capsule review

Sys Technology WideView

At a Glance
  • Sys Technology WideView 64/3400+

Sys Technology WideView
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

Looking for the best performance bang for the buck in a wide-screen laptop? Sys Technology's $1595 2.2-GHz Athlon 64 3400+-equipped WideView fits the bill with a WorldBench 5 score of 93--it's the second fastest notebook we've tested with our new testing benchmark. The WideView benefited from having 1GB of RAM, and yet doubling the standard 512MB of RAM added a mere $73 to the machine's total price.

A large, silver laptop that weighs a little more than 8 pounds, not including the power adapter, the WideView rewards those willing to shoulder its weight with a 15.4-inch screen, a multiformat DVD burner, and most of the latest laptop features. Some offices will appreciate the WideView's parallel port; and the SD Card slot will come in handy for those whose PDAs and digital cameras use that memory-card format.

Like many relatively inexpensive laptops, though, the WideView's design isn't uniformly elegant. Here's what we liked: audio ports on the front for easy headphone use; the keyboard, including an extrawide touchpad with scroll zone and stylish mouse buttons with an embedded rocker wheel; and the optical drive's eject button, prominent enough to find by feel. What didn't we like? Upgraders will be annoyed at having to remove 11 tiny screws and the huge panel that takes up most of the bottom of the laptop to reach either the hard drive or the memory slots. (Most laptops give these components dedicated compartments covered by small panels held in by one or two screws.) We found the identical-looking function keys for controlling volume confusing at first. And battery life of 2.3 hours is underwhelming.

But the biggest drawback for some will be the WideView's lack of built-in Wi-Fi, a feature now standard in almost all laptops. Instead it ships with a loose Edimax 802.11g Wireless LAN PC Card. (A company spokesman said Sys Technology is still ironing out compatibility issues.)

The WideView offers great performance for the money, which may compensate for its uneven design and lack of some now-common equipment.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • Sys Technology WideView 64/3400+

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