The Philips 12NB5800 is a very capable ultraportable PC, although it falls short on battery life.

Philips may be known for its consumer electronics and the odd foray into MP3 players, but it's not exactly the first name the springs to mind when you think of laptops.

It's hardly shouting about its entry into this market, with the Philips 12NB5800 and the smaller 11NB5800 only available through PC World or other Dixons-owned stores.

But don't let its apparent lack of enthusiasm for the sector put you off: the Philips 12NB5800 is a very capable ultraportable. It achieved a relatively high WorldBench real-world performance score of 78, boosted by its 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 processor and generous 2GB of RAM, giving it plenty of oomph to get to grips with Vista.

The Philips 12NB5800 is less impressive on the 3D front, although none of the ultraportables is really suitable for gaming. Its Intel GMA X3100 graphics chip only managed to achieve a framerate of 5 frames per second (fps) running the grueling FEAR test. While that may be more than the ultraportable competition, it's still not exactly something to shout about.

More importantly, the Philips 12NB5800's battery was able to last for just 1hr 45 mins when we tested it under our most intense setting. Since ultraportable models are more likely than any other laptop category to be used for extended periods away from the mains, we'd hoped for a better result here.

The 120GB hard drive is a little on the stingy side compared to the competition, but should still be sufficient for general use. The Philips 12NB5800 has an internal DVD writer for backup. The 12.1in screen offers good contrast and colours, although as it's a glossy screen it is quite reflective.

Despite its small screen size, the Philips 12NB5800 is quite big for an ultraportable. It's also a bit on the hefty side at nearly 2kg. It's not a bad model, design-wise, and sufficient attention has been paid to the layout of ports and connectors.


The Philips 12NB5800 is pushing the upper limits of an ultraportable in terms of its size and weight, but it largely makes up for it when it comes to performance. It's not suitable for gaming, but then machines of this size rarely are, but its short battery life is more of a disappointment.