PC Nextday is a UK-based manufacturer that offers a wide range of affordable laptops.

The Zoostorm 84-6650 (£699 inc. VAT) is well-specified and powerful laptop.

The no-frills black and silver design is functional, if a little bland. The 3kg chassis provides average mobility, but is too heavy for long-term travel use.

The 200-minute battery life is pleasing, however, and keeps you working on short journeys or around the home.

Great 3D performer

Usability is strong. The keyboard is large and comfortable, although the keys have a soft typing action.

The touchpad is surprisingly small, but responds well. The left-hand side of the palm rest quickly heats up during use, which some users may find uncomfortable.

3D performance is excellent. The dedicated nVidia GPU can run many of the latest games, and only struggles with the most demanding 3D titles. Both DVI and HDMI ports are fitted for digitally connecting to larger external monitors and HDTVs.

Not that you need to, as the 15.4-inch Super-TFT screen is outstanding. It is both sharp and bright, and colours are shown to stunning effect. A camera is embedded into the screen panel for capturing still photos and recording live video.

Speedy laptop

Where the PC Nextday really excels is its powerful performance.

It makes use of a 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, backed by 4096MB of memory – the most the motherboard can support. This is one of the fastest laptops we've seen, and even demanding applications run with ease.

Storage is equally impressive. The 320GB hard drive is the largest in this group and will easily hold an entire family's files.

The dual-layer DVD rewriter can save up to 8.5GB of data to compatible discs, and the 4-in-1 card reader provides access to memory cards.

Lack of software

Unfortunately, two key areas are sure to disappoint. PC Nextday provides no software with the Zoostorm.

This means first-time buyers will need to add the cost of internet security and home office applications into their budget.

The limited warranty only provides one-year of protection, with no option to extend the cover period.

The warranty also only provides return-to-base protection, so you'll need to pay for all related delivery fees in the event of a fault.

Caution advised

The strengths of the Zoostorm 84-6650 outweigh its weaknesses, but it's essential to consider your needs.

Experienced laptop users will appreciate the power and won't be hindered by the limited software and warranty, but first-time buyers should be more cautious.