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Packard Bell EasyNote XS: Hands-on the Eee-mitation laptop

Back in July we told you about the EasyNote XS -- a budget laptop with a 7-inch screen that could rival the Eee PC. Today, we got one in our hands and we think it's pretty sweet

Back in July we told you about the EasyNote XS -- a tiny laptop that had the potential to rival the hugely popular Eee PC. Today, we got one of our own to play with and we happen to think it's pretty sweet.

The XS measures 230mm wide, 170mm deep and weighs 928g, so it's about the same size as an Eee. Other things of note include a 7-inch screen (the Eee now offers a 9-inch version) with an 800x480-pixel resolution, a keyboard that was designed for four-year-old fingers, and a mouse trackpad and selector buttons that live above said keyboard. We'll forgive it those trespasses, however -- it's not like anyone's stupid enough to type a 10,000-word dissertation on a laptop of this size.

On the inside it uses a 1.2GHz VIA C7-M CPU, 1GB of RAM and a 30GB hard drive. The Eee, in comparison, only ships with solid-state drives up to 8GB (12GB in the new 9-incher), so the XS is better for stashing a modest collection of movies, music and photos, which you can spew to an external display over the integrated DVI port.

The whole package costs £399, which is pricey considering the Eee PC only sets you back about £200. Still, it does have some advantages over its Asus rival. Watch for a full review in the next couple of days. -Rory Reid

Update: Read our full Packard Bell EasyNote XS review