Budget Gaming Laptop Shootout

The high-end of the mobile market is currently getting a lot of attention, with faster Speedstep Pentium III processors coming out everytime and now even more with the introduction of the GeForce2 GO.

However, for most of us, those products will be well out of our reach. We need to look at the low-end. Despite the introduction of a special power-saving K6-2, the performance of this chip in gaming applications is still dire when compared to Intel’s offerings. So today we look at two Mobile-Celeron laptops that are selling in great quantities, the Celeron 500 based FIC A430 and the Toshiba Satellite Pro 4270/ 4310.

The Toshiba Satellite Pro 4270 and the Umax ActionBook 653T. The ActionBook is fitted with a 14.1” TFT, and the Satellite Pro has extra 64 Megs of RAM.

FIC? Never heard of them

You have probably never heard of FIC as a notebook manufacturer, actually they don’t sell laptops directly. They are an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) making the laptops for various other manufacturers, including Umax, Tiny, Time and Rock. In fact the unit I am looking at is the Umax ActionBook 653T.

Toshiba in the other hand, manufacture all their laptops, which means they will not be sold under another manufacturers´ name. Note however that their 4200 series models were re-launched this year as the 4300 series. They are basically the same, but with new “trendy” casing, a bigger hard drive and a slightly faster processor.

First Impressions

The FIC is certainly the better looking of the two, with its stylish brown plastic casing and clear-cut sides. The unit feels quite sturdy for it’s size, and nothing really looks out of place on it. A quick survey of the back reveals a small array of ports, including serial, parallel, PS/2 DSUB and S-Video. Two USB ports are to be found on the left side of base, whilst the two “Type II PC Card” expansion slots and the V.90 modem are on the right hand side. At the front we have audio input and output and the IRDA port.

A first look of the Toshiba gives the impression that it is a lot bigger than it actually is. The unit does not catch the eye like the FIC does, but is nonetheless smart in its own way. It is marginally heavier than the FIC, and has a few subtle curves to it; I think these are what make it seem so big. The back of the Toshiba seems more featured, although in reality it adds little more than is on the FIC. There are serial, parallel, PS/2, DSUB, Composite-video, USB and IRDA ports. As with the FIC, the V.90 modem port can be found on the right side.


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