Novatech is a new name to us and the X15 (£299 inc. VAT) is the first machine we've reviewed.

In many ways, when we think of a budget laptop the X15 is what we'll have in mind – a simple design that meets the basic needs of the user at an affordable price.

Made from plastic, the case of the X15 is solid but isn't as robust as most rivals. We found there was a degree of flex to the case when carrying it around but, with an overall weight of 2.6kg, it's fine for semi-regular use.

Awkward touchpad

The keyboard is of a standard construction, but with the keys located too far back on the main body.

This leaves plenty of room for your palms to rest on, but you do find yourself leaning over the laptop to type.

The touchpad is responsive, but the rather cheap single dual-action mouse button is less appealing, as we found it rather awkward to use.

Being black, the same as the chassis, also made it harder to find when trying to use the laptop in less than ideal lighting conditions.

Speedy laptop

Running with Windows XP Home, this laptop loaded reasonably quickly and for basic tasks we found it more than acceptable.

Based around an Intel Celeron processor and 1024MB of memory, it handled tasks reasonably well.

Sadly, we weren't able to gather a MobileMark 2007 score from this machine as the battery life failed to last long enough for it to run a full cycle. In typical use, we managed to get 97 minutes from the battery.

Bright display

The 15.4-inch screen has a Super-TFT coating and proved sharp.

It had a wide brightness range, but we still found it worked best when turned up to full. Graphics are integrated.

However, instead of opting for the Intel chipset, you'll find the SiS Mirage 3, which is a budget controller – this was highlighted by the rather poor 3DMark score of 417 for this machine.

This makes the X15 adequate for running simple tasks and for browsing the internet, but it won't run anything too taxing, such as games.

Four USBs

As you would expect from a budget laptop, the case only offers the minimum number of ports and extra features.

With four USB ports, Ethernet and VGA-out sockets providing connectivity, there is no modem or PC Card expansion options.

That said, you will find a 4-in-1 card reader located on the left-hand side, along with the DVD rewriter optical drive.

Impressive spec

There are no fundamental flaws with the Novatech X15 and we found it to be good value for money.

The specification and build quality are more than acceptable for the asking price.