capsule review

Systemax Pursuit 4110

At a Glance
  • Systemax Pursuit 4110

    PCWorld Rating

    Almost a twin of Alienware's Sentia m3200, the overclocked Pursuit costs less and runs a bit faster but has an inferior desig

Systemax Pursuit 4110
Artwork: Rick Rizner, Chris Manners

At $1380 (as of 2/16/06), the Systemax Pursuit 4110, sold by TigerDirect.com, offers reasonable portability along with a bright screen. But you can get a nicer version of this notebook for about $200 more.

The Pursuit is almost a twin of Alienware's Sentia m3200, which has a more elegant design and far superior documentation. Nevertheless, the Pursuit's 12.1-inch wide-aspect screen is roomy enough to work in mainstream applications, and its 80GB hard drive is sufficient storage for most people.

And its performance is great. With a 2-GHz Pentium M 755 and 1GB of RAM, the Pursuit earned a slightly higher WorldBench 5 score than did the 2-GHz Pentium M 760-equipped Sentia, 95 versus 92 (although the difference is practically insignificant).

Like the Sentia, the Pursuit offers a merely fair touchpad-equipped keyboard, its drawbacks being stiff mouse buttons and PgUp and PgDn keys that are awkwardly positioned (horizontally and separated by the up-arrow key). On the bright side, all the connections are on the sides within easy reach, and a third, bonus USB port for a small thumb drive (my 3-inch-long drive would not fit) is tucked in a compartment on the bottom of the notebook. The media card reader accepts SD Card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, and MultiMediaCard. The sole battery option, a rear-mounted six-cell power pack, lasted 3 hours, 10 minutes in our tests, a time that puts the Pursuit in the lower half of current evaluated ultraportables.

The Pursuit falls short of the Sentia in hard-drive speed--5400 rpm versus 7200 rpm--as well as in regard to a few other features. The Pursuit lacks an ExpressCard slot, instant play for movies and music, and the option for a 160GB hard drive. The Pursuit's documentation is also inferior to the Sentia's. Systemax's system lacks a printed manual, offering a PDF version on disk instead. The PDF, while thorough, has no links, so you must scroll through the entire document to find your information.

Systemax's overclocked Pursuit is inexpensive and fast, but it lacks the design and documentation attention that distinguish better-value notebooks.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Almost a twin of Alienware's Sentia m3200, the overclocked Pursuit costs less and runs a bit faster but has an inferior desig

    Pros

    • Attractive case

    Cons

    • Uncomfortable mouse buttons
    • No WiFi switch
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