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Packard Bell EasyNote Butterfly Touch - Keyboard, Touchpad & Audio-Visual
By necessity, the Butterfly Touch's power switch is located on the side so it's useable with the laptop in 'tablet mode'. Another concession to the machine's hybrid nature is the 'P' button on the screen's lower bezel. This gives you access to three different functions: Ctrl+Alt+Del, Print Screen and a customisable program launch manager. Pressing the button once will select the highlighted function, while pressing it more than once will cycle between functions, and your choice will be remembered for future use. It's a clever system that works well.
Unfortunately, typing on the Butterfly Touch is a bit of a mixed experience. On the positives side, its layout is excellent, with intelligent shortcut placement and every key where you would expect it. The matt surface and flat profile of the keys is pleasant too, and the textured palm-rest is very comfortable.
However, feedback is shallow enough to be almost nonexistent, and because the keys are slightly too broad and close together, it's easier to make mistakes than on most keyboards. Overall this tablet laptop is fine for casual typing, but it wouldn't be our first choice for intensive word processing.
Despite being smaller than average, the touchpad is an absolute delight. Its smooth surface and high sensitivity afford excellent control of its multi-touch features, which is ironic considering the laptop's capacitive screen makes this functionality somewhat superfluous. Its diminutive size also means it never interferes with typing, and the single rocker switch below it offers crisp feedback.
Another impressive aspect is the Butterfly Touch's Dolby Sound Room-enhanced speakers. They pump out much higher volume levels than their size would suggest without obvious distortion, and not only manage decent mid and high range production but even a hint of bass. This is one small laptop where headphones or external speakers are not required, as even film material comes across with some impact.
By comparison the screen isn't as noteworthy, but once you get past the annoying reflections caused by its glossy coating it's at least useable. It sports a nice 1,366 x 768 resolution, which gives you plenty of desktop real estate while maintaining legibility and producing sharp text. It also benefits from excellent horizontal viewing angles - an important point given the tablet aspect of the machine.
Where it suffers is in all the usual areas. Vertical viewing angles are particularly poor, suffering from strong contrast shift, and this isn't a screen that brings out the finer dark details in films and photos all that well. Basically, those expecting the display to rival that of the Apple iPad will be disappointed, but considering the price it would be unfair to complain too grieviously.