For the non-gaming tasks, we compared it to the previously reviewed Dell Latitude D620 which uses a dual core 2GHz processor, but is a few hundred pounds more expensive.
Battery life is probably the most disappointing area of this notebook but not enough to be considered poor. It managed two hours 24 minutes in general usage and one hour 50 minutes in DVD playback. This is certainly good enough for use on the train, but we’ve come to expect a little bit more from Intel Centrino branded notebooks.
PC Mark gave a very misleading overall PC Mark score, having a higher score than the Dell. However, this was artificially boosted because of a considerably larger graphics score. In reality, this graphics score doesn’t affect 2D performance much at all. The only other area that this machine won was in memory tests – probably because the graphics processor is not sharing the system memory.
Because of the resolutions tested, we didn’t have anything to compare to as we don’t test any lower than 1,280 x 1,024 in our desktop tests. Using our proprietary automated benchmarking suite, aptly dubbed “SpodeMark 3D”, I ran Call of Duty 2, Counter Strike: Source, Quake 4, Battlefield 2 and 3DMark 06. Bar 3DMark06, these all run using our in-house pre-recorded timedemos in the most intense sections of each game I could find. Each setting is run three times and the average is taken, for reproducible and accurate results. I ran each game test at 1,024 x 768 and 1,280 x 768 each at 0x FSAA with trilinear filtering, 2x FSAA with 4x AF and 4x FSAA with 8x AF.
Results were good, with playable frame rates in all but Call of Duty 2. To play this, I expect some of the settings will have to be changed rather than running with everything on high as I did during testing. What is noticeable is how much difference turning on FSAA and AF makes, noticeably dropping frame rates. At such low resolutions, FSAA really makes a difference so it’s worth sacrificing some image quality in order to get this switched on.
I’m not a big fan of gaming notebooks as they are usually really expensive and go out of date far too quickly to be worth while, but this is quite possibly one of the most balanced notebooks I’ve ever used. The 7600 Go offers enough performance to power today’s games at its native resolution and with 1024 x 768 to fall back on there is future protection too. The Core Duo processor offers excellent desktop performance and putting another 1GB module in would enhance this even further.
With an estimated two to two and a half hours battery life, this is more than enough for the average commuter and it is a nice machine to work on. At 2.35Kg it’s not too heavy either.
But with a price of only £842.48, this is not only incredibly good value for money, but very affordable by even the most cash strapped notebook buyer. It’s a perfect all rounder for the casual gamer, commuter and general PC user. The components are well chosen, especially the slot loading DVD writer.
My only real gripe with the machine, is its touch pad which could be better. However, it’s usable and I get the feeling it will improve with time as the surface wears down some more.
This machine is deserving of its high score and its Recommended award. It’s no surprise that Zepto has done well in Denmark and I think it will do just as well in the UK.
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