Most sub-notebooks do not have built-in CDROM or floppy drives
to reduce the thickness and additional weight - one thing you
have to come to terms with, hunting in this category. Question
is: Do you
need the drives all the time?
Since games are generally out,
the CDROM drive is only needed to perform the occasional
software installation (or reinstallation?). Floppy drive? I
almost never use it.
So the TravelMate 330T comes the
Easy-Link Combo kit, with its advantages and disadvantages.
The PROs are that the 2-in-1 combo is hot-pluggable, requires
no external AC power, and needs only a single connection to
a proprietary EasyLink connector on the left side of the
notebook. The CON is you have to bring the entire
2-in-1 combo if all you need is either one. Excess weight!
Lucent 56K Modem
The built-in modem worked perfectly well and since it is a
hardware modem, you do not have to fear that your CPU cycles
are chewed up. It also accepts the standard RJ-11 phone jack,
so it does not have to rely on fragile and expensive dongles.
This is a feature incorporated into the TravelMate, where 2 buttons placed between the right and left trackpad buttons
function like standard wheel-mouse up/down scrollers. They are intuitive
and easy to master, and I found them to be useful when reading long documents.
However, a problem with the
Synaptics driver prevented the external wheel-mouse’s wheel
to function correctly when plugged into the PS/2 port. This is
something I hope will be fixed in future driver revisions.
Cyber 9525DVD AGP 2.5Mb SDRAM Graphics Controller
I did not have the DVD-ROM combo kit to test the MPEG-2
acceleration of Trident’s graphics chipset. But graphics performance is very adequate for
whatever I needed to do on the laptop. Ok, I admit that it sustained an acceptable looking game of FIFA ’99 (software
mode) with my USB Creative Cobra gamepad docked in.
The graphics controller allows
for simultaneous monitor and LCD. An interesting feature is
the support of Windows desktop extension onto the monitor. So
you can work akin to a dual monitor setup. Very cool indeed!
& Battery Management
This is an inert feature implemented in the system layout and
design right from the beginning to minimize system
temperature, thereby improving battery life.
Often you find
notebooks generating an unbearable amount of heat that can
become a major irritation when you try to do some productive
work. Either the palm rest or keyboard area will get so warm
that it makes typing uncomfortable and sometimes the underside
warms your laps so much you perspire in your pants.
Here’s a snip from
the makers themselves:
TravelMate 330 employs a low-profile advanced "FlexFlow
Air Channel" thermal solution. The concept is designed
and implemented in the system layout right at the beginning.
By setting up this channel, heat can be dissipated
efficiently by crossing the lowest temperature such as
PCMCIA area, and then the mid temperature area like HDD
module area and finally comes to the CPU area-the highest
temperature area. With this solution, the average internal
system temperature can be reduced remarkably by 10 degree Celsius
to 15 degree Celsius and the battery life can be
thus increased by more than 10%."
my own evaluation, the TravelMate does get warm after
some hours, but to a lesser extend than other notebooks I used
in the past. Check out the amount of
heat generated by other notebooks to get the significance of
what I mean, especially in non-air-conditioned environments.
The TravelMate 330T comes with a huge carrying bag, though of
high quality, seem too big for the notebook. The notebook,
external EasyLink Combo kit, AC adapter, external mouse &
pad, a couple of magazines and up to 4 or 5 CDs can easily fit
inside the huge carrier. While it will please those who need
the space, it does not show off the sleek beauty within.
Fortunately, the purchase also includes a handsome slid-in
file, which will nicely enclose your investment in a
handy protective cover no bigger than an A4 size file. Try
pulling the silver beauty from this cover inside a passenger
train and see the amount of attention you draw!
The package included a 9-step fold-out guide on how to set up the notebook upon purchase. There is
also a thick textbook-like manual accompanying the guide.
9-Steps Starter Guide
user's guide is a useful read for anybody owning a notebook for the
first time as it contains advices on how to care for the
notebook, how to preserve battery life and what to bring along
when you travel, etc.
those of you who fear books, there is an online version of the
manual with other additions.