by Jerry Jackson
The Systemax Pursuit 4155, available exclusively at TigerDirect.com, is a series of budget notebooks providing Intel Core 2 Duo performance and a range of extras. Available in multiple configurations, the 4155 series offers something for almost any average consumer looking for a sub-$1,000 notebook. Intel Core 2 Duo processors mean that this series of notebooks can handle web browsing, DVD watching, image editing, and music downloads with ease.
Systemax Pursuit 4155U specs as reviewed:
- Intel Core 2 Duo T5300 1.73GHz 533FSB, 2MB processor
- 1GB PC4200 DDR2 533MHz SODIMM (1024MB x 1)
- 80GB 2.5” 5400RPM SATA hard drive
- Screen: 15.4" 1280×800 widescreen LCD
- Optical Drive: DVD/DVDRW
- GPU: Intel 945GM/GU Express Integrated
- Network/Wireless: Intel 3945ABG wireless card
- Expansion Slots: PCMCIA/PC-Card, ExpressCard, 3-in-1 card reader
- Battery: Six Cell
- Width: 14.25"
- Depth: 10.43"
- Height: 1.50"
- Weight: 6.28 lbs
- Operating System: Windows Vista Ultimate
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Build & Design
The overall build quality of the 4155 is nice and solid … with a few minor exceptions. There is little case flex or creaking except beneath the right palm rest and at the bottom of the notebook directly under the CPU fan. Pressing firmly on the right palm rest produces an audible creak that sounds somewhat like a mattress with a bad spring. Despite these issues, the overall fit and finish of the Systemax 4155 is quite good for a budget notebook.
The 4155U comes with a 1.3 megapixel camera located above the LCD behind a nice (and sort of cool) protective slide cover. Unfortunately, the 4155U didn’t come preloaded with any software applications that could use the camera. Owners cannot use the camera straight out of the box unless they install their own video conferencing software on the notebook.
The 1.3 megapixel camera located behind a sliding cover next to the microphone. (view large image)
The cover to the RAM expansion slots is easily accessible and makes adding more system RAM that much easier. Since the 4155U comes preloaded with Windows Vista Ultimate, most users will need to upgrade to a full 2GB of RAM in order to enjoy a better Vista experience. As of this writing, TigerDirect.com is still offering versions of the 4155 with Windows XP, and this solution may in fact be a better choice for consumers looking to get the best performance from a budget notebook.
The bottom of the 4155U. (view large image)
Input and Output Ports
The 4155U includes three USB ports, one firewire port, VGA output, S-video output, Ethernet and modem jacks, as well as a microphone input and headphone output. All the ports are easily accessible, but most large 15.4” notebooks come with at least four USB ports so the 4155 feels like it’s missing at least one USB port.
That said, the 4155 includes both a PCMCIA/PC-Card slot and an ExpressCard slot when many budget notebooks only include one or the other. The 3-in-1 card reader lets you view and edit photos and video from your favorite digital camera instantly on the 15.4” screen.
Front view of the 4155U. (view large image)
Close up view of the multi-card reader and wireless on/off switch next to the front left speaker. (view large image)
Right view with audio out, microphone jack, two USB ports, optical drive, and VGA port. (view large image)
Rear view with S-video, lock slot, battery, phone/modem jack, and power jack. (view large image)
Left view with fan vent, USB port, firewire port, Ethernet port, PCMCIA/PC-Card slot and ExpressCard slot. (view large image)
Keyboard and Touchpad
The 4155 series is known for having solid keyboards with minimal flex, but the keys are particularly springy and are a bit loud if you aren’t a soft typist. The touchpad feels a little cheap but is quite responsive. However, the touchpad’s scroll function wasn’t responsive at all (it only worked on a few occasions). The touchpad mouse buttons feel nice but provide somewhat shallow feedback.
The keyboard: Almost no flex, but the keys are springy. (view large image)
The trackpad and mouse buttons. (view large image)
The 15.4” WXGA widescreen LCD display on the 4155 is clear and provides a reasonable range of brightness settings. The matte screen is ideal for use in offices and rooms with strong overhead lighting, but a glossy screen would have provided superior contrast and an overall better viewing experience for DVDs and HD video.
There is no noticeable light leakage around the screen and there are no dead pixels. Applying pressure to the back or front of the LCD causes visible ripples. The display hinges are solid and secure but the screen latch mechanism feels a little loose.
The 15.4" screen on the 4155U. (view large image)
The only noticeable problem that most users will experience with this display is the horrible viewing angles. Unless you are viewing the screen from a directly perpendicular position in front of the screen you cannot see much of anything on the screen. Both vertical and horizontal viewing angles are very shallow … once you move up, down, left, or right the image on the screen begins to fade and the color starts to invert.
The LCD has somewhat shallow viewing angles. (view large image)
The built-in speakers on the 4155, like virtually all speakers on budget notebooks, provide adequate audio performance but don’t provide the quality most users want when listening to music or movies. Clarity is good at lower and middle volume settings but there are noticeable distortions at higher volumes. Bass is also non-existent. Bottom line, if you are an audiophile you need to use a good set of external speakers with this notebook.
Thanks in large part to the Intel Core 2 Duo T5300 processor, the 4155U is a solid performer for day-to-day tasks. As you can see in the following benchmarks, the 1.73GHz dual core processor helps this notebook keep pace with most budget notebooks. That said, performance is somewhat bottlenecked by the slow HDD and only 1GB of system RAM. While 1GB is more than enough for 4155 notebooks equipped with Windows XP, 2GB is required for better Windows Vista performance.
Super PI Comparison Results
|Notebook||Super Pi to 2 Million Digits Time|
|Systemax Pursuit 4155U (1.73GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5300)||1m 26s|
|Gateway MT6451 (1.60GHz Turion X2)||2m 06s|
|HP Compaq 6515b (1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52)||2m 05s|
|HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T2400)||59s|
|Dell Inspiron e1705 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo)||1m 02s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)||1m 18s|
|Toshiba A100 (2.0GHz Core Duo)||1m 18s|
|Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo)||1m 29s|
|Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86GHz Pentium M)||1m 53s|
|HP dv5000z (2.0GHz Sempron 3300+)||2m 02s|
PCMark05 Comparison Results
|Systemax Pursuit 4155U (1.73GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5300)||2,914 PCMarks|
|Gateway MT6451 (1.60GHz Turion X2, ATI XPress 1150m)||2,447 PCMarks|
|HP Compaq 6515b (1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52, ATI x1270)||2,420 PCMarks|
|Toshiba Satellite A135 (Core Duo T2250, Intel GMA 950)||3,027 PCMarks|
|HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400)||4,234 PCMarks|
|Fujitsu LifeBook A6010 (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950)||2,994 PCMarks|
|Sony Vaio SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400)||3,637 PCMarks|
|Toshiba Tecra M6 (1.66GHz Intel T2300E, Intel GMA 950)||2,732 PCMarks|
|Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, Nvidia Go 7400)||3,646 PCMarks|
|Sony VAIO FE590 (1.83GHz Core Duo)||3,427 PCMarks|
3DMark05 Comparison Results (graphics benchmark)
|Systemax Pursuit 4155U (1.73GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5300)||415 3DMarks|
|HP Compaq 6510b (2.20GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, Intel X3100)||916 3DMarks|
|HP Compaq 6515b (1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52, ATI x1270)||871 3DMarks|
|HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400)||2,013 3DMarks|
|Dell Inspiron e1705 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400)||1,791 3DMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)||2,092 3DMarks|
|Asus V6Va (2.13 GHz Pentium M, ATI x700 128 MB)||2,530 3DMarks|
|Fujitsu n6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)||2,273 3DMarks|
|Dell XPS M1210 (2.16 GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7400 256MB)||2,090 3DMarks|
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Battery life was a very reasonable three hours and 23 minutes. Nothing astounding here, but it’s perfectly acceptable for a system running a Core 2 Duo processor, wireless, and a 15.4” screen at half brightness. That said, battery life isn’t that impressive if you plan to use this notebook on the road as a portable DVD player. Given the fact that most users will probably be considering this notebook as an affordable desktop replacement, the performance of this six-cell battery is more than sufficient.
Heat and Noise
The fan on the 4155U was almost constantly running at low speeds and occasionally turned up to full speed during 3D benchmarking. Most users won’t find the fan in the 4155 series to be a problem, but if you are extremely sensitive to fan noise you will need to look for another notebook.
The Systemax Pursuit 4155U is a solid notebook in the less than $1,000 price range. Most online shoppers looking for an affordable desktop replacement will find the 4155U more than acceptable. If you are willing to live with the LCD’s shallow viewing angles and the other minor headaches of the 4155 series, this notebook will provide a reasonable value.
- Reasonably priced
- Solid Intel Core 2 Duo processor
- Good performance for a budget notebook
- Horrible viewing angles for LCD
- Only three USB ports on a huge machine
- Webcam useless without user-supplied software
- 1GB of RAM is not enough for Vista
- Touchpad scroll function unresponsive
- No dedicated multimedia controls