Maxdata may not be the first company you think of when choosing a stylish notebook, afterall it’s better known for its functionality. However, the introduction of three notebook lines in its Belinea monitor and peripheral range could well change that.
The o.book range according to the press release is supposed to "express your individuality", and the simple white design of the o.book 3 certainly doesn’t look like anything else currently on the market. Open up the lid and you’ll find the white carries on inside, contrasting with the black of the keyboard.
The keyboard itself proved to be a good size and while there was a slight rattle as we typed, it proved to be comfortable and reliable to use.
The o.book weighs 2.8kg, so has a degree of portability but you wouldn’t want to carry it around every day. This is especially true as we only managed to get a battery life of a little over 2 hours from the machine, which isn’t exactly ideal.
This is an entry-level notebook so we were expecting too much from the build quality but as the same plastic is used throughout the body, even on the lid only thicker, it does feel robust and solid to the touch. Two hinges hold the panel closed but as these are both independently activated it can be awkward to open the lid.
The Super-TFT screen measures 15.4 inches diagonally and being widescreen it’s great for watching movies or simply for having two documents on the screen at the same time. When running on mains power we found it to be bright and the contrast more than acceptable.
However, when running on battery power, this quality dropped as the brightness range suddenly disappeared and we found ourselves having to turn it to the brightest setting in order to use it on the train. Graphics use the integrated Intel X3100 card, which is fine for every day use but you won't be able to play games or edit large video files.
Powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 and supported by 1024MB of memory, this is very much an entry-level product. It’s a dual-core processor but only has 2MB of Level 2 cache, half of the full version. Instead of running at 800MHz on the Front Side Bus this chip runs at the slower 667MHz speed. Running Windows Vista Home Premium, we found Windows loaded quite slowly but once up and running there was little lag or delay. That said, we did see system slow down when running multiple tasks.
Around the sides of the machine you’ll find the standard array of connections, including three USB ports, S-video, VGA-out and even ExpressCard and memory cards reader slots. There is even a DVD rewriter built-in.
The Belinea o.book 3 may be about style but we also found it to be a pleasing notebook to use.
If you’re looking for a machine that has matching optional extras, this is certainly worth considering. That said, we did find it a little under-powered and the battery life prevents it from being a truly mobile machine.