Learn About Manufactures
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Table of Contents - Laptop Info
Index to manufacturers
The next several entries are laptop manufactures. These are primarily based in Taiwan. Some vendors manufacture and sell their own but are known primarily for the latter and are listed in the Vendors section, such as H.P. and AST - the vendors here are not, generally speaking, well-known name brands.
Full-Power InvestmentCompal. Some of the computers manufactured by them include the former MidWest Micro laptops, the ARM laptops, the Ambra N100T, Trogon, the FutureMate FM309T, the Mitsuba Ninjas, the MicroExpress NP52 series, the MPC 380s, and far more. (More models than just those listed for these companies are manufactured by Full-Power, but I don't have a complete list.) Digital Equipment signed an agreement to have Compal manufacture their newest line of low-end laptops. Digital is based in Maynard, MA. Additional Compal Computers:
Full-Power Investment is a Taiwanese company that manufactures laptops and sells them to other companies to market. They are also known as
US Logic NT-75 (Computer City)
Epson ActionNOTE 650/660
Zenith Z-Star GX-133
Dell Lattitude LM P133ST
ARM ARMNote TS96CD
Sceptre SoundX S4000T
As of 04-Oct-95, Compal does not offer a laptop with an internal CD-ROM. Compal Tech Support: (408) 526-0620
Acer not only sells computers under their own name, but also is a big manufacturer. They make the:
The Acer Nuovo is a 133MHz Pentium designed for the power user, with a 6X CD-ROM and tilt-up keyboard. Acer is at:
2641 Orchard Parkway
San Jose, CA 95134
or 347, Chung Feng Rd., Wulin Village, Lung Tan Taoyuan
Int'l Phone: +886-3 489 3188
Acer Computers: <http://www.acer.com/>
Arima is yet another manufacturer from Taiwan. They make the...
- AMS SoundPro, SoundWave, and the PowerCD laptop
- Austin's Business Audio series
- Epson Endevor 500
- Escom Supernote
- The older IPC notebooks (P5, P5E, etc. IPC just left that consortium.)
- Ergo PowerBricks
- MicroProfessionals Proteva
- UniSys Travel-series notebooks
- Unifox (Swedish brand)
Their line goes by names like Festiva 780, but is behind schedule. They also just closed a deal with Compaq on 7-Jan-96. Arima makes okay stuff, but they haven't been able to keep up with demand from their customers. They reported lost their accounts with IPC, Austin, Epson, and Unisys last year due to poor support. Arima is at:
Sung Long Rd. 327, 6F, Taipei
Int'l Phone: +886 2 7495588
ASE makes some IBM and some Winbook laptops.
Kiwi makes the Wedge ShowBook EL and the Novacor OpenNote.
2314 Walsh Ave.
Santa Clara, CA 95054
I haven't heard much about Chaplet specifically. They're Taiwanese:
15,\ Wu Chuan 5th Rd., Wu Ku Ind. Park, Taipei
Int'l Phone: +886-2 298 8989
Chicony is both a laptop manufacturer and a leading keyboard maker. Many laptops from other manufacturers will come with Chicony keyboards, as do most cheap desktop clones. Chicony computers are probably between Compal and Nan Tan in quality. I'm told Chicony is a sister company to Clevo Chicony makes the:
- IPC Austin Vista
- BSI NP8600
- Canon Innova Book 200LS
- Some Ergo laptops
- KeyData CD-ROM laptops and Ultra (KeyData is a DataPro subsidiary)
- Leading Edge Aviva 2000
- Ambra SN-series laptops
- Some Aspen computers
- Midwest Micro UltraNote 386SX & SL notebooks
- Oreman (TC) TC3201 386 notebooks
- Phonecian Faire (PF Micro) 386 notebooks
- Some Identity Systems 486 notebooks
- Zenith ZNote GT Pentium and 486DX models
- Future Tech (Miami) Mark Vision 486DX notebook
- Vobis Micro Computer AG (Europe)
- CAF Technologies
- Some Sager Modern Computer laptops
- Some Commax notebooks (Smartbook V-Star)
Chicony America is based in Irvine, California since 1989. Their parent company is Chicony Electronics Corp., LTD., of Taiwan.
Chicony America Inc.
Irvine, CA 92718
207, Kuan Hwa St., Ta Chu Chung, Lu Chu, Taoyuan
Int'l Phone: +886-3 323 4721
Dual is a middle-quality tier manufacturer. They make the essentially identical...
Dual also makes the FutureMate FM559D 486 and a number of other clones.
Nan-Tan Computer is another Taiwanese computer vendor, one of the smaller ones. They're owned by Kapok, and rumour has it that their name is now Clevo, which would certainly shrink the laptop world quite a bit. Even their resellers acknowledge that this is not top-tier stuff, but some of it is pretty neat. Some of their OEMs include:
In general, you'll want to avoid Nan-Tan computers because both the vendors and equipment fare poorly on surveys. The exception to this rule is Aspen Computers, who do exceedingly well on the surveys. Because of this anomaly, I called them and spoke to the owner (Ahmad), who says that the reason is simply that Aspen does a lot more quality control than most companies and adds their own high-quality components. Aspen also sells computers from many vendors other than Nan Tan though. So if you want a Nan-Tan, get it from Aspen. I haven't yet heard of any dissatisfaction with them. Featron is also in Taiwan, a subsidiary of Philips Taiwan Ltd., which itself is a subsidiary of Philips Netherlands. They manufacture the:
- Aspen Aspenta 60/66, Aspen Universa-E
- Broadax BSI NP3656T, BSI 846x series
- Commax SmartBook III
- Duracomm 5110, TravelPro, NBC, and NBAC series.
- FutureTech FutureMate series
- Micro Express NB9266
- Milkyway MyriadBook
- Tri-Star MediaBoook
- Altima Virage
- Aspen Select
- Commax SmartBook II
- USA Identity Systems Technology Select
and several other neat computers. The more I see of Featron's stuff, the more impressed I am. They certainly have responsive management. Featron Technologies Corporation is at:
#20 Wu-Gong 6th Rd.
Wuku Industrial Park
Taipei Hsien, Taiwan ROC
Int'l Phone: +886 2 299-0299
FAX: +886 2 299-6061
Clevo is yet another manufacturer, a sister company of Chicony. They own Kapok. Apparently, they used to be NanTan Computer. Their stuff is not top-grade by a long shot, but it does tend to have new features first. Things to watch out for with Clevo resellers/Computers are:
Clevo (and NanTan, although you should check that section separately also) include:
- Service reputation
- Weight of the computer
- Does it have a fan
- Battery life
The Wedge Powerbook 5CD is the same as the ChemBook 5400 and Sager 8600, and is made by Clevo. They use Pentium 75-120, PCI 2MB Cirrus Logic VGA and PCI Bus, 256k Cache. According to a reader, "it has a very weak performance and problems with PCMIA under Windows 95 (which was confirmed from all dealers and Chem - this has now been fixed with new drivers). It uses DIMM memory for expansion and has a built in glide-point and joystick." The built in 2x CD-ROM is not removeable. A vendor of the same units reports that battery life is about an hour, it weighs 7.3#, and has 2MB of VRAM but is still very slow on video. Same reader: The Wedge PowerBook 5 is not a Dual and comes with 256k burst cache, PCI 65545 and PCI IDE. It is pretty fast from he benchmarks I made on it and has 10.3" Dual-Scan or 10.3" active and a built in trackball. From a vendor: Clevo makes the Sager 7500/7600 and the Commax Smartbook IV series. The new Sager 8600 / Commax V-Quad also will be a Clevo, with a quad-speed CD-ROM and an 11.3" 800*600 screen. Clevo is a low-quality producer, considered junk by many of their own resellers.
Jetta Jetta has had a few problems, but also has some big fans. They made some of the early Winbooks (to MEI specifications), as well as others. Now they've got their own line too. As laptop makers go, this is a tiny company! Jetta is still having some quality problems, and still sends out the wrong computers sometimes.
51 Stouts Lane, Unit 3
Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852
5F, No. 3, Wu-Chiuan One Road. Wu-Gu Industrial Park
Hsin-Chuang City, Taiwan
The Twinhead Slimnote 60T uses a fan to keep the computer cool. This is unusual in a laptop, and has been widely panned. This computer is not widely availible anymore - it was one of the very first Pentium laptops - but is perhaps their most famous move. Their current system is the Slimnote 8 Series. This features...
Twinhead is yet another Taiwanese vendor, but they're reputed to be of somewhat higher quality than most of the rest. They make the:
Unfortunately, it's pre-loaded with Win95. Twinhead Corp, a subsidiary of Twinhead International of Taiwan:
- Pentium (75 or 120MHz)
- 10.4" or 11.3" 800*600 display
- TV-out port
- Lithium Ion battery
- Quad-speed CD-ROM (drawer/tray type)
- removable hard disk
- Stereo, PCI, etc.
1537 Centre Pointe Dr.
Milpitas, CA 95035
This company's name is alternately spelled Inventa and Inventec. Both are accepted. Inventec is based in Taiwan. They make the:
Compaq signed a "manufacturing partner" agreement with Inventec in the first quarter of 1995.
Quanta is yet another Taiwanese manufacturer. They make the:
I don't have a U.S. address or number for Quanta, but they're at:
Fu-Shin Rd., 361, 2-3F, Kuei-Shan Hsiang, Tao Yuan Hsian, Taiwan
Int'l Phone: +886-3 397 300
Sotek of Japan makes the Gateway and the newest Austin laptops, as well as a Unisys model. They're perceieved as being at the top of the no-name vendor quality ladder. Other than that, I don't know a thing about them.
San Jose, CA
First International Computer
First International Computer, or FIC, manufacturers some laptops for Texas Instruments (the TI Extensa CD-550), Everex (the ExpressNote), and for NEC, including the NEC PC-9800 series. (These are not IBM-compatible, but were the leading computer platform in Japan a few years ago.) FIC is backed by the Formosa Plastics Group, which is the largest conglomerate in Taiwan. They also make the LEO DESIGNote notebook (Pentium 133/Multimidia builtin/quad CD-ROM/ TFT screen) with interchangable CD-ROM and Floppy drive, removable HD.
980A Mission Court
Fremont, CA 94539
Kapok is a smaller vendor, along the lines of Nan-Tan. A bunch of vendors are shareholders in Kapok and sell their systems, with FOSA being the primary shareholder. Kapok also owns Clevo. They make, among others, the:
Kapok makes the Pentium computer with a touchpad and a built-in game joystick with the buttons around the touchpad. This system is sold by 21st Century Computer and by Micon Computers. Kapok will have a Pentium Pro laptop out soon. The power requirements (double those of a regular pentium) and heat will be major hurdles. http://www.kapok.com.tw
Veridata makes systems for CTX (the monitor folk, who share the same parent corporation)