A weighty offering

Weighing in at 6.5 pounds in its base configuration and measuring 1.6 inches deep, MicronPC LLC's TransPort GX2 won't be the first choice of those looking to travel light. But it is an attractively priced notebook for those who don't want to sacrifice any of the power and convenience of a desktop system.

And the TransPort GX2 is especially alluring to those concerned about security, thanks to its built-in fingerprint scanner. Located just to the left of the mouse touchpad, the fingerprint pad can be used to enroll one to 10 fingers for identification. Once you've enrolled at least one finger, you can dispose of the password-based log-on, in a single stroke eliminating the tedium of entering a password and the security risk of losing it.

Another nifty feature of the TransPort GX2 is that you can buy it with a built-in wireless Network Interface Card. We were impressed to discover that the TransPort GX2 automatically searched for and offered to connect to the Cisco Systems Inc. Aironet 350 Series wireless network at our test center.

Apart from those relatively unusual features, you'll find the TransPort GX2 loaded with pretty much everything you could want to take on the road. The unit we tested came with a 20G hard drive (you can also select a 10G or 30G drive) and a 15-inch LCD screen, which offers a maximum display of 1,400 x 1,050. We found the display to be very sharp and fast, but you can save money by opting for the 14-inch display.

The unit we tested came equipped with a DVD-ROM drive in the flex bay, though you can instead choose a CD drive, a CD-RW drive, a DVD-RW drive, a second hard drive, a second battery or an Iomega Corp. Zip drive. In addition, the TransPort GX2 offers two PC Card slots, allowing you to use any combination of Type I and Type II cards, including 32-bit cards. Or you can install a single Type III card.

The TransPort GX2 doesn't lack in performance, thanks to its 1.2 GHz Intel Corp. Pentium III processor and 256M of SDRAM. (The two SO-DIMM memory sockets allow up to 1G of PC133 SDRAM.) And we were pleased to see, in addition to the expected telephone and Ethernet ports, two USB ports and an IEEE 1394 FireWire port.

The TransPort GX2's design doesn't score a lot of style points, but if you're looking for a notebook packed with features at a relatively low price, you may be prepared to overlook its appearance. If so, the TransPort GX2 is a solid buy.

REPORT CARD

GX2

Score: B

MicronPC LLC
(888) 218-7502
www.micronpc.com

The base list price for the TransPort GX2 is $2,099. Pricing on the General Services Administration schedule for the model we reviewed — with the 1.2 GHz Intel Corp.

Pentium III processor and the wireless option — is $2,696. For a reasonable price, the TransPort GX2 delivers expandability and a wealth of features, including built-in fingerprint recognition and wireless connectivity.

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