Compal EFL30/Chembook 2030 Notebook Review
After ordering my Chembook 2030 on monday, the package came in on Friday and I got a chance to play with it extensively on Saturday. So far I must say i am very impressed as well as pleased with this beautyf of a notebook. Some of you may remember that for a long time and most of the time ive been here on NBF, I have been an ultraportable fan. I decided to move in a slightly different direction this time and went ahead and ordered a larger notebook (but not too large), with a dedicated video solution. The 2030 fit the bill nicely, with performance similar if not better than that of the Sony S series (ATi Mobility Radeon 9700 64mb), and close to being on-par with the older Compal model, the CL56, which was very famous here on NBF.
This review will be updated frequently and will remain a work in progress for quite some time. I will add more to it as I go through new experiences with my notebook and run it through different tests.
Intel® Pentium-M® Processor (Banias or Dothan or Celeron-M), up to FSB 533MHz, 32-bit architecture
14” WXGA (1280x768) TFT LCD (by Samsung)
15:9 Aspect Ratio
One user configurable DDR 1 SODIMM slot
256MB on board
Max support 1280MB
333 MHz DDR1 DRAM memory module
9.5mm, 2.5" HDD support, ATA/100 support
nVidia NV44M/GeForce Go 6400, VRAM 64MB - 256mb max |192mb shared, 64mb dedicated; maximum internal display resolution:
Realtek ALC250 MS sound System compatible
Two 1.0W speakers
Microphone-in and headphone-out
Built in microphone
9.5 mm, ODD drive, factory configurable
AC97 modem via MOM that is V.92/56K bps data and 14.4Kbps send/receive Fax
TI TSB-43-AB21A IEEE1394
Build in antenna on top of panel side for 802.11a/b/g module , WNC
Manufacture Option Bluetooth module with antenna
Alps mini-wide type Touch pad with scroll up/down button;
85-key keyboard with 19.05 mm keypitch, 2.5 mm travel length,
PC Card and Media Slots
ENE CB714 PCI Cardbus controller
PC Card 95 supported with one type II card sockets
No ZV port supported;
4-in-1 card reader - One shared slot for MMC, SD/SD IO, MS/MS PRO, XD.
4 x USB ports
1 x VGA port
1 x TV-out (S-video)
1 x RJ-11
1 x RJ-45
1 x IEEE1394 ((TI TSB-43-AB21A)
1 x Microphone-in jack
1 x Headphone-out jack
1 x DC input jack
1 x Kensington lock
Lithium ion battery; Standard with 6-cell 18650 Li-Ion battery pack (3 hours of use)
13.1 x 9.5 x 1-inch (front) ~ 1.1-inch (rear)
- Intel Pentium-M (740) Processor
- (Sonoma / 2 MB L2 Cache / 533 FSB)
- 256MB 333 MHZ / PC2700 SDRAM (256 on board)
- 40GB (5400RPM) Hard Drive
- 14" WXGA (1280x768) Wide-Screen Active Matrix Display
- 64MB Dedicated nVidia GeForce Go 6400 Video Card (192mb shareable)
- 8X DVD / 24X CD-RW Combo Drive
- 56k (V.92) Data/Fax Modem
- Type I or Type II (one slot); 32-bit PC CardBus
- IntelPRO Wireless Ethernet/Lan (802.11 a+b+g)
- 300K pixels CMOS camera built in to display
- One shared slot for Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, MMC, XD and Secure Digital (SD)
- 2 yr ChemUSA warranty w/ 1-way paid shipping
I didn't really review anything here, but I will post this up and then add to it.
The screen is a very nice, sharp, and vivid 14 inch WXGA (1280x768), which is surprisingly splendid for being a normal screen and not one of those glossy X-Brite, CrystalView, etc. It has 11 different brightness settings, the highest being very bright and the lowest setting being somewhat dark, but still very usable (I have it at that setting right now). It arrived with no dead pixels and it has very good horizontal viewing angles. The vertical viewing angles arent the best, but they are not very bad, like they were on the older Compal model, the CL56. Once again, I must say that I am very happy with it and very surprised at the quality, considering its a normal matte screen.
The games that I tried on it so far (World of Warcraft, CS: Source, Half-Life2) all looked great and the colors looked good. If you try to run them at a non-native resolution you will of course get the blurry look, as is expected when running anything on an LCD in a resolution that is not native. I love the extra space that is given by the wide screen and even though its the first day I play with it, I dont think ill be going back to normal 4:3 screens anytime soon.
Noise is the biggest factor for me in any notebook, as those who read my Fujitsu P7010 review, might remember. I can not stand a notebook who's fan goes on loud when running the simplest/undemanding software, as was the case with the Fujitsu. The CL56 didnt suffer from this and this being my second Compal notebook, I am beginning to think that they really know what they are doing when it comes to tackling the thermal problems involved in designing a notebook.