Of the laptops we first got our hands on in March, only the ultra-cheap Gateway MT3104b cost less than the Zoostorm. And given how much this machine has on board, that's quite an achievement. In some respects the 53-7701 betters even the all-conquering Acer Aspire 9813WKMi.

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The 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 is a very solid start, combining cutting-edge dual-core facilities with a vicious turn of pace. The 53-7701 actually hit the highest WorldBench processing-speed score of all the laptops - beating the Acer by a huge 11 points. But this could well be down less to the processor than the extremely generous complement of RAM.

The 17in screen is large but not excessively so, and the native resolution of 1,440x900 conjured up an eyecatching picture, with sharp text and bold colours. We were also suitably impressed by the graphics card, and the Zoostorm managed to outdo the Acer (although not the significantly costlier Evesham C720DC) in games tests.

The Zoostorm's 320GB hard drive is capacious, but the DVD writer isn't the most impressive - DVD-RAM is only three-speed, and the 2.4-speed double-layer facilities will cause some frustration. Neither is the skimpy warranty much of a recommendation. However, the digital TV tuner is an excellent addition, and means this laptop could easily double up as an entertainment PC.

In fact, you may not want to move this laptop around very much. It tips the scales at a relatively weighty 3.5kg, and while it isn’t as heavy as the Evesham or Acer, we wouldn't recommend carrying it for long distances. If you insist on doing this, however, the decent battery life - more than two hours in our exhaustive MobileMark test software - will be an extra recommendation.

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Zoostorm 53-7701: Specs

  • 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 processor
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 160GB hard drive
  • 17in 1,440x900 TFT display
  • 256MB ATI Radeon X1600 graphics card
  • 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
  • DVB TV tuner
  • 1-year return-to-base warranty
  • 359x255x25mm
  • 3.5kg
  • 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 processor
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 160GB hard drive
  • 17in 1,440x900 TFT display
  • 256MB ATI Radeon X1600 graphics card
  • 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
  • DVB TV tuner
  • 1-year return-to-base warranty
  • 359x255x25mm
  • 3.5kg

OUR VERDICT

The Zoostorm offers an impressive array of features and performance for a fairly modest price tag - 2GB of RAM and a TV tuner aren't features you'd expect for £882. Once again, Zoostorm has gone that little bit further than the competition. For those who don't want the extra grunt of the Acer, the 53-7701 would make an excellent choice.

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