ZT Group ZTpro 1015 review: ZT Group ZTpro 1015

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The Good Excellent audio and CD player; low price; flash-card reader; helpful configuration utility.

The Bad Poor performance; short battery life; lacks Wi-Fi.

The Bottom Line With excellent audio and four speakers, ZT Group's ZTpro M1015 is an inexpensive mobile entertainment system, but it lags in performance and battery life.

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6.4 Overall

The ZT Group's ZTpro M1015 may be lacking in several areas, but it may still appeal to those who take their music with them, thanks to its excellent sound system with four vibrant speakers. Best of all, CDs can be played with the rest of the notebook turned off. In fact, all it needs is Wi-Fi and a TV tuner to become a complete digital entertainment center. Other than that, however, the ZTpro seriously lags behind the other Dothan laptops we've tested.

The ZT Group ZTpro M1015's charcoal-gray-and-silver case weighs in at 6.5 pounds, a few ounces less than Acer's TravelMate 8000, despite having a bigger screen. With the M1015's 8-ounce AC adapter, the system hits the road at a hefty 7 pounds, putting it between a thin-and-light laptop and a desktop-replacement system. If you leave the optical drive behind and use the included blank module cover, the travel weight drops to 6.3 pounds. Its wedge-shape case measures a svelte 1.5 inches at the front but a pudgy 1.7 inches in the rear, and it has a wide 13.8-by-10.7-inch footprint.

Despite its 60GB high-performance hard drive, 512MB of RAM, and 1.6GHz second-generation Pentium M, which includes 2MB of external cache, the ZTpro couldn't keep up with its peers in our tests. On the other hand, the system's 15.4-inch wide-screen display is bright and sharp and is powered by an ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 with 64MB of dedicated video memory. While many of the Dothan laptops we looked at came with DVD burners, the ZTpro gets by with a sedate CD-RW drive; a DVD+RW drive adds $135 to the price tag.

With all that width at its disposal, the ZT Group ZTpro M101 has room for a big keyboard that features 19.3mm keys with a comfortable 2.9mm of depth. The touchpad below has a pair of actuation buttons, a scroll key, and a handy switch for turning off the pad. There's space for a wide variety of ports and plugs, including four USB connectors, a PC Card slot, and a flash-card reader that works with MultiMediaCards, Secure Digital, or Memory Stick modules. Unfortunately, the ZTpro doesn't have a Wi-Fi option, but it does include an infrared port.

Performance is not the ZTpro's strong suit; its MobileMark score of 115 positions it closer to a 900MHz Pentium M system than a mobile gamer's machine. At four hours, its battery life is adequate but behind all but the WinBook W360 in this small test group. The bright spot is the Asus Power4 Gear utility, which puts all major configuration choices in one well-organized place.

If you're not happy with the ZT Group ZTpro M1015, you can return it for a refund within 30 days, although you'll pay a 15 percent restocking fee and shipping. With only one year of coverage, the ZTpro's warranty is on a par with Acer's, but that's much too short for a system that should have at least a three-year life. Upgrading to three years of coverage costs $150.

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 in minutes  

System configurations:

Acer TravelMate 8000
Windows XP Professional; 1.8GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 128MB; Hitachi 5K60 80GB 5,400rpm

Dell Latitude D800
Windows XP Professional; 2GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Nvidia GeForce FX Go5600 128MB; Hitachi 5K60 80GB 5,400rpm

HP Compaq Business Notebook nc6000
Windows XP Professional; 1.8GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB; Toshiba MK6022GAX 60GB 5,400rpm

WinBook W360
Windows XP Professional; 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB; Hitachi 5K60 80GB 5,400rpm

ZT Group ZTpro M1015
Windows XP Professional; 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB; Toshiba MK6021GAS 60GB 5,400rpm

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