The 10.1-inch Booklet 3G is mobile-phone maker Nokia's belated attempt to join the netbook party. Like its rivals, it's designed for casual Web-based tasks. Nokia has, however, used its experience of creating mobile devices to fit the Booklet 3G with additions that help it stand out from the crowd. The most significant of these include battery-friendly internal components and an integrated HSDPA modem, which allows users to surf the Web wherever they can find a 3G mobile signal. It's available to buy now for around £680.
A mini MacBook
The Booklet 3G may be late to the party, but it's easy to see why -- Nokia's designers have spent plenty of time ensuring it's one of the best-looking netbooks on the market. Our review sample's lid is swathed in the usual glossy black plastic (a white version is also available), but the main body of the device is finished in aluminium and sports a contrasting black keyboard and glass-clad black screen bezel, all of which give it the look of a miniature Apple MacBook. The extra metal doesn't make the Booklet 3G very heavy, either -- it tips the scales at 1.2kg, and it's exceptionally thin, at just under 20mm thick.
Old school beats new school
While newer netbooks are making use of the latest Intel Atom N450 CPU, Nokia's effort pairs 1GB of RAM with an Atom Z530 -- a chip launched almost two years ago. Before you mentally cart Nokia's engineers off to the lunatic asylum, bear in mind that the Z530 was only less popular than the once-ubiquitous N270 because it had several enhancements that made it more expensive. Importantly, its thermal design power (TDP) of 2W is noticeably lower than the 2.5W TDP of the N270, meaning it uses less battery power and doesn't require a fan to keep cool.
Nokia has been equally clever in the selection of the Booklet 3G's chipset. It uses the Intel SCH US15W, rather than the more traditional Intel 945GSE Express used in netbooks circa 2009, or the newer NM10 Express, used in most 2010 models. Again, this has power-saving benefits. The US15W itself has a maximum TDP of 2.3W, which compares favourably to the 6W consumed by the 945GSE. The US15W even compares favourably to the newer NM10 chipset's 2.1W TDP. All things considered, the Booklet 3G's components gives it a TDP of 4.3W, which is more impressive than the 8.5W TDP of an N270-based netbook, or the 7.1W TDP of a modern N450-based machine.
That's not a battery -- this is a battery
Nokia's choice of components makes the Booklet 3G less dependent on mains power, but that hasn't stopped the Finnish company installing a mammoth battery anyway. The supplied Nokia BC-1S battery has a 3,840mAh, 57Wh rating from a whopping 16 cells. Compare that to the 4-cell, 4,400mAh batteries that feature in the current crop of Atom N450 netbooks and you'll start to appreciate just how much juice this machine has at its disposal. The unit is pricey, however. If the BC-1S goes wrong, you'll have to pay a whopping £80 to replace it -- roughly twice the price of a standard battery in something like an Asus Eee PC.
Most netbooks run at approximately the same speed. The Booklet 3G is no exception. Despite using a relatively old CPU and chipset, its PCMark05 score of 1,418 is on a par with just about every other Atom-based netbook we've come across.