* If it has an asterisk next to it, that means I've made an error or corrected
something that was in it. These changes can be found in:
Errors and Corrections
I am also putting together a news page to keep everyone more up to date on all the latest happenings. Also... it seems that Power Computing may be out of the Wintel market which is sad because the PowerTrip is such a good notebook. They say they are still in it but other articles say otherwise. Read the latest article at www.news.com to form your own analysis.
My latest recommendation is the Dell Latitude CP. I like the keyboard layout and it is thin and light. Check it out and tell me what you think.
I'll be back with more news and also a giveaway (the notebook wetsuit). And you should check out Danny's compare page, it's got a great chart with all the latest notebooks and information he has collected (and some help from me). And please... send me your reviews.
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Remember how I was supposed to get a review machine of their HS-166, the 14.2" notebook? Well back in September when I requested it, Kevin told me to go ahead and order it just in case I couldn't get a review model so at least this way I can get a unit to review. Well, 3 weeks later... still no review model and still no ordered unit. I was given the excuse that it was on back order and it should be in the next week. I called in late October and they said that Kevin was no longer with the company and so I talked to someone else. Well, she said that it would be ready by the end of the week, by 'it' I mean the ordered one as it seemed that Nimantics would not give me a review model. I called at the end of the week, and they said that it would be next week. So then I actually stopped by the following week at their office and the owner, Nimesh Desai, told me that they had bad motherboards and were re-testing the line so it would be another week. At this time there were some other customers in the showroom and they were complaining quite a bit about their notebooks, it had been in service for a while and all they have been having were problems. I took it with salt knowing that every notebook company has a few nightmare issues with their units but was becoming suspicious at this point in time. I called them the following week and this is where the busy signals started happening. ALL THE TIME... whenever I called I got a busy signal, I tried their local number, 3 of their toll-free numbers and all I got were busy signals. So I stopped by again and was told that it was still not ready. This was mid-November already... 2 months after I had 'placed my order'. I asked to talk to Nimesh but he wasn't in so they told me to leave my number and he would call me. Guess what? He never called. And... I was still getting busy signals. By this time I started getting e-mail from other people complaining about Nimantics. One person said that he had sent them a certified check and still had not recieved his machine yet and it had been over 2 months. Another, like me, can't get through the busy signals. Then last week, a person named Gwendolyn called me 'about my order'. She left a phone number to call her back... guess what... BUSY SIGNALS!! So... I stopped by on Friday and talked to Gwendolyn. She told me that the phone system was being changed out to take care of all the busy problems. The reason why she called was because of the age of my order... almost 3 months. I told her that Nimantics has been delaying me over and over again and that I could never call in to check the status because of the busy signals. I also told her about who I was and that I was trying to obtain a review model. She went to the back and when she returned she told me that the only way I could get it was to buy it outright and that they 'NO LONGER TAKE CREDIT CARDS'! I would have to obtain a certified check in order to purchase the machine. I asked her why they were not taking credit cards anymore and she said that they were having problems with the card companies over some purchases. You can guess by now that big warning alarms were going off in my head. She asked me if I wanted to go ahead with the order (which probably meant another month or so before I got the product) and I said 'Forget it'. I was thinking about talking to Nimesh since he was there but I decided it wasn't worth my time. I warned her that they are getting a lot of bad comments on the Net and gave her a copy of an e-mail of the customer who has been having a hard time with them (since he asked me to) and then left. When I got home, I got another e-mail from someone who had returned his Orion in July within the 30-days money-back period and has still not received the money back. This person contends that their credit card company has also received other complaints about Nimantics not refunding other customers. Now I wonder if this has anything to do with Nimantics not being able to take credit cards anymore? I mean... what type of business that advertises so aggresively nationally, won't take credit cards? And... they don't even have an e-mail address on their website under their support page anymore. On top of that, the person whose e-mail I left with them e-mailed me that evening and told me that they called him and the person on the other line became very upset with him. The Nimantics support person even HUNG UP ON HIM during the conversation. This company advertises itself as having 'World Class service and support'... if what that guy said was true... I'd like to know what 'World' are they talking about.
Sorry that was so long but this is where it stands. I shouldn't speculate on
what is ACTUALLY happening but theoretically this is what I think -- Nimantics
has done well with its advertising... too well. And since the machines they
use are desktop CPU models, maybe they are getting a lot more problems and
support calls than they expected. On top of that... maybe a lot of people are
unhappy with their units and returning the notebooks... for money that has
already been allocated for something else (like advertising, which should be
quite expensive considering how many mags they run in). I don't know, but I do
know that the number of people unhappy with Nimantics is rising. If you own
a Nimantics and are happy, dissappointed or otherwise, please
e-mail me to let me know. I would like to
be fair to Nimantics but everything so far has not looked good. And if you are
thinking of a Nimantics, this is just my own personal experience which may
differ from the norm... but I can't recommend them at all right now. Take it
at face value and you determine by your own experience on whether or not you
should purchase from them. BUT... don't believe everything you hear... I have
been lied to by even the big vendors so the reputation of a company is always
relative. Good luck and please e-mail me with your questions.
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I've gotten more e-mail from dissatisfied Nimantics owners. I have yet to receive one from someone who actually likes their machine. And for any of you who are looking to buy a PowerTrip, you can get a similar machine directly from Twinhead. It's called the Slimnote EX and it's not on their website yet, but you can call them and they will refer you to an authorized dealer. Someone bought one and they really like the notebook, and it is one of the few, if not the only, that uses Trident's 9397 Cyber 4MB 3D video chipset (the new IBMs only use the 2MB version).
It looks like "thin is in". Many of the companies are trying to come out with thinner and lighter notebooks which is good because these new 13.3"/14.1" form factors are pretty big. I've been looking very closely at NECs 5080 line. And if you are wondering if I'm going to get any more reviews... so am I. I'm trying to line some up, but it looks like I will have to order some through normal sales channels as many vendors are still not willing to send me "official" review units. I think a 233 XKE is coming my way soon and the new Transmonde Tillamook units should be in my "test lab" within a couple of weeks. Please continue to send requests, I know that a lot of people are asking me to review the new Sonys and Akias. I've seen the Sonys and they are pretty good but I really don't think I will review one personally, but you can find quite a few user reviews on the comp.sys.laptops newsgroup if you do a search on DejaNews. The Akia I'm looking into and will let you know.
If you can make it to my chat tomorrow, please do.... the more the merrier.
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The Micron XKE 233 just came in yesterday and it is FAST! After playing with it for a while, I really can't get over how well-engineered it is. I just wish it was thinner and weighed less (not to mention an "all-in-one" machine). And I think the Dell CP should be coming in next week so I'll have more reviews coming up.
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Other than that, I wish everyone out there "Happy Holidays" and hope you get something you were looking for (like a portable PC... hehe).
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I hope you all had a nice holiday season and wish you a great new year. I also hope to see more of you at the chat Wednesday night.
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Intel announced the last of the Tillamooks last monday, a 266 MMX that runs at about 2.0v internally. And to coincide with this release, just like the first Mooks, all of the vendors announced their new offerings. For more info, go to my News page at the Mining Company.
A new machine has caught my eye, it's Gateway 2000's Solo 5100 (down at the bottom on the link page). It has a 14.1" screen and is only about 1.6" thick. I have a call into Gateway to get a review model (I'm trying to get an official eval unit this time). If you want more info or would like to talk to a pretty good salesperson, please call Garfield Jansen at 800-846-4208 ext. 25650. He was very helpful and answered quite a few of my questions. If you do order one, please e-mail me and let me know.
WinBook has had some major price reductions on their notebooks. They are selling a 233/12.1"/16MB/2.1GB/NiMh notebook for $1999! And even more amazing... a 266/13.3" is only $2999! You should call to find out the details on the specs on these machines but I do believe that they are setting a pricing standard that many others will have to follow.
My next chat is scheduled for Wed. Jan 21 at 5:30PST. I hope to see you there!
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I have written a small article about Nimantics. It seems like there are more angry people out there as the news of their demise is spreading. Some are actively pursuing the owner for his actions with such charges as mail and telephone fraud. In fact, a former employee has sent an bulk e-mail to Nimantics owners explaining what happened and who to contact for service on their machines. Another person who e-mailed me talked to another former employee who gave him the skinny on what happened. If you want to know more about it, check out the article as I will be updating it as I get more news.
There has been a buzz about Pentium II notebooks. What will be great about this next generation of notebooks is that they should ALL be true mobile systems. Unless someone can devise a notebook that can take a Slot 1 module, we shouldn't be seeing any desktop CPUs in any future notebooks. Rumors have it that they will be out as early as April. Others have commented on whether or not to wait for them instead of buying any of the current crop of Tillamook notebooks. Well, with the latest price drops Intel has made on the Mooks, you can get them for pretty good prices right now. I don't forsee them dropping all that much more as they are getting pretty close to the bottom on the pricing on the Mooks, but you never know. Another good reason not to wait is the fact that the power consumption of the mobile PIIs will be more, cutting into that extended battery life that the new Tillamooks had gained for us. Others speculate that the prices would be high but from what I hear, a PII 233 will probably be in priced very close to the Pentium 266 Tillamook that just came out last month. Should you wait? As I've always said, if you can, you should, but if you don't really need the power of a PII, and battery life is important, stay with the Tillamooks 200/233. I really don't think the 266 is worth the extra $150-$200 (especially since it uses a little more power than the 200/233) but many people always want the highest speed.
If you don't already know, I've been holding chat sessions to talk about
notebooks and stuff. They have been pretty informative although the last one
there were only 3 of us. Hopefully the next one we can get more people. The
next chat is scheduled for next Wednesday, February 18, 1998 at 5:30 Pacific
Standard Time. Please e-mail me if
you plan to be there so I'll know how many to expect. The URL is:
And just to let you know, here are my top picks right now (in no particular
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By the way, check out NEC's newest thin and light notebook line, the SX. It looks pretty good and the features are nice. It's up at their website. And I know I've mentioned it before but there are some other nice thin notebook out there, if you haven't read it yet, check out my "Thin is in!" article.
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As you know, I've had some luck with getting more notebooks to review...
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