The PC Nextday Zoostorm 4-5728 (£799 inc. VAT) is a 17-inch laptop.

Its impressive specification and high-definition screen make it suited to home multimedia use, but performance fails to match expectations.

Sharp screen

This is a heavy laptop, so is best used at your desk. The chassis is well made and more than sturdy enough for family use. The 103-minute battery life limits mobility, but lets you work outside from time to time.

The keyboard is full-size and includes a panel of number keys for gaming and data input use. All keys are firm and responsive, so it's easy to work in comfort for long periods. The chassis also stays cool at all times, which further improves long-term usability.

The 17-inch screen is sharp, thanks to its 1440 x 900-pixel resolution. Brightness is low, so visibility can be poor in lighter conditions.

Colour and contrast are strong, so photos and videos look great, as do high-definition movies.

Blu-ray drive

Blu-ray compatibility is rare at this price, and is a prime selling point. While you can't write to Blu-ray discs, you can easily view the latest high-definition releases.

Standard CD/DVD compatibility is also provided for creating your own dual-layer discs and playback of music and movies.

Mid-level gaming performance is also provided by the dedicated nVidia graphics card. Although 3D power is far outweighed by some rivals, you can still play mainstream games. You will need to use more basic 3D settings to enjoy the best performance, however.

Comprehensive storage

Home and office performance is far less capable, despite the use of a 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo and 4096MB of memory - the most it can support.

The Zoostorm struggles when multi-tasking with three or more applications, but has enough power for most family use. The 320GB hard drive is quite large and provides comprehensive storage space for music, photos, videos and office files.

A 3-in-1 media card reader is also included for easily transferring files to and from digital cameras, smartphones and PDAs.

Limited features

Where the Zoostorm falls short is in its lack of extra features. There is no software included, so you'll have to buy all the programs you need.

The one-year warranty only covers parts and labour costs, so you'll need to pay all delivery fees. There is no option to upgrade.

Despite its shortcomings, the PC Nextday Zoostorm 4-5728 is an affordable and well-made HD media centre. Its low performance and lack of extra features may deter more cost-conscious consumers, but there's still plenty to recommend here.