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WinLab Reviews
Compaq Armada 1520DM
Compaq Notebook Packs Everything In

-- by John M. Cummings

The Compaq Armada 1520DM lives up to its claim as an all-in-one notebook. Its AC adapter, hard drive, 10X CD-ROM drive and 33.6Kbps modem are all built in. The floppy drive fits in a modular bay, where it can be swapped for a second battery.

The 1520DM measures 2.1 by 12.2 by 9.6 inches, weighs 7.4 pounds and sports an 11.3-inch color dual-scan passive-matrix display that serves up reasonably crisp images. It comes with 16MB of EDO RAM, a 1.4GB (nominal) hard drive and a 133MHz Intel Pentium processor with 256KB of level 2 write-back cache. A lithium ion battery, 16-bit Sound Blaster Pro-compatible stereo sound, headphone and microphone jacks, and software MPEG I support are also included.

There are two PCMCIA slots, supporting one Type III or two Type II cards. Included is a 4Mb-per-second IrDA port for wireless communications with other infrared-equipped devices. You can have your choice of Windows 3.11, 95 or NT 4.0, but no office suite is provided.

The Armada's scores in our application tests were disappointing compared to the similarly priced 120MHz WinBook XP5 Pro formerly on our WinList (see WinLab Reviews, May). Its average times were 87 seconds to run the Word macro and 38 seconds for the Excel macro; the WinBook's scores were 40 seconds and 22 seconds, respectively. We were, however, impressed with the Armada's battery life, which averaged 2.41 hours in our stringent run-down test.

Its performance keeps it off our WinList, but the Armada 1520DM remains a fine notebook for those who are looking for a Compaq notebook with all-in-one convenience.

Compaq Armada 1520DM
Bottom Line: Inexpensive with good portability, but competing notebooks offer better performance
Price: $2,149
Platforms: 3x, 95, NT
Pros: Self-contained floppy and CD-ROM drives
Cons: No office suite provided; lackluster performance
Strongest Rival: WinBook XP5 Pro
Compaq Computer Corp., 800-345-1518 Winfo #619

Windows Magazine, August 1997, page 139.

[ Go to August 1997 Table of Contents ]