The Asus A6Tc (£790 inc. VAT) is a machine we've seen a number of times and it has never failed to impress us. That's not to say Asus hasn't made changes to the system, and there's plenty of power to be had here.

The AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-50 runs at 2GHz, which is fast enough for all tasks. Backed with 1024MB of DDR2 memory, this proved a quick and nimble laptop. This was highlighted by a strong MobileMark 2005 score of 234.

Where the use of faster processing has its downfall is in terms of battery life, with the Asus lasting, under test, a mere 145 minutes.

This falls below the three-hour minimum we expect from the average machine and, while the 3.2kg weight will deter some users from carrying it around on a daily basis anyway, a better mobile offering would have returned a higher score.

The chassis is solid and robust. Made from plastic, it's certainly one of the most hard-wearing machines in this group. With plenty of protection behind the 15.4-inch screen and sturdy hinges holding it in place, there is a reassuring solidity about the A6Tc.

The keyboard is of an average size, but the keys were extremely solid in their mountings, making for a comfortable typing experience. The only key which caused problems was the space bar, which sits too close to the recessed bezel of the mainboard.

The touchpad is a good size and mirrors the widescreen of the display. The mouse buttons are made from a strip of aluminum, with a nice tactile feel, and proved responsive.

Graphics come courtesy of the nVidia GeForce Go 7600, which is a mainstream option and not intended as a gaming solution. However, it will readily play most games, but you'll need to run them in reduced resolutions. In test, the 7600 returned a 3DMark 2003 score of 4872, which is more than satisfactory for a GPU in this price range.

In terms of usability, you'll find a 1.3-megapixel webcam built into the lid, which also includes a microphone, something still quite rare on a webcam. With connectivity consisting of 802.11b/ g, due to the chipset not supporting anything faster, you'll be able to hook up to networks in this country with ease. The Gigabit Ethernet adapter allows for fast wired connection speeds.

The Asus A6Tc is an impressive machine that offers a solid and reliable chassis with a host of connectivity options. While its battery life is on the poor side, this is the only flaw in a well executed and affordable laptop.

Asus warranty

Asus provide a two-year collect and return warranty as standard on this laptop. This will cover the standard components but not consumables, such as the battery. However, it does not make any provision for extending this to a third year, which needs to be bore in mind when buying.