The Centoris G200N is reasonably light compared to an awful lot of high-end beasts we've seen. However, at 2.8 kg it can still cause a strain on your arm/shoulder over long distances. It is attractively designed with a black exterior offset by a prominent silver stripe on the front. Silver edging also enhances the inside of the notebook, surrounding the keyboard and touchpad. At 330 x 268 x 34 mm, it is quite thin for a notebook of its calibre.
An Intel Pentium M 1.5GHz powers the G200N and it supports up to 1GB of system memory. Only 256MB of RAM was installed in our test unit, 32MB of which was shared with the graphics card (Intel Extreme Graphics 2).
The 15" TFT LCD displays images brightly provided the power cord is plugged in. At a resolution of 1024 x 768 and supporting 16.7 million colours, the display is sharp. When the power cord is removed the screen dims slightly but still easily read.
The notebook we reviewed came with a 40GB hard disk drive, other size options are available up to a maximum 80GB (for AU$195 extra). Optima gives customers the choice between two types of optical drives: the default CDRW/DVD combo drive (24/10/8/24X) or a DVD burner (4X/2X) for an additional AU$252 .
For networking, the Centoris G200N has integrated 10/100 Base T Ethernet LAN and a 56 Kbps modem that supports the V.90 protocol. By default, the G200N comes with integrated 802.11b wireless LAN, which can be upgraded to the faster 802.11g standard for AU$90.
A generous amount of connections are found on the G200N including five USB ports. There are two jacks for audio (microphone-in and line-out), an IEEE 1394 (Firewire) port, a PCMCIA slot and a PS/2 port to plug in an external keyboard or mouse. More impressively, Optima integrates a 4-in-1 digital media reader that reads/writes to SD, MMC, MemoryStick and SmartMedia cards. The inbuilt stereo speakers provide decent audio but we would like the option to control volume physically rather than just through Windows XP's virtual slider.
Above the G200N's comfortable to use keyboard are five handy shortcut keys for switching power on/off, accessing e-mail, launching Internet Explorer, as well as two programmable keys. Below the keyboard is adequate space to rest your palms and a touchpad for cursor movement. There are two click buttons with a two-way scroll button between them.
Bundled with the Centoris G200N is Microsoft Works, Cyberlink DVD Solutions Software Suite and a driver CD for a couple of the G200N's components, such as the touchpad.
To aid portability, Optima supplies a sturdy vinyl case with a padded shoulder strap to carry the G200N around in. It has a large pocket at the front to store the power pack and cables as well as three smaller pockets and a pouch inside for accessories.
Using Bapco's MobileMark 2002 benmarking software the Centoris G200N notebook achieved an average performance rating of 158. During this processor intensive test, the 8-cell Li-Ion battery lasted a respectable four hours and twenty minutes. Testing the battery life under minimal processor usage we gained an extra 35 minutes; it packed in just short of 5 hours.
Optima provides a one year warranty for the G200N, which retails at an affordable AU$1,999. With its stellar battery life it suits mobile business and home users that don't need a super fast -- and super expensive -- processor for applications.
Optima Centoris G200N
Distributor: Selected resellers
Phone: (02) 9475 2777