Review Zepto Znote 3414W Notebook
14 inch Notebook
More compact and lighter than a 15.4 inch notebook, this 14.1 inch notebook by the Danish manufacturer Zepto has not only a handy in-between size but is also potent multimedia computer. We reviewed this handy notebook with Core 2 Duo T7250, Geforce 8400M GS, and 250 GB hard disk. This review covers how it rates.
Looking for a portable office notebook? If the Eee-PC and similar notebooks aren't ideal, because their performance does not satisfy your needs, the MacBook Air by Apple and the X300 by Lenovo are simply too expensive, and 15.4 inch middle class notebook not handy enough, it's about time to consider a notebook with portable 14.1 inch display.
Although there are also some 13.3 inch notebooks with a great price, e.g., Apple's MacBook, Asus' F6S and W7S, FSC's Lifebook S6410, and Toshiba's Satellite U300 and Pro U400, to mention some of them, a wider range of notebooks are still offered in the 14.1 inch notebook category.
Furthermore, the diagonal of the screen of 14.1 inch notebooks is 35.81 centimetre, which is about 5.7 percent bigger, than the one of 13.3 inch notebooks, whose diagonal is 33.78 centimetre big. However, the smaller subnotebooks are usually clearly lighter and their performance is in the meanwhile also comparable to bigger notebooks. It's agonizing to have to choose between DTR notebooks and subnotebooks: We scrutinised the nice looking Znote 3414W by Zepto and the following paragraphs cover what we found out.
The 14.1 inch Znote 3414W by Zepto is 33.7 cm x 24.4 cm x 4.3 cm big and therewith about 8 to 10 percent smaller than wide-spread 15.4 inch notebooks. Weighing 2.5 kilogramme in total, it is still handy, although other notebooks of the same size, e.g., the Fujitsu Siemens Esprimo Mobile M9400 and the Samsung X22-Pro, which weight about 2.2. kilogramme, are still lighter and top regarding weight.
Due to a silver and black metallic finish at the lid, the Znote 3414W looks modern and elegant. The inside is less ostentatious than the noble lid, because it is less luxuriously decorated. Only the blue illuminated power connector, die big web cam in the display frame, and the fingerprint reader at the right palm rest area, attract some attention.
The workmanship of this Danish notebook is in general 'good'. The plastic parts fit precisely together whereas the quality of the materials meet the usual good quality of this price category. Also the base construction of the Zepto Znote 3414W appears to be solid. If you lift it up, the case only slightly deflects and hardly creaks. However, the lid is unfortunately less robust. Applying force results in clearly visible changes on the screen.
The interface equipment includes various possibilities to connect to peripherals, i.e., four fast USB-2.0 ports, a fast Firewire port (i.LINK, IEEE1394), the usual audio ports, S-Video out and VGA out. The up-to-date ExpressCard/54 slot can be utilized for popular expansion cards, e.g., TV tuner cards. The built-in 3-in-1 card reader supports MultiMediaCard (MMC), Memory Stick Standard (MS) and Secure Digital (SD). However, a DVI or a HDMI port aren't available.
But, a fingerprint reader is available at the right upper shell - a features which is not yet provided by every multimedia notebooks. But, the web cam inside the display frame is. Due to a resolution of 2 megapixel the picture quality is good compared to competitors. Therefore, it gives you the possibility of sending images and video via the net when chatting on Skype or on Windows Live Messenger.
Data communication on the local area net, e.g., at home is supported by fast Gigabit-LAN. For slow dial-up connections a 56K modem is available. Wireless data communication is possible via WLAN chip, whereas the Zepto Znote 3414W is either equipped with Intel's PRO/Wireless 3945ABG (54 MBit/s) or with Intel's PRO/Wireless, which is faster and supports transfer rates of up to 300 MBit/s, or via Zepto's Wpro-WLAN-Modul (AzurWave/Ralink). At a surcharge of 28 Euro also Bluetooth is an option. However, the Zepto Znote 3414W is not ready for UMTS/HSDPA.
Depending on your demands you can choose the operating system. You can either opt for Microsofts Windows XP or Vista , but Zepto does not provide drive support for XP on its support site.
As already mentioned before, the design of the Znote 3414W is decent and simple, yet ergonomic. E.g., five hot keys, little sensors in front of the screen, improve the user-friendliness. If needed, frequently used system functions, the default Internet browser and the default e-mail program can be launched at your fingertips. Also the sound can be easily switched on and off.
The Znote 3414W by Zepto is equippped with a matte black keyboard with 87 keys. At the beginning, some typing mistakes are likely, because the 'Fn' and the 'Strg' are reversely located, and also the 'Del' and the 'Pause' key are not at their usual location. Anyway, you'll get used to this modified layout soon. The keys, which are 1.2 cm x 1.5 cm in size, are attached tightly to the base construction. The firm and easily sensible feedback makes typing easy. Also the tapping is rather silent. The whole area of the keyboard appears to be rather solid. Only at the '9' and the 'F10' keys the keyboards slightly sags, but, this is only a local problem.
A big touchpad, 7.0 cm x 3.7 cm in size, helps controlling the mouse pointer. It's touch-sensitive surface is slightly roughened and regardless of wet or dry fingers user-friendly. Also the precision of the touchpad by Synaptics is good. However, an optically marked scroll area is missing. Even the touchpad buttons are all right. Their travel is short and their noise emissions low.
The display of the reviewed notebook is a 14.1 inch reflecting WXGA wide screen. The resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels of this clear-type panel conforms to the standard of this notebook category. According to the specifications it is made by CMO (Chi Mei Optoelectronics). However, the reviewed notebook was actually equipped with a QD14TL026 by QDI (Quanta Display Inc., AUO).
Its average brightness is nearly 185 cd/m². Compared to competitor notebooks, this is good. Despite heavily reflecting bright sources of light, the panel of the Znote 3414W stays still legible outdoors, if operated in the shade. But, in the bright sunshine, you can of course hardly recognize anything on this screen.
The illumination of 71.6 percent is not that good. The brightest area (top middle) with 217,2 cd/m² and the darkest area (bottom middle) with 155,5 cd/m² differ by 28.4 percent. This also conforms to our personal impression, which is that uniformly bright backgrounds appear to be clearly darker at the top than at the bottom. Due to a black value of 1.0 cd/m² the contrast ratio of 217:1 is average. Overall the display of the Znote 3414W is average to good.
In contrast our reference pictures look in general good on this screen, whereas we liked the quality of the picture in general and also the brilliance of the colours. The colours look bold and vivid. However, directly compared to our 20 inch reference screen, a Viewsonic VP2030b the pictures seem to have a blue tint. Horizontally the viewing angles are all right, however, it's more difficult to adjust the opening angle to an ideal one vertically, because the contrast quickly diminishes. The reviewed notebook had a hot pixel (a defective pixel that is always on) in the right bottom corner.
The reviewed Znote 3414W was equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo Mobilprozessor T7250. The T7250 is alike the T7300 operated with a maximum clock rate of 2.0 GHz. But, the cheaper T7250 is only equipped with 2 instead of 4 MB second-level cache (L2). In practice the performance difference is that minor that the user will hardly recognize any. Two DDRII-667 RAM modules of 1.024MB capacity each give a total RAM capacity of 2 GB. Furthermore, the customer is free to choose other parts at configuration time.
CPU-Z-Information of the Zepto Znote 3414W
The Znote 3414W reaches 4,630 points in the application benchmark PCMark05 by Futuremark, which is a good result. Also 3.803 points (Rendering Multiple CPUs) at the Cinebench R10 by Maxon is all right for this notebook category. So, there is no doubt that the Znote 3414W is indeed powerful enough for the daily office work and multimedia applications.
The video card of the Znote 3414W is a lower middle class model by Nvidia, in detail a GeForce 8400M GS, which is still based on the G86M-Core (8600M xx at G84M (!)). It can use up to 256 MB dedicated GDDR2 memory (400 MHz). Its performance is all right for older games, but not sufficient for today's 3D-demanding games. Basically the strength of the GeForce 8400M GS is due to its PureVideo processor, decoding of HD video sequences, where it can support the CPU.
Inside the Znote 3414W there is a big hard disk, a 250GB MK2546GSX by Toshiba. This 5.400 rpm hard disk is equipped with 8MB Cache, which is standard for 2.5 inch drives. The average transferrate rate of 44,8 MB/s measured by HDTune is good. However, the access time of 17.6 ms seems to be rather low. The second mass storage device is an optical drive, a SN-S082H by TSST (Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology Corporation). However, its operating noise is rather loud.
|Shading 32Bit||2108 Points|
|Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit||3803 Points|
|Rendering Single 32Bit||2076 Points|
|Windows Vista Experience Index|
|GPU Games||4.3 Points|
|PCMark 05 Standard||4630 points|
When measuring the gaming performance we used the pre-installed ForceWar 7.15.11.0112 (101.12) driver for Vista. In the Futuremark 3DMark06 benchmark the GeForce 8400M GS combined with T7250-CPU and 2 MB PC2-5300 RAM reaches 1,527 points. If everything else stays the same, a GeForce 8600M GT or GeForce 9500M GS can easily double the points. Nevertheless, the GeForce 8400M GS, is according to our recors still faster than a Mobility Radeon HD 2400 by ATI.
Summarizing all 3DMark benchmarks, the GeForce 8400M GS inside the Znote 3414W rates average regarding gaming performance. The Geforce 8400M GS is just sufficient for playing Doom 3 smoothly up to a resolution of 1.024 x 768 pixels and quality level 'ultra' : 33 fps. However, Crysis even does not always run smoothly at a resolution 800 x 600 and low detail level. The average frame rate when playing World in Conflict is 43 (DX9, 800 x 600, 'low') respectively 27 (DX9, 1.280 x 800, 'Low') frames per second.
|3DMark 2001SE Standard||11561 points|
|3DMark 03 Standard||4416 points|
|3DMark 05 Standard||2615 points|
|3DMark 06 Standard||1527 points|
|1024x768||Ultra, 0xAA, 0xAF||32.8 fps|
|800x600||High, 0xAA, 0xAF||57 fps|
|640x480||Medium, 0xAA, 0xAF||63 fps|
|640x480||Low, 0xAA, 0xAF||87 fps|
|Crysis - CPU Benchmark|
|1280x800||High, 0xAA, 0xAF||2.68 fps|
|1280x800||Medium, 0xAA, 0xAF||5.54 fps|
|1280x800||Low, 0xAA, 0xAF||15.04 fps|
|800x600||High, 0xAA, 0xAF||4.82 fps|
|800x600||Med, 0xAA, 0xAF||9.55 fps|
|800x600||Low, 0xAA, 0xAF||25.91 fps|
|Crysis - GPU Benchmark|
|1280x800||Medium, 0xAA, 0xAF||7.38 fps|
|1280x800||Low, 0xAA, 0xAF||17.12 fps|
|800x600||Med, 0xAA, 0xAF||12.32 fps|
|800x600||Low, 0xAA, 0xAF||28.98 fps|
|World in Conflict - Benchmark|
|1280x800||High, 2xAA, 2xAF||4 fps|
|800x600||High, 2xAA, 2xAF||7 fps|
|1280x800||Medium, 0xAA, 0xAF||6 fps|
|800x600||Medium, 0xAA, 0xAF||13 fps|
The noise level in idle mode and with usual office work load is low. We measured 33.3 dB(A). Also under average load (e.g., Cinebench R10, one CPU-Kern) the noise level is only 38.2 dB(A), which is all right. However, under full load the 14.1 inch notebook gets really loud: A maximum of 40.2 dB(A) make us quickly wear headsets. Furthermore, the DVD burner, a SN-S082H by TSST reaches a noise level of up to 47.1 dB(A) when watching DVD films.
32.1 / 33.3 / 34.5 dB(A)
||47.1 / 51.1 dB(A)|
||38.2 / 40.2 dB(A)|
min: , med: , max: (15 cm distance)
Due to the fan control and the compact 14.1 case, the temperature increases much. At the top side the most recognizable heatings are at and close to the touchpad (38.3°C) and at the left side (41.5°C), The right top side stays rather cool. The maximum temperature at the bottom side is clearly above 40°C. So, we recommend not to operate this notebook lap top on hot summer-days.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 41.5 °C / 107 F, compared to the average of 36.7 °C / 98 F, ranging from 21.1 to 71 °C for the class Multimedia.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 43.5 °C / 110 F, compared to the average of 39 °C / 102 F
(±) The palmrests and touchpad can get very hot to the touch with a maximum of 38.3 °C / 100.9 F.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.9 °C / 84 F (-9.4 °C / -16.9 F).
The maximum volume of the integrated speakers is not high. In return there are hardly any distortions. Alike other notebooks of this category, the sound is thin, middle tones are moderate, and basses are missing. The analogue headphone port could not be checked with our reference head phones, Bose in-ear headphones. The port simply did not work.
Idling under Vista, we measure an energy demand of 17.6 up to 27.2 Watt. This is about usual for notebooks with this equipment. The energy demand is much higher with average load (50.6 Watt) and as high as 75.6 Watt under full load.
The 6 cells 53Wh battery has a runtime of up to 3.5h with the Battery Eater Reader's test. It drops down to about one hour with the Classic test. Overall this is satisfying. A pro is that a 9 cells 80 Wh (11,1 Volt, 7.200 mAh)battery is also available for only 21.53 Euro. Its runtime is 5 hours with the Battery Eater Reader's test, and 1.5 hours with the Classic test. However, it projects over the back side of the notebook and weighs 162 gramme more.
|Off / Standby||0 / 0 Watt|
|Idle|| 17.6 / 26.6 / 27.2 Watt|
50.6 / 75.6 Watt|
The Znote 3414W by Zepto is all right. This solid 14.1 inch notebook weighs only nearly 2.5 kg, its workmanship is good and its input devices are user-friendly. Compared to other 14.1 inch notebooks its equipment is also good. So is the application performance, whereas the noise emissions are low in office mode. To summarize, the Zepto Znote 3414W rates good.
Disadvantages of the Zepto Znote 3414W are the uneven illumination of its screen, the low gaming performance, and the temperature emissions. Although the 14.1 inch WXGA wide screen with 16:10 aspect ratio is comparably bright, the brightness differs vertically too much. Despite the gaming performance in low, you have to consider that this compact multimedia notebook was not designed for intensive game sessions. To consider the last issue: Although the heating could be lower, the average temperatures are still harmless.
The Znote 3414W is advertised by Zepto. At their web site the Znote 3214W is still available. According to Zepto it is equipped with an integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 instead of a GeForce 8400M GS. Besides the different video chip these two notebooks should be the same except of some smaller optical differences (no touch-sensitive hot keys) and the 2.0 MP web cam not , which is not provided by the 3214W.