Float like a butterfly with this thin laptop
Small, light laptops are the order of the day. The mini-notebook or netbook, a very small laptop with limited processing power but one that’s easily portable, is flying off retailers’ shelves.
The trend is affecting other computers, too – after all, those of us who don’t want to watch films or play games on our laptops don’t need hulking great computers that take up most of a table and can’t be carried around.
For those people, Packard Bell’s latest computer is an interesting model. The most striking thing about it is the design: the Easynote Butterfly is sleek and slim, finished in a glossy piano black with grey edging. It’s nicely curved at the top, making it something most of us would be happy to carry around.
That may come as a surprise to readers who remember Packard Bell’s previous incarnation as a seller of bargain-basement and budget computers without much style or power. But the company, recently bought by enormous manufacturer Acer, is being re-styled as a stylish, high-end design-led brand, and the Easynote Butterfly is its first product.
Under that stylish exterior is an Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400 processor with 2GB of memory. That’s faster and more powerful than a netbook, but this computer is loaded with the Windows Vista Home Premium operating system, and that’s about the minimum configuration required to use it.
The SU in the processor name indicates that it’s a low-voltage device designed just for this kind of small, thin computer and, while it’s not the most powerful by any means, it’s certainly good enough for internet tasks and photo editing.
The graphics card is an ATI Radeon HD 4330 graphics card with 512MB of its own memory. That provides more than enough power for watching films but video editing on this computer is not going to be a good idea.
The 13.3in screen, as it’s a widescreen model, is large enough for most uses, and even watching a film on it was pleasant, although not from too far away.
As with many newer laptops, the screen on this one uses the 16:9 aspect ratio, so films and television shows look right, without being stretched or using black bars at the top and bottom of the screen (most older computer screens are in a ratio of 16:10, while widescreen televisions are all 16:9).
Impressively, the computer includes a 500GB hard disk, which is more than we normally see in larger laptops, although, like a netbook, the Butterfly doesn’t have room for a CD or DVD drive.
That’s not a big deal in this day and age as software and other things can be easily downloaded, but it does mean that to watch films you’ll need to either attach the supplied external DVD drive or copy them from a USB device.
While the keyboard was wide and had nicely spaced keys, it was shallow, without enough ‘give’ when keys were struck, so the typing experience was uncomfortable.
The trackpad below was better and, like most models this year, supports ‘multi-touch’ so you can use gestures such as pinching with two fingers to zoom into a document. Our favourite feature here is the switch that allows the trackpad to be turned off so it doesn’t interfere when you have a mouse plugged in.
At 32x23x3 cm, weighing just less than 2kg, the Packard Bell Easynote Butterfly is a good portable computer but its high price makes it a little less attractive.
Read more reviews
The Packard Bell Easynote Butterfly is relatively expensive but a good computer for those who need portability but want style Good points Thin and light; powerful enough for most home tasks Bad points External CD/DVD drive is a hassle; uncomfortable keyboard
Updating your subscription status