Dialogue isn’t really a company most people will be familiar with but it had introduced a couple of distinctive notebook designs in the last couple of years that have certainly tested the idea of what a notebook should look and act like.
The Flybook VM is another such example. While on the surface it’s a standard ultraportable notebook that weighs in at 1.8kg, largely due to the use of a 12-inch widescreen panel, it’s light and ideal for carrying around with you. We managed to get a little under 3 hours from the standard battery pack, which is more than enough for such a small machine. The screen is great to view but the use of an integrated graphics card makes it fine for work but less for multimedia use.
However, it’s only when you start looking closer at the screen that you see why it’s a unique design. The panel isn’t fitted on twin hinges that link if to the main body. This notebook is design rather like a TFT monitor, so the screen is attached to a central column, so you can pull the screen up to a more ergonomic position and even tilt it out for a better view. This means you run the risk of greater reflections from the Super-TFT panel but as it’ll move in any direction, you can easily remedy this.
The screen size may make this a light machine but it means the keyboard is rather small and cramped. The keyboard sits in the centre of the board, with large palm rests. The mouse buttons and touchpad and small and awkward to use. A fingerprint scanner sits in between the mouse buttons, so you won't need to remember passwords when logging onto the machine.
The person who is likely to use this notebook is someone who needs to write on the move, so don’t expect cutting-edge performance but for most tasks we found it more than satisfactory. Powered by an Intel Core Duo 1.66GHz processor, this is an ultra-low voltage CPU but gets the job done. This is largely due to the use of 2048MB of memory, which meant that we never felt the machine lag or slow when we used it out and about. The hard drive may only have a capacity of 30GB but tat is due to it being a 1.8-inch drive.
For those who want to make the most of their time away from the office, you can even set up a 3G account with this machine, as it supports HSDPA as standard.
The unique design of the Flybook VM certainly make sit stand out from the competition and if getting the right screen position is high on your list of needs, it’s a great choice.
However, once you get over this feature, it’s a standard ultraportable notebook that sadly lacks a punch – but at least it has a decent battery life.