The 13.3in LED screen has a resolution of 1366 x 768 so you can, in theory, watch HD movies. Things are slightly more complicated in practice, as you need to use the USB drive to watch regular DVDs with the bundled copy of CyberLink PowerDVD 8 – complete with nags to upgrade to the new version 9.
Weight loss: no built-in optical drive, but an external USB one is provided
If you want to watch HD movies, you’ll need to use a player such as QuickTime and this is where things get messy; at the native movie resolution of 1280 x 720 the movie fits the screen however the control buttons vanish off the bottom and out of sight.
If you run QuickTime in full screen mode the buttons undock and can be used correctly but of course you’re now watching at non-native resolution and as a result the picture loses clarity. Retaining the original size is possible with the Present Movie option in QuickTime Pro, if you’re prepared to pay for it though. Still, there’s a get out of jail card as Packard Bell has included an HDMI output so you can connect to an HDTV as a secondary screen for movie duties.
The LED screen looks rather good in general use – with a lovely depth of colour – no doubt assisted by the screen coating which is glossy, without being ludicrously shiny and reflective. During our testing we used the standard power scheme, which dims the screen to half brightness when running on battery, but it was too dark for comfort. We adjusted the power scheme to full brightness and re-ran the battery test. The battery life only dropped by 16 minutes to five hours 11 minutes, which is still very impressive.
When we restarted the laptop we found the power scheme reset itself to the original dim state of affairs, which is annoying and seemingly quite unnecessary. In many ways this sums up the Butterfly s, as the hardware is perfectly decent, but there are enough annoyances to temper our opinion.
An Intel Core2 Solo single core processor helps sustain the battery life
Let’s take the hardware first which delivers the HD screen, 250GB hard drive, 4GB RAM, three USB ports (you’ll need two of them to power the DVD writer), Gigabit LAN, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, headset jacks, webcam with 1280 x 800 resolution, card reader, VGA and HDMI outputs, and that amazing battery life. Bluetooth is an option and we’d prefer a dual core processor, but that would eat some battery as well as increasing the cost.
Core2 Solo single core
Core2 Solo single core
Ahh the butrerfly
"The butterfly is the symbol for long life".
"The average life span for an adult butterfly is just 20 to 40 days. The minimum life span of a butterfly is as little as 3 or 4 days.The maximum life span of a butterfly is 6 months." - Source AnimalCorner (other sites quote longest species as 1 year)
So if they think a lifespan of 6 months is good going, then you have to question their build quality.
this is typical PB
True, the styling is pretty bland, but I think this is an important lesson that PB have learned the hard way. Fancy stuff breaks. Either physically, or compatability as time marches on. They've tried many little 'special features' over the years (fingerprint scanners, USB docking stations, fancy optical drive covers, swivel webcams in the lid...) all of which proven to be a failiure to one degree or another.
Having worked the lines for PB tech support, I can tell you with unerring certainty that the biggest cause for issues was Norton Internet Security. Badly designed, unintuitive, and provides all the protection of a wet tissue in a car crash.
Even after the trial version has expired and you uninstall it, the firewall configuration is retained, so anything that's blocked, continues to be.
NIS pretty much encapsulates the lack of thought behind the software bundle offered here (and that package hasn't changed since I worked there, many years ago!)
Microsoft Works is an oxymoron, they'd have been better off with OpenOffice - and I'm not a fan of Open Office at all.
For Media playback, what about the K-lite Codec pack. A freeware bundle that covers every major video format you can think of, and includes the best media player I have ever found, Media Player Classic. It's simple, responsive (the pause in VLC works like an 80s VHS player - what's with that?), intuitive, and replete with RELEVANT features.
The driving force behind all this crapware that gets loaded onto the machines is bundles of cash handed over from their peddlers. Symantec pay a fortune to have their turd put on your laptop in the factory, which is the only way they can distribute it these days.
PB need to drop the politics and hire a seasoned sysadmin to carefully craft a well thought out and RELIABLE software bundle
Long-life butterfly ?
"The butterfly is the symbol for long life". How in the heck did that happen ? Wouldn't a turtle or a parrot be more appropriate ?
Gaaah, glossy screens
The photo on the last page sums up why I would never buy one of these laptops. What is with the manufacturers current obsession in using screens that are absolutely unworkable in daily use?