If you can put up with its flaws, Novatech's V13 is a decent budget ultra-portable laptop but better-designed, better-value models are available.
13.1 in 1,366×768 display, 1.5kg, 1.3GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core SU4100, 2.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Novatech’s V13 is surprisingly attractive and svelte for what is a relatively inexpensive ultraportable laptop. The brown and black design looks sophisticated, but it flexes under pressure quite a bit which means you’ll have to take care of it when travelling. It lasted almost four hours between charges. This isn’t bad, but we’d expect longer from a thin and light laptop with a CULV processor.
The V13 has a Pentium Dual Core SU4100 processor and 2GB of RAM, which is the maximum amount possible. This could be a concern if you want to run memory-hungry programs, but it’s enough for most tasks as shown by the overall score of 39 in our benchmarks. The laptop’s base became a little warm and the cooling fan a little noisier during benchmarking, but not enough to be irritating.
Unlike many other CULV ultraportables we’ve seen, the V13 has an ExpressCard/34 slot for adding peripherals such as TV tuner or an expansion card with more USB ports. There’s even an internal PCI Express MiniCard slot for adding an internal 3G modem, as there’s already a SIM card slot installed.
The keyboard is large with only the cursor keys a little narrower than the others, but not enough to trip up touch typists. The soft-feeling keys don’t give quite as much feedback when pressed as we’d like, but typing is still fairly comfortable. The touchpad is small but accurate, although the pivoting button feels too spongy.
We were disappointed, but not surprised to find that the bright 13.3in widescreen display has restricted viewing angles so you’ll need to sit directly in front of it for the most accurate-looking colours. The lid barely tilts back at all, which could make it a tricky to use in cramped conditions, such as an aeroplane seat.
If you’re on a budget or needs its expansion options, then Novatech’s V13 is a fine, reasonably well-designed ultra-portable laptop. Acer’s Aspire Timeline is better value though with even better battery life, a more responsive keyboard and better build quality.
|Intel Pentium Dual Core SU4100
|Processor clock speed
|Memory slots free
|Realtek High Definition Audio
|Power consumption standby
|Power consumption idle
|Power consumption active
|Intel GMA 4500M HD
|Total storage capacity
|Optical drive model
|Optical drive type
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports
|Wireless networking support
|PC Card slots
|Supported memory cards
|SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo
|Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
|Operating system restore option
|one year collect and return extended warranty £39
|one year RTB