Hi-Grade Notino W5700R review

£391
Price when reviewed

Like it or loathe it, the Hi-Grade’s light red paint job catches the eye. Look deeper, though, and it’s clear Hi-Grade has put plenty of thought into what constitutes a good budget laptop.

That said, the Notino is a bit on the plasticky side. There’s nothing wrong with the firm, sturdy base, but the lid has a bit too much give in it for our liking, and even light prods warped the screen.

Should you decide to take the Hi-Grade on your travels, twin catches keep the lid firmly closed and its 2.7kg weight won’t prove too much. But its lightness on the shoulder is matched by a scarcity of features: three USB ports, VGA, Ethernet and modem ports round off the Notino’s limited array of connections.

The wedge design of the W5700R’s chassis leaves the keyboard tilting naturally towards the typing position and, despite a slightly squidgy feel, it’s sensibly laid out and not unpleasant to type on. The trackpad buttons are less impressive; press them and they rock noticeably from side to side, occasionally making a nasty click as they go.

The core specification is solid. The Intel T2130 processor isn’t one of the latest Core 2 Duos, but its twin cores and 1.86GHz clock speed are nippy enough. Only the 1GB of memory holds it back, with a score of 0.69 in our benchmarks.

While most 15.4in laptops feature a 1,280 x 800 native resolution, the Hi-Grade ups that to 1,440 x 900. It makes all the difference, giving lots more desktop to work with than other laptops here. Quality is good, too, with the matte panel keeping reflections to a minimum, and providing good contrast and realistic skin tones in all our test images.

The Hi-Grade isn’t a bad laptop, although its looks will divide opinion. But set it against Dell’s Inspiron 1525 or Fujitsu Siemens’ Amilo Pi 2515, and the gap in quality is simply too great.

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