Though it's been on the market for a little while now, the Flybook is still the IT industry's baby, drawing admiring glances from many quarters and making even the most cynical and world-weary hacks coo and giggle.

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Among several remarkable features, possibly the Flybook's most interesting is the tablet PC functionality and touchscreen. Using the petite Compact as a reporter's notebook is easy once you've got used to the stylus. This practical, stylish product could be just the thing to ignite the tablet PC market after all the failed attempts.

It's absolutely tiny. Too small even for an optical drive, the Flybook really is a barebones offering, though the price tag suggests a far more fully featured ultraportable. In truth, it's the screen that pushes the cost up so much, leaving the Flybook positioned firmly in the 'reassuringly expensive' bracket that instantly makes a product an attractive status symbol.

Posers will be pleased by the seven colour options available – one of them, it has to be said, is the most sickening shade of yellow we've ever seen – but the Flybook's appeal won't be limited to the flashy exec or pushy princess who just wants to show off the latest cute gadget. The Compact's size and Windows XP installation make it an incredibly practical work tool.

The 1GHz Transmeta processor isn't going to compete with Intel Centrino Solo or Duo technology in terms of performance, although power consumption is another matter entirely – we managed to get the Flybook to run for over three hours in our battery-life tests. This isn't an incredible result, but it's good enough for a bit of work away from the mains.

Flybook: Specs

  • 1GHz Transmeta TM-5800 processor
  • Windows XP Home
  • 512MB DDR RAM
  • 40GB hard drive
  • 8.9in 1,024x600 TFT touchscreen display
  • 802.11b facilities
  • Bluetooth
  • 235x155x31mm
  • 1.2kg
  • 1-year warranty
  • 1GHz Transmeta TM-5800 processor
  • Windows XP Home
  • 512MB DDR RAM
  • 40GB hard drive
  • 8.9in 1,024x600 TFT touchscreen display
  • 802.11b facilities
  • Bluetooth
  • 235x155x31mm
  • 1.2kg
  • 1-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

It's just a little bit too expensive to be a great buy, but the Flybook has cool written all over it. The tablet PC form factor finally finds a product stylish enough to carry it off, but don't let the attractive, practical design distract you from the exceptional portability.

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