Mesh Dynamo X-Pro review

£799
Price when reviewed

The eagle-eyed will no doubt already have spotted an uncanny likeness between the Mesh Dynamo X-Pro and the AJP. And that’s because they’re both housed in the same grey plastic chassis. It isn’t a great choice, since it lacks style and robustness and takes the shine off an otherwise impressive performer.

Inside, we found components are almost identical to the AJP’s, with 1GB of PC2-4300 memory and 128MB GeForce Go 6600 graphics. However, Mesh has decided to fit a 1.86GHz Pentium M 750, slightly slower than AJP’s 760, leading to both positive and negative results.

In our 2D benchmarks, the Dynamo understandably scored less with an overall 0.80. This laptop is still remarkably fast in everyday use, though, and the slower processor has benefits elsewhere: better battery life. We recorded three-and-a-half hours under light use and one hour, 39 minutes under intensive use, making it one of the longest-lasting systems on test.

The Dynamo’s 3D performance was just as good as the AJP’s. Average frame rates of 31fps in Far Cry and 26fps in Half-Life 2 are some of the best in the group. To enjoy smooth gaming, you’ll only need to knock down a few detail settings.

Both systems stay reasonably cool under intensive use, but this comes at the expense of noisy fans. Considering there are more powerful machines on test, a measurement of 37dBA is disappointing.

But there are plenty of other things to like. The ExpressCard slot offers future upgrade potential, the 80GB hard disk spins at 5,400rpm and the Samsung DVD writer will burn dual-layer discs, albeit only at 2.4x. Unlike AJP, Mesh bundles a basic carry case for the X-Pro, while the ambient light sensor (which both machines share) is a nice inclusion too. Our only gripe is that it occasionally set the brightness too low for comfortable use.

Mesh provides a respectable bundled of software, with Microsoft Works 8 accompanied by Nero OEM Suite and apps from CyberLink. These can be used to their full potential on the decent 15.4in TFT, with its vivid colours and impressive 1,680 x 1,050 resolution. As with the AJP, we’re sceptical about how well the lid will protect the TFT from knocks.

Overall, the Dynamo has a little less muscle than the AJP but superior battery life to compensate. With an identically mediocre return-to-base warranty, it’s easy to see why Mesh misses an award.

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