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PC Nextday Versa 81-2200 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 349
inc VAT

The 81-2200 has few bells and whistles, but a decent keyboard and bright screen make it a great alternative to a netbook.

Specifications

15.4 in 1,280×800 display, 2.6kg, 2GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core T4200, 2.00GB RAM, 250GB disk, Windows Vista Home Basic

http://www.cms-computers.co.uk

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.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor Intel Pentium Dual Core T4200
Processor clock speed 2GHz
Memory 2.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 1
Maximum memory 4GB
Size 39x359x263mm
Weight 2.6kg
Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Pointing device touchpad
Power consumption standby 1W
Power consumption idle 27W
Power consumption active 40W

Display

Viewable size 15.4 in
Native resolution 1,280×800
Graphics Processor SiS Mirage 3+
Graphics/video ports VGA
Graphics Memory 128MB

Storage

Total storage capacity 250GB
Optical drive model TSSTcorp TS-L633A
Optical drive type DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Bluetooth no
Wired network ports 1x 10/100
Wireless networking support 802.11b/g
PC Card slots 1x ExpressCard/54
Modem Yes
Supported memory cards SD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro
Other ports minijack audio output, minijack microphone input, minijack S/PDIF output

Miscellaneous

Carrying case No
Operating system Windows Vista Home Basic
Operating system restore option backup and recovery software
Software included Microsoft Works 9, Cyberlink WinDVD Suite

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £349
Details www.cms-computers.co.uk
Supplier http://www.cms-computers.co.uk

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