The 81-2200 has few bells and whistles, but a decent keyboard and bright screen make it a great alternative to a netbook.
15.4 in 1,280×800 display, 2.6kg, 2GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core T4200, 2.00GB RAM, 250GB disk, Windows Vista Home Basic
PC Nextday’s 81-2200 is a 15.4in laptop with a 1,280×800 resolution screen.
It has a dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM and a 250GB hard disk. For the same price, you could buy a decent netbook, but what you’d gain in portability and battery life would be offset by the fact that you’d be typing on a tiny keyboard and squinting at a low-resolution 10in screen.
Like Dell’s 1545, the Versa struggles to compete with more expensive laptops on the finer points: there’s no Gigabit Ethernet, Draft-N wireless or Bluetooth, and only three USB ports. It’s a little too obvious that it’s a budget model as the case has spaces where HDMI and eSATA ports could go, but these aren’t fitted. Of course, if you mainly want a laptop for internet access and to store photos, you won’t miss any of these features. What you’ll be glad of are useful inclusions such as the memory card reader and built-in webcam for video chats.
The case is an unremarkable design that we’ve seen before, with a white plastic keyboard panel that helps to break up the acres of cheap-looking, matt-black plastic. It’s not the most sophisticated design, but build quality is reasonably good, and there’s hardly any flex in the case and lid.
What makes the 81-2200 attractive compared to netbooks is the large keyboard and screen. The keys rattle a bit and their action is a touch too firm, but there’s plenty of feedback and no flex. The touchpad is large and responsive, but the buttons are too flat and have little travel, so you may want a separate mouse. In side-by-side tests, the display was bright and the colours slightly muted.
Performance was roughly in line with what we’d expect at this price, but you may want to install an extra 1GB or 2GB of RAM in the free slot to improve multitasking performance.
With a battery life of barely over two hours, the Versa is best used connected to the mains, but it’s still great value. If you can find Dell’s 1545 for a similar price, it’s a better buy thanks to its longer battery life and a better screen, but otherwise, this is a good Budget Buy.
|Intel Pentium Dual Core T4200
|Processor clock speed
|Memory slots free
|Realtek High Definition Audio
|Power consumption standby
|Power consumption idle
|Power consumption active
|SiS Mirage 3+
|Total storage capacity
|Optical drive model
|Optical drive type
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports
|Wireless networking support
|PC Card slots
|Supported memory cards
|SD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro
|minijack audio output, minijack microphone input, minijack S/PDIF output
|Windows Vista Home Basic
|Operating system restore option
|backup and recovery software
|Microsoft Works 9, Cyberlink WinDVD Suite
|one year RTB