The latest desktop-replacement notebook from small vendor Eurocom, dubbed the D500P Monte Carlo, sports cutting-edge components, such as a fast desktop Pentium 4, speedy memory, and a DVD-RW drive. But its 11-pound travel weight, flash-in-the-pan battery life, and high price hearken back to the first ungainly laptops.
This notebook's 1.7-by-13-by-11.4-inch, 9.2-pound case is bigger than that of most desktop replacements. Add the bulky AC adapter, and the total weight jumps to a backbreaking 11 pounds. At least the size allows perks such as two swappable bays, which support CD, DVD, DVD/CD-RW combo, DVD-RW, and floppy drives, plus additional hard drives, a six-in-one flash card reader, and extra batteries. Other perks include a firm, expansive keyboard; a 15-inch display with a wide 170-degree viewing angle; tons of ports and slots, including four USB 2.0, one FireWire and a digital-audio out; and nine dedicated buttons for application launching, volume control, and CD play while the system lid is closed.
When it comes to speedy components, it's hard to top the D500P Monte Carlo. It features a 3.2GHz desktop Pentium 4; 1GB of 400MHz DDR SDRAM (notebook SDRAM is usually the slower, 333MHz variety); a 128MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 graphics chip; and a 60GB, 7,200rpm hard drive (smaller, slower hard drives are also available when you buy). The system also includes an integrated antenna that supports 802.11b or 802.11g wireless standards. But because Eurocom sells only 802.11b mini-PCI cards, you'll have to add other standards via the Type II PC Card slot.
Not surprisingly, the D500P Monte Carlo tore through CNET Labs' SysMark and 3DMark tests, posting some of the fastest scores we've seen. The system didn't do as well with MobileMark 2002, a test that measures performance when running on battery power. The slower performance on battery power shouldn't pose a huge problem, because you shouldn't take the D500P away from a power outlet too often; the notebook's primary cell lasted less than 90 minutes. With two batteries installed, the D500P ran for a pitiful 160 minutes.