From its 2002 debut in Scandinavia, Zepto has worked its way through Europe and it has now opened a new division on Australian shores. We took a look at a couple of Zepto's products, including the Znote 6615WD notebook. Since it arrived in our test centre the Znote 6615WD has already been upgraded from the specifications tested here to the new Santa Rosa platform and will be called the Znote 6625WD.
Benchmark results from our review unit are very good, but we expect the new and improved Santa Rosa model to perform even better. We expect to see a final product for re-testing soon, so keep an eye on this page.
Apart from its core components, which include an Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 2.0GHz CPU, 2GB of DDR2 RAM and GeForce Go 7600 graphics card, which we expect to change with the upgraded model, the notebook is quite pleasant to use and has some nice features. Zepto allows notebooks to be custom built via its website, so the look and feel of the unit is almost as important as the benchmarks, which will vary depending on the configuration you buy.
The chassis is solid and stylish with some handy programmable hotkeys, as well as shortcuts for email, the Web and the built-in webcam, which is mounted into the bezel above the screen. The 15.4in screen offers a nice resolution of 1650x1080 and is quite sharp. However, the screen is quite dark, even at the maximum brightness levels and we are also concerned by the flexibility of the LCD panel when pressure is applied to the back of the screen.
Our review unit came with Windows XP, but this is an option when making your purchase, so Vista can also be selected. In our benchmarks, the Znote 6615WD scored well, achieving 110 in WorldBench 5. Please note that this score is not comparable to WorldBench 6, which we use on Vista-based machines.
The GeForce Go 7600 was a staple mobile graphics chip, until the release of NVIDIA's 8-series mobile graphics (which can be found in the upcoming Znote 6625WD). Although it's not geared for high-end gaming by any means, it was able to reach a score of 1921 in 3DMark 2006, indicating it may run some newer game titles at lower resolutions and graphics quality settings. The score of 21735 in 3DMark 2001 SE clearly shows it's up to the challenge of playing older games.
We also tested the battery by using MobileMark 2005's productivity test. This test runs a series of applications to simulate day-to-day usage of the notebook, and records how long it will run before the battery dies. In this test, the Znote 6615WD managed to hold out for 104 minutes, which is a little lower than other notebooks of its class.
The Znote 6615WD has some handy media controls on its front edge, which include play/pause, skip and stop buttons. It also has a shortcut key to your default music player, such as Winamp or Windows Media Player. A set of hardware volume controls are also available on the right-hand edge of the notebook, allowing volume adjustments without having to fiddle with around in Windows. This is an especially handy feature if you're in a quiet place like a library and realise too late that the system's volume is maxed out; the Znote's speakers are pretty loud at maximum volume. They don't handle bass too well, and all other ranges are a little muffled, but comparatively, they produce an adequate sound.
A 100GB hard drive is installed and so is a dual layer DVD re-writer. The DVD re-writer uses a slot-loading mechanism, rather than the usual tray-loaded mechanism, which adds nothing to the performance, but is a nice change from the norm. For networking, the Zepto Znote 6615WD offers 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi and gigabit Ethernet, as well as a 56Kbps modem and Bluetooth 2.0. There are also four USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire port, an ExpressCard slot and a 3-in-1 media card reader, which supports MMC and SD formats. For video output, there's a VGA port, as well as an S-video port.