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David Pogue Reviews Sharp's Tiny Laptop; Recommends Apple's TiBook

David Pogue Reviews Sharp's Tiny Laptop; Recommends Apple's TiBook

by , 10:00 AM EST, December 17th, 2001

Columnist David Pogue reviews Sharp's tiny new laptop, but winds up recommending the TiBook instead. David Pogue, the technology columnist for the New York Times who spent many years writing for a variety of Mac magazines, recently reviewed Sharp's ultra tiny, 2.8 pound laptop, the PC-UM10. Sharp's description of the its new laptop makes it sound nothing short of amazing.

PC-UM10

Truly an advancement in notebook technology. Not only is the Sharp PC-UM10 notebook computer a lightweight champion (less than three pounds) and a sleek traveling companion (about 3/4 of an inch thick), it features a durable magnesium casing, a state-of-the-art retractable keyboard, and Sharp's legendary LCD technology. It delivers plenty of power with an Ultra Low Voltage Mobile Intel¨ Pentium¨ III processor 600 MHz-M, Microsoft Windows¨ 2000, and a battery life of up to nine hours with the optional extended life battery. The optional port bar, CD ROM and floppy drive ensure that not only is the PC-UM10 extremely portable, it's also extremely functional.

Mr. Pogue's first impression validate some of the claims:

Sure enough, the Sharp PC-UM10 is visually breathtaking. Thanks to its spectacular thinness and sleek aluminum case, it feels in your hands more like an especially stiff copy of Newsweek than a computer. It has a 600-megahertz Pentium III processor, 128 megabytes of memory, a 12.1-inch (1024 x 768) screen, and a 20-gigabyte hard drive, all driven by Windows 2000. The price is $1800.

However, Mr. Pogue later points out:

If I were the executive who wanted an ultrathin status machine to carry around, I'd buy something like the Apple PowerBook G4.

The reason is that Sharp sacrificed a lot to obtain the PS-UM10's tiny footprint. To get the functionality one might need to actually make the laptop useful, one may have to come up with another $800 minimum for CDROM drive, a dock to get video output, and other things, and still have to contend with external pieces and parts. However, the TiBook comes with virtually everything the busy exec might need already built in a package that includes the widest laptop screen available.

Note: The NY Times online is free, but requires you to register.

The Mac Observer Spin:

Even without Mr. Pogue's first hand assessment of the Sharp's PC-UM10, it's easy to see that the TiBook easily outperforms the PC-UM10 in nearly every category except size and weight. Perhaps a fairer comparison would be between the PC-UM10 and the iBook, which has the same size screen. The trade off here is that the PC-UM10 sports a magnesium shell, is thinner, and weighs in a bit more than a two pounds less than the polycarbonate plastic skinned iBook. What the iBook brings to the table is a whole host of built-ins similar to the TiBook, and it is designed to be rugged. With a comparative cost (including peripherals that help the PC-UM10 equal what the iBook has) that is twice the iBooks list price, we wonder whether comparing the PC-UM10 to either of Apple's offering is fair at all. Still, it's always a good idea to see what the other side is doing, and Mr. Pogue's reviews are always interesting. More importantly, they offer some outstanding exposure for Apple's product line in a mainstream publication well outside the scope of the "Mac world."

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