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Maxdata Pro 7000X

  • Editors' rating
    7.2 Very good

Pros

  • Excellent battery life
  • good media and connectivity options.

Cons

  • Heavy and large for a Centrino notebook.

Maxdata's first Centrino-based notebook has an odd mix of characteristics. Notably, it's got excellent battery life, yet lacks portability. And despite having a 15in. screen, its native resolution is only 1,024 by 768 pixels. These contradictions mean that although the Pro 7000X is respectable enough in each individual area, it doesn't really cut it either as a mobile machine or as a desktop replacement system.

Our review sample of the Pro 7000X are available was fitted with a 1.4GHz Pentium M processor, 256MB of DDR SDRAM and a 40GB Fujitsu MHT2040AT hard drive. Graphics are handled by Intel's Extreme 2 module in the integrated 855GM chipset; the display is a 15in. XGA resolution TFT.

This specification delivers reasonable, but not remarkable, application performance. A Business Winstone 2001 score of 43 and a Content Creation Winstone 2002 score of 29.3 put the Pro 7000X in the middle of the field for Pentium M/Centrino systems. This is some way behind notebooks we've tested featuring desktop Pentium 4 chips, although these have their own disadvantages.

The Pro 7000X's 3DMark 2001SE score of 1,888 is average for Pentium M/Centrino notebooks with integrated graphics, but lags far behind systems fitted with dedicated mobile 3D accelerator chips. Although you'll be able to play most older games, and a few more recent ones, the Pro 7000X is no gamer's machine.

Where the Pro 7000X does impress in with its battery life. Under BatteryMark 4.01, the system's 4,400mAh battery reports just over four and three quarter hours. This is the longest we've seen on a notebook without a second battery fitted.

However, if you think this makes the Pro 7000X a mobile computing dream, think again. It's relatively heavy at 2.81kg for the system unit alone, rising to 3.32kg with the AC adapter. measuring 33cm by 27.5cm by 3.5cm, it's also relatively large. This is somewhat disappointing given the long battery life: a system that's capable of such a long working time should be more portable than this.

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The build quality of the Pro 7000X is fair, although this isn't one of the most robust notebooks we've examined. The case is made of a fairly thin plastic, and it's possible to flex the entire unit by hand. You'll certainly need to use a well-padded bag to protect the screen while the notebook is in transit.

The Pro 7000X is well supplied with connectivity and media options. The optical drive is a combo DVD-ROM/CD-RW unit, capable of reading DVDs at 8X, CDs at 24X, writing CD-Rs at 10X and rewriting CD-RWs at 8X. There's an SD/MMC card slot that will also take Memory Sticks. The two media formats show up as separate drives in Windows, which is inconvenient but not a serious problem. You get three USB 2.0 ports and a single 4-pin FireWire port to connect external peripherals. There's an S-Video output, and the headphone socket doubles as a digital optical output.

There's one unusual feature in the Pro 7000X: you can play audio CDs on the notebook without having to boot the machine if you're not working. A small control panel at the top of the keyboard allows you to control playback and open the CD drive. This means you can use the Pro 7000X as possibly the world's largest Walkman. It's a shame therefore that the sound quality from the notebook's speakers isn't very good. The sound is quite tinny, even for a notebook. You can obviously listen through headphones, where the sound quality will depend on them, rather than the built-in speakers. The player is disabled when you're running the notebook.

It's difficult to recommend the Pro 7000X due to its higher weight compared with other Pentium M/Centrino notebooks. Although its battery life is excellent, if you're away from the mains a lot then you'll want a lighter, more compact machine than this. Similarly, if you're mostly going to be using this machine at a desk, you don't care about the battery life, and would want a bit more power.