Now let’s turn to the less inspiring stuff. For starters, there’s the styling, which can best be described as bland. The keyboard is quite serviceable, despite having keys that are very flat. There is a decent amount of separation between each of the keys and the action feels solid and responsive, but the layout of the keys is a little vexing. Specifically, the Enter key is not located on the outside edge of the keys but is inboard of the Page Up and Page Down keys.
Keyboard layout could be better and the styling of the trackpad buttons is a tad confusing
The multi-gesture touchpad is somewhat on the small side and the zoom in and out function is a bit jerky. We reserve a particular hatred for the mouse buttons, which are located at either end of a tilting strip that carries a shiny Packard Bell logo. It is not immediately obvious that this is the mouse control even though it is located below the touchpad, and that smacks of poor design.
The Butterfly s runs Windows Vista Home Premium and although we like the inclusion of Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 and Microsoft Works 9, we are, no doubt, not alone in feeling that the trial versions of Office, Norton Internet Security 2009 and Premiere Elements 4 are a waste of hard drive space.
Packard Bell has delivered a laptop under 2kg that packs some decent low power Intel hardware inside a fairly bland chassis. Indeed, the CPU performance compromises on the Butterfly s allow for the stunning battery life, but we would hope for something extra for our seven hundred quid. ®
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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?