*Before I start this review I should state that I am not a very technical person and I will be reviewing this purely based on my experiences as a user of the laptop and not based on its technical stats*
I am currently studying at University so having a good laptop is important for me - I use it all day every day for studying and in my free-time so I need something reliable and user-friendly.
I used to have a great big old Toshiba that served me well, but was too heavy and just got a bit old and had to be replaced. My Step-Dad knows a lot about computers and based on my needs suggested this one!
Brace yourselves - this laptop has an RRP of around £1,500! That's expensive; really expensive. I was lucky enough to get this brand new for under £500 thanks to a great online offer. They're actually quite hard to find these days - I guess the price put a lot of people off and they stopped making them.
The laptop is ideally shaped for a student user or anybody who uses their computer on the move. The 12.1" display is in my opinion the perfect size; small enough to be ultra-portable but not so tiny that I struggle to see things. This is fine for watching TV or Films or playing games (although smaller than ideal - it's still fine). The laptop is 28.3x21.6x2.6cm so it's really tiny and only weighs 1.11kg and when you're carrying it to and from the library every day this really makes a huge difference.
The 141GB drive is fairly small in my opinion. I know it has to be because of the size, but I have to use an external hard drive to keep all my music and photos which can get a bit annoying sometimes.
The keyboard is a little smaller than I was used to, but I got used to it very quickly. It upsets me that there is no numerical keypad, but for a laptop this size, they really couldn't fit it in.
The cursor pad is perfectly sensitive - not too much or too little. The 'scrolling' aspect on the side of the cursor pad is, however, pretty poor and not very reliable. The right and left click buttons are separate which I've always preferred to two sides of the same button!
There is a handy switch on the side that can switch Wi-Fi on and off easily.
There is a CD-drive which, for a computer this size, is fantastic. I still can't believe they can fit it in. It has 2 USB ports which aren't next to each other meaning you can use two devices at the same time (often not possible when they put two next to each other and the devices are just that little bit too thick! There is an SD memory card slot too which is very useful.
Sadly, no webcam, but this doesn't bother me too much. With phone cameras being what they are these days, I can use my phone if I want to Skype.
As I've mentioned its small size doesn't bother me in day-to-day use - I never feel disadvantaged for having the small laptop - quite the opposite. I use this for watching television and listening to music out loud and the sound quality is great. I have noticed that sometimes it doesn't go as loud as I want it to be, though.
The laptop really isn't speedy. Sometimes it can hardly keep up with what I'm typing. I have to constantly think about what I'm doing and if the laptop will be able to cope with it which is a little annoying - constantly trying not to overload it! It does 'jump back into life' after being on standby very quickly though which is useful when you're coming back to work after a break.
This laptop has two options: boiling hot from overheating or deafeningly loud from the fan. I had to turn the fan almost completely off because I could not bear it! I couldn't take it into the library because everybody would stare at me! Now that it's quieter is does get very hot, but not to a critical temperature and I'm not worried about it actually overheating.
There are some really excellent security features; as well as the usual password locks there is a special 'fingerprint scanner' to unlock the computer. This probably ends up taking more time than entering my short password as it doesn't always recognise it first time, but it makes me feel like a spy and it makes it very secure! Everyone I know has tried scanning their fingerprint and it has never let anyone in apart from me - very reliable.
I'm very careful with my Laptop. I don't have a padded case for it, but I use a laptop sleeve whenever I'm transporting it. I keep it in my rucksack and it doesn't holds up just fine getting rattled around a bit.
I have had a pretty serious screen malfunction. This was completely my fault - I was about to drop the laptop and grabbed it by the screen, bending it out of place and now I have a very unsightly set of lines down the middle. They go away if pressure is applied, but I've kind of just got used to it. As I say, this was my fault and not really a negative point to the computer.
As time has gone on (just over a year) my laptop has got slower and slower. I keep most of my files on an external hard drive and it still has just got bogged down and can't cope with much that takes up a lot of CPU. It rarely completely fails or freezes - it just panics and takes a while. I feel this will only get worse, but with a proper clean-up I might be able to rescue it to some degree.
Battery life has naturally degraded with time; I used to manage about 5 hours and can now only last about 2 and a half - 3. The spec says up to 8, but this has never been the case for me. For me this is still acceptable and serves me well enough.
The keyboard has started to stick a bit now as well. Certain keys need really pressing to be recognised, but this is only occasionally and only very recently. I gave it a thorough clean and this is a lot better now!
Overall I am a little disappointed with this laptop's performance over the last year. I feel like it shouldn't be failing me just yet. If I had spent the full RRP on this computer I'd be quite cross, but for the money I paid it'll do. It is still doing fine, just starting to show signs of really slowing and beginning to fail.
I don't think I would recommend this laptop for the price - if you have this sort of money to be spending I'd probably go for an Apple Mac!
3/5 - the slim-line frame is so convenient as a student and has proven invaluable, but it's not good value for money. If you can get it on a good bargain then I would probably go for it - you won't get a better laptop for the size.