I had intended to take a look at one of these tiny notebooks a while back when they first launched in the UK. Unfortunately I never seemed to get around to it, with no shortage of new notebooks and notebook technologies landing in the TrustedReviews lab at an all too regular rate. However, since quite a few of you have emailed me asking why the Flybook hasn’t been covered on TrustedReviews, I thought I had better get one in and put it through its paces.
The Flybook is a very small bit of kit – measuring ony 235 x 155 x 31mm (WxDxH) and weighing in at 1.23kg. This makes the Flybook an attractive proposition for anyone that needs a notebook with them all day, every day. But the question is whether the low weight and small dimensions mean that compromises have been made in other areas.
The Flybook is available in a rainbow of colours but this review sample is finished in a rather conservative matt silver. Opening the lid reveals an 8.9in widescreen TFT display with a resolution of 1,024 x 600. Although this isn’t a particularly high resolution by today’s standards, it’s good enough for most instances, as long as you’re working on one window at a time. The screen isn’t the brightest that I’ve seen on a notebook, but this is due to the fact that it’s touch sensitive.
Hiding in the underside of the chassis is a flat plastic stylus for use with the touch screen. I’m actually quite a fan of touch screens on notebooks, having recently reviewed a couple of Panasonic ToughBooks with this feature. It’s very handy being able to just prod at icons with your finger, or even drag windows around the screen. That said, with the small screen on the Flybook, you really are going to have to use the stylus. The screen also swivels around to lay flat against the keyboard – then you can prod at it with the stylus while you’re holding the machine in a clipboard style.
Obviously with a device this small, the keyboard is correspondingly small, so much so that many notebook users may find it difficult to cope with. Now, anyone that regularly reads my notebook reviews will be aware that I’m a big fan of thin and light machines and that I can generally cope with small keyboards. That said, the keyboard on the Flybook really is small, and although I can type pretty well on it, there’s no way I can achieve my normal rate of input.