MPC TransPort T2100 review: MPC TransPort T2100

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The Good Thin and light; good performance and battery life; built-in fingerprint reader; solid keyboard.

The Bad Tinny sound; overly sensitive touchpad.

The Bottom Line If you're looking for a business-ready thin-and-light and you often travel with sensitive data, consider the TransPort.

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8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8
  • Battery 7
  • Support 8

MPC's thin-and-light TransPort T2100 offers both good performance and excellent battery life, and it even sports a biometric fingerprint reader on the keyboard deck for added security while you're on the road. We love its snappy-feeling keyboard and the way the unit runs almost cool to the touch. Sure, the notebook's sound is pitiful, but that's a niggling complaint for a business notebook, and its three-year warranty is a far more important feature. The TransPort T2100 is definitely worth considering if you're looking for a thin-and-light business notebook.

Styled in silver-blue and light gray, the TransPort T2100 sports a handsome, no-nonsense design. It also travels light at just a shade less than seven pounds, including the AC adapter. Measuring 12.5 by 10.7 by 1.2 inches, the TransPort isn't as wide as some other thin-and-lights, but it still sits quite nicely in your hand or lap.

The TransPort T2100's firm keyboard is conveniently placed midway up the main deck where it's easy to type on, whether the notebook is in your lap or on a table. The touchpad is highly responsive, featuring two mouse buttons sandwiching an omnidirectional rocker button for window scrolling. Alas, the touchpad's tap function, which simulates mouse button presses, was a tad too sensitive. It registered taps that we didn't intend, so we turned it off using the Synaptics applet in the system tray.

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The keyboard is firm and nicely placed midway up the main deck.
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The touchpad's tap function (to simulate mouse-button presses) was a tad overeager.

The TransPort T2100 runs nearly cool to the touch, even when playing games or movies, as it routes air through two thermal ports on the left-rear corner of the machine. What's not cool is the notebook's audio; it sounds pitiful. Not only do the speakers mounted just below the display bezel lack any bass whatsoever, they don't put out much in the lower midrange, either. A pair of headphones is definitely in order for watching movies or listening to CDs.

The TransPort T2100 has plenty of ports, plus one of the busier front edges we've seen, with five buttons that both launch programs within Windows and control CD or DVD playback when Windows isn't booted. There's also a wireless On/Off button, a four-in-one flash-memory card reader, and audio jacks. On the right side of the unit live the optical drive, the USB 2.0 port, and ports for mini-FireWire and infrared; look on the left side to find two more USB 2.0 ports, the S-Video and VGA ports, a PC Card slot, a 10/100 Ethernet port, and an AC jack. Only a v.92 modem port adorns the back.

The TransPort T2100, with configurations starting at a bare-bones $1,588, has the usual number of options found on Pentium M machines. You can order your notebook with a Pentium M processor from 1.4GHz to 1.7GHz, along with 128MB to 1GB of 266MHz DDR SDRAM. The graphics chip is Intel's 82855, which borrows from 4MB to 64MB of system memory to perform its duties. The only display-size option is a 14.1-inch screen with 1,024x768 resolution that offers a crisp picture.

Alas, you can't order the TransPort T2100 with a DVD-RAM multidrive without also purchasing at least a 40GB hard drive. That's because the Pinnacle Studio 8.5 video-editing software that's included requires 12GB of space per hour of video recording. We had to bug the PR folks to learn this; it would be nice to see the company explain this constraint on its Web site.

Other optical options include a 24X CD-ROM drive, an 8X DVD-ROM drive, and a CD-RW/DVD combo drive. And 802.11b wireless networking comes courtesy of Intel's Pro/Wireless LAN 2100, though MPC will soon offer the Pro/Wireless LAN 2200 for combined 802.11b and 802.11g functionality.

You can order your TransPort T2100 with Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP Home, or XP Pro as its operating system, and MPC includes or makes available a number of useful software titles, including the 90-day trial version of Norton AntiVirus 2003, Microsoft Works, Office 2003, Office XP, and Microsoft Publisher. Depending on the optical drive that you choose, MPC includes Nero 6.0 Express for CD/DVD mastering chores, Pinnacle Studio 8.5 for video capture and editing, and InterVideo WinDVD 4.0 for DVD movie playback.

The TransPort T2100 took home the prize for mobile application performance among our trio of competitors. However, the margin of victory was narrow, with only four points separating the TransPort T2100 and the third-place Gateway 200. When you're doing hands-on work, you'll notice little difference between the three notebooks when running office and content-creation apps. The TransPort is not the fastest 1.7GHz Pentium M system we've tested, but it's close, and it will have no trouble performing on the road.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating  
MPC TransPort T2100
HP Pavilion zt3000
Gateway 200

Find out more about how we test notebooks.

Mobile application performance analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.

System configurations:

Gateway 200
Windows XP Professional; 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 855GM (up to 64MB shared); Toshiba MK6022GAX 5,400rpm

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