Vye is best known for its uniquely featured yet high-priced netbooks and is now the first to release a machine built around the Jolicloud operating system (OS). The Jolibook provides a great alternative to the current glut of Windows-based mini laptops.

The first thing that stands out is its garish style. With a gaudy cartoon design on the lid, it immediately sets the Jolibook out as a machine better suited to younger members of the family.

The lid is pleasingly hard-wearing and the contrasting black interior tones things down slightly, while hiding dirt and smudges well. Weighing just 1.3kg, the slim chassis is very easy to carry during the day.

Unfortunately, the large battery protrudes 25mm from the rear, which adds bulk to the machine and could easily be damaged by playful children. Despite its size, battery life is average at just over four hours.

Usability is excellent. The spacious, isolation-style keyboard is firmly fixed to the chassis and responds smoothly, quietly and accurately. The textured touchpad is equally responsive and usable, but we found the single, dual-click mouse button to be awkward to respond at times.

A real strength of this netbook is its vibrant 10.1-inch screen. The glossy Super-TFT coating is less reflective than others we've seen and brings images to vivid life.

Of course, the key selling point is the excellent Jolicloud OS. While the easy-to-use Linux-based software is not revolutionary in its design, the simple icon and tab-based interface is very easy to use and accessible for even the youngest (or oldest) laptop user.

Packed with free open-source software, including a full office suite, you have everything you need to get started. Hundreds more free tools can be added with ease via the online apps store.

Atom processor

In terms of hardware, a dual-core Intel Atom N550 processor runs the system with suitable, if unexceptional, speed, while the 250GB hard drive provides average storage space for your data.

Unfortunately we were unable to benchmark the Jolibook due to a lack of testing software for the Jolicloud OS.

802.11n Wi-Fi provides high-speed wireless connections and 10/100 Ethernet providing fixed connectivity. Bluetooth and an 8-in-1 card reader are also in place for easily sharing and accessing data wirelessly or via storage cards.

Overall, the Vye Jolibook is a comfortable and easy-to-use machine that is perfectly tailored to the less experienced laptop user.

It should be noted, however, that the Jolicloud OS can be downloaded free online, so if the price or garish design don't appeal, you could buy a netbook more to your taste or budget and create your own Jolibook with ease.

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