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Hi-Grade Notino µL100 review

Alan Lu
13 Feb 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
293
inc VAT

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Specifications

10.2 in 1,024x600 display, 1.3kg, 1.6GHz VIA C7-M, 1.00GB RAM, 160GB disk, Windows XP Home Edition

Hi-Grade's Notino is the only netbook here to come with a processor other than Intel's 1.6GHz Atom N270; it uses a Via C7-M. Although it has the same clock speed as the N270, the Notino felt more sluggish to use than the Atom-equipped netbooks.

Opening and switching between programs took a few seconds longer than on the Atom models, which quickly becomes irritating. When playing iPlayer footage, video was occasionally jerky, although there were no problems playing DivX video files smoothly. The Notino has an integrated Via graphics chip. Unsurprisingly, this is not powerful enough for playing 3D games.

The underside got uncomfortably warm, especially when watching videos, although it didn't get as hot as HP's 2133 Mini-Note (Labs, Shopper 248). Build quality is sturdy, though.

Another irritating design flaw is the keyboard's layout. The additional Windows and Alt keys to the right of the spacebar make it easier to use keyboard short cuts, but they also make the spacebar too small to press when touch-typing. The keys don't feel very responsive, although they're not as springy as the keyboard on Asus's N10. The small touch pad feels smooth and accurate, but we don't like the small, all-in-one mouse button.

The 10.2in 1,024x600 pixel resolution display has a matt, anti-glare finish. Images look grainy, though, and the display is not as bright as others here. Still, viewing angles are reasonably wide. It's good enough for reading and editing text. We were most disappointed with the Notino's short battery life. It lasted less than two hours in our battery test - the shortest time of any netbook here.

The fact that this netbook is £293 doesn't help matters. Ultimately, the Notino is let down by its sluggish performance, short battery life and poorly laid-out keyboard. It does have a large 160GB hard disk, but there are netbooks here with just as much storage space and none of the Notino's flaws.

Basic Specifications

Rating**
ProcessorVIA C7-M
Processor clock speed1.6GHz
Memory1.00GB
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory1GB
Size50x256x202mm
Weight1.3kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption idle16W
Power consumption active22W

Display

Viewable size10.2 in
Native resolution1,024x600
Graphics ProcessorVia S3G UniChrome Pro II IGP
Graphics/video portsVGA
Graphics Memory64MB

Storage

Total storage capacity160GB
Optical drive modelnone
Optical drive typeN/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothno
Wired network ports1x 10/100
Wireless networking support802.11b/g
PC Card slotsnone
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo
Other portsnone

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseYes
Operating systemWindows XP Home Edition
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedOpenOffice.org 2.1.1
Optional extras160GB internal hard disk - £15, USB floppy drive - £25, Microsoft Office 2007 Home and Student Edition - £55, spare battery - £55, spare charger - £35, two year collect and return warranty - £50, three year collect and return warranty - £125

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£293
Detailswww.higrade.com
Supplierhttp://www.higrade.com

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