I was looking for a notebook which provided mid range performance for games, was reasonably priced, high storage capacity, and with Windows XP optional or pre installed. I arrived at the IFL90, by Compal. It had everything I was looking for, and some things I wasn't, but were still cool. Namely - integrated 2.0 megapixel webcam, fingerprint reader, 4 hour battery life, Bluetooth, etc.
I purchased my laptop, a prefab which wasn't complete, from a local supplier. I bought the following: 2.0 ghz processor, 250 gigs of RAM, and the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M 512MB which came in the prefab. Also, the prefab allows you to choose your OS, be it Vista, XP, or Linux. A 3 year parts and labour warranty, and a carrying case were
The notebook itself feels sturdy, there are no loose, wiggling, or moving parts, and the finish is
consistent. The weakest point is likely directly beneath the keyboard, where the plastic has some give. The keyboard itself is nearly full, and provides a satisfying snap when used. The touch pad is responsive and features the right hand scroll bar, although it isn't shown on the touchpad itself, as it can be changed to the left hand side. The top features touchpad buttons for your default internet broswer, outlook express, mute, and two other programs, WOW Video and WOW Audio, which, despite coming pre installed, have yet to be experimented with. The wireless enable switch is located on the front and is sturdy and useful.
The Notebook with XP worked exactly as predicted. It booted lightning fast, and was able to establish a strong WaveLAN connection instantly. The NVIDIA graphics optimizer allowed me to experiment with various settings, as did the Source engine's Strain Test on various games which run on this engine. Despite a slightly lower processor speed, the Notebook was able to provide excellent performance on "hungry" games such as Half Life Two: Episode 2, Team Fortress 2, The Lost Coast, etc. The graphics card provides high framerates and excellent rendering clarity. The integrated webcam works exactly as expected, fair clarity and constant detection, which isn't always the case with HP Notebooks. Another interesting feature bundled with the webcam is called "Smart WatchDog, a program which locates your face on your webcam display, and can be set to turn off the notebook if you aren't present over a customizable interval. Useful and entertaining, as the program places a large smiley over your face, when located. The Fingerprint Security reader works perfectly, and I found myself autofilling forms and signing in with it with no difficulties. Lastly, battery life is exceptional. The battery is large - it extends from the back of the notebook, but it provides four hours of use on a full charge, and has a 1 year warranty.
After much porting, the computer has shown little wear. An occasional monitor wipe down is all that's required to keep it performing well and looking great.
The IFL90 does look great. It follows the standard black computer theme, but has bright blue LED's which provide a hint of style, and the outer casing resembles a briefcase. The look is not overdone - the computer doesn't scream "Steal me!"
The speakers provide fair performance, and are located at the front of the notebook, which seems to provide a wider expansion. The result is comparable to most notebooks.
For the price, the IFL90 is an excellent alternative to a Dell, HP, etc, and can be customized with the help of a parts provider to optimize performance. Also, the option to choose your OS is handy. The computer is durable and hardy, a workhorse for games and general computer strain, and is backed by a 3 year warranty. Essentially, it's an excellent product.