Some laptops look dull, average, ordinary and stand no chance of ever attracting an envious gaze. Fortunately, the Discovery D2400 Media isn't one of them. The silver metal look with a black rim and tapered chassis make it look both classy and desirable.

This laptop sports an Intel Mobile Core Duo T2400 CPU and was the only system to come with 1GB of RAM, so you should be able to upgrade to Windows Vista without installing further hardware.

The system also featured the largest hard drive here at 100GB. Your network needs are handled by a combination of 802.11g Wi-Fi and Gigabit LAN, while the 15.1-inch screen offers a sizeable 1,440 x 1,050 resolution.

This results in smallish text, but the high-quality display makes it easy to read. So, full marks for component choice and system design. How would the laptop perform in real-life tests?

Integrated subwoofer

Our checks with the SiSoft Sandra benchmarking software revealed some impressive results: the Discovery D2400 Media had one of the fastest hard drives around, the great memory bandwidth score and scored a very respectable CPU speed. Yet for some reason none of this translated to its MobileMark score, a relatively poor 187. Battery life was only just acceptable at 158 minutes, too.

The system proved practical in use, with a large keyboard, and a good range of expansion ports. An integrated subwoofer means it delivers good sound volume without necessarily needing headphones, and the hi-res Web cam built into the case lid is ideal for calling home. Having Works 8.5 pre-installed, along with a range of useful CyberLink DVD and video software doesn't hurt, either.

The impressive feature list is tarnished by the warranty, easily the poorest here at one-year collect and return. Still, there's a lot to like about the Discovery D2400 Media and if you have the money then this is the one for you. Mike Williams