Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 129 / MAY 1991 / PAGE 54

Zeos Notebook 286. (laptop computer) (evaluation)
by David English

ZEOS INTERNATIONAL 530 5th Ave. St Paul, MN 551 12

(800) 423-5891

CPU Type: 80286; CPU Speed: 12 MHz

Conventional Memory: 640K; Extended

Memory: 384K

Ports: 1 serial, 1 parallel, 1 video

Drives: 3 1/2-inch 1.44MB floppy, 21MB hard

Video Modes: text, CGA, EGA, VGA

Screen Type: LCD with CCFT backlight

List Price: $1,995

Street Price: $1,995 (sold only through Zeos)

With most laptop computers, you have to accept trade-offs. A laptop that's small and lightweight will cost you more than one that's large and heavy. If you want a high-resolution screen and a fast processor, it will cost you even more. Until recently, most of us couldn't afford a laptop that was both powerful and portable.

The Zeos Notebook 286 is one of the first of a new generation of no-compromise laptops. For $1,995, you get a 7-pound notebook-sized computer with a 12-MHz 80286 processor, I MB of RAM (expandable to 5MB), a backlit VGA screen with 32 shades of gray, a fast 20MB hard drive, and a 1.44MB 3 1/2-inch floppy drive.

Besides being a genuine bargain, the Zeos Notebook 286 is also intelligently designed. Because a backlit screen, hard drive, and 286 processor can quickly drain a laptop battery, Zeos has built in several power-saving features. You can switch the processor speed from 12 MHz to 6.5 MHz, reduce screen brightness by half, and have the computer shut off power to the hard drive and LCD screen when they're not being used.

Using the power-saving features, you can extend the standard two-hour battery life to nearly three hours. When the battery has only about 3-6 minutes of power left, the low-battery light blinks slowly-giving you ample time to back up your files. With 1-3 minutes left, the light blinks faster.

The battery charger is exceptionally fast and versatile. When the computer is switched off, recharging the battery takes only about an hour. Even more impressive, you can recharge the battery in about two hours while you continue to use the laptop.

Before you buy any laptop, you should spend as much time as you can trying out the keyboard. The Notebook 286's keyboard has 82 full-size keys, 12 function keys, and an embedded numeric keypad-all with a full key travel. The keys have a firm feel (not too mushy), and they're extremely quiet (you won't disturb others on a plane). On the downside, I miss the audible click of the keys, the Enter and right Shift keys are smaller than usual, and you have to use a special Fn key to access the embedded PgUp, PgDn, Home, and End keys.

While the Zeos Notebook 286 is, indeed, a great little laptop, you would actually be better off buying another machine. For just $300 more, you can buy the same machine from Zeos with a 16-MHx 80386SX processor. The Notebook 386SX adds a math coprocessor option and includes a black-and-white screen instead of the Notebook 286's blue-and-white screen. With either machine, you'll have enough power to run Windows 3.0. Zeos has proven that good things do come in small packages.

All Benchmark/Performanoe Testing is conducted by Computer Product Testing Services, Inc. (CPTS), using benchmark software developed by COMPUTE Publications International Ltd. CPTS is an independent testing and evaluation laboratory based in Manasquan, New Jersey. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of this data as of the date of testing. Performance may vary among samples.

Norton indexes

The Norton computing, disk, and overall indexes show you how well a computer performs when compared to a 4.77-MHz XT. Such an XT has a value of 1.0. if a computer is twice as fast, ft will have a value of 2.0. The greater the index value, the faster the computer-and the faster your applications will run.

The CPU Central Processing Unit) speed test rates the microprocessor's performance. The disk index rates the performance of a system's hard drive. The overall performance index factors in, among other things, the CPU and disk indexes.