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Laptops

Optima Centoris RW

Optima's Centoris RW is well-suited to mobile professionals on a budget, thanks to its lightweight chassis and pleasing feature-set. It's far from perfect, however.

Optima's latest notebook product -- the Centoris RW -- is pitched directly at the mobile professional on a budget. It's not perfect, but its lightweight chassis, speedy internal components and reasonable feature-set should suit most business users nicely.

Upside
An essential ingredient of any notebook directed at the corporate sector is extreme mobility. In this respect, the Centoris RW fits the bill nicely thanks to its 2.2kg heft and compact dimensions -- 325 x 244 x 29 mm, to be exact.

Networking features now go hand-in-hand with mobility, and here the Centoris RW only partly fulfils our criteria. It's pleasing to see an 802.11a/b/g dual-band Wi-Fi antenna and regular 10/100 LAN connection, but there's no Gigabit LAN or Bluetooth support built-in. The former will disappoint users whose office networks use the faster Gigabit standard since LAN transfers will max out at 100 Mbps as opposed to 1000 Mbps, while the latter will limit connectivity with external devices such as a smartphone or PDA.

The notebook's internal components should be speedy enough for most business users, whose most called upon tasks fall under the office productivity masthead. These include a 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M processor, 512MB DDR2-533 SDRAM and a 40GB hard drive.

Multimedia features are surprisingly superior to your average business notebook. It's got a widescreen 14" 1200x768 display, and a dual layer DVD writer for the movie buffs, while budding photographers will be pleased with the inclusion of a 4-in-1 card reader as well. That said, gaming performance will inevitably be laughable since the notebook uses an integrated Intel GMA 900 graphics chipset.

Downside
Considering that it's targeting business users, the biggest qualm we have with the Centoris RW is its lack of security features. The notebook offers little more than a Kensington security lock -- there's no biometric fingerprint scanner or bundled hard drive backup utilities.

As mentioned above, we were also disappointed with the lack of Gigabit LAN and Bluetooth support.

Outlook
Optima's Centoris RW is well-suited to mobile professionals on a budget, thanks to its lightweight chassis and pleasing feature-set. It's far from perfect, however.

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