Mesh Discovery 12.1 review

Price when reviewed

Unlike the majority of manufacturers here, Mesh has to use an off-the-shelf notebook rather than its own design. The Discovery 12.1 is actually a rebadged Averatec 3715, and bears more than a passing resemblance to an Apple iBook.

The all-white finish stands out from the crowd and build quality is good. The lid is quite flexible, but not enough to be a concern; it protects the 12.1in 1,024 x 768 TFT, which is bright and even. Surprisingly, the speakers are some of the loudest in the group, while an 80GB hard disk and dual-layer internal DVD writer are good for the price.

But not all aspects of the Discovery are great. The keyboard layout and action are average, but our biggest gripe is battery life. Under light use, it lasted just 3hrs 32mins, which isn’t enough for a notebook designed to be highly mobile. Heavy use reduced this to less than 1hr 20mins. Plus, the Discovery weighs nearly 2kg, so is one of the heavier notebooks here.

And while most manufacturers have taken the dual-core route this month, the Mesh limps along with a 1.8GHz single-core AMD Sempron. It isn’t the slowest on test, but its overall 2D score of 0.63 is well below the leaders. And with the loudest fan on test – 35dBA when working hard – it’s distracting too.

Power isn’t vital in an ultra-light notebook, so if you only need to use office apps and browse the web the Mesh isn’t a bad choice. The Hi-Grade is a better deal if you need the power and battery life, but the Mesh is great value if you can live with the noise and colour.

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