The design is reassuringly sturdy, with a thick plastic casing that feels solid to the touch.
The 7-inch screen stands on extended hinges, so a larger battery pack can be fitted, but it raises the screen so the user has a better line-of-sight.
The screen is a TFT panel that is impressively bright without casting too many reflections. The screen doesn't fill the whole lid, as Packard Bell has rather wisely kept the chassis larger than the screen dimensions, so that a larger keyboard can be fitted.
Considering the size, connectivity is excellent with two USB ports and a DVI-out.
It's also got support for fixed and wireless networks. When using the XS we never felt as though we were missing out on any essential connections.
The Packard Bell EasyNote XS is a good buy for those who need a compact machine with a quality keyboard and Windows XP. Read our full review
MSI Wind - £330
To support the thriving ultra-portable market, Intel has this week released its new Atom processor.
It's designed specifically for such laptops and the MSI Wind 100 is the first machine we've seen sporting the new chip.
In style, the Wind takes many of its designs queues from the Eee PC.
It's made from white plastic - a black version will ship in July - with a 3-cell battery taking up the back of the unit.
It feels great in the hand and is certainly tough enough to carry around on a regular basis.
Weighing 1kg, its weight is nicely balanced, especially considering the use of a 10-inch Super-TFT screen that has a native resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels.
Images look great and even when running on battery power it looked sharp. The screen sits on hinges that make the screen cover the back of the unit, giving a slightly low line of sight.
Overall, the MSI Wind U100 is an impressive entry-level laptop. We never once felt as though compromises had been made.
It won't suit anyone looking for a powerhouse portable but if your needs are basic, writing emails and using the internet, or a word processor for the commute, this is as good as it currently gets. Read our full review
Asus Eee PC 900 - £329
The amazing thing about the original Eee is the combination of portability, style and price: it looks good, it's tiny and you get all this for little outlay.
It was designed to provide the functionality that people need when they're on the move, such as Web browsing, email, office applications, VoIP and whatnot.
The size and the price are kept low by using a basic hardware specification.
The original Eee struck a good balance between hardware and cost. The new Eee PC 900 has adjusted the priorities to create an offering that gives you a beefier machine at less of a bargain price.
The first thing you notice about the Eee PC 900 is the larger screen, which is 8.9-inch instead of 7-inch
It also has a native resolution of 1,024 x 600. Gone is the thick bezel of the earlier Eee PC 701, and the extra space is an enormous improvement. Everything fits nicely on the larger viewing area.
Usability is further boosted by a larger track pad that supports two-finger scrolling (just place two fingers on the sensor and draw them up and down).
The speakers have been moved to the underside of the unit to accommodate the screen, and the chassis is marginally larger. Still, the weight remains below a kilogram.
The RAM goes from 512MB to 1,024MB in the 900 model, and there's also an increase in storage capacity.
What's more, there are two versions of the Eee PC 900; a Linux one and a Windows XP version.