Welcome to Reviews OnLine: ShowStoppers 2001
ShowStoppers 2001
by Rick Smith (November 12, 2001)


Sponsors of ShowStoppers:

At Your e-Service
Electronics for Imaging
Mobility Electronics
Neutrino Technologies
V Communications
Wise Solutions

Compaq Evo N200
Latest addition to Evo family
When many people think of a Compaq laptop, they tend to think of well-built, expensive and massive portable hardware like the Armada. Even the Armada name evokes the image of massive power and strength. Compaq is now adding to their latest mobile laptop family with a new Evo model that is aggressively priced and very lightweight. It appears that Compaq is getting back to its roots of unique design and innovation, as it did when the company started (and when it introduced the revolutionary small Contura Aero in the mid 1990's).

The Compaq Evo Notebook N200 is lightest mini-notebook with a nearly all day battery life. Key features are:

  • Priced at just $1,799

  • Sub-one inch thickness (0.83 in / 2.11 cm)

  • Weighs 2.5 pounds (1.13 kg)

  • Features a 10.4" TFT XGA display

  • Uses 20 GB hard drive and 192 MB of memory

  • Is a legacy free design (no serial or parallel)

  • Single Type II PC Card Slot

  • Integrated 16-bit Stereo Sound

  • Powered by ultra-low voltage Mobile Intel Pentium III 700 MHz processor

    The very thin edge view of the Compaq Evo N200

    By combining the standard 6-cell Lithium Polymer battery with an optional 4-cell Lithium Ion external handle battery, you can get more than six hours of battery power.

    rear of Compaq Evo N200 showing secondary battery location

    The Evo N200 supports the Compaq WL110 Wireless PC Card for wireless LAN mobility and iPAQnet mobility wireless wide area networking solutions for connectivity anytime and anywhere.

    Other models currently in the Evo line are the Compaq Evo Notebook N160 and Compaq Evo Notebook N600c.

    The Compaq Evo N160 combines reasonable weight, maximum computing power and high-end multimedia capabilities for business users requiring an economical and mobile hardware platform. Key features of the N160 are:

  • Weighs just over five pounds

  • Price starts at $1,399

  • 14.1" XGA TFT display

  • Mini-PCI V.92 modem

  • Integrated 10/100 NIC

  • DVD-ROM optical drive

  • 20 GB hard drive

  • ATI Mobility Radeon Graphics

  • S-Video out

  • IEEE 1394 digital video input port

  • Powered by Intel Celeron 933 MHz or Pentium III 1000 MHz processor

    The Compaq Evo N600c has had some new technology upgrades and now delivers workstation class performance with a more powerful processor and improved graphics. Key features of the N160 are:

  • Price starts at $1,999

  • Weighs less than 5 pounds

  • ATI Mobility Radeon graphics - 32MB DDR

  • 14.1" SXGA+ TFT display

  • High performance DVD/CD-RW optical drives

  • Ergonomic full-sized keyboard

  • Contoured palm rest

  • Trackpoint and touchpad pointing device

  • Features 1.2 GHz Mobile Intel Pentium III processor

    The N600c features the interchangeable MultiPort module that slides in and becomes an integral element of the notebook. Since the MultiPort module can be changed, you can connect to several different wireless standards such as 802.11b wireless LAN or Bluetooth by simply changing modules. 


    Namo WebEditor 5
    distributed by Jasc Software
    Much like ImageReady with Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver with Macromedia Fireworks, Namo WebEditor provides the web site "utilities" for Jasc Paint Shop Pro. For the very attractive price of only $149 boxed or $139 electronically, it provides surprisingly complete functionality.

    Some of its key features of this package, distributed by Jasc Software, are:

  • over 80 JavaScript effect scripts

  • Script editor/manager

  • database wizard for ASP, JSP and PHP

  • Image Manager

  • Browser compatibility tester

  • Smart button editor

  • image slicer

  • GIF animator

  • Screen capture

  • Clip art library

    This package contains virtually all the tools to create a web site. You will be able to:

  • Create and design page layouts

  • Create and manipulate images

  • Add Javascript actions

  • Add movies (QuickTime and Windows Media)

  • Add animation (Flash, Shockwave or GIF)

  • Add sound (MIDI or RealAudio)

  • Add database capability

  • Effectively manage web site resources

    Experienced HTML developers will appreciate the dual mode editor that can toggle between visual and source code modes. Namo WebEditor also includes formatting and tag simplification, along with an HTML validator.

    Namo WebEditor 5 is a powerful set of integrated tools for web authoring. It runs on ALL 32 bit Windows operating systems (95/98/NT/ME/2000/XP). It is compatible with Paint Shop Pro and any other image editor. Upgrades for registered users of previous versions of Namo WebEditor will be available for $49 boxed or $39 ESD from Jasc Software. 


    Keyspan USB Mini
    Laptops are getting thinner and peripherals for those laptops seem to be staying the same size. Keyspan is doing something about that. They have created the USB Mini which weighs less than two ounces, including cable and allows you to expand your single USB port into four ports.

    The Keyspan USB Mini also:

  • works on both PCs and Macs

  • is very compact -- 8 cm x 5 cm and only 1 centimeter thick (footprint of a business card)

  • weighs 1.6 ounces

  • has a retractable cable that can be stored within the Mini Hub's case

  • provides four ports that support for external or bus-powered modes

  • is available in silver or black

  • supports full 12 Mbps USB data rates

  • is fully USB compliant, including power management

  • has an MSRP of $49

  • ships in July 2001

    Keyspan USB Mini in open position

    Keyspan USB Mini with 12 cm cable extended



    Keyspan’s new Hi-Speed USB 2.0 CardBus
    The USB (Universal Serial Bus) standard is marching forward to USB 2.0. If your laptop is only operating at USB 1.1, Keyspan's new Hi-Speed USB 2.0 CardBus upgrade card easily adds this new capability to your laptop. Without having to buy a new laptop, you will be able to connect new USB 2.0 (and older USB 1.1) devices, via your laptop's CardBus slot.

    USB 2.0 is a big performance upgrade, because it operates at up to 480 Mbps -- forty times faster than USB 1.1. New peripheral devices such as hard drives, CD-RW drives, scanners, video cameras and printers are being released that support USB 2.0.

    The Keyspan Hi-Speed USB 2.0 CardBus Card ships with a small power adapter. Using this power adapter is optional, but it guarantees a full 500 mA of power to each port being used, as per the USB specification.

    This laptop card is now shipping and has an MSRP of $99. 


    SystemSuite 4.0

    While PC Utilities may not be the most eye-popping software on the market, having a functional and well-running computer system increases the enjoyment of your exciting gaming, graphics or business applications. I have always used diagnostics to check out PC system functionality, ever since I used IBM's Advanced Diagnostics on the original IBM PC. Ontrack, a well known hard-drive utility vendor, has updated their SystemSuite product to version 4.0.

    SystemSuite 4.0 adds a personal firewall, support for XP and better virus protection into their integrated suite of PC utilities. This combination of utilities include:

  • Fix-It Utilities 4.0

  • NetDefense personal firewall

  • VirusScanner Pro

  • CrashProof

  • EasyUninstall 2.0

  • DataEraser Personal Edition

  • Crisis Center

  • PowerDesk 4 Pro

  • EasyUninstall 2.0

    These utilites have been designed to work and act together as a single, cohesive unit.

    These SystemSuite utilities provide:

  • Extensive hardware diagnostics

  • Crash prevention and protection

  • Hard disk imminent failure warning and repair

  • Registry repair and optimization

  • Internet clutter removal and cleanup

  • Data recovery

  • Hard disk data erasing

  • Personal Firewall

  • Virus scanner

  • E-mail scanner for POP3 and Exchange

  • Fast Disk Defragmenter

  • Clock Synchronizer

  • Windows Error Message Tracker

    To assist when the worst happens, SmartSuite also includes an Emergency Response Manual. This provides step-by-step instructions on how to restore a non-bootable system and help recover critical data that may have been lost. This can definitely be helpful and will be considerably more up-to-date than the "How to make a useful bootable disk" section in my 1993 Essentials of Laptop Travel article.

    Ontrack SystemSuite 4.0 is compatible with all 32-bit Windows operating systems -- Window95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 and XP. It has an MSRP of $59.95. 


    RIM Blackberry
    E-mail is probably the most popular and most powerful Internet "application" that continues to keep the number of new Internet users climbing. Unfortunately, when you leave your wired home or office, sending or receiving e-mails becomes a problem. Many people are unreachable when they travel to attend high technology trade shows and it is a common phrase to hear, "I'll e-mail you when I return to the office next week". Research In Motion (RIM) has created their BlackBerry technology to help alleviate some of these problems. Their solutions consist of both hardware and services that help you send and receive email from existing email accounts, while away from your "wired world"

    There are two basic hardware form factors. The original RIM 950 looks like a "super-pager", while newer models are larger and more PDA-like. Images of both devices are below. Some of the key features of this BlackBerry solution are:

  • Easy, completely wireless connectivity -- no modem connections or "docking" required

  • Uses your current e-mail account -- no special "on-the-road" e-mail account

  • Provides full message control -- send, receive, store, and delete

  • Automated "push" technology -- messages come to you, instead of logging in to "see" if you have mail

  • High level of security -- supports an industry standard triple DES

    In addition to their e-mail capabilities, these devices can perform an "over the air Calendar Sync". You can get calendar updates "pushed" to you wirelessly -- no more "checking with the office" to see if there are any schedule changes. You can now be wirelessly brought "up-to-date", without lifting a finger to dial a phone or logon to another computer system.

    To respond and send new messages, the built-in thumb-touch keyboard is used. While you may frown at this type of keyboard, I have successfully used this keyboard style on my HP handhelds for over a decade. It takes some getting used to, but it is remarkably handy.

    Also included is a full-featured, connected organizer with calendar, address book, task list and alarm. And yes, you can synchronize the RIM handheld with a PC.

    These RIM devices use 32-bit, Intel 386 processors and weigh about 5 ounces including their battery.


    Want to see all this page in a more compact form? View the linked version of this article. It's a smaller download than this page, and each product's information is only a link away.

    Copyright © 2006 Rick Smith All rights reserved.

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