Hi-Grade Notino C5515-1400 review

£595
Price when reviewed

The Hi-Grade features a lightweight chassis and a 1.4GHz Celeron M, making it more of a portable notebook than many of the other systems on test. Just be aware that it weighs 2.9kg, so it’s no ultraportable. Battery life was among the best on test, though; in our intensive test, the C5515 lasted two hours, 24 minutes. Under light use, this figure rose to three hours, 41 minutes. It should even cope with most movies, lasting for one hour, 47 minutes in our DVD rundown test.

Hi-Grade Notino C5515-1400 review

The Celeron M processor is backed by 512MB of RAM, producing only 1.09 in our benchmarks – a disappointing result. This means you won’t be able to replace your desktop for video work, although the Hi-Grade isn’t really intended for this. It isn’t made for playing 3D games either, being powered by Intel’s relatively weak Extreme Graphics 2 chipset.

The Notino does have some digital video leanings though. There’s a mini-FireWire port and a DVD writer with DVD-RAM compatibility. The 60GB hard disk is another generous component for the price.

Surprisingly, there’s also 802.11b/g Wi-Fi along with a V.92 modem, and 10/100 Ethernet.

Where the Notino starts to look a little limited with regards to ports. Although infrared and parallel are both present, we’d have preferred to see more than two USB 2 ports. Be prepared to fork out for a USB hub.

Build quality is our other main gripe. The speaker grilles and wrist-rest creaked under pressure, while the four-way scroll button is tricky to use. At least the 15.1in 1,024 x 768 screen is pleasant on the eye, with good contrast and brightness levels.

When it comes to noise output, the Hi-Grade will be difficult to hear even in a quiet room. We measured a near-silent 28.3dBA under load, but no fans ran for non-intensive tasks such as word processing.

Considering the price, the one-year, collect-and-return warranty is a decent offering, as Watford’s similarly priced machine only has return-to-base cover. The software is also useful: in particular, Panda’s Titanium Antivirus 2004 means you’re protected out of the box.

Unfortunately, against this month’s competition, the Notino isn’t powerful enough. The Celeron is fine for undemanding users, but – for example – the Mesh Pegasus 3400+ offers far superior performance for only £52 more. Had Hi-Grade chosen a better quality chassis, the Notino might have fared better, but as it is, we can’t recommend it.

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