Philips – Freevents X200 Longneck review

lightweight laptop with a long neck
Photo of Philips – Freevents X200 Longneck

Notebooks tend to fall into two camps: big, desktop-replacement systems with all the bells and whistles, but only portable if you own a tower crane; and light, easily carried laptops, which sometimes struggle to keep up. Philips’s X200 falls into the latter category.

The processor is a Core 2 Duo ULV U2500, but running at 1.2GHz in its ultra low-power configuration. Even so, the six-element, Li-ion battery is lucky to reach two hours of continuous use. We really did expect more from a lightweight machine like this, but part of the reason is the copy of Windows Vista Premium that comes pre-installed, and part is the 100GB SATA hard drive.

There are some nice features, like the 12.1-inch widescreen LCD display, which is bright and sharp at its default resolution of 1280 x 800, though very reflective. The X200, unusually, has a DVI monitor connector for direct connection to a digital monitor. This, combined with a multi-format DVD rewriter, makes the machine very suitable for DVD playback.

The ‘longneck’ of its model name is a clever way of lifting the screen up from its normal ‘hinged to the back of the laptop’ position. On this device, a plastic stand is hinged to the back of the laptop, while the screen itself is free to slide up and down the stand to a maximum height (lower screen edge) of just under 60mm.

This is as high as some small LCD monitors and may make it more comfortable for you to use the machine, in the same way as you use your desktop at home. The screen feels a little flimsy when lifted to its full height, but as long as you don’t knock into it, it should be fine.

Being a Centrino machine, the X200 has built-in WiFi, but this model also includes Bluetooth as standard, so is very connectable. Other sockets round the sides include two USB and a single FireWire port, as well as Ethernet and modem.

Set into the top of the screen surround is a Web-cam, along with a miniature microphone, so the laptop is a good Skype tool when you’re away from home. The keyboard is a light-touch affair with a conventional layout and the touchpad is only slightly recessed, which generally makes it easier to use.

The X200 Longneck is available exclusively through Dixons Stores Group, so PC World and Dixons online are your best sources. £850 seems a lot for a comparatively low spec laptop, but you do pay for the light weight and small size and, in comparison with other ultra-light notebooks in the market, the X200 is not that expensive.

Company: Philips

Contact: 020 7949 0069

To the key question, "is the long neck anything more than a gimmick?" the answer is "a bit." It does make it slightly easier to use the machine, but on a laptop that's going to be bought as a lightweight, take-anywhere device, it's unlikely to be used for long enough to cause you a pain in the neck. Otherwise, the X200 is small and light, but its battery life suffers.