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This article continues the earlier published review called “Your A4-Size Business Companion: Choosing the Best Compact Notebook. Part I ” and offers you the descriptions and test results of sub-notebooks from such renowned brands as ASUS, Dell, Sony and Toshiba.

We are still trying to give you a thorough description of the design features and ergonomic qualities of each model as of the factors many users base their shopping choices upon. We do not focus on performance alone, because such small computers can’t yet deliver really high performance, and, moreover, it is not needed when the notebook is used as a tool for doing some office work on the run. Accessories included with each device are also described in detail since a sub-notebook requires at least a power adapter to work normally.

It’s good when the enclosed power adapter supports both the European and American electric mains standards as people who buy such computers probably travel a lot and visit countries where the AC voltage and frequency differ. A special bag or a pouch to carry the notebook in won’t be superfluous accessories, either, especially if they protect the device against mechanical damage and moisture.

We hope our describing such details in this review will help you make a right choice of your own small notebook.

ASUS M5200A

Design and Ergonomics

This sub-notebook has the appearance of an aristocrat. Its regular, yet smooth features create an exquisite image to add to, or even to become the foundation of, the owner’s personal style. The color scheme is demure – a black case and a silvery edging of the lid. Decorative details are missing altogether.

The case is made of some robust and light carbonic material; its corners are all rounded. To open the lid you press the button that holds the latch and lift the lid up – the M5200A looks pretty when open as well. The keyboard takes up the entire width of the case, without any margins on the sides. The touchpad is shifted a little to the left of the geometrical center of the case. The following LED indicators are to the left of the touchpad:

  • Working (constant light) or Suspend-to-RAM (blinking)
  • Battery charging
  • HDD activity
  • Wireless adapter activity

There is a small flat ledge at the bottom of the case in which an optical drive, a CPU cooling system and a SO-DIMM slot are located. The latches that hold the battery are near the sub-notebook’s back panel. One latch is spring-loaded and another is a two-position switch that prevents the battery from slipping out accidentally. The cover of the HDD compartment can be easily removed, so you can replace the hard drive without going to a service center.

Note that the rear pair of the sub-notebook’s feet with rubber caps “grows” from the battery, so if you remove it, you may scratch the case. There is one more drawback that you should be aware of: the vent inlets are all in the bottom of the case and you can block them unintentionally if you put the notebook on your laps.

 
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