Gigabyte's netbook range is quite small compared to its rivals, but its two flagship products include unique designs that stand out from the crowd. The T1028 – also known as the Touch Note – is its touchscreen model and proves to be something of a mixed bag.

The 1.4kg chassis features a bulky design and isn't as sleek as many other models on the market. As a result, it doesn't feel completely comfortable in the hand. The metallic-brown/gold colour scheme is also an acquired taste.

Resilient plastics are used throughout the chassis, so the device is tough enough for travel use. The 11mm thick screen panel provides ample protection for the TFT screen, but it again results in a chunky look, with absolutely none of the panache of sleeker netbooks.

The large 4-cell battery protrudes slightly from the base of the chassis, but not enough to hinder mobility. It failed to perform as well as we'd expected, however, as we only managed to get 190-minutes of mobile use.

While the keyboard is 92 per cent full-sized, it falls short in terms of style. It is extremely usable, however, and the keys are firm yet responsive. The wide 65 x 32mm touchpad is less usable, as its mouse buttons are positioned on either side, rather than below.

The key feature here is the 10.1-inch touchscreen panel. By rotating the panel 180-degrees, it can be folded down and used as a tablet for writing and drawing. It is reassuringly responsive and easy to use and adds an extra layer of interaction.

Hazy screen

As with all such interactive displays, the screen itself has a hazy quality due to the technology used. Images are sharp, but colour and contrast lack definition.

More pleasing is the inclusion of an integrated 3G/HSDPA module for wireless broadband internet access. The required SIM card slots neatly beneath the battery, so it is easy to change it. It can also be easily disabled, along with the integrated Wi-Fi, to save battery power.

While the T1028 is well built and usable, its low battery life and bulky design mean it is far from an essential purchase.

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