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Novatech V14 review

Barry de la Rosa
28 Aug 2010
Novatech V14
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
430
inc VAT

Incredibly thin and with a processor that puts netbooks to shame. However, battery life isn't great and the keyboard lacks quality.

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Specifications

14 in 1,366x768 display, 1.6kg, 1.3GHz Intel Pentium SU4100, 2.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

The Novatech V14 is one of the slimmest laptops around at only 23mm thick and, surprisingly, it's also one of the least expensive. Powered by a dual-core Pentium processor, it has twice the performance of a netbook, scoring 39 overall in our benchmarks. With its 14in screen you get far more desktop space than the standard 1,024x600 netbook resolution.

The Intel Pentium SU4100 processor is a consumer ultra-low voltage (CULV) model, which draws less power, but to keep the size down Novatech has fitted a measly 2,800mAh battery. So while it's slim size and 1.6kg weight make it ideal for carrying around with you, it only lasted for three hours and 19 minutes in our light-use battery test.

The SU4100 fares well compared to single-core CULV processors such as the SU2700 found in MSI's X400. It's based on the older Core 2 architecture and so doesn't support the latest Intel technologies such as Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading, but it's far faster than the Atom processors found in netbooks.

Novatech V14

There's no dedicated graphics card, so the V14 won't run 3D games. The integrated Intel graphics chip can decode Full HD video, although the 14in screen's resolution of 1,366x768 is best suited to watching 720p video. The internal speakers are clear but lack volume and bass, so if you want the full home cinema experience you'd be well advised to connect via HDMI to an AV amplifier and HD TV.

With its glossy finish the display is reflective, but it has far better vertical viewing angles than other laptops we've seen. This advantage is somewhat undermined by the fact that the lid doesn't tilt back beyond 130 degrees, so it'll be difficult to read if you're in a cramped environment, such as an airplane seat. Otherwise it's surprisingly good for a budget laptop, with a bright, even LED backlight and decent contrast.

As well as the ExpressCard/34 slot, there are three USB ports and both VGA and HDMI video outputs. The network port supports Gigabit Ethernet, and there's also support for fast 802.11n wireless connections and Bluetooth.

Opening the silver lid reveals a silver keyboard panel and keyboard, while the screen has a black bezel. The sparkly finish on the keys looks a bit tacky, but the layout is standard, with a double-height Enter key, and there's a column of page navigation keys on the right side. The keys themselves have a light action but aren't firmly seated, and their flat surfaces mean that if you hit an edge they key wobbles, and so feedback is poor.

The touchpad and its buttons are a single unit. While the pad itself is responsive, the buttons have very little travel and provide no feedback, especially the right button, so it can be frustrating to use. The pad supports multi-touch gestures however, which are handy for quickly zooming in on web pages or changing the view in Explorer, for example.

While it's keenly priced, the 14in screen and decent performance are undermined by the poor battery life and keyboard. MSI's X400 is just as thin and light, but is £60 cheaper, while Toshiba's T110 has far better battery life, so the V14 misses out on an award.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Pentium SU4100
Processor clock speed1.3GHz
Memory2.00GB
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
Size23x340x231mm
Weight1.6kg
SoundRealtek HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size14 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA 4500M
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory64MB

Storage

Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive modelN/A
Optical drive typeN/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11b/g/n
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/34
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionbackup and recovery software
Software includednone
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Price£430
Detailswww.novatech.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.novatech.co.uk