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Portable One MX review: Portable One MX

Portable One MX

William Flanagan and Lara Luepke
3 min read
Portable One isn't a brand name on a par with Dell and HP, but the company has compiled a worthy series of laptops. At $1,799 (as of April 2005), the Portable One MX is competitively priced compared with other thin-and-light business laptops, though it has some features, such as a lightweight carbon-fiber case, that separate it from the pack.
The MX's sleek body is black inside and out, with silver edges and hinges. Though the case is strong, the unit weighs only 5 pounds; it measures 12.2 inches wide, 10 inches deep, and 1.1 inches thick. Adding the lightweight power cord and the AC/DC converter brings the total weight to just less than 6 pounds. The keyboard is firm and comfortable to use, with adequate function controls. Above the keyboard are four shortcut keys that allow you to access e-mail, launch an Internet browser, lock the touch pad, and adjust the power settings. Along the top row of the keyboard, the MX features a row of F-keys that double as function keys for adjusting volume and screen brightness. Below the touch pad are three buttons: a scroll button in the middle and left- and right-click buttons on either side. The large wrist-rest area provides easy access to the touch pad.
Our test system came configured with a 1.8GHz Pentium M 745 processor with 2MB of L2 cache. It also had 512MB of DDR SDRAM and a fast 7,200rpm, 60GB hard drive (for the same price, you can also choose a bigger--but slower--5,400rpm, 80GB drive). The 14.1-inch SXGA+ display, featuring a 1,400x1,050 native resolution, is powered by an underwhelming integrated graphics chipset that borrows up to 64MB of system memory; Portable One has plans to equip future versions of the MX with an ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 with 64MB of its own memory. Also onboard is a hot-swappable DVD/CD-RW combination drive, which can be upgraded to a multiformat DVD±RW drive for $100. Other possible upgrades include Bluetooth and a biometric fingerprint scanner.
The MX, which came loaded with Windows XP Professional, performed well in CNET Labs' benchmarks, posting a 215 in our BAPCo MobileMark 2002 test. It's more than adequate for basic home and office use. But since it has integrated graphics, we don't recommend it for games or graphics applications. Other, less expensive but similarly equipped PCs, such as the Dell Latitude D610 and the HP Compaq nc6230, performed only slightly better in our tests. The notebook's battery life, however, was particularly impressive, lasting for 4 hours and 41 minutes--much longer than the battery life of the Dell, the HP, and many other thin-and-lights we've seen.
The Portable One MX comes well equipped with ports, including FireWire, PCMCIA, headphone jack, microphone/audio input, phone, Ethernet, and two USB 2.0 ports. Two additional USB ports, an expansion port, a parallel port, and a VGA port are hidden under a plastic flap on the back of the laptop. The MX also features integrated 802.11a/b/g wireless.
Portable One backs the MX with an industry-standard one-year warranty; you can upgrade to three years for an extra $100. A potentially valuable software-based theft-recovery service is bundled at no extra charge.
Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating  

Battery life  (Longer bars indicate longer battery life)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery-life minutes  

Find out more about how we test Windows notebooks.
System configurations:
Dell Latitude D610
Windows XP Professional; 2GHz Intel Pentium M 760; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon X300 64MB; Hitachi Travelstar 5K80 80GB 5,400rpm
HP Compaq nc6230
Windows XP Professional; 2GHz Intel Pentium M 760; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon X300 64MB; Toshiba MK8026GAX 80GB 5,400rpm
Portable One MX
Windows XP Home; 1.8GHz Intel Pentium M 745; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; Intel Extreme Graphics 2 for Mobile 64MB; Hitachi 7K60 60GB 7,200rpm