Excellent battery life, a great touchscreen and decent enough performance make this ultra-portable tablet great value.
11.6 in 1,366×768 display, 1.7kg, 1.2GHz Intel Celeron SU2300, 4.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
While many people simply want to get as much power as possible for their money, others place greater value on portability. That’s where ultra-portables like Packard Bell’s EasyNote Butterfly Touch come in. It may look like a netbook with its 11.6in screen, but it has a dual-core CULV processor which makes it much more responsive. This is crucial as the display is a touchscreen, which can be rotated and laid flat on top of the keyboard to turn the Butterfly Touch into a tablet PC.
The capacitive screen is a joy to use and is leagues better than screens we’ve seen recently that use infrared sensors. Playing with Microsoft Surface Globe, for example, you can zoom and rotate the map much faster than if you were using a mouse. Being a tablet, it’s also comfortable to use for showing photos to friends. There’s no graininess as we used to see with older touchscreens, but viewing angles – especially horizontal – aren’t great.
This can be frustrating if you’re using the screen in portrait mode as you have to look square-on. At least there’s an orientation sensor which automatically rotates the desktop when you turn the tablet. Colours are natural and the screen is bright, but the glossy finish means it’s very reflective. The 1,366×768 resolution is quite high for the screen’s size and means that fonts and icons can be a little small on a screen at this size.
Packard Bell’s TouchPortal interface brings all the touch-aware applications together, but feels gimmicky and is poorly presented. It’s good to see the Windows 7 Touch Pack installed, though, as this includes several applications including a photo viewer and games which really show off the screen’s potential. Unusually, there’s also a full version of Photoshop Elements 8, but this isn’t designed to be used by touch.
The 1.2GHz Intel Celeron SU2300 processor is paired with 4GB of RAM. This combination produced an Overall score of 39 in our benchmark tests. It may not sound much, but in general use, the Butterfly Touch felt speedy. Plus, its battery lasted over eight and a half hours which is double the amount of time most standard £500 laptops last.
Thanks the HDMI output and the Intel GMA 4500M HD on-board graphics, you can watch HD video on a larger external display. There’s also a VGA socket and three USB ports. The keyboard has broad, flat keys that make it easy to type quickly and accurately, although some function and character keys had to be reduced in size to fit the compact chassis, making them somewhat easier to hit the wrong key while touch typing. However, we were generally happy with both the keyboard and the tiny touchpad situated below the space bar. The built-in speakers produce a surprising level of volume for a tiny laptop, although they’re conspicuously lacking in bass.
If you’re looking for a long-lasting ultra-portable tablet, the Butterfly Touch is a fine choice. Bear in mind that it doesn’t have an optical drive and its screen is no match for the iPad, either. It’s well built, though, and considering all the software it comes with, it’s great value. Even if you weren’t specifically planning on buying a laptop with a touchscreen, don’t let that put you off buying the Butterfly Touch.
|Processor||Intel Celeron SU2300|
|Processor clock speed||1.2GHz|
|Memory slots free||0|
|Sound||Realtek HD Audio|
|Pointing device||touchpad, touchscreen|
|Viewable size||11.6 in|
|Graphics Processor||Intel GMA 4500M HD|
|Graphics/video ports||VGA, HDMI|
|Total storage capacity||320GB|
|Optical drive model||none|
|Optical drive type||N/A|
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||802.11b/g/n|
|PC Card slots||none|
|Supported memory cards||SD, SDHC, Memory Stick PRO, MMC, xD|
|Other ports||minijack optical S/PDIF output (shared)|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|Operating system restore option||restore partition|
|Software included||Microsoft Works 9.0, Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7, Packard Bell TouchPortal, Adobe Photoshop Elements 8|
|Warranty||one year RTB|