capsule review

Micro Express JFT2500 Ultraportable Laptop

At a Glance
  • Micro Express JFT2500

    PCWorld Rating

The small, white Micro Express JFT2500 defies expectations by being both extremely fast and affordable, two qualities not often found in the same ultraportable laptop. The catch? Lousy battery life. Still, if saving money on a light, fast laptop is paramount to you, the JFT2500 is a good choice for some home- and small-office workers.

Equipped with a 2.4-GHz Core 2 Duo T7700 processor and 4GB of RAM, the JFT2500 notched a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 92. That result is faster than the mark of any other model in our current test batch of ultraportables. In fact, only three desktop-replacement laptops have come close to matching its performance. A midsize HP Voodoo Envy M:152, equipped with Intel's new 2.6-GHz Core 2 Extreme X7800 gaming processor, earned a tying score of 92. Two large notebooks equipped with desktop quad-core processors, the Micro Express NP9261 and Eurocom D900C Phantom-X, scored 96 and 97 respectively.

Battery life, on the other hand, was way shorter than average in our tests--2.2 hours shorter, in fact, than the 4.2 hours that the typical ultraportable lasts on one charge. Only two other ultraportables (out of a field of 17 currently tested machines) ran down faster.

The rest of the design is satisfactory. At 4.4 pounds, the JFT2500 is a little heavy for a notebook with a 12.1-inch screen. The 1280-by-800-pixel display is reasonably bright and easy to work with. The small white keyboard felt a little too snug at first, and I was disappointed to find my favorite keys--Ctrl, Del, and Page Up and Page Down--somewhat buried, but typing quickly became comfortable. The lower casing, a nice contrasting black, has a fair assortment of ports and slots, including three USB ports and an ExpressCard/54 slot--but no FireWire.

Our review unit came with no productivity applications. If you don't need the Windows Vista Business operating system, you can save $20 by configuring the JFT2500 with Windows XP Home. Full Wi-Fi comes built in, but Bluetooth is an extra $25.

With its short battery life, the Micro Express JFT2500 would be a poor choice for frequent travelers; but if you can work around this shortcoming, it's a cheap entry into the world of fast, light notebooks.

--Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Overlook the small keyboard and 2-hour battery life, and you have yourself an affordable, ultrafast ultraportable.

    Pros

    • Blistering speed
    • Great price

    Cons

    • All-too-brief battery life
    • So-so keyboard
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