Sold through Tesco, the Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Li 1718 packs an impressive specification ideal for home office and multimedia use. Weighing in at 2.6kg, this is a semi-portable machine that is only let down by a rather mediocre battery life, as we managed to get just 144 minutes from a single charge.

Much better is the build quality, which is solid and robust and more than lives up to expectations at this price point. Fitted with an Intel Core 2 Duo T5300 processor, this is a dual-core machine that offers a fair degree of performance. It is assisted by the inclusion of 2048MB of memory.

Fitted with a 15.4-inch Super-TFT screen, watching movies is great, as the colour reproduction is stunning. As expected, at this price the graphics are integrated.

The biggest problem with this laptop is the keyboard. Although wide and fitted with large keys, responsiveness is poor. At all times we were forced to strike the keys hard to register, which made a chore of typing letters and emails.

The lack of any expansion ports or support for media card storage formats is an unusual omission. While four USB ports are provided, it's worth noting there is no support for Firewire devices.

Getting new users quickly up and running, a basic software package is included. Microsoft Works provides simple home office programs, while Norton Internet Security includes all the tools you need to protect your laptop from internet attacks.

Despite poor usability, the power and price of the Amilo make it ideal for first-time buyers, especially those on a budget.