Micro Express JFL9226
Micro Express has previously topped our charts with affordable portables
It's no shocker that the octane-fueled notebook, packing 3GB of RAM and a 2.53-GHz T9400 processor, whipped through our
The notebook's 256MB nVidia GeForce 9600GT GPU knocked out reasonably solid numbers in Far Cry (95 frames per second at 1024-by-768-pixel resolution). Just don't expect to play modern, top-flight games jacked up to the machine's native 1280-by-800-pixel resolution.
At first glance, the 15.4-inch screen underwhelms: Even with the brightness cranked high, I found it hard to get a clear view of video scenes, and the colors didn't quite pop. That is, until I tapped the handy shortcut key atop the keyboard that activates the incredibly handy WoW Video feature. That button quickly shuffles through one user-defined and four preset video modes, boosting the video quality noticeably.
As with WoW Video, an equally handy WoW Audio adjustment button camps on the laptop. But you probably won't be able to discern any difference in sound quality, thanks to the less-than-spectacular speakers. They sound decent enough, if a little hollow, but you can
The JFL9226 also houses an integrated Webcam and microphone
Unlike Sony's sleek runner-up, Micro Express's case isn't conventionally sexy, though it tries. The hard plastic shell's interior is goofily textured as if
Thankfully, the keyboard is satisfyingly solid. It doesn't bow under finger pressure and gives just the right amount of clickity-clack tactile feedback while typing. It's no ThinkPad (those models arguably boast the best keyboards in the biz), but I like it. Though the mouse works as expected, larger--or better-spaced--mouse buttons would be even more welcome considering its size, which allows plenty of room.
In the end, she may not be much to look at, but the JFL9226 has the quicks where it counts. By stacking on enough ports, features, and power for the right price, Micro Express has
Micro Express JFL9226
The JFL9226 cuts most of the right corners to produce a budget-friendly road warrior. It just needs a facelift.
- Great price-performance ratio
- Handy audio/video tweaking tools
- Big and bulky for an all-purpose machine
- Incredibly tacky faux leather plastic