Packard Bell's Easynote XS promises all the functions of a full laptop, but in a 7in form factor - which would be true if you had hands the size of Rich Tea biscuits and lived in 2002.

The Packard Bell Easynote XS is a very small laptop, but unfortunately it's a fairly unusable one too.

It's woefully underpowered with a 1.2GHz Via C7-M processor, so much so that even the 1GB of RAM couldn't help the Packard Bell Easynote XS muster a better WorldBench 6 real-world speed score than 20 - the lowest we've ever seen from anything.

Sensibly the Packard Bell Easynote XS didn't even try to run the FEAR graphics test, gracefully bowing out with an unsupported graphics card error.

Then there's the Packard Bell Easynote XS's 7in screen - it's hard to decide what's worse: the shockingly low 800x480 resolution or the patchy, blurry display quality. It's not something you'd want to spend too much time looking at - a bit like the case in fact, which is just plain ugly.

With limited space available, Packard Bell has decided to position the Packard Bell Easynote XS's touchpad in quite possibly the most awkward and un-ergonomic place possible - at the top right, above the keyboard, with the mouse buttons top left. It's also the size of a postage stamp, making any precise operations, such as launching programs from the start menu, a bit like a round from the Krypton Factor.

This would be less of an issue if the Packard Bell Easynote XS's keyboard was decent - but that too is awful. The keys are too small to use without having to stare at them to check you've hit the right one and there are even some missing, like the right hand shift key.

There's no optical drive, and the Packard Bell Easynote XS's hard disk stretches only to 30GB. On the plus side you do get both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth thrown in and the battery lasted more than two-and-a-half hours in our intensive tests.


The Packard Bell Easynote XS is cheap at £350 but it just makes too many compromises, ultimately making it pretty arduous to operate. If it had a bigger screen, less cramped keyboard, sensible mouse and decent processor then it'd be worth considering, but as it is trying to use it will probably just annoy the hell out of you.