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Gigabyte G-Max N203 Laptop Review

Gigabyte G-Max N203 Laptop Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Features and portability are this 1.6GHz Centrino-based laptop's primary strengths, but it can also hold its own in the office computing.
 75% Rating:   
Filed under: Notebooks Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Mar 14 2005   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Notebooks > Gigabyte GMAX N203

First impressions and upgrading

With the G-Max N203, Gigabyte seems to have a definite target audience in mind. It should appeal to the segment of laptop buyers who love the look of Apple's iBooks, but are scared away by the unfamiliar operating system, or the prices. And why not? Out of the box, the N203 is an attractive design.

Our cherry red version sported a smooth and attractive finish on the outside and opened up to an attractive white keyboard and bezel. The only thing we didn't care for was the thin mirror strip on the top of the system.

The G-Max N203 feels very solidly built overall. The case is very rigid and will not flex, which is reassuring. The single latch holds the laptop closed well.

The 12.6" LCD screen makes a mixed first impression. It's size is adequate, but we would have liked it to be a bit brighter. The integrated video card was configured to steal 16MB of system memory, leaving 240MB for Windows. This is not a huge amount, but it's adequate for everyday office tasks, DVD viewing and Internet use. The viewing angles of the LCD are quite satisfactory.

Our review system shipped with a matching red Gigabyte GM-8U mini-optical mouse, identical in shape to the GM-W9C wireless optical mouse we reviewed recently. This wired 800-Dpi mouse was a pleasure to use, and functioned smoothly with the system. Users with large hands might find it slightly uncomfortable to hold though. We'd love to see more notebook manufacturers include portable mice with their systems, since trackpads are uniformly hard to use.

On the software front, the Gigabyte G-Max N203 includes the usual 'recovery CD' version of XP Home and the driver CD, along with full versions of Roxio Easy CD and DVD creator 6 and Power DVD 5. The included manual and instruction sheet are well illustrated and seem to be comprehensive (we did not get English versions for this review).

Aside from the software and manuals, our bundle also included a black, padded zip up sleeve to protect the N203 (though it's lack of handles means you are going to use it as protection, not transportation) in addition to the nifty little optical mouse we mentioned earlier. Gigabyte again goes that little extra step for its customers.

We were a little confused about the warranty details for this product. Gigabyte's website states that the company provides a one year warranty on the laptop itself and the power adaptor, while the battery carries a separate six-month warranty from date of purchase. On the other hand, our test model had a sticker that clearly states that the laptop has a "two years warranty." We'll accept the website version of the warranty as more likely, but we would have liked to have seen a longer warranty on the battery.

Upgradability

As we mentioned, the memory can be upgraded to a maximum of 1GB of DDR 333 SDRAM. A single empty memory slot is available, so in the case of our 256MB Ruby Red model, 784MB is the ceiling unless we decided to trash the original 256MB module. The free slot is accessible via a screw panel beneath the laptop.

The hard disk is also easily accessible by way of another underside panel secured by a single screw. We like having the option of a hard drive upgrade easily available, so high marks to Gigabyte for this feature. No other user-upgradable parts are present.

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GMAX N203
 Pg 1.  Gigabyte G-Max N203 Laptop Review
 Pg 2.  Physical Dimensions and ports
 Pg 3.  — First impressions and upgrading
 Pg 4.  Testing and benchmarks
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: Winbench 99, BatteryMark, Sandra
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: Super PI, PCMark 02, PCMark 04
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: 3DMark 2001, 3DMark 03, Aquamark
 Pg 8.  Unreal Tournament 2003, conclusions

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