The Ei System Sorrento 1 laptop is sold through PC World and fits into the same entry-level category as its Advent brand.

While its limited power and specification fall behind its rivals, the low price is ideal for those on a budget.

The plain design immediately shows this machine's budget roots and puts function firmly ahead of form. The staid black and gun-metal grey chassis is resilient throughout, but the glossy lid features a dated patterned finish that won't be loved by style-conscious consumers.

Weighing 2.4kg, the chassis is light enough for semi-regular travel use, although the poor 94-minute battery life severely restricts mobility. This is well below the three-hour minimum we expect from a modern laptop.

Limited usability

Usability is equally limited. Despite featuring a large keyboard with a comfortably spacious design, the keys provide a very spongy typing action, which makes it difficult to type quickly and accurately. The board also flexes slightly.

The 15.6-inch screen is far more pleasing. Its 16:9 aspect ratio is ideal for watching movies and working across multiple windows. Images are bright and sharp, with strong colour and contrast, as well as deep black levels, providing one of the best displays at this price.

Ei system

At such a low price, performance inevitably falls behind its more expensive rivals. The Intel Celeron processor and 2048MB of memory provide the most basic levels of power for word processing and simple photo editing, but don't expect enough power for regular multi-tasking.

This level of performance is continued for 3D tasks. The integrated SiS graphics card is one of the lowest-powered chips on the market. It won't suit gaming or video editing and the Acer Aspire 5738-644G50Mn provides five times the performance here.

Storage is also quite poor, but suits basic home use. The 160GB hard drive will hold thousands of songs, videos and photos, but is vastly bettered by its rivals. You can watch movies and create your own CDs and DVDs, however, using the built-in DVD rewriter.

This laptop also fails to feature an integrated camera or HDMI port, again restricting the machine to basic home use.

It does ship with Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system, however, providing the latest software features.

While the Sorrento 1 falls behind its rivals in almost every way, the significantly lower price has to be taken into account. While you'll get far more for your money with the other machines here, the Ei-Systems is nevertheless still a reasonable choice for your first laptop.

Follow TechRadar Reviews on Twitter: http://twitter.com/techradarreview