Finished in two-tone silver and black, the HP G61-410SA is a smart and very nicely put together budget laptop.

The HP G61-410SA's keyboard sits above a silky-smooth silver wrist rest incorporating a touchpad which reveals itself only as a shallow seamless depression in its surface. Rather than attempt what can often turn out to be a clumsy ‘multi-touch’ implementation, HP has gone for a traditional single-finger device, with a dedicated scrolling section down the right-hand side.

While many laptops offer an easy system-reinstall system, HP’s is a little more sophisticated, allowing you to restore the whole operating system, just the hardware drivers or just the pre-installed software applications (which include a full suite of Cyberlink software along with the usual trialware). The Recovery Manager application also helps you identify system problems with its computer checkup option.

The HP G61-410SA may be pretty big, but Acer’s Aspire 5740 and the Samsung R530 are fractionally larger. However, HP has most certainly delivered the heaviest laptop. At 2.7kg the extra weight really is quite noticeable.

While the HP G61-410SA comes with a dual-core processor, the 1.9GHz Intel Celeron T3310 is no match for the power of modern silicon found in the Acer or the Samsung. In WorldBench 6, the G61 scored 79 points, the slowest of any of the dual-core Intel-based laptops (although considerably more powerful than the MSI or Toshiba products, which are based on low-voltage single-core processors).

Unfortunately, it’s not exactly power-efficient leaving the HP G61-410SA with only 164 minutes of battery life under MobileMark 2007. This is by far the worst result of the group. Graphics performance is also rather lacklustre thanks to the Intel GMA 4500M integrated GPU.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

HP G61-410SA: Specs

  • 1.9GHz Intel Dual-core Celeron T3110
  • 15.6in glossy, 1366x768
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • 3GB DDR2-800 RAM
  • 320GB 5400rpm SATA 3Gb/s HDD
  • Intel GMA 4500M (integrated)
  • HDMI, VGA
  • Stereo speakers, headphone jack, mic
  • 3x USB 2.0
  • DVD±RW (±R DL) with Lightscribe
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • 10/100Mb/s
  • SD/MS/MSPro/MMC/XD
  • webcam, modem, Cyberlink DVD Suite, Power DVD, YouCam, MediaShow
  • 45Wh Li-ion, removable
  • 378x252x35.1mm
  • 2733g
  • 1.9GHz Intel Dual-core Celeron T3110
  • 15.6in glossy, 1366x768
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • 3GB DDR2-800 RAM
  • 320GB 5400rpm SATA 3Gb/s HDD
  • Intel GMA 4500M (integrated)
  • HDMI, VGA
  • Stereo speakers, headphone jack, mic
  • 3x USB 2.0
  • DVD±RW (±R DL) with Lightscribe
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • 10/100Mb/s
  • SD/MS/MSPro/MMC/XD
  • webcam, modem, Cyberlink DVD Suite, Power DVD, YouCam, MediaShow
  • 45Wh Li-ion, removable
  • 378x252x35.1mm
  • 2733g

OUR VERDICT

The high build-quality makes the HP G61-410SA a joy to use and with a price of only £399 it’s also a tie with MSI for the lowest-cost option. In terms of raw specification, just about everything about the G61 can be bettered, but you’ll most certainly have to pay for it. By contrast, the only other option at this price from MSI comes with no optical drive and even slower application performance.

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