capsule review

Micro Express CL5620

At a Glance
  • Micro Express CL5620

Micro Express CL5620
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

Thanks to a dark bluish-silver case with a chic black touchpad, the Micro Express CL5620 looks sleek. Despite its large screen--a beautiful 15-inch display with a high resolution of 1400 by 1050--the laptop is easy to carry, at 6.3 pounds (not including its power adapter). The extra-firm keyboard is topped by two unlabeled, programmable application launch buttons; and a multiformat DVD burner sits conveniently in the front.

Although missing the latest laptop features such as a built-in memory card reader, the CL5620 includes all the commonly used connections, including Wi-Fi and FireWire. The unit is easy to upgrade as well: By removing one bottom screw, you can pull the hard drive out of the right side of the unit by its attached cover. However, pass up the CL5620 if stereo sound is important to you. As with most portables, its bass-weak stereo speakers don't sound very full or realistic.

But the CL5620 has looks--and performance that cooks. Our 2-GHz Pentium M-equipped test unit lasted an impressive 4 hours in our battery tests and then handily polished off a competitor in our speed tests. With its WorldBench 5 score of 97, the CL5620 breezed past a similarly equipped laptop--this month's ChemBook 2037--which scored 89, by 8 percent. That's not a huge difference in speed, but it should be enough to save a few seconds in heavier duty tasks, such as recalculating a big spreadsheet.

The Micro Express CL5620 delivers simple elegance and top performance.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • Micro Express CL5620

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