More practical is the s.book’s storage: it’s surprisingly generous with an 80GB hard disk inside. Thanks to the choice of Windows XP Professional instead of Vista, there’s almost 70GB available to play around with out of the box. The s.book is also well equipped with the aforementioned Bluetooth complemented by 802.11b/g Wi-Fi.
The combination of a 1.2GHz ultra-low voltage VIA C7-M processor, 1GB of RAM and integrated graphics doesn’t feel that responsive, though. It’ll cope with most office operations without breaking sweat, but open up more than one or two applications at once and the s.book begins to slow down. The Vye S37 I looked at a couple of weeks ago was much lighter on its feet than this.
A bigger disappointment than this, however, was that despite the sluggish performance, there was no payback in terms of battery life. The marketing materials for the s.book claim three hours, but in light use tests with the screen forced on at medium brightness and the maximum battery profile switched on I could only get 2hrs 34mins of work out of it before it needed a recharge.
It would be churlish to completely write off the Belinea s.book 1 completely, especially given that its price – a mere £418 – is low for a laptop of any size, especially an ultraportable this small.
If you really want a laptop this small and need the flexibility of full Windows and more storage than the sub-£300 Eee PC can offer, it’s a reasonable option. But I just can’t shake my niggling doubts. It’s just a little bit too fiddly to use, the screen is just a little too cramped and the battery life a touch too short to warrant a wholehearted recommendation.
Score in detail