Actius Notebook Hits New Lows

But ultralight is a bit slow, and keyboard is cramped.

Actius MM10

Sharps Actius MM10 is an extremely portable notebook with built-in support for Ethernet and 802.11b connectivity. Although keyboard and performance trade-offs come with this small size, the $1,499 Actius will suit many mobile workers rather nicely.
















  • PRO: Weighs just 2.1 pounds; integrated 802.11b capabilities.
  • CON: Cramped keyboard; performance slow compared with larger notebooks; lacks Bluetooth support.

• Fujitsus Lifebook P2120

Weighing in at only 2.1 pounds, Sharp Electronics Corp.s Actius MM10 is one of the lightest and most pleasant-to-tote notebooks eWEEK Labs has ever reviewed. However, as one might expect, with this great portability come certain sacrifices. In our tests of the Actius MM10, which is powered by a Transmeta Corp. 1GHz TM5800 processor, we experienced somewhat-sluggish performance.

Ultralight notebooks such as this one arent necessarily built for speed, of course, but we noticed small lags even when we switched between running applications from the task bar.

The Actius MM10s keyboard is also a bit cramped. In particular, its right shift key is half-size, and we often found ourselves hitting the up key when wed intended to "shift."

Wed rather see the up key moved all the way to the right of the keyboard, leaving enough space for a full-size shift key. Of course, this would violate the "T" configuration for arrow keys that is standard on most keyboards, but we believe accidentally hitting the shift key would be preferable to unintended "up" strokes.

Even with these limitations, however, the impressively portable form factor of the $1,499 Actius MM10 makes this machine a compelling option for mobile workers looking to lighten their laptop bags without incurring the significantly greater sacrifices that accompany other alternatives such as handheld computers.

In terms of heft, the Actius MM10 compares favorably with other ultralight units, such as Fujitsu PC Corp.s LifeBook P2120, which weighs 2.8 pounds with its optical drive removed, or the LifeBook P1120, which weighs 2.2 pounds. (See eWEEK Labs May 5 review of the Fujitsu LifeBook S2000.)

The Actius MM10, which is available now, ships with a 15GB hard drive and a fixed 256MB of RAM. The unit sports an integrated Ethernet card, an internal 802.11b radio, two USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 ports, an external VGA port, one PC Card slot and a stereo headphone jack. Wed like to see support for Bluetooth as well, but this is not in the works as far as we know.

The notebook measures 9.9 by 8.2 by 0.78 inches and includes a 10.4-inch, 1,024-by-768-pixel, thin-film-transistor display, which we found a bit dim but not unpleasant to use.

The Actius MM10 is powered by a lithium-ion battery, which, in our tests, yielded about 3 hours of life between charges. Sharp sells a $199 extended-life battery that we did not test; Sharp officials promise about 9 hours between charges from the extended-life battery.