Mesh has something of a reputation for offering high-specification systems at bargain prices and the Mesh Discovery D2500 (£1000 inc. VAT) is no exception.
It isn't a particularly new chassis, having been around for some 18 months, but it's solid, with only a small degree of flex behind the panel.
In terms of base specification, it's hard to beat what's on offer here. Powered by an Intel Core Duo T2500, the 2GHz variant is as powerful as you're likely to need from a semi-portable laptop.
Backed by a staggering 2048MB of DDR2 memory, we had little trouble running even the most demanding of tasks, such as video editing. If you are to use this machine for high-end video work, you'll also appreciate the addition of the 120GB hard drive, which runs at 5400rpm, so there was no sign of lag when saving to disk.
Mesh may well have multimedia in mind, as the chosen operating system is Windows XP Media Centre Edition. Curious then, when it came to benchmarking this system, MobileMark 2005 returned a score of 196, which is under expectations. We'd suggest this machine is better suited to those looking for a powerful office tool rather than a home/media centre.
The screen is a standard 15.1-inch TFT panel, which lacks the super-gloss coating, but with a native resolution of 1400 x 1050 pixels (SXGA ), is bright enough for most tasks. However, we found ourselves switching it to the highest setting even when running Microsoft Word.
The graphics are rather run of the mill, using the Intel 945GM integrated chipset. While this is an improvement over older chipsets, it's still a poor substitute for dedicated graphics, as borne out by a 3DMark 2003 score of 1469.
With an overall weight of 2.7kg, there is a reasonable degree of portability to be had from this system. Returning a battery life, under test, of 198 minutes, this system passes the three-hour minimum we expect from such a system.
The keyboard initially feels a little cramped, but the keys are of a decent size. In use, however, we found the keys rattled a good deal and were often slow to respond. Similarly, the touchpad and mouse buttons responded sluggishly at times.
If you're considering this system as an alternative to a desktop PC, you'll appreciate the inclusion of Gigabit Ethernet, as well as support for all current Wi-Fi formats. A dual-format DVD rewriter is also included.
The Mesh Discovery T2500 is a decent and solid machine that offers performance and power, but little in the way of refinement. Philip Barker, Michael Browne