A decent, solid family laptop which should be up to most tasks
Versatile feature set
Prone to overheating
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The PC Nextday Zoostorm 53-7701 Family Laptop may not be the snappiest name for a laptop, but for its price we were surprised at how well it handled. Pitched as a 'family laptop', this machine needs to suit a variety of users. While it's not a high-end multimedia machine, it is indeed powerful enough to act as a family machine.
For instance, the 17-inch screen is a great size, either for viewing movies or websites or for finishing homework. Supported by the ATi Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card, it means this laptop can be used as a gaming machine, as well as a homework laptop. The X1600 is starting to show its age, but it still delivers reasonable performance for the current crop of games.
As you would expect with such a large screen, this is a sizeable laptop, but with a surprisingly semi-portable 3.3kg weight. If the screen isn't big enough for your needs, you can always connect the laptop to an external monitor or projector using the included DVI-out port. With a space for a TV tuner, this machine could offer more in the way of multimedia, but at this price it's not included. However, it's worth considering as an upgrade option.
The laptop may be large, but the keyboard feels cramped in the middle of the chassis. The keys are firmly mounted and have a smooth amount of travel, although they are on the small side. The touchpad mirrors the widescreen aspect ratio of the screen and proved accurate.
Processing power offers great value for money, with an Intel 2GHz Core 2 Duo T7200 supported by 2048MB of memory. This helped make it more than capable of handling everything we ran on it.
On the downside, there was a noticeable degree of heat build-up on the left-hand side of the machine. This resulted in the fan running for long periods once the laptop had been in use for longer than 20 minutes. It may not be a problem when using the machine at a desk, but you won't want to use it on your lap for any length of time. Storage is an impressive 160GB and, with a fast running disk speed, it further helps this machine deliver a quick response.
In many respects, the PC Nextday Zoostorm 53-7701 Family Laptop lives up to its name. It's a machine that will certainly suit a family and offers enough power and storage to grow with their needs. It may not be the most impressive laptop to look at and we were concerned about the build up of heat. However, view this laptop as an affordable desktop replacement and you have a machine that will definitely appeal to most people.
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