Cheap system gets a pass for performance

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 September, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 September, 1999, 12:00am

When it comes to notebook computers, people become especially fussy.

Notebooks not made in Japan or the United States are almost immediately overlooked, however power-packed the specifications may be.

The Stamp Slim Book, sold by South China House of Technology Consultants in North Point, is a made-in-Taiwan system and its only hook is price.

At just $14,300, you get a 12.1-inch TFT display, 4.8 gb of hard disk, a 24x CD-Rom drive and an Intel Celeron 400 MHz processor.

That's a good bargain. For an almost similarly configured Dell system, you will have to pay about $2,000 more.

The Stamp Slim Book, despite its name, is no swan. It is heavy and not slim. Nor is it a monster - considering it is housing a CD-Rom, battery and floppy-disk drive in one form-factor, it is relatively slimmer than similarly configured systems.

The chassis is metallic-grey and has a rather primitive design. It weighs about 2.23 kilograms, hence is not an ultra-portable.

The unit that I reviewed came with a faulty catch so I could not shut it properly. Lifting the hood and tilting the display back cannot be done smoothly. The hinges give off creaking noises.

The display is surprisingly good, with back-lighting and vivid colours.

I do not like the keyboard or the touchpad. Both are not sensitive enough. You have to tap the keys hard and apply quite a bit of pressure to the finger on the touchpad.

The unit I reviewed took a long time to wake up from a suspend mode. The CPU is also noisy; you can hear a whirring sound. However, CPUs in notebooks are usually not quiet.

The CD-Rom drive worked well.

I watched most of Midnight Run starring Robert De Niro on the Stamp Slim Book. The two-hour movie, however, could not finish because three-quarters of the way through the show, the notebook started screaming for power. Five minutes later, the notebook just went blank.

I timed it at one hour 39 minutes.

However, while the movie lasted, the viewing experience was quite enjoyable as the display was good and the sound passable.

The notebook comes downloaded with Microsoft Windows 98 and a 56K modem is integrated in the system.

The Stamp Slim Book is available in another configuration - a 13.3-inch TFT display, 4.8 gb hard disk, Intel Pentium II 333 MHz processor, 64 MB of Ram, 4x DVD-Rom and floppy-disk drive at $16,980.

South China House of Technology Consultants provides one year's warranty for the system.

Contact or tel: 2590 6808.