Philips X200 laptop

The Philips X200 is only available in the UK from PC World, who has dubbed this notebook "The Longneck", which is fitting as it’s the first machine to be released with a screen a little different from the norm.

Instead of being attached to the main body of the notebook like any other machine, you’ll find this one sits on a central column, rather like the average external monitor. This means you can raise the 12.1-inch screen up and down so you can pitch it exactly in line with your eye. This makes for a great screen.

Extra pressure is placed on the design when the screen is raised to the maximum height but we found the build quality was good enough to support it. Made from toughened plastic, it’s not the most luxuriant of finishes but at a cost of £850 (inc. VAT), it certainly offers decent value for money.

The most appealing fact is the X200 only weighs 2.1kg, so you can carry it around with you. The panel is widescreen and comes with a Super-TFT coating so images look as impressive as the notebook’s design.

Portable it may be but we found this machine less than ideal in terms of battery life. When using it out and about we managed to get less than 2 hours of use from it. Part of the reason has to be the use of Windows Vista Premium being installed, which is fairly heavy on power usage but the use of a small battery pack also limits usability.

Graphics are integrated, which we expected for the price and size of the machine, so while you can watch DVDs and run basic games, you won’t be able to play anything that needs discrete graphics.

The main specification is impressive, though. Powered by an Intel Core Duo U2500 chip, you'll find this is a dual-core offering but as it needs to run in a slim case it's an ultra-low voltage chip that runs at a slower bus speed and only comes with 2MB of Level 2 cache. Even being low voltage we found the left-hand side of the chassis grew warm to the touch. In performance terms, this system ran reasonably well largely due to the addition of 1024MB of memory.

Small it may be but this doesn’t limit the amount of connections you’ll find on board. You'll find a1.3-megapixel webcam, Bluetooth as well as 802.11g Wi-Fi is integrated and with a DVD rewriter and DVI port, so you can either watch movies on the screen or out source them to a large digital screen.

Verdict

It’s not ever day you get to see something a little different but in the case of the Philips X200, you have to be impressed with its style and it performance.

While it’s light and portable the battery life is the one thing that lets this otherwise excellent machine down.