Belinea is a brand name owned and used by Maxdata for its range of TFT monitors and matching peripherals. The company has now added three different laptop lines to the range with the Belinea o.book 3 (£622 inc. VAT) being part of the consumer line.
The design is simple and clean with a white plastic casing, a black keyboard and touchpad, giving it quite a consumer look and matches perfectly with the other white Belinea peripherals. The build quality proved reliable, with the plastic feeling quite solid to the touch. The same plastic, only a little thicker, is used to protect the lid and adds a further degree of rigidity to the machine when closed.
You'll find the basic array of ports around the side of the case, including three USB 2.0 ports, S-Video, VGA-out and even ExpressCard and memory card reader slots. Unlike most laptops, the DVD rewriter has been fitted on the left-hand side, while the expansion slots are on the right. This in itself is nothing but a design quirk, but if you add an external mouse to the right-hand side you may find other peripheral leads soon getting in the way.
Inside, the 15.4-inch panel is a Super-TFT screen that proved to be clear with images looking crisp and sharp. When used on battery power it tends to dim a little too much, so we were forced to sharpen the brightness, which caused a slight haze to be cast. Overall, the screen was more than acceptable for multimedia tasks.
This size of screen lends the laptop a degree of portability with an overall weight of 2.8kg. You won't want to carry this machine on the daily commute, but we found it portable enough for use about the house. With a battery life, under test, of 107 minutes, this machine is fine for short journeys away from mains power.
When it came to performance, the use of an Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 dual-core processor helped applications run smoothly and we found the system handled well in daily use.
The keyboard sits in the middle of the main chassis, with the keys being individually mounted and of a good size. When we first started to use them we found they needed a solid click to respond. While they remained stiff, they soon settled down and became comfortable to use. We suggest testing out the keyboard for yourself prior to purchase. The touchpad mirrors the widescreen aspect of the panel and, while it's rather small, it proved solid and reliable.
The Belinea o.book 3 is an interesting laptop. While it has no real standout features and it's hard to gauge whom the target audience is, we found it a pleasing machine to use.