Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 133 / SEPTEMBER 1991 / PAGE 37

Hyundai Super-LT5. (laptop computer) (evaluation)
by Eddie Huffman

The Hyundai Super-LT5 makes the machines I once toted under my arm seem terribly limited--and wonderfully light. At 11-plus pounds, it's a load at the end of your arm or on your lap, with a bulky AC adapter when you're not running it on battery power--but then, that's true of any laptop in this class. The Super-LT5 is also a fast, efficient laptop with a roomy hard drive, a sharp screen, and a nice-size keyboard.

Weight aside, it's a well-made machine with the advantages of a desktop model compressed into a box smaller than a briefcase. With a built-in handle and a screen that folds down and locks readily into place, the Super-LT5 is its own case.

The keyboard, though understandably cramped, features full-size, fully responsive keys. It's laid out in a familiar manner, with the function keys arrayed horizontally along the top. The number keyboard overlaps some of the letters, meaning that it's separated from the familiar overlay with the cursor-movement keys. Given that the Hyundai Super-LT5 is a laptop, it's a perfectly suitable layout, although the NumLock key's proximity to the right Shift, Ctrl, and Alt keys caused me to activate it inadvertently more than once.

The machine's floppy drive and expansion ports are readily accessible, as is the motherboard. I had no trouble hooking up my VGA monitor to get full color, though the Super-LT5's screen proved marvelously well lighted, well defined, and easy to adjust--just right for my writing. Brightness and contrast were adjustable via two smoothly sliding controls adjacent to the screen, a more convenient location than I'm accustomed to seeing even on full-size desktop monitors.

You'll find expansion jacks around the laptop's sides. Besides the port for the external monitor, there are ports for a keyboard, a 5-1/4-inch floppy disk drive to supplement the built-in 3-1/2-inch drive, and a printer. I tried hooking up my desktop IBM-compatible's keyboard to the Hyundai Super-LT5, but its recessed external keyboard jack proved too deep for my angled plug. You can, however, plug in an internal modem.

The laptop operates very quietly, emitting just enough squawks to let you know when it's reading a disk. I found the internal speaker to be adequate, perhaps just a little too quiet.

The user's guide provides clear, basic guidance, with a particularly helpful chapter of troubleshooting tips; however, it should have an index.

There are no cables to install and no screws to screw, and getting the machine up and running takes no more or less time or effort than with a comparable desktop model. Included with the Hyundai Super-LT5 are DOS disks and a reference disk that includes Windows and OS/2 drivers.

The Hyundai Super-LT5 has a built-in MS-DOS shell program, which is a nice feature. It's too bad this particular shell program is unnecessarily complicated, requiring unnatural key combinations when a simpler menu probably would've done the trick. Again, it's a nice feature to have; it just doesn't make getting around in DOS a easy as it could.

Though not astoundingly fast, the Hyundai Super-LT5 generally works quickly and efficiently. Installing software onto the hard drive takes relatively little time.

The battery for the Hyundai Super-LT5 takes four to six hours to charge and lasts for one to three hours. Given the machine's power, that seems reasonable, even though it would be nice if it could hold out longer on a charge. One problem I encountered using the laptop on both electrical and battery power was that after a while it got uncomfortably hot underneath, especially when I was using it while wearing shorts.

Fortunately, I never subjected the Hyundai Super-LT5 to the toughest test I ever gave a laptop during mydays as a newspaper reporter: skidding it across a concrete parking lot after accidentally tripping in the dark during a late-night run for police news. Even so, it appears to be a solidly built, durable too, capable of performing almost as well as a pricey desktop computer but without the usual constraints; it's powerful and portable.