Hi-Grade is a UK-based manufacturer known for providing the latest technology at reasonable prices. The Notino D7000SRA (£799 inc. VAT) combines an impressive specification, strong features and reliable warranty cover, to make it a good choice for value-conscious buyers.
Although our review unit was a pre-production model, the chassis was sturdy and well made. Its 2.8kg weight won't suit regular mobile use and neither will the low 144-minute battery life, but you can still keep working on short journeys or around the house though when necessary.
The keyboard is well secured and comfortable to use. All keys are large with a smooth degree of travel, although the typing action is a little too firm. The touchpad and mouse buttons are equally usable and a panel of media keys allows easy control of music and video files.
The 15.4-inch screen is large enough for comfortable multi-tasking and viewing photos and movies. Brightness, colour and contrast are all strong and bring images to life. A dedicated ATi graphics card is used to provide strong 3D performance for multimedia editing and basic gaming. While we were unable to benchmark this pre-production unit, we have tested this ATi card many times and can confirm its power for most home use.
The Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 2048MB of memory provides a good performance. It is easy to work in speed and comfort and run multiple applications without a noticeable drop in performance.
The 250GB hard drive provides ample storage for your files. Data can be backed up to dual-layer DVDs using the built-in DVD rewriter. A fingerprint scanner is also fitted, and lets you easily protect your entire system and data from prying eyes.
A basic yet effective software package gets new users up and running at no extra cost. OpenOffice software provides a full suite of office tools compatible with Microsoft file formats and includes free updates for life. Nero lets you create your own CDs and DVDs with ease.
The Hi-Grade also stands out thanks to its impressive warranty. It provides two years of protection as standard. Parts and labour costs are covered, as well as all delivery fees.
The combination of high performance, powerful components, bright screen and strong usability all make the Hi-Grade Notino D7000SRA a pleasure to use. It's free office suite and impressive warranty will also suit first-time buyers, making this a great laptop for the money.