Velocity Micro NoteMagix Z71 Ultra Notebook Review
$3,149

Velocity Micro

467 Southlake Blvd.

Richmond, VA 23236

(800) 303-7866

www.velocitymicro.com

Magic Velocity

Need a more-capable-than usual notebook? Velocity Micro recognizes that you might want to do more than simple word processing with a notebook with their NoteMagix Z71 Ultra. This 6 ½-lb. notebook is finished in handsome silver-charcoal and ships with a well-designed bag.

Creature Features

The NoteMagix Z71 Ultra features an Intel Pentium M 780 processor, which runs at 2.26GHz with 2MB cache. One gigabyte of DDR2 PC4200 memory is pre-installed, and our unit shipped with a Hitachi TravelStar 7200RPM 100GB Ultra DMA-100 hard drive and a Samsung DVD-/+RW drive that burns dual-layer DVD+R discs at 2.4x and either type of single-layer discs at 8x. The system utilizes a 16-lane PCI Express NVIDIA GeForce GO 6600 graphics chip with 128MB of RAM, which drives a 15.4" display (1680×1050). At its native resolution, the display is very sharp, but type is definitely on the small side on the screen.

The display also includes a (defeatable) ambient light sensor, which will automatically bring up some extra backlighting when it is used in brighter environments.

Other hardware creature comforts include 5 USB 2.0 ports, Marvell Gigabit Ethernet, Intel Wi-Fi and Realtek audio. S-Video and VGA outputs are conveniently located on the back panel, along with a phone jack for a dial-up modem, if you're unlucky enough to have to use it. The side panel includes S/PDIF and mic jacks, a FireWire port, a PCMCIA card slot and a memory card reader that handles SD cards and Memory Sticks.

If you have road warrior tendencies, this machine's battery life is somewhere between 3 ½ and 4 hours, depending on whom you ask and how much of the machine's power you use.

This is a nice departure from notebooks with desktop processors that can only eke out about an hour of battery life.

Velocity rounds out the system with Windows XP Pro, Nero Express 6.6 (in a configuration referred to as the Digital Creation Suite that includes NeroVision Express SE and the Nero Media Player), Corel WordPerfect Office 11 and Asus' DVD player application (a rebranded version of CyberLink PowerDVD). Note, however, that the machine does not ship with antivirus software, and its automatic updates were also disabled. Windows XP's security center "danger" icon will appear upon the machine's first boot. If you don't intend to take this machine on the Internet, though, you can safely ignore this warning. We are pleased to report that the laptop came equipped with all of the current critical updates installed.

To turn this system into a serious video editing machine, Velocity Micro's marketing manager informs us that you have several choices of applications available with the system when you order by phone; among them are Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Encore DVD, Sony Vegas and Ulead DVD Workshop.

Off to Work

Over the course of the time we spent with our NoteMagix Z71 Ultra sample, we found that the trackpad's left button tended to stick a bit. However, we believe that with additional use this most likely would wear in over time. We also couldn't quite get used to the optical drive's lack of an activity light, although the hard drive LED did illuminate when we accessed the optical drive. We also noticed that the optical drive also emits some rather odd coughing sounds when it throttles down. We don't find these attributes to be necessarily good or bad, but they are characteristics that we find a little unusual after using notebooks for a few years.

To test the NoteMagix, we installed a beta version of Adobe Creative Suite. We weren't expecting it, but the Creative Suite installer prompted us to install QuickTime. We happily obliged by installing the latest version of iTunes. Once we got into Premiere Pro 2.0, we threw some video onto the timeline and scrubbed around a bit. Everything was quite responsive (even while running on the battery and using the touchpad to navigate through the program.) Encore DVD 2.0 also didn't disappoint. The wide display certainly did justice to the new layouts of the venerable Adobe apps, and the display's contrast did a great job with the darker colors now prevalent in the interfaces of these tools.

On the Road

If your old notebook just doesn't do it for you anymore, the NoteMagix Z71 Ultra is definitely worth a look. This machine doesn't disappoint with its raw speed, combined with great battery life, big hard drive (for a notebook, anyway) and DVD burner.

TECH SPECS

Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2

RAM: 1GB

Chipset: Intel 915

Processor: Intel Pentium M 780 (2.26GHz)

Number of Physical Processors: 1

Hard Drive Capacity: 100GB

Video Editing Software Included: Microsoft Windows Movie Maker

Analog Video Output: S-Video

DVD Burner: Samsung TS-L532A DVD-/+RW; DVD+R DL

DVD Authoring Software ncluded: Nero Express 6.6.0.16

Display: 15.4" widescreen UXGA LCD, 1680×1050

Display adapter: NVIDIA GeForce Go 6600, 128MB, 16-lane PCI Express

External Monitor Connection: VGA

Battery life: Dependant on use, but as much as four hours

STRENGTHS

  • Fast for a notebook
  • Great battery life

    WEAKNESSES

  • Slightly pricey
  • Optical drive oddities

    SUMMARY

    Performance and battery life have come together at last.

    Charles Fulton is Videomaker's Associate Editor.

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