Pioneer Dreambook Slim 800

The Pioneer Slim 800 has the best processing power per dollar of any laptop we have seen come through the Test Centre in the last two months. At just $2199, the Pioneer Dreambook Slim 800 outflanks its competition, delivering scores of 90 in WorldBench 5 and 15,697 in 3DMark 2001 SE. Relying on a NVIDIA GeForce Go 6600 128MB PCIe graphics card, it was only beaten in house by the Alienware machine that was nearly double the price.

On the downside, the Dreambook Slim 800 runs incredibly hot, and the 3-D performance does lag significantly when it hits its stable running temperature of 54.7 degrees Celsius!

FEAR ran extremely well at high settings with an average of 27 frames per second (fps), but occasionally dropped to horrendously low speeds when at the operating at highest temperature. However, for the most part, it ran smoothly.

Weighing 2.9kg, running a 2GHz Pentium M processor with 1GB of RAM, this Dreambook is built for speed. It is difficult not to be amazed by the low price. For connectivity, Pioneer has ticked most boxes. The Slim 800 has four USB 2.0 ports, S/PDIF, DVI, S-video, SD and a 1394 (FireWire) port. Bluetooth and a built-in microphone are the most notable absentees. On the deck are three multimedia keys and dedicated volume and mute keys.

The optical drive will write dual-layer DVD at 8x, and Pioneer has thrown in a 25-pack of DVD-R discs. Along with the bundle is the WordPerfect Office Suite, Cyberlink DVD and a carry bag.

VERDICT Runs as fast and hot as a Delorion and has a great feature set at a low price. An excellent value laptop, but a warranty extension could be a good idea.

Pioneer Dreambook Slim 800
Price: $2199
Vendor: Pioneer
Phone: (02) 9690 2888
Specifications: Intel Pentium-M 2GHz processor 760; 15.4in Widescreen XGA (1280x800) TFT screen; NVIDIA GeForce Go 6600 128MB PCI Express graphics; 1GB (2 x 512MB) 533MHz DDR2 RAM; 60GB 5400rpm Ultra-ATA hard drive; 8x DVD-/+RW dual-layer drive; 802.11B/G Wireless module; 1 year on-site pickup and return warranty.

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