When we tested the ACi Matrix 1425 this month, we were impressed by its WorldBench processing-speed score of 101, which is a great performance for a budget laptop. Its moment of glory, however, was shortlived. The Zoostorm 4-6610 stormed in and earned 106 points, a result worthy of a £1,000-plus laptop from one that costs just £750.

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This speed score was achieved thanks to the Zoostorm's combination of a 2GHz Intel Core Duo T7200 processor and 1GB of DDR2 RAM – once again, a line-up that might look more at home in our power chart.

And speed and price aren't the only areas in which the Zoostorm trounces the ACi – it also offers a larger widescreen display. The 15.4in screen, however, doesn't feature the glossy ColourShine finish, opting instead for a more old-fashioned matte. This means that graphics, although rendered proficiently by the 256MB ATI X1600 graphics card, don’t look as crisp and sharp as on the ACi.

The Zoostorm also features a 120GB hard drive and a dual-layer combo DVD/CD writer, plus a couple of software tools to help you get started watching and burning discs.

You might be wondering how it's possible to put together such a top performer for this kind of money, and the answer is by trimming away extras. There are no gizmos on this notebook: no built-in webcams or buttons to control volume and media playback. And you get a mere one-year return-to-base warranty as standard.

Build quality appears to be solid, although the drive tray wasn't completely flush with the side of the laptop and the dummy PC Card kept popping out of its own accord.

Zoostorm 4-6610 15.4in Advanced Home Laptop: Specs

  • 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo T7200
  • Windows XP Home
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • 120GB hard drive
  • 1,280x800 15.4in TFT WXGA widescreen display
  • 265MB ATi X1600
  • 8x/8x/8x/2.4x/4x/4x/3x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) 24x/24x/16x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • 802.11a/b/g
  • CyberSource Power DVD 6.0, Ahead Nero 6.0
  • 1-year return-to-base warranty
  • 356x266x36mm
  • 2.7kg
  • 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo T7200
  • Windows XP Home
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • 120GB hard drive
  • 1,280x800 15.4in TFT WXGA widescreen display
  • 265MB ATi X1600
  • 8x/8x/8x/2.4x/4x/4x/3x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) 24x/24x/16x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • 802.11a/b/g
  • CyberSource Power DVD 6.0, Ahead Nero 6.0
  • 1-year return-to-base warranty
  • 356x266x36mm
  • 2.7kg

OUR VERDICT

If you are looking for a no-frills laptop that delivers on speed and value for money, the Zoostorm is a top choice – the specification would look at home on a £1,500 machine. But be aware that what you gain in value for money you lose in extras, support and top-notch build quality.

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