The Hi-Grade Notino D2400 is an attractive laptop made of toughened plastic, which is also used behind the panel, to create a robust and strong chassis. Weighing in at 2.5kg, this is a portable system that can be carried on a regular basis without too much trouble. This is impressive considering this unit comes with a built-in DVD rewriter.

The Notino comes fitted with the 1.66GHz variant, the Intel Core Duo T2300. Supported by 512MB of DDR2 memory and an 80GB hard drive, the specification is very much in keeping with other machines in the class. Sadly, the Notino didn't live up to expectations as we found this a sluggish and slow system to use.

When running basic tasks we found the Notino was slow to load and save applications but seemed to handle more intensive tasks better. This was borne out by a MobileMark 2005 score of 195, which was the lowest for this type of laptop and even beaten by Pentium M-based systems.

The performance was compounded by the poor quality keyboard. Held in place by clips around the edge, the keyboard is raised in the centre, and makes for an uneven typing experience. However, things get worse when you start to use it regularly, as you need to forcefully strike the keys for them to work. To compound matters, the mouse keys needed a solid click to activate as they proved sluggish and unresponsive.

Great screen

Much better is the screen. One of only three machines in this group to come with a Super-TFT panel, it was bright and clear. You'll even find a 1.3-megapixel webcam above the screen. The 14.1-inch screen has a native resolution of 1,280 x 768 pixels (WXGA) and is supported by the Intel 945GM chipset with a 3DMark 2003 score of 927.

With a battery life, under test, of 176 minutes, this machine falls below our expected three-hour threshold so can't be recommended for regular daily use. It is always good to have a software package, even if it's just to write the occasional letter; so without adding cost to the value of the laptop, Hi-Grade has added OpenOffice, which does fulfils many of the same functions as Microsoft Office.

The Hi-Grade Notino D2400 managed to pack a great looking specification list into its lightweight case, but it failed to live up to expectations, having a sluggish performance as well as a troublesome keyboard, making this a difficult machine to recommend. Philip Barker, Michael Browne