The Lenovo 3000 N200 is a classic example of old-school laptop design – a large black slab, promoting function over form.

This shouldn't come as a surprise, since the Lenovo 3000 N200 was originally marketed at business users – the fingerprint reader is a bit of a giveaway. This model, however, came from the consumer supplier

The Lenovo 3000 N200 comes with Windows XP pre-installed. This familiar OS will be a bonus for many users and aids overall performance.

The Lenovo 3000 N200 enjoys solid performance, with a score of 71 WorldBench 6 points. There may be only 1GB of RAM installed but, with the less bloated XP Pro OS, this will be adequate for most tasks.

It also turns excellent battery life for a sub-£400 laptop category at three hours and 52 minutes. If you don't mind carrying its 2.74kg frame around, you'll at least be able to work without mains power for a few hours. And in our Fear graphics tests, the Lenovo 3000 N200 could sustain a respectable 40 frames per second (fps) at minimum settings.

The Lenovo 3000 N200 has enough ports to keep most users happy, with three  USB connections on one side alone, albeit stacked vertically – using more than one memory sticks at a time may prove troublesome.

We found the Lenovo 3000 N200's keyboard functional, and reasonably comfortable to type on. The trackpad worked well too, but its left- and right-click buttons felt somewhat unresponsive.

Sound quality from the Lenovo 3000 N200's front-firing stereo speakers is adequate for a general-purpose laptop, and we are impressed by the Lenovo's versatility. It offers features such as a built-in webcam, ExpressCard slot and memory card reader.

To get you out of trouble in the event of Windows failures, the maker includes Rescue and Recovery, a hidden partition that can perform disc repairs. In fact, almost every time we restarted the Lenovo 3000 N200 it defaulted to this clunky-looking but useful environment.

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The Lenovo 3000 N200 is a heavyweight, and not very pretty, business-style laptop – but it has several qualities that give it the edge over its peers. First is the raw performance from its 1.83GHz dual-core processor, performing real-world tasks quicker than any other full-sized or mini laptop here. Then there's its best-in-class battery life, coupled with a useful 160GB of hard drive storage.

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