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Sharp laptop is light but lacking

PC-UM10 notebook cuts a dash but wants for drives

Sharp today announced the launch of the latest addition to its Maramasa notebook series, which, it claims, are the thinnest and lightest in the world.

Boasting the same dimensions as the Mebius, launched last month, Sharp's PC-UM10 laptop is just 17mm high and tips the scales at a mere 1.3kg, making it one of the most portable devices on the market.

Aimed at business executives, at its heart is a Mobile Pentium III 600MHz Speedstep processor, 128MB RAM and a 20GB hard disk. The PC-UM10 also offers an internal LAN modem as well as a built-in USB hub to support add-ons.

And you will need to use that hub because, in its bid to keep dimensions lean, Sharp has excluded several components, such as CD and floppy disk drives, that business execs (not to mention the rest of us) find crucial.

There's no infrared port to hook up a PDA or mobile phone, either, so PC-UM10 buyers will have to shell out more for these 'extras'. But perhaps most surprisingly, there is no DVD option.

"We looked at the market and who we were aiming the products at and decided this wasn't an essential business extra," said Mark Klein, product marketing manager.

The PC-UM10's low weight can be attributed in part to its dearth of disk drives and ports, though its magnesium chassis and surrounding aluminium shell also have more than a bit to do with it.

Another plus is the unit's 12.1in LCD panel. The non-reflective TFT screen has a black background, enabling it to display colours more vividly than a standard panel. And with its antiglare coating text should remain readable even in strong sunlight.

The PC-UM10 will be available from the beginning of October, priced £1,599 ex VAT, and for the first time ever Sharp will also be selling the product via its website at www.sharp.co.uk.

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