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Cicero F-120C-E1 Mobile Centrino 1.5GHz Notebook

It has been quite a while that we last took a close look at a laptop, it all goes back to 2001 when Pentium 3 based systems were the latest and fastest products on the market. Acer sent us their Travel Mate 730; at the time their latest and fastest P3 based system rated at 450MHz, wow! I still remember getting the FedEx package from them, who could forget opening the box and finding the fastest machine on the market at your service, not only was the 730TXV the fastest but this specific series hosted some of the coolest features like a DVD Drive and a big 14” screen, quite a big leap at the time.

The only sad news was getting this under their demo pool meaning they loaned us a review unit for two months, however the unit ended staying with us at the office… Acer we’re ready to send it back as of now.

The Product
Approx. USD $1100

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Today having a laptop with a DVD player is pretty standard or should I say not enough. Nowadays, over 80% of notebooks on the market come with standard features such as a DVD Player/CD Writer combo or even a CD Writer/ DVD Writer, playing a DVD movie on a plane is not really cool anymore when you get the possibly of editing or copying it right from your notebook. While we didn’t cover much notebooks in these past two years - we even had to decline some propositions from companies due to lack of time - it’s a pleasure to say that you will be seeing more articles of notebooks at TargetPC in the future.

I had a few business meetings during this cold summer month in Montreal and my old laptop simply couldn’t cut it for me anymore…presenting plans and portfolios on a notebook requires a high-speed yet powerful laptop. I had to move on, so I decided to run and pick up a Cicero 120C system from the local electronics store. This unit wasn’t sent from Cicero like we are used to; in fact it was bought for TargetPC.COM. Let’s see what this little toy has to offer.

The Laptop

The main question you might be asking yourself is why I picked this exact unit from the dozens of others well branded laptops such as Acer, Toshiba, Compaq, etc. Well to be honest my choices were really based on its mobility. I was looking for something small, yet powerful. While 14”+ screens were only featured on bigger laptops, I came across the Cicero Mobility 1500 (120C)” and it was love at first site. Who could resist a sleek looking laptop on the display projecting a live feed of you… Right?

The left side of the unit features the Telephone Modem, Ethernet, two USB ports and a PCMCIA slot. Right side has the power plug, Monitor output and the DVD/CDRW combo drive and the front includes two extra 2.5mm audio input/output and the infra red module. Either than that nothing is available on the back. On the on the top you’ll find two LEDs, one of the power status and the other for the battery charge status. On the top of the LCD area you’ll find the built in video camera and in the bottom two other LEDs; one showing the battery charge status and the second showing the power status, of course not forgetting the two built in long speakers on its side. The keyboard part includes a power button at the very upper right end, the touch sensitive pad with an included scroller, illuminated by a blue LED which is quite cool yet sometime annoying when working in dark environments.

At the very lower right end you’ll find 5 LEDs displaying different statuses such as the built in wireless network status and going slightly to the right you can notice the small built microphone, in a few words the Cicero Mobile system has the basic controls. What I found quite annoying is the missing external volume controller, which would be a good and handy addition; taking in mind 90% of laptops already have it. You can however adjust the volume through the keyboard shortcuts using the F5 and F6 key, not quite the real thing but I guess acceptable.

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