Weapons For The Road Warrior

Mobile technology that will make business trips easier

Choosing the right equipment for the road is essential for the mobile business person. It can make the difference between making the sale or losing an account. Listed below are some tools to make it easier to take your work with you when you travel.

The WinBook FX is an all-purpose multimedia laptop, with all the tools a mobile professional will need. The FX comes equipped with a 133 MHz Pentium processor, 32 megs of RAM, a 2.0 gigabyte hard drive, 6x CD-ROM, an infrared port, a 12.1-inch (diagonal) active-matrix display, a 28.8 data/fax modem and both a touch sensitive glide pad and a pointing stick input device.

The built-in speakers provide great 16-bit sound, and complement the rich colors of the large display that can be used for multimedia presentations. The FX’s CD-ROM drive is swappable with a 3.5-inch floppy drive. One of the drawbacks of the unit is its small keyboard. Users with extensive word processing needs will find that their word-per- minute average will diminish slightly until they’ve gotten the hang of it. The touch-sensitive glide pad allows users to perform all mouse click functions by tapping the pad rather than using the buttons.

Pre-installed software includes Windows 95 and Win Fax. It even includes an imaging application for manipulating scanned images. The FX’s overall performance was good. The unit weighs just under 7 lb., and at $3,999 the WinBook FX will make a good companion for even the most demanding road warrior.

The PowerBook 1400 series is Apple’s answer to its performance-plagued predecessors, the 5300 series. Unlike the 5300, the 1400 series has an optional removable 6X CD-ROM drive, whose slot can also accommodate a floppy drive or an extra battery. The 1400 series model includes the 1400cs and the 1400c (in 117 and 133 MHz configurations). Depending on the particular model, the 1400 series comes equipped with a 11.3-inch dual-scan or active-matrix display, two PC card slots (up to 16MB RAM), with a 750MB or 1GB hard drive and a floppy or CD-ROM drive. Prices range from $2,500-$4,000.

The 1400cs (model tested) is powered by a 117MHz 603e processor (133 MHz available in 1400c). Unfortunately, the noticeably larger screen of the 1400cs has an underwhelming dual-scan display (though active matrix models are available). Nearly 6.6 lb., it’s manageable but certainly no lightweight.

The 1400 series PowerBook features a contoured design and a flip-up keyboard that allows easy access for internal upgrades or service. The integrated speakers are somewhat tinny, compared with other notebooks, but an improvement over the 5300 series. Integrated software includes: Claris-Works, Claris Organizer, Apple Internet Connection Kit, remote access software for connecting to a desktop or LAb and applications for reading and writing PC-formatted disks and files. With all the kinks of the 5300 worked out, Apple has produced a reliable notebook, which you can build on.

If you’re tired of scrolling side to side to see spreadsheets or word processing documents on notebook PCs, the WideNote may be the answer. Available in active-matrix and dual-scan LCD displays,

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