As with Hi-Grade and Mesh, Novatech is a UK-based manufacturer that offers a range of affordable and feature-packed machines. The X65 stands out as it features a built-in Blu-ray drive.

The 17-inch screen features a resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels. It's not quite sharp enough to take full advantage of Full HD (1080p) movies, but it's still capable of displaying 720p content which is the basic level HD.

The glossy Super-TFT coating helps to produce bright and vivid images and it's easy on the eye. There's also an HDMI port so you can output HD films to external displays.

The Nvidia GeForce GT 130M graphics card makes this a great multimedia choice, providing power for games, 3D-intensive applications and home and office tasks. As such, it's an ideal family machine and is a good replacement for your desktop PC.

The keyboard offers one of the best typing experiences here. It's slightly dull in appearance, but offers large and responsive keys that provide excellent comfort.

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There's a full numeric keypad alongside, aiding data entry or gaming, and only the small directional keys count against it. Quality is excellent, with a quiet and precise movement to all of the keys.

The glossy lid adds a touch of visual interest to the otherwise austere design, although it attracts fingerprints and scratches. The large screen is held in place without any movement during typing, and all of the plastics are tough enough for regular use.

The dedicated graphics card has an effect on ventilation, however, with the palm rests heating up during use.

The dual-core Intel Pentium processor is the only weak link in this machine's specification, providing less office power than some of its rivals. That said, it's still faster than we were expecting, boosted by 4096MB of high-speed DDR3 memory, helping most applications to run quickly and smoothly.

Good connectivity

As with most of its rivals here, the 320GB hard drive provides respectable storage space, and the Blu-ray optical drive is also capable of writing to regular blank DVDs and CDs.

The flash memory card reader makes it easy to access photographs from most digital cameras, and there's also an ExpressCard slot for adding peripherals such as TV tuners and 3G broadband adapters.

Four USB ports make it easy to connect other peripherals and Bluetooth is also in place, adding wireless connectivity.

The Novatech X65 may lack the style of the Sony VAIO VPC-CW1S1E/R or Acer 5810TG-354932Mn, but provides an excellent specification within its conservative chassis.

Putting aside the budget processor, this laptop offers outstanding value for money and is therefore easy to recommend.

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