and Laptop Legs

PR: LapWorks Inc., maker of ergonomic mobile computing accessories that reduce the heat in laptops, today announced Mac Feet for Mac notebooks and Laptop Legs for PC notebooks. The sturdy, easy-to-attach laptop legs (2 per notebook computer) elevate the back or front of the laptop for improved typing ergonomics and increased cooling and ventilation underneath the laptop. They fit all standard notebooks.

Laptop Legs"During the past few years, manufacturers have designed out the flip-down laptop legs which once came on most laptops," said Jose Calero, LapWorks' president. "The legs propped up the back of a laptop allowing air circulation underneath. Even though a good idea, the legs kept breaking. As a result, the manufacturers were receiving back perfectly good laptops to perform warranty work on an inexpensive component." Calero added, "We've developed a durable solution for these missing feet."

Today's high performance laptops create excessive heat, which, if not dissipated, can cause sluggish performance, screen freezing and a reduced life span for the computer. An operating laptop sitting atop a flat surface will not only damage the laptop if not ventilated properly, but also can damage table/desk finishes. The flip-down Laptop Legs/Mac Feet elevate the rear of a laptop to a choice of two heights - 1" or 1-3/8" - cooling the laptop and protecting the surface it is resting on.

Mac FeetThe durable, polycarbonate plastic legs are easy to apply. Just peel the adhesive backing and press into place on the bottom of any notebook computer - two per notebook. A set of two Laptop Legs or Mac Feet weighs only one quarter of an ounce. The Legs/Feet are designed to support a constant weight load of 15 pounds indefinitely. They carry a one-year warranty from date of purchase .

Customers can also use the Legs/Feet to elevate desktop keyboards, desktop telephones, calculators, etc.

LapWorks' Laptop Legs and Mac Feet are available from and Later this year, they will be available at numerous retail locations both domestically and internationally.

The Mac Feet, available only in white, will sell for $24.95 in packages of four (two sets) each. Until April 30 both are $19.95 direct from LapWorks.

Macally Travel Roller CB-DSRL

Macally Travel RollerPR: Features of the Macally Travel Roller CB-DSRL:

  • Sophisticated Roller with integrated side water bottle pocket
  • Substantial interior space
  • Removable padded laptop sleeve to fit Apple PowerBooks up to 17"
  • Hideaway handle
  • Flip-out organizer pocket
  • Non-slip, shock absorbing elastic shoulder strap
  • Lightweight, durable 1680 Denier water proof nylon for superior protection
  • Telescopic mono-pole


  • Dimensions: W 13.5" x L 19" x H 7"
  • 3 year warranty

Part Number: CB-DSRL

MSRP: $79

ThermaPAK Laptop Cooling Sleeve

ThermaPAKPR: Introducing ThermaPAK, a portable solution to hot notebook computers.

The ThermaPAK Laptop Sleeve offers a convenient travel companion for your notebook computer. Containing CoolPad Technology to redirect and store heat, ThermaPAK is a viable, ideal solution to the heat problems faced by notebook computer users. Best of all, you don't have to ditch your old, expensive carrying case; the ThermaPAK fits in it too.


The ThermaPAK Laptop Sleeve is your defense against excess laptop heat. Whether it's your lap or that antique table you've inherited from grandma, ThermaPAK keeps it protected.


The patent-pending CoolPad Technology incorporates novel use of phase change materials and industrial design to allow you and your notebook to "beat the heat." These elements allow the ThermaPAK Laptop Sleeve to absorb excess heat coming from your notebook.


Whether you're in the cafe, park, or at home, ThermaPAK continues to cool without any power outlet or batteries. When you're done, just stow your laptop in the sleeve and go. It's that easy.


  • CoolPad Technology protects against the hottest laptops
  • Fits laptops with screens up to 15.1"
  • Padded material protects from dings and scratches
  • Waterproof neoprene material
  • Zipped-shut enclosure
  • Prevents Heat Buildup Inside Your Notebook
  • Patent-Pending CoolPad Technology
  • Stow and Go Design
  • Built with rugged materials, ThermaPAK can take a lickin' or two.

Dimensions And Weight:

  • 15.25" W x 11.5" H x 2" D
  • 1 lb (0.453 kg)

Price: $49.99

MaxSleeve Impact Resistant Protective Sleeve for PowerBooks, iBooks

MaxSleevePR: MaxSleeve is an impact resistant sleeve for PowerBooks that provides maximum shock protection while carrying your PowerBook computer. MaxSleeve is made of Visco-Elastic Memory Foam which exhibits an excellent resistance against impact and shock.

MaxSleeve tightly envelopes the whole notebook, providing padded protection from all sides and direction against external impact or shock.


  • High Impact resistance polyurethane foam for shock absorption from all sides.
  • Thick Foam padding throughout the entire surface of the notebook.
  • Two zippers pull design.
  • Closed zipper type, zippers doesn't come in contact with the PowerBook.
  • Slips easily in Notebook bag or brief case.
  • Sizes to fit all current PowerBooks and iBooks.

Price: $23.50 - $27.99

PowerBook Sudden Motion Sensor - AMS Visualizer

Amit Singh says:

"Apple added a feature called Sudden Motion Sensor (SMS) to the PowerBook line in early 2005. The sensor attempts to prevent data loss by parking the heads of an active disk drive after detecting a 'sudden motion', which could be due to strong vibrations or a fall.

"The SMS is also called the Mobile Motion Module. The Mac OS X kernel refers to it as 'ams', for Apple Motion Sensor....

"In modern disk drives, the 'flying height' between the platter and the head is very small. This increases the possibility of a disturbed head colliding with the platter. Modern drives support 'parking' their heads in a safe position under various circumstances. In particular, heads are automatically parked when a system is powered off or sleeping. AMS adds the ability to park the heads in the event of an accidental drop, strong vibrations, or other abrupt movements....

"AMS can be accessed from user-space for various purposes, such as:

  • Querying miscellaneous information such as vendor, version, and status
  • Getting and setting sensitivity
  • Upgrading firmware
  • Resetting the AMS hardware
  • Retrieving orientation values....

"amstracker is a simple command-line utility that retrieves and displays x, y, and z orientation values (in that order) from the AMS hardware (technically, from the AMS driver in the kernel)....

"AMS Visualizer is a logical graphical extension of the amstracker command-line tool. It displays a 3D image of a PowerBook 15 that appears to 'hang' in space. Note that the PowerBook model is hard coded, but it would be easy to make the image correspond to the physical machine the program is being run on. The orientation of the onscreen image is a real-time approximation of the computer's physical orientation. Thus, if you tilt the PowerBook left, the image will immediately tilt left; if you roll the PowerBook backwards, the image will roll backwards, and so on....

"While the PowerBook only uses the AMS as a defensive measure to prevent accidental damage to the disk drive, such sensors could have a variety of uses. In particular, they have been considered as alternative input methods in user interfaces for video game controllers, phones, PDAs, and other mobile devices. While it is to be seen if they will be successful in these areas, such use at least has a novelty value."

Bubblegym 0.2 Tilt-sensitive Game for 2005 PowerBooks

PR: Bubblegym is possibly the very first computer game that reacts to how the machine is tilted. The 2005 PowerBooks have a chip on the logic board that is there to signal if the computer is dropped. Thanks to Amit Singh ( this chip's values can be read and utilized for your amusement. The game play is simple, control the balls by leaning the computer and get to the clouds before they disappear.

  • New in this version:
  • It turned out that the 12" PowerBooks report the angles differently from the 15" that I had access to (I desperately need hardware for this project). 12" PowerBook owners should now have correct gaming experience. Please mail feedback if it doesn't work.
  • Also fixes a little bug where the cloud could appear half outside the screen.

System requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.3.8
  • 2005 PowerBook (only tested on a 15")

For other models the arrow keys sort of simulate tilting but not really.

Bubblegym is $6/donate what you think it is worth shareware.

Control iTunes with PowerBook Accelerometer

Interconnected's Matt Webb says:

"Apple's PowerBook laptops now have a little accelerometer inside that's used to protect the hard drive if you drop it (it notices the sudden speed increase and parks the drive heads). This guy has found a way to tap into the sudden motion sensor, and Timo was just round my house with his brand new PowerBook, so we spent a few minutes of looking at the stuff on that site (a window that rotates so it's always the right way up). Then we saw there was a little tool that gives you the angle of the machine in three dimensions. Aha. (I love accelerometers.)

"After a few more minutes, we had the tilt sensor controlling Timo's music. You rock the machine backwards for the next track, and rock it forwards for the previous track. Then we realised that you rarely need "previous" - you just listen to music, and when a track comes on your don't want to hear, you jog your laptop and it bumps on to the next song (and you don't need to be in iTunes). Wicked. Tasty microembodiment."

2.5" G-Drive Mini FireWire 1394b 800

PR: G-Drive Mini is available in 40 GB, 60 GB, 80 GB, and 100 GB capacities - please select your drive capacity at the bottom of the product description before adding to cart

G-Drive Mini hard drives from G-Tech are the ideal storage solutions for people on the go. Weighing in at less than 9 oz. and using the Oxford 1394b chip, the G-Drive mini is the ultra-portable and stylish way to travel with up to 100 GB of storage space for your important documents, MP3s, digital video and digital photo files.

G-Drive Mini is bus powered, eliminating the need to carry an external AC power supply. Portability was never so easy!

G-Drive Mini sports the latest hot-pluggable FireWire and USB interfaces to provide industry leading performance and universal connectivity. G-Drive mini is available in three high-performance versions.

  • Ultra portable external storage solutions
  • Three high-performance versions:
    • FireWire 800
    • FireWire 400
    • USB 2.0
  • Bus Powered - no AC adapter required!
  • Unique silent cooling technology for long life and reliability
  • Storage capacities up to 100 GB
  • Way cool industrial design compact and sturdy aluminum enclosure
  • Complete with cables and leather carrying case
  • Standard 2-year factory warranty
  • Mac OS and Windows compatible

Easy Setup: Simply attach G-Drive mini to your computer, initialize and you're ready to go!!

Unique Silent Cooling Technology for Unmatched Reliability

G-Drive mini features a fanless cooling system and is designed to silently dissipate heat for superior reliability and data integrity.

G-Drive is backed by the best support and warranty (2-years) in the business.

G-Drive mini will ship in early March.

Windows Watch

Sharp Actius AL3D Notebook with 3D LCD Screen Technology

PR: Sharp Systems of America have announced the availability of the Sharp Actius AL3D. Featuring Sharp's 3D LCD Screen Technology, the Actius AL3D represents Sharp's second generation of 3D technology-enhanced notebook systems.

Building on the foundation laid by its groundbreaking predecessor (the Actius RD3D), the Actius AL3D represents a significant step up in power and style for Sharp's 3D notebook line. Powered by Intel's brand new Pentium M Processor 750, the New Nvidia GeForce Go 6600 graphics processor with 128 MB Video RAM, and stocked with 1024 MB of DDR2 SDRAM, the powerful Actius AL3D is geared for high-end mobile performance.

Developed jointly by Sharp Corporation and Sharp Laboratories Europe, Ltd. (SLE), Sharp's TFT 3D LCD Technology provides a significantly enhanced visual experience by offering a realistic sense of depth and presence. Unique to Sharp's 3D Technology, the Actius AL3D display can be easily switched between 2D and 3D display modes at the touch of a button, providing a flexible working environment that takes full advantage of both 2D and 3D applications.

The 3D effect is achieved using a parallax barrier technique to separate light signals. Light from the LCD is divided so that different patterns reach the viewer's left and right eyes. The direction in which light leaves the display is controlled so that the left and right eyes see different images. When centered in front of the display, each eye receives the correct visual information for the brain to process. This makes it possible for the image on the screen to appear in three dimensions without the user having to wear special goggles.

"Sharp's TFT 3D LCD technology works on the principle of displaying left and right eye views that are separated so that the left eye sees only the left eye image, and the right eye sees only the right eye image," explained Ian Matthew, 3D Solutions Business Development Manager at Sharp Systems of America. "Since these images have perspective and are offset in the same way that the human eye normally sees the two images, the brain naturally interprets the image disparity and creates a 'sense-of-depth' effect. The result is a 3D, 'out-of-screen' display that provides users with a visual experience previously unattainable without polarized or liquid crystal shuttering lenses."

Aimed primarily at the professional market, the Actius AL3D is targeted toward market segments that are already familiar with 3D solutions using Shutter Glasses and page sequential display mode, which are widely supported on PC using both Windows and Linux.

Designed with the high-performance demands of 3D applications in mind, the Sharp Actius AL3D is equipped with the Intel Pentium M Processor P750 (1.86 GHz) and driven by Microsoft Windows XP Professional operating system. The notebook is equipped with 1024 MB of DDR2 SDRAM, and comes complete with an 80 GB (a) Serial ATA hard drive.

In order to provide the advanced visual processing power for 3D applications, the Actius AL3D comes equipped with the Nvidia GeForce Go 6600 graphic processing unit driven by PCI Express for faster bus performance with 128 MB of dedicated graphics memory. The GeForce Go graphics processor delivers awesome performance and an unmatched feature set that includes a host of video enhancements and power management (via the Nvidia PowerMizer Mobile technology) along with high-resolution anti-aliasing to deliver amazing detail and performance for all applications.

The Sharp Actius AL3D notebook comes equipped with a 15-inch XGA (1024 x 768) 3D LCD display panel that can be switched between 2D and 3D display modes with the touch of a button, making the notebook flexible for use in standard 2D and enhanced 3D applications. The notebook, equipped with a 15-inch XGA (1024 x 768) LCD screen, provides bright, clear pictures in which precise details can be clearly seen. The Actius AL3D also features Sharp's Clear LCD finish, which provides users with highly saturated, rich colors and a color purity that isn't available with the matted finish traditionally available for notebook computers.

In addition to being able to support 3D software applications, the Actius AL3D comes equipped with an advanced optical drive, making the notebook capable of viewing 3D DVD content. The Actius AL3D comes complete with a DVD Dual Layer Super Multi-Drive with DVD-RAM/±R/±RW and CD-R/RW media compatibility that allows users to produce original DVDs, back up important data on DVD or CD, and watch DVD movies at the user's convenience. Fully equipped with premium-quality stereo speakers below the LCD display, the Actius AL3D also supports 5.1-channel virtual surround sound for users using external 2-channel speakers with built-in Dolby Virtual Speaker (DVS) and WinDVD.

In addition to strong multimedia performance and advanced 3D display technology, The Actius AL3D also includes an array of I/O options, including an IEEE-1394 (fire wire) port, three USB 2.0 compliant ports, and microphone & headphone jacks. The Actius AL3D also offers 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-T (Gigabit), LAN for superfast wired networking, a 56 kbps (V.90) fax modem, and includes a VGA out port.

The Actius AL3D will come complete with a software bundle to support its 3D and multimedia capability, which includes SHARP Smart Stereo Photo Editor/Slide Show for creating 3D images from digital photographs. Also included is TriDef DVD Player from DDD Group, which converts standard DVD movies into a 3D experience, "on-the-fly." Finally, the laptop will come with an evaluation version of the Amira visualization package from Mercury Computer Systems for realistic 3D visualization of 3D models for medicine, biology, physics or engineering.

Available immediately, the Sharp Actius AL3D sells for an estimated street price of $3,499.

Panasonic Debuts Toughbook 73mk4 - First 'Sonoma' Platform Rugged Notebook

PR: Panasonic Computer Solutions Company has introduced the industry's first rugged notebook to fully implement Intel Corporation's revolutionary new Intel Centrino mobile technology (formerly code named Sonoma) platform.

The new Toughbook CF-73 features Intel's latest Intel Pentium M processor 750 1.86 GHz CPU with a 533 MHz front-side bus, Dual-Channel lower-power DDR2 memory, Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology, the Mobile Intel 915 Express chipset family (formerly code named Alviso) , an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 graphics core, PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet, USB/PCI I/O support, and Intel PRO/Wireless 2915ABG integrated wireless chips.

Implementation of the new Intel Centrino mobile technology has resulted in significant, measurable performance advantages over similarly featured portables based on Intel's original Centrino mobile technology. The new CF-73's power-optimized 533 MHz processor-system bus provides up to 33% faster transfer rates than similar models from competitors. Other advances include a 60 percent improvement in peak bandwidth, enhanced wireless LAN security, significantly reduced screen backlight power consumption with minimal visual impact, and 2X I/O bandwidth for improved system, application, and multimedia performance.

Other features include a shock-and-intrusion hardened 13.3" daylight readable, antireflective, transmissive touchscreen with XGA (1024 x 768 pixel) true-color resolution and external video support up to 2048 x 1536 pixels at 4 billion colors, integrated DVD/CD-RW drive, and integrated 802.11a/b/g Wireless WAN, wired LAN, analog modem, and GSM/GPRS support.

Like all Toughbooks, the CF-73 used a rugged magnesium-alloy case designed and cast in Panasonic's own state-of-the-art fabrication facility. Two models are available, the CF-73SCUTSBM with 256 MB of standard RAM (expandable to 1280 MB) and a proprietary shock-and-vibration resistant 60 GB hard drive, and the CF-73SCVTSBM, with 512 MB RAM (expandable to 1536 MB) and a ruggedized 80 GB HDD.

Both models ship with Windows XP SP2 preinstalled, weigh under 5.7 pounds and achieve battery runtime of up to 4 hours.

The Toughbook CF-73 comes standard with a 3 year limited warranty including parts and labor and free overnight in/out shipping.

  • CF-73SCUTSBM Pentium M 750-1.86 GHz (Centrino), 13.3" Transmissive Touch XGA, 256 MB RAM,60 GB HDD, Intel 802.11a+b+g, DVD/CD-RW, WIN XP SP2 Estimated street price $3,500
  • CF-73SCVTSBM Pentium M 750-1.86 GHz (Centrino), 13.3" Transmissive Touch XGA, 512 MB RAM,80 GB HDD, Intel 802.11a+b+g, DVD/CD-RW, WIN XP SP2 Estimated street price $3,750

Bargain 'Books

Bargain 'Books are used unless otherwise indicated. New and refurbished units have a one-year Apple warranty and are eligible for AppleCare.

There are two different versions of WallStreet running at 233 MHz, the cacheless MainStreet version and the later Series II with a level 2 cache. It's not always possible to determine from the vendor's listing which is being offered, so we've included links within this paragraph to the two models. The same goes for the PowerBook G4/667 (VGA) and G4/667 (DVI), the titanium vs. aluminum 15" PowerBook G4 at 1 GHz, and 1.25 GHz to 1.5 GHz 15" PowerBooks.


Baucom Computers

Apple Store

PowerBook Guy

Small Dog Electronics

For more deals on current or recently discontinued models, see our Best PowerBook G4 Deals, Best iBook G4 Deals, Best PowerBook G3 Deals, and Best iBook G3 Deals.

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