Although one of the more expensive laptops in its class, the Hi-Grade Notino D2300 (£940 inc. VAT) packs an impressive specification into its compact chassis. As with most Windows Vista laptops we've seen, mobile power is far less than previously provided by Windows XP. Running for just 94 minutes when out of the office, road warriors will definitely need to recharge at least four times to keep working for a full day on the move.
With its 13.3-inch screen and 2kg weight, dimensions are similar to the Apple MacBook. Tough enough for travel use, it easily fits into small luggage. By packing a dual-core processor into such a small chassis, heat quickly builds up, but not to an uncomfortable level. Using Intel's older Core Duo technology, there's enough power to reliably run home and office software.
The only time we experienced any noticeable drop in speed was when running a full virus scan while writing emails. Graphics power is equally capable. The only laptop in the group to use a dedicated graphics card, 3D performance is more than reasonable. High-performance gaming won't be possible, but there is enough power to play basic 3D games and do multimedia work.
This is helped by a bright and sharp Super-TFT screen. Offering broad screen space, there's enough room to multi-task in comfort. Image quality is stunning and colours are vivid enough for precise digital photo editing. Usability is strong enough for most uses. The keyboard is wide and responsive and more than comfortable for speed-typing. A bank of touch-sensitive quick-launch keys above the keyboard can be pre-programmed to your favourite tools.
Notable for a laptop this small is the amount of storage space on offer. A 100GB hard drive means you can easily carry large quantities of work and multimedia data on your travels. For saving files to CDs and dual-layer DVDs, a recordable optical drive is built in.
Using 802.11a/b/g and Gigabit Ethernet technology, high-speed wireless and fixed networks can both be accessed easily. Perfect for use at home or on the move, data can be quickly shared and wireless hotspots connected to for internet access.
Offering power and mobility, the Hi-Grade Notino D2300 should be a great laptop for the mobile worker. Unfortunately, its poor battery life negates the benefits of its small chassis, but its assorted strengths still make it well worth a test run.