The second Intel Santa Rosa notebook we've seen, the Hi-Grade D7000SR demonstrates some of the benefits of Intel’s latest processor platform. The Hi-Grade D7000SR is not cheap, but this high asking price is partly justified by the excellent Windows performance - the WorldBench 6 real-world speed score of 90 makes the Hi-Grade D7000SR the fastest laptop we’ve seen yet. This is no doubt partly down to the strong base specifications – the Core 2 Duo T7700 processor and 2GB of DDR RAM are much prized.

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The Hi-Grade D7000SR's gaming performance was more disappointing, with the Hi-Grade scoring just 15fps (frames per second) in our games tests. Given the price of the Hi-Grade D7000SR, we might have expected to get 256MB of graphics memory. The screen displays images reasonably well though, even if the text could be a little sharper.

The Hi-Grade D7000SR's battery life is good, with the Hi-Grade matching the 130 minutes notched up by the Acer Aspire 5920 <859>. Neither is the Hi-Grade D7000SR particularly bulky - its weight of 2.8kg is just light enough for the Hi-Grade to be a comfortable laptop to carry.

When it comes to usability, the Hi-Grade D7000SR's track pad is enhanced by the two-way scroll function. However although the keyboard and keys below the track pad are comfortable to use with plenty of space on which to rest your palms while typing, the track pad is let down by its size and design, which is oddly depressed and too narrow. The Hi-Grade D7000SR feels sturdily built overall, including the clasps, which is an area many laptops fall back on.

The Hi-Grade D7000SR excels in convenience thanks to the six quick start buttons for operations such as launching the web browser and email, and a mute button. As you might expect at this price, the Hi-Grade D7000SR supports all wireless networks, including the latest Draft-N. The Hi-Grade also features Bluetooth capabilities. The beefy 160GB hard drive provides more than enough room for storage.

Hi-Grade D7000SR: Specs

  • 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7700
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • 160GB hard drive
  • 15.4in screen
  • 128 MB nVidia GeForce 8400M
  • 802.11a/b/g/draft n, Bluetooth
  • 1.3Mp camera
  • 2-year collect and return with accidental damage warranty, 355x255x26
  • 2.8kg
  • 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7700
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • 160GB hard drive
  • 15.4in screen
  • 128 MB nVidia GeForce 8400M
  • 802.11a/b/g/draft n, Bluetooth
  • 1.3Mp camera
  • 2-year collect and return with accidental damage warranty, 355x255x26
  • 2.8kg

OUR VERDICT

Although not the most attractive looking laptop, the Hi-Grade D7000SR demonstrates the benefits the Santa Rosa platform has to offer. It performed well in battery and WorldBench testing but came out surprisingly poorly in our gaming tests. But it is nicely featured thanks to its large memory, hefty hard drive, web cam and connectivity options. Interested in hot new laptops? See also: Apple MacBook Core 2 Duo notebook PCs, Acer Aspire 5920 Intel Santa Rosa Laptop, Samsung R70 Intel Santa Rosa laptop and Lenovo ThinkPad T60 business laptop.

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