Philips laptops are sold exclusively in this country through PC World stores. This means you can go in-store and check the usability of the Philips 15NB5800 (£499 inc. VAT) before you commit to buy but it also means you won't be able to shop around for a better price elsewhere.
The look of the laptop is simple and clean with a black and silver casing that comes with a glossy lid and a matt finish on the inside. Made from plastic, we found it reasonably robust and carried its 2.8kg weight with ease.
The screen is a 15.4-inch Super-TFT display that we found needed to be run on full power to get the best results. This is fine when plugged in at the mains, but proved more troublesome when running on battery life. We feel this machine makes a better desktop alternative than a mobile machine. The keyboard sits in the middle of the main body and the keys are well-spaced. It's a clip-mounted keyboard, so there is a fair degree of bounce as you type and the central keys are slightly higher positioned than those around the edge. While not the best keyboard, it proved highly acceptable.
This isn't the most portable of machines, but with a battery life, under test, of 241 minutes, you'll be able to use this machine for long periods regardless of location.
It's not just the battery life that is impressive, as Philips has put this model together to deliver a great specification at a budget price. So while the processor only has a clock speed of 1.5GHz, you'll find that it's dual-core, so should run multiple applications with ease. Add to this an impressive 2048MB of memory and applications should fly. Sadly, when it came to testing, we found this machine didn't live up to expectations.
The reason for this is the budget aspect of the chip. It may be dual-core, but it has less Level 2 cache and a slower bus speed than higher-specified chips, so the overall system proved sluggish.
When it comes to connecting options, the 15NB5800 has everything the average user needs, but as the display opens to cover the back of the unit they have been moved to the sides of the chassis. With four USB ports spread around the body, as well as an ExpressCard slot and card reader, you'll be able to add a host of peripherals. For connecting to an external monitor or projector you'll find VGA-out and S-Video in place.
The Philips 15NB5800 offers reasonable performance and a satisfactory build quality for the asking price. While the screen and keyboard aren't as robust as we'd like, this machine offers acceptable value for the price.