Even though we didn't like the MediaBook 5300C at first, it really grew on us as we got to know it a bit better. The matt silver plastic case is a welcome change from the usual black, but it still doesn't match real magnesium.
Despite the amount of plastic, the build quality was very good, with the 12.1" screen being sturdier than most. With a price tag of less than £1,000 including VAT, we were amazed at the specification. You get a Celeron 433MHz processor, 6.5Gb hard drive, 24x CD ROM drive, 64MB RAM and 4MB 3D graphics. Impressive stuff for a notebook.
We put the MediaBook through our usual stringent tests to find out if it performs as well as it should. The results were fairly good, with 131 scored in Sysmark 98. This is right on target for this processor and RAM combination. There's one free memory slot, so you can increase the performance in the future. We actually got a result from 3D Mark 99 Max, but it was so poor that you're not going to be playing Quake III in your spare time.
The overall dimensions of the 5300C mean it's not too big to carry around with you, and at 2.85Kg it's not too heavy either considering the CD ROM and floppy drive are built in.
The TFT screen was sharp and nice to use, much better than others we have seen. There's even an S-Video connector in addition to the 15-pin VGA socket so you can connect the MediaBook to a TV.
Typing on the keyboard was pleasant, and you can expect to achieve the same word rate as you would on a PC, but we didn't like the layout of a couple of keys, which should be the same as a PC keyboard. Our only other gripe was with the mouse buttons. They were too close to the track pad, and had to be pushed too hard to make them click.