*MS Windows XP Professional SP1 CD & Manual Pre-Installed & Configured
*Integrated V.92 56K Fax/Data Modem
*1Year 24/7 Toll-Free Tech Support Platinum Service & Lifetime Support
*512MB PC3200 DDR400 RAM SODIMM
*Built-in Sound Blaster Compatible Audio (AX Series)
*Integrated 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet Controller
*3400+ AMD Athlon™ 64 DTR/Mobile Processor w/ PowerNow!™ Tech.
*Guaranteed No Dead or Partially-Lit Pixels
*1024MB PC3200 DDR400 RAM SODIMM
*Internal 802.11b+g Turbo 108Mbps Wireless Mini PCI Network Adapter
*60GB 7200rpm Ultra ATA Hard Drive w/ 8MB Cache (24/7 Extended Operation)
*17" WSXGA+ 1680x1050 Wide-Screen Display w/ Super Clear Glossy Surface
*4X DVD +/- R/W Drive w/ DVD Recording Software
*VIA K8T800 + VT8235 Chipset Mobile Motherboard for AX7
*ATI Radeon Mobility 9700 (M11) 128MB for AX7 (w/ TV Out)
*Aviator AX7 with Graphite Accents
*Built-in 4 in 1 Flash Media Card Reader Slots
I didnt go for the painted version, I figured I'd spend the extra money on some more RAM and a game.
I ordered online and promptly recieved an email notification...then silence for a couple days. I phoned up hypersonic and they said my credit card had declined the transaction, something to do with security. After a call to my credit card company and a couple calls back to hypersonic I got it straightened out. Although this did highlight something that was very consistent throughout the whole process..you must be very pro-active in phoning Hypersonic, they will be very re-active to problems and hardly every phone you, or even phone you back promptly when you do call. That said, they are very helpful when you do speak to them.
My AX7 was meant to take one month to ship in the end it was 5 weeks. Apparently the first batch of AX7's had a problem with every one in 5...mine is from the second batch. Of course I didnt find that news very re-assuring, the salesperson should probably drop that one from their list of excuses handbook hypersonic issues.
I dont quite know why my laptop would take 5 weeks unpainted to build, when I know someone else on the board recieved their painted one in the same time. So don't think your going to get your system any quicker if you dont get it painted if my experience is anything to go by.
I looked up my order status online and saw that my system shipped...never did recieve any tracking email..so I phoned up to get the tracking number. System arrived next day (they upgraded me to overnight shipping + 2GB RAM for all the run-arounds they were giving me) and I exitedly opened the box....
eek no power cord. Very dissapointing, a little on the hard to use side without a power cord to plug into the wall. I used the one from the AX6 here at the office and fired it up. Another series of call to Hypersonic trying to get a power cable + the missing 512MB ram I had been promised. Both of which are on their way now. [UPDATE: Both arrived the next day, nice response time Hypersonic]
Ahh the 17" screen, it is indeed a thing of beauty. It is very reflective, glossy..but it's hellishly bright and at 1680x1050 is super sharp. Colors look great on it...everyone in the office was oohing and ahhing over how cool the screen was. I really like the widescreen aspect ratio. Funnily enough in terms of actual physical height on the screen...my Gateway 9550 15.1" 3:4 screen is taller. I havent noticed any dead pixels yet, thought i haven't scrutenized it totally yet..someone recommend the best way of doing this? (look at it with an all black/white/colour series of screens or something?)
The machine looks very imposing, not cheap looking at all. The keyboard feels a lot better than the AX6 we have here. Its very nice having the number pad on the keyboard. After using it for an evening I'm quite happy with the build quality. All the USB ports or located on the left side of the unit...bit of a pain to plug in a USB mouse for a righty like myself. Not a real problem for me as I have a wireless mouse, but I could see it being annoying if you didnt have one. Also, the minifirewire port is right there in the middie on the front panel..not exactly a steller spot for having a FW Drive plugged in on a permanent basis if you needed it.
It's not the noisest of laptops, when the fans kick in you can certainly hear them but they aren't as bad as I had been fearing. The DVD drve is loud, but only as load as my old gateway, so no complaints there.
The left side of the keyboard gets pretty warm. Its not going to burn you or anything, but it is a tad uncomfortable. Doesnt bother me too much, but if your heat sensitive, then perhaps this would be an issue for you. When I'm in laptop power mode my temp sits around 45-48C when idling. When I switch to always On powermode..and crank up a game for 1/2 hour I've had it go all the way up to 68-69C, which is getting warm. Even while gaming the left side of the keyboard didnt get unbearable..but it did get toasty.
The built in speakers are pretty cool..for notebook speakers. They are fine for on the road, or LAN gaming when you don't have your main speakers..but I would still plug in the output to some desktop speakers when your at home (I do). There is a really loud noise that you hear in the speakers when closing the lid and going to standby..which is a bit annoying, but not so bad. I can also hear some interference when I scroll a page up and down when listening through headphones...not sure if its my wireless mouse..or just the screen changing causing it, will experiment a little more tonight.
Really only for novely value i think..it works but isn't as good as my standalone webcam..in resolution or amount of light required for it to be viable. If your in a well lit room it may be ok for you...us dungeon dwellers beware, you'll need to still keep you external webcam.
Memory card reader
Works great with my Memory stick from my Sony DSC707 digital camera. No complaints there.
The signal strength recieved by the Internal 802.11b+g card isn't brilliant, compared to an external 802.11b card I have in my gateway, but it does the job. I'd perhaps be a little worried if your cablemodem AP was in the basement or something and your notbook was going to be on the first floor. Very important note..you must hit Function + F11 to switch on the wireless card. Took me about an hour to figure out why windows wasn't letting me enter my WEP key etc...arrrgh! (its in the manual..but really..who reads those right? )
Oh its quick The 3400+ is very responsive and I can play Soldiers: Heroes of ww2 at native 1680x1050 with everything turned up. Its a beautiful thang! I haven't got my full 2GB of ram yet (on its way from hypersonic now), so I havent set up my ramdisk swapfile yet, but there is very little HD thrashing with the 1.5GB thats in there right now. I think the 7200RPM drive is helping a lot..my old gateway had a woefull slow drive. No benchmarks yet..I'll add them here as an edit when I download and run them.
The 5 week wait almost drove me insane, but I think it was worth it. A very nice machine overall, nice build quality, sound, keyboard, blazing fast ...with a Kick ass 17" widescreen!! If you can handle a 5 week wait for delivery I'd thoroughly recommend this machine...impatient people, move along nothing hear to see.
Click here for Dales AX7 Photo Gallery
Please feel free to ask for any info..and I'll update my review to include it.