Apricot Picobook Pro review
The worst-built netbook of them all. Avoid at all costs.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the best aspect of the Picobook is its marketing. Built on abrand that many people still remember fondly from the 1980s, and backed up with a plush, confident-sounding website, you could be forgiven for parting with your cash right there and then.
Unfortunately, the hardware itself is poor. The Picobook received the worst marks from our judges in four out of the five categories: build quality, speaker quality, keyboard and cursor quality, and screen quality.
The lack of build quality is obvious as soon as you pick it up. It not only looks plasticky but feels plasticky, with the whole chassis creaking if you grab it by a corner. The keyboard is similarly disappointing - Apricot's website may claim that its keys are 30% larger than some of its rivals, but when we laid out all 16 netbooks side by side we found it the most difficult to type on.
It's also slow. The VIA C7-M processor inside is no match for Intel's Atom, and that showed in our benchmarks under Windows XP: it scored 0.23, 50% slower than most Atom-powered netbooks.
We wish there was something else to lift the Picobook from rock-bottom position, but with abog-standard 8.9in screen, poor battery life and a 60GB hard disk, all that's left to justify its surprisingly high price is an ExpressCard/34 slot and support for 802.11a.
Apricot initially intended to sell a Linux version of the Picobook, but soon withdrew it from its website. We can't see any reason for someone to buy this Windows version, either.
|Price ex VAT||£254|
|Price inc VAT||£292|
|Features & Design||1|
|Value for Money||1|
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||228 x 172 x 24mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||1|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,024|
|Resolution screen vertical||600|
|Resolution||1024 x 600|
|Graphics chipset||VIA Chrome 9 HC3|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||55GB|
|Optical disc technology||None|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||100Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||no|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||2|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|SD card reader||no|
|Memory Stick reader||no|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||no|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||2hr 28min|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||Fail|
|3D performance setting||Fail|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows XP Home|
|OS family||Windows XP|