Christmas was certainly the time to make use of those Sales and I was able to pick up this laptop for £249 from Tesco Direct. The family computer which has been running for nearly 5-6 years has long passed its lifespan and there was no better time than now to replace it.
After browsing many an online store, we felt that the core functions were necessary and we didn't need to buy an expensive laptop if all we wanted to do were normal light duty activities. (Most of us have a personal laptop as well).
Basic Features (you can find the full specification easily online so here are the most important bits):
Hard Drive: 500GB
Screen Size: 15.6"
Processor Speed: 1.8GHz
Memory (RAM): 4GB
Operating System: Windows 8
Built in Webcam: Yes
The laptop arrived after two days, exceeding delivery rates and surprised us all when it arrived. Unwrapping the laptop from the box, it is immediate to note the lightness of the laptop, which also reflect its materiality.
Made of plastic, it tries to imitate a metallic finish, but rather unsuccessfully. The plastic feels like plastic, although is durable, but is perhaps let down by the flimsy keypad, which definitely makes it feel 'cheap'. Apart from that, it has a stylish and acceptable look.
Looks aside, the laptop is actually surprisingly powerful. After a speedy initial start-up (passwords, internet and such), helped by the new Windows 8 introductory setup, the laptop was up and running within half an hour. The laptop requires an initial charge which was a short half hour or so. It also lasts around 3 hours on the battery which is decent.
I know that it is probably a different review overall, but I have to talk about the new Windows 8 operating system which dominates the running of this laptop. As you start the computer, it loads the start screen first, which is a panel of icons, or apps that are customisable. You may have the weather, games, email etc tabbed as icons on this page for easy access. I found this disorientating.
The added effort of having to click a button to get to the Desktop was tiresome, and the removal of a task bar and start button was not an improvement. Having to hover over corners and edges of your screen was quite unacceptable, although some might call this 'innovative'. It took me a good while to access the settings and control panel in order to setup the rest of the computer.
It will take maybe half an hour to an hour to get comfortable with the new operating system but it will most likely be second nature the more you use it.
Programs such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint run smoothly on the machine. Media-wise, the internet is super fast and plays Youtube videos quickly and clearly. The speakers are clear and loud but doesn't have a great bass.
With a large hard drive, we have managed to store years of family photos (backed up as well of course) and years of files and documents.
One of the highlights of this computer is a social network button (gosh- it's infecting everything isn't it!) where at the press of a button explodes your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc onto your screen, loading updates and so on. It's basically an 'app' for your laptop.
The Webcam is acceptable although a bit fuzzy, but suffices for video chats and casual picture taking when bored- something which quite amuses my mother!
Overall, this is a real bargain of a laptop if you want to do everyday functions, movies, music and the odd mid-range game. Although it feels somewhat cheap in exterior, the functionality makes up for it in full.