Neo’s line-up of Core i3 and Core i5 laptops include this 14.1-inch Neo Basic 4103N. The model name alone is a good indication that the laptop offers the basic features and skips fancy features that would add up to the cost.
The laptop looks plain but with a glossy top accented with faint horizontal lines and dark swirls. The rest of the laptop’s surface has a matte finish so it’s not much of a smudge-magnet.
The unit is a bit on the heavy side which isn’t a big surprise considering it’s a full-fledged laptop with a built-in DVD+RW drive. You get a complete set of ports on both sides of the unit — 3 USB 2.0 ports, a VGA and HDMI port, a card reader, LAN and dial-up modem port, ExpressCard and the obligatory audio ports.
It’s the a full-sized keyboard with large chiclet-type keys and a wide trackpad to go with it. While the keys are easy and comfortable to use, there seems to be some sort of pressure sensitivity (or lack thereof) that made me miss some keys when typing. I guess you need to tap on the individual keys a bit harder than usual to get it right.
The left and right clickers on the trackpad aren’t separated but because it was made a bit wider, there’s no problem with hitting the right section of the button.
The display is nice and bright but not too crispy. The maximum supported screen resolution is 1366×768 pixels and is pretty standard but, as I mentioned in previous laptop reviews, I’d wish manufacturers offer higher resolution for display sizes above 14 inches. I spotted a lone dead pixel at the bottom right corner of the screen but since this is just a review unit, I’m thinking this is an isolated case.
Laptop performance is great with an Intel Core i3 330M running at 2.16GHz. The 2GB memory is also using a faster DDR3 module. Based on the Windows Experience Index, the system got a base score of 4.0 which is taken from the video graphics. The CPU got a good sub-score of 6.0.
As for connectivity, I didn’t find any problems using the WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth on the unit. Same goes with the optical disk drive (DVD+RW) and the 320GB Toshiba HDD.
The 6-cell battery is only rated at just 4400mAh and lasts about 2 to 3 hours of regular use. BatteryBar shows a maximum of 3 hours on a single full charge. There’s not much attempt to extend battery life performance on these category of laptops as they aren’t really meant to be very mobile or portable (most other units we tested in this category has the same battery rating).
The Neo Basic line of laptops were introduced to basically shake up the lower end of the price spectrum for Core i3 laptops. As such, they’re offering this unit as one of the cheapest out there with a suggested retail price of Php29,999 (no OS pre-installed). It’s a price positioning that could attract a lot of people looking into a budget Core i3 laptop (and they did the same with the Core i5 powered Neo Basic B4105).