Some budget laptops are hefty and rather lumpen. Packard Bell's Limited Edition EasyNote MB88 P-003, by comparison, looks dainty and, indeed, weighs a fairly modest 2.6kg.

The Packard Bell EasyNote MB88 P-003 Limited Edition is the middle one of the three-strong Limited Edition range and has a ‘sunny' orange accent running along the groove of the case exterior and on either side of the main unit.

See our Laptop Advisor website for expert reviews of today’s best laptops, plus read our essential advice to make sure you choose the right specs

Another notable feature is the glowing white light strip halfway down the free area below the Packard Bell EasyNote MB88 P-003 Limited Edition's good-sized, comfortable keyboard. We're not sure what this contributes, save for a talking point, but it can be turned off should it prove too distracting.

The light strip bisects the Packard Bell EasyNote MB88 P-003 Limited Edition's generous circular touchpad, which Packard Bell has positioned off-centre. This arrangement works, however, as the main keyboard has a numeric companion pad to its right, meaning the touchpad and the long selector paddle below it are dead-centre of your qwerty setup.

Packard Bell can afford for the Packard Bell EasyNote MB88 P-003 Limited Edition's screen to be less of a lavish affair than some of the other notebooks we've tested recently as it's put in the legwork making a distinctive-looking machine.

Instead of the ultra-gloss favoured by other manufacturers you get a standard finish to the Packard Bell EasyNote MB88 P-003 Limited Edition's 15.4in display. However, the inclusion of a high-definition multimedia input (HDMI) port is wasted given that the screen resolution is limited to 1,280x800 – not enough for 1080p true high-definition video playback.

The Packard Bell EasyNote MB88 P-003 Limited Edition has a TV-tuner port too, although this is covered up and can't be used. This is sited next to the SD Card other media card slots on the notebook's lefthand side along with the now obligatory Express Card port.

On the opposite side the Packard Bell EasyNote MB88 P-003 Limited Edition has a multi-format DVD drive that pops out with definite clunk and is a far better assembled component than some other budget laptops.

The Packard Bell EasyNote MB88 P-003 Limited Edition performs well, too. Its 1.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 with 2GB are the same pairing as in the Toshiba Satellite laptop we tested recently, but the Packard Bell racks up six more points and scores 72 in our WorldBench 6 tests. Its battery life is superior too, lasting a massive 188 minutes in our intensive tests. Unsurprisingly, when we turned down the heat and selected power-saving mode, it was able to keep going for much more than three hours.

NEXT PAGE: the screen, connectivity and our expert verdict > >

The Packard Bell EasyNote MB88 P-003 Limited Edition's screen brightness can be dimmed a little with a press of the ECO button above the keyboard (further extending the battery if you haven't set the screen to stay on for long when idle), while the Wi-Fi status can be toggled using a clearly-labelled button next to it.

The usual wireless LAN, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi b and g are all included, as is a FireWire port and four USB 2.0 ports.

Packard Bell EasyNote MB88 P-003 Limited Edition: Specs

  • 1.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5450, SpeedStep
  • 4 USB ports, 1 FireWire port
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • 160GB hard disk space
  • 802.11b/g, ethernet, HDMI, eSata
  • 15.4in, 1,280x800 screen
  • up to 128MB nVidia GeForce 8600 M GS
  • SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro/Express Card/HDMI
  • 360x265x37mm
  • 2.6kg
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Norton 360
  • 1.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5450, SpeedStep
  • 4 USB ports, 1 FireWire port
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • 160GB hard disk space
  • 802.11b/g, ethernet, HDMI, eSata
  • 15.4in, 1,280x800 screen
  • up to 128MB nVidia GeForce 8600 M GS
  • SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro/Express Card/HDMI
  • 360x265x37mm
  • 2.6kg
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Norton 360

OUR VERDICT

The Packard Bell EasyNote MB88 P-003 Limited Edition, then, is a solid Vista Home Premium laptop that is certainly worthy of consideration.

Find the best price