Until recently, it was almost impossible to buy an ultraportable laptop for less than £1,000. The Hi-Grade Notino D2200 (£595 inc. VAT) shows how far prices have fallen, offering high-performance in a truly mobile chassis.
However, it's poor battery life restricts mobility. Available in a choice of pink or black, the 1.8kg chassis is strong and light. Although bulkier than more expensive ultraportables, a dual-format DVD rewriter and 3-in-1 card reader have been included, so you can use this as your main laptop.
Despite its compact size, the keyboard is large and usable. A few keys along the top have been cramped to provide room for near full-size keys across the rest of the board. Responsiveness is strong, but the keys bounce slightly during use.
While the chassis is designed for mobility, the 104-minute battery life limits long-term travel use. A second battery (£111 inc. VAT) can double your uptime, but this is disappointing for a laptop designed for portable use.
While the processor is an older Intel Core Duo chip, it provides enough power for any home or office task. Applications open quickly, and effective multi-tasking is possible. With this much power, the small chassis heats up quickly, but not enough to become uncomfortable.
Due to the compact size, an integrated Intel graphics chip is used. 3D performance is very limited, so don't expect gaming or multimedia power. Regardless, you'll have no trouble playing basic games, running PowerPoint presentations and watching DVDs.
At 12.1-inches, the 1280 x 800-pixel resolution of the Super-TFT screen provides enough space to work with several windows at once. Images are bright and colourful, but reflections are increased by the glossy coating.
Providing enough space for carrying all your work, music and photos is a large 120GB hard drive. The DVD rewriter lets you save files to DVD and CD, but you will need to install your own disc creation software.
Providing a full suite of office tools, OpenOffice software lets you write letters and create spreadsheets and presentations. BullGuard Antivirus protects against online threats. The Hi-Grade doesn't feature Gigabit Ethernet for the high-speed fixed network connectivity.
With impressive performance and a highly portable chassis, the Hi-Grade Notino D2200 is an affordable travel companion. However, its poor battery life means you won't be travelling far, so it's worth weighing up whether size or mobility is most important.