Just above the keyboard, you'll find the GT725's crown jewel -- the turbo button. Hit this and the machine will, we're promised, get a 20 per cent boost in performance. To the left of this is the 'eco' button. Press this and the machine will cycle between five different operational modes: gaming, movie, presentation, office and turbo battery modes, each of which uses progressively less power. On either side of these, you'll find yet more touch-sensitive buttons for controlling playback of multimedia files; activating or deactivating the webcam, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi; or launching an application of your choice.
Much as unattractive people are forced to compensate for their facial shortcomings by having great personalities, the GT725 makes up for its horrid looks with some exciting components. Underneath its hideous facade is an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9000 quad-core CPU running at 2GHz. This works alongside a hugely generous 4GB of DDR2 memory, both of which provide the foundation for a machine that won't turn its nose up at any task -- big or small.
Games are the GT725's forte, so it's no surprise to find an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4850 graphics card nestling inside. It's by no means top of the graphics-card food chain -- that honour currently belongs to the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4870 X2, which packs twin graphics-processing units -- but the 4850 is no slouch. Although it's a single-GPU system, it'll more than hold its own against desktop gaming systems, whether it's gaming or high-definition video playback you desire.
The GT725's 17-inch screen is pretty well suited to just about anything. Not only does it have a matte finish, which dramatically reduces distracting reflections, but it also offers good image quality and a high 1,920x1,200-pixel resolution. This means there's plenty of real estate for positioning application windows, icons and so on, and also for watching movies in 1080p 'Full HD'. The only drawback is the fact that it has a 16:10 aspect ratio, so most movies have black bars at the top and bottom of the picture.
Storage is handled by an ample 500GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue hard drive. This provides plenty of room to stash your assorted files, and is also relatively quiet -- an ideal trait for a laptop. It also has Western Digital's ShockGuard technology. This parks the recording heads off the surface of the disk during spin up, spin down, and when the drive is switched off, ensuring improved long-term reliability and better shock tolerance when the laptop is in transit.
One of the GT725's most interesting features is an Optiarc BD-Rom BC-5500S Blu-ray drive. This allows you to watch Blu-ray movies directly on the laptop, but you can also pipe the video -- and audio -- over the machine's HDMI port to an external display. The drive will also burn DVD and CD discs, but be warned -- it's not able to write content to blank Blu-ray media.