A low price tag doesn't have to mean you settle for obsolete technology or outdated components on your laptop. Enter the Advent 9415. It shows you can have a reasonable spec and performance for a steal of a price -- it's available for just £329.99 from PC World.
Despite the low asking price of the 9415, you still get a dual core processor -- a 1.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core T2330, to be exact -- and a generous 2GB of RAM. As a result, it managed to achieve a performance score of 2,673 running the PCMark05 benchmark, which is almost unheard of in this price category.
The hard drive may seem a little small at 120GB, but it's still more than adequate for general use and you'll be hard pressed to find something as acceptable at this price. It's also simple to archive any data when the drive fills up, thanks to the internal DVD writer on the right hand side.
There's plenty of space on the 9415's screen, which stretches to 15.4 inches and a standard 1,280x800-pixel resolution. While its glossy screen translates to more intense colours, this makes it more reflective. You won't want to use it with a sunny window behind you.
We found the large keyboard pleasant to use and the touch pad is a decent size. The laptop is finished completely in black with the odd design touch, but in terms of looks, it's fairly utilitarian.
While the 9415 does its best given its bargain roots, you can't have everything. When it comes to gaming it's not suitable for much more than Minesweeper. Its integrated Sis Mirage 3 graphics chip only managed a pitiful 125 when running 3DMark06, ruling out any of the latest 3D gaming titles.
Battery life is another area in which it's lacking. It failed to run the intensive Battery Eater test, but given that it only managed to last 1 hour 27 minutes running the more leisurely Reader test, it's unlikely to have fared that much better.
There aren't a huge array of ports and connectors on offer either. In fact, the right-hand side and front are completely barren bar a plugged-up socket where the modem would have been. You do get four USB ports, though, with three at the back and one on the right-hand side.
You won't be packing light if you try to travel with the 9415. With its weight pushing 3kg, it's not exactly the perfect travel partner, especially when you consider its size and battery life. It's fine to use around the house, but if you need something you can take with you to use on the road then you're probably better off looking elsewhere.
If your wallet isn't spilling over with sterlings and you still want a laptop with decent performance, then the Advent 9415 should satisfy your needs. You won't be able to play games and its battery life is a let down, but otherwise it offers a reasonable specification at a bargain price.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday