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MPC TransPort X3000 review: MPC TransPort X3000

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The Good Strong security features; includes two swappable bays; high-resolution screen; exemplary support policies.

The Bad Middling performance when running on battery; expensive.

The Bottom Line The MPC TransPort X3000 does the trick if you need a supersecure laptop for yourself or your business, but the steep price puts it out of reach for small businesses.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.5 Overall

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MPC makes security a priority on its latest desktop replacement, the MPC TransPort X3000. MPC outfitted this big and brawny laptop with a built-in fingerprint reader and a smart-card slot, allowing you or your organization to set a variety of security conditions for logging on. Plus, with a twist of a thumbscrew, you can remove the primary, 80GB hard drive to secure it for the night, which some government agencies require. Unfortunately, the MPC TransPort X3000 also carries a high price tag (more than $2,950) that is too expensive for most small businesses. Well-heeled executives, as well as military and government buyers, on the other hand, should consider the TransPort X3000.

The MPC TransPort X3000's plastic silver shell glimmers like burnished aluminum and breaks the waves like a frigate: at 2 inches thick by 12.75 inches wide by 11 inches deep, no one will fail to notice it--and with 7.9 pounds on your arm (9.1 including the AC adapter), your shoulder will notice, too. On the other hand, 9.1 pounds is a standard weight for this class of desktop replacement.

MPC makes excellent use of all that room, especially with the bright, 15-inch screen that displays a 1,400x1,050 resolution, providing a huge window on your documents without making you squint. MPC also deserves praise for outfitting the MPC TransPort X3000 with two swappable bays, giving you many options for media drives or extra batteries. Our test unit included a CD-RW/DVD-RW drive and a (gasp!) floppy drive. If you don't need a floppy drive, buy a second battery for that media bay instead.

Inside, the MPC TransPort X3000 has a 1.7GHz Pentium M processor; an ATI Mobility Radeon 9600/9700 graphics controller with 128MB of its own memory (it supports 1,792x1,344 resolution at 100Hz in full color on an external display); and 512MB of memory in two modules. The memory slots lie under the keyboard, which may explain why our keyboard was not as firm as we like.

Considering the MPC TransPort X3000's power demands, the laptop's battery is respectable, conking out after 3 hours, 10 minutes. For more working time, you can stick a $99 battery in the floppy drive's bay. The MPC's test scores are a mixed bag; the system excels at tests when it's plugged in, which is primarily how you should use it, but it lags when running solely on battery. Other 1.7GHz Pentium M-equipped laptops test about 12 percent faster when running on battery.

As you might expect from a vendor whose main customer is the U.S. government, MPC includes exemplary support policies. The MPC TransPort X3000 comes with a three-year warranty that includes prepaid overnight shipping both ways and 24/7 telephone tech support for the life of the warranty. But note that postwarranty tech-support calls cost $2.29 per minute. MPC also has one of the best LCD-defect policies in the business: the company considers eight bad pixels, or two bad pixels within one centimeter, grounds for replacing the 1.5-million pixel screen.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating  
Gateway M450
156 
MPC TransPort X3000
151 


Battery life  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes  
Gateway M450
299 
MPC TransPort X3000
190 

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