The Packard Bell EasyNote BG45-U-300 (£399 inc. VAT) is a highly portable laptop that weighs in at just 1.6kg.

It's a single-spindle machine, so you won't find an optical drive built in. The design is attractive with a black matt and gloss, brushed aluminium finish.

Above the keyboard you'll find touch-sensitive buttons for switching Wi-Fi on and off and a second button for dropping the laptop into Eco mode.

Commuter's laptop

The 12.1-inch Super-TFT screen swings back on rear-mounted hinges. We found the screen had a wide viewing angle, but the brightness is rather average. That said, it is bright enough to be usable in a variety of locations.

We found we had to angle the screen to reduce reflections when using the EasyNote on a train, however. The build quality is reasonable for the price and we found the machine more than satisfactory for the commute. Battery life was less ideal, as it lasted just 173 minutes.

The keyboard is cramped, but we found the build quality to be more than acceptable. The touchpad is circular in shape, but this doesn't detract from its usability. However, we were less impressed with the mouse buttons, which are cut from the same piece of aluminium as the palm rests.

Basic performance

Powered by the Intel 1.86GHz Pentium Dual Core T2390 and supported with just 1024MB of memory, performance isn't intended for multimedia purposes.

The Pentium Dual Core processor is a budget chip intended to replace the Celeron M. However, for tasks such as word processing, it is more than satisfactory.

This won't be a concern, as Windows Vista Basic, with which it ships, lacks many of the multimedia features found in other versions.

Limited ports

You'll only find the most basic of ports and, due to the rear-mounted screen, you won't find any of them on the back of the laptop, so the sides house three USB ports and a VGA-out port. On the front there is a SDHC card reader.

Acer may have bought Packard Bell, but it hasn't set out to change the basics of the business. The EasyNote BG45-U-300 is a compact and likeable machine that offers impressive value for money.

However, performance and battery life are basic and it will only suit those who need an ultraportable machine to use for short periods of the day.