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By Thomas McKinnon 1 October 2008

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Ultra-portable, rugged and performance driven; the GD Itronix ­GoBook MR-1 is almost a contradiction in terms. Many would dispute that such a fusion of features is­ ­impossible to achieve, publicising the zero-sum nature of the ­r­­elationship between these qualities. Is the MR-1 an exception to the rule? 

The MR-1 has a footprint of just 153x109mm, is only 40mm thick and weighs a mere 0.91kg. Basically it will fit into a large pocket – think cargo pants.

Connectivity is not a problem as it ­supports Bluetooth, WiFi, a variety of 3G wireless options and ­embedded GPS. The version we tested had a 29 watt-hour Li-Ion Smart battery ­advertised to last 3 hours under moderate use. We found that it lasted a good bit longer than that. Therefore the MR-1 is, in every sense of the word, mobile.

The MR-1 is equipped with a 1.2GHz Intel Core Solo processor. It comes ­standard with a 40GB hard disk and can accommodate up to 1GB of RAM. In ­designing the MR-1 GD Itronix set itself the task of creating an ultra-­mobile notebook that was Windows XP and Vista ­capable. It has achieved this objective. At no stage in our testing was it found wanting for power.

The MR-1 has a ­magnesium alloy ­casing which makes it both rugged and a great heat sink. It also sports a number of plastic/ rubber absorption bumpers which protect it in the event of drops. It is sealed against water and dust ­intrusion and meets MIL-STD 810F ­regulations. Basically it is as hard as a notebook comes.

Despite the accomplishment of ­combining three seemingly irreconcilable ­qualities the MR-1’s stand-out feature is, in fact, its display. The MR-1 goes above and ­beyond with a 5.6" WSVGA display which boasts DynaVue technology. The MR-1’s screen has an astounding 213 dots per inch which means that it is ­possible to enjoy a similar viewing ­experience to that of a standard 1024 ­display. The display is also visible in all lighting ­conditions – including direct sunlight – and it also has a touch screen option. All things considered the MR-1 truly is exceptional and its availability in SA should generate more than just ­interest from the military.

Pricing for the MR-1 from R35 000. Order from Zollhaus on 0861-111-358 or email zollhaus@global.co.za.

PROS
Remarkable performance for its form factor and the DynaVue display is superb.
CONS
It has a sizable price tag.
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