Before there were PDAs, Smartphones or ultra-mobile PCs, there were simply desktops and laptops. Since then, this slew of new portable computing devices has swept onto the market, surpassing the laptop in portability, and filling every niche in between. But despite all the new products pushing the smaller-lighter mantra, the divide between laptops and PCs remains a wide one. Outside of bloated “desktop-replacement” laptops, not many machines have attempted to bridge the gap.
NEC’s new PowerMate P5000 ignores the old portable-versus-stationary dichotomy, carving out a niche for what NEC calls the “hybrid PC.” The P5000 takes the compact design of a laptop, the uncompromised interface from a desktop, and rolls them into one. Think “iMac” with a hefty extra dose of portability thrown in.
Image Courtesy of NEC
With a full 17.1-inch LCD screen and a weight of 8.8 pounds, it’s tempting to lump the P5000 in with the aforementioned desktop-replacement laptops and call it day, but the P5000 packs something extra. Unlike any laptop, its wireless keyboard can break away from its screen to be positioned anywhere around it, and a full-size wireless mouse is included as well. If that seems to edge it a little too close to the likes of a the iMac or another one-piece PC, the PowerMate still distinguishes itself by folding up into one compact unit for transport from one place to another with a built-in handle. In design, at least, it truly does find some middle ground.
Image Courtesy of NEC
Under the hood, the PowerMate’s hardware has more in common with a laptop than a desktop. Its AMD Turion X2 TL-52 processor is a mobile unit through-and-through, and the on-board ATI Radeon 1200 graphics processor also pushes things in that direction. Fortunately, there are still some desktop accoutrements, such as four-channel audio (rare on a notebook) and four USB ports. Other specs include a 200GB SATA hard drive, 13-in-1 card reader, built-in Wi-Fi radio, and 1GB or 2GB of DDR2 memory, depending on model.
The PowerMate wasn’t designed to sit in your lap and go anywhere, so users with a need for true mobility will probably want to stick to real notebook computers. However, for situations where laptops are used avoid clutter rather than to provide mobility, the P5000 may be right at home.
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