capsule review

Sharp Actius MC22

At a Glance
  • Sharp Actius MC22

Sharp Actius MC22
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

The Actius MC22 is a handsome sub-6-pound notebook with a slim, metallic-skinned, wedge-shaped case. Its best trick is its ability to connect directly to your desktop PC for easy data synchronization; when connected through its USB cable, it acts as an external hard drive. In addition to the USB cable, which plugs into a proprietary connection on the front of the notebook, the Actius comes with a software utility called DirectHD that you install on the PC you want to sync with. Sharp also includes its SharpSync application for easier data synchronization. (The app does not work with Windows Me.) Once tethered to the host PC, the notebook shows up in the desktop's Explorer as a 40GB local partition.

Otherwise, the MC22 is fairly basic. It lacks a FireWire port, and the 12.1-inch screen is a miserly size for a 5.2-pound notebook. The speakers take up almost a quarter of the panel; if the MC22 had knockout stereo audio, the smaller display might be worth it, but it sounds tinnier than average.

The MC22's keyboard has keys that curve upward a little, but we were able to get used to them fairly quickly. The layout stumbles only with the PgUp and PgDn keys, as they require combination keystrokes. The touchpad worked fine with the mouse buttons, which are fused into a one-piece rocker.

The hard drive, battery, and memory are easy to access: Each pops out with a tug. The MC22 offers twice as many USB ports as most other notebooks, four total, and comes equipped with an 802.11g wireless card. A fixed DVD-ROM/CD-RW combination drive is built into the right side.

The MC22 is not extravagantly documented, having just one small, plain manual with no contents page, but then again it's not a complicated notebook. Nor is this Actius a speed demon: With a 1.67-GHz Mobile Athlon XP-M processor and 256MB of RAM (built into the motherboard), it earned a PC WorldBench 4 performance score of 101. That score puts it well below most ultraportables we've tested recently. The battery lasted just 2.6 hours in our tests--also well below average.

The Actius MC22 has two things going for it: It makes keeping your data synced between your portable and your desktop easy, and at under $1400 it has a great price.

Sharp Actius MC22


PC WorldBench 4 score of 101, 1.67-GHz Mobile Athlon XP-M 2200+ CPU, 256MB of RAM, Windows XP Home, 12.1-inch screen, Via ProSavageDDR KN266 graphics using main memory, 40GB hard drive, 8X DVD-ROM and 24X/10X/24X CD-RW combination drive, built-in V.90 modem and network interface, touchpad pointing device, 6 pounds (including AC adapter and phone cord).
$1399
www.sharpelectronics.com

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • Sharp Actius MC22

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