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We're not going to beat around the bush. We're unlikely to be at the front of the queue to buy a Packard Bell laptop -- especially when said product is called the 'Butterfly S'. We're simply not metrosexual enough.

PB sent us one to test though, and on initial inspection our prejudice is justified. It's one of those laptops that use Intel's Core 2 Solo U3500 ultra-low voltage CPU, which is fine -- since they promote long battery life over performance -- but the Butterfly S feels rather lardy when compared to rivals such as the MSI X340 and Asus UX50.

It's no heifer, but its 25.4mm-thick chassis makes it look like the fat friend of the 19.4mm-thick MSI. It also weighs a not-insubstantial 1.8kg, some 400g more than the MSI.

There's good news, though. Unlike some of its style-over-substance rivals, the Butterfly S packs switchable graphics. One graphics card, supplied by Intel, handles basic, everyday tasks while running on battery power, while the other -- a significantly more powerful ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 -- kicks into life when the machine is running off the mains.

As a result, the Butterfly S is probably a better bet than many in its class. It'll run games, HD movies -- our 720p RIPs ran flawlessly -- and store a tonne of content thanks to its 400GB hard drive. The 4GB of RAM helps everyday apps run fairly smoothly, too, and PB reckons it'll get 8 hours of battery life.

With all this in mind, it's probably time we stopped being so judgmental about PB and joined the queue like everyone else. Rest assured, we'll dig deeper below the Butterfly S's surface, thoroughly put it through its paces and bring you a full review in the near future. In the meantime, have a gander at the photos in our gallery and have your £599 on standby.

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See? We told you it wasn't all that thin. But the right side gets Ethernet, HDMI two USB and a five-in-one memory card reader.

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The left gets D-Sub video, another USB port, plus mic and headphone jacks.

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Packard Bell couldn't decide between a gloss or matte finish for the lid, so it's used both.

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The keyboard is of a pretty good standard, while the mouse trackpad is multi-touch gesture sensitive, which is a neat, er, touch.

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