Vye S37 Notebook PC - Review

Vye S37 Notebook PC - Review

Vye S37 Notebook PC - ReviewPros: Sturdy design; adequate performance; comes with Vista; excellent battery life

Cons: Expensive when compared to the Eee PC; keyboard too small for extended typing

Overall: It’s well-designed, but the fact is most people would be far better off opting for the much cheaper Asus Eee PC (£220)

Price: £799

Manufacturer: BT

Prospective miniature laptop buyers have been spoilt for choice recently with the OQO Model E2, Samsung’s Q1 Ultra and Asus’ Eee PC among the latest models.

Now Surrey-based Vye has thrown its hat into the ring with the S37.

This laptop doesn’t follow the ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) specification as set out by Microsoft and Intel, and therefore doesn’t include Origami software such as Dialkeys - the screen-based keyboard as seen on Samsung’s Q1.

However, it’s certainly small enough to compete with the current crop of UMPCs and measures 35mm at its thickest point.

Unlike Asus’ Linux-driven Eee PC, Vye has opted for Vista Home Premium. Although Vista has many more features and looks far more appealing, it requires components with more grunt, hence the relatively high price.

That said, the 800MHz Intel A100 processor is hardly what you’d call a speed demon, and Vista has to make do with just 1GB of Ram. But despite these low specs it felt surprisingly sprightly during testing, and there weren’t the annoying delays between firing up simple applications that we’ve seen on other similar devices.

Open up a video-editing package and it will soon wave the white flag, but for browsing, office applications and video (though not full-screen) it’s fine. A 120GB hard drive is also included, which should be more than enough for most users.

The Vye S37 benefits from a sturdy chassis, sleek all-black design and a full Qwerty keyboard. As with all keyboards of this size, you have to be very precise when typing, especially with the Tab and Backspace keys, and anything lengthier than half-hour sessions may become uncomfortable.

The notebook comes with the extended battery as standard. In our tests, this managed to run for just over five hours under fairly light usage, which is very impressive. However, it also juts out rather ungainly from the rear of the device and pushes the total weight to 1.05kg ñ 1.5kg with the power adapter. It’s only a little heavier than its closest rival the Asus Eee PC, but the battery gives it an uneven weight distribution, leaving it uncomfortable to hold in the hands.

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to navigating Vista. You can tap the 7in passive touchscreen display (a stylus is included), use the separate pointer and mouse buttons at the side of the screen, or put the miniature touchpad situated just below the keyboard to use - despite its size this touchpad is surprisingly easy to use. The screen also flips round and folds back on itself, allowing you to use it as a tablet PC.

Along with the pointer controls, various other buttons are dotted around the screen allowing for quick navigation when the keyboard is covered up, including a Rotate button to change the orientation of the screen. Wireless communication comes in the form of 802.11g and Bluetooth, but there’s no SIM-card slot for 3G or HSDPA broadband on the move, which is a shame at this price.

Vye’s S37 is certainly not without its charms. It’s sturdily built, manages to run Vista admirably well and, with the extended battery, can stretch to five hours’ usage away from the mains. But the fact is it faces stiff competition from the Eee PC, which is available for a fraction of the price. The Eee PC may not be as feature-rich, but you have to ask yourself whether you really need all Vista has to offer on a miniature laptop such as this.