An ultrabook laptop at an incredibly low price
Ultrabooks are portable, slim laptops designed to have good battery life and fast boot-up times. British manufacturer Novatech has now joined the fray with a cut-price model, with prices starting at £430 for a basic model without Windows.
Ultrabooks use solid-state storage and don't have an optical drive, so using one is different from a normal laptop. Playing 3D games is out of the question, and you won't be able to store a lot of photos, music or video. Ultrabooks are best used with cloud services – so music is best enjoyed with Spotify rather than iTunes, while catching up on TV is best done by streaming shows online rather than downloading them.
The cheapest model with Windows 7 Home Premium installed costs only £520. However, its 64GB solid-state drive (SSD) was nowhere near big enough. The preinstalled copy of Microsoft Office 2010 Starter took up a significant amount of space and left little room for additional software and files, although it's possible to order without Office.
The model with a bigger 128GB SSD, known as the Nfinity 2367 Plus, is a much more sensible choice but it's slightly more expensive at £625 with Windows 7 preinstalled. Still, it is significantly cheaper than other Ultrabooks, such as the Acer Aspire S3 and the Asus Zenbook UX21.
Although the Nfinity isn't as powerful as other Ultrabooks we've seen, it's still a capable computer. The 4GB of memory helped ensure the laptop was reasonably quick. The Intel Core i3 chip is the slowest processor that can be used in an Ultrabook, but it was still more than capable of performing most common tasks. Predictably our DVD-copying benchmarking test was too much to ask, with the Nfinity taking just over an hour to resize a large video file for playback on a portable media device such as a smartphone. However, this sort of heavy-lifting work isn't what Ultrabooks are designed for. Battery life was good at around seven hours, while the Nfinity turned on in a little over 15 seconds.
Build-quality was variable at best. It looked sleek and the brushed aluminium finish used on the lid was hardwearing. Unfortunately the inside of the laptop was finished with matte plastic. Elsewhere, the plastic feet on the base of the laptop kept falling off while the flimsy plastic cover on the Ethernet port got in the way and eventually broke off. Of more concern, the screen of the Novatech bent easily with little pressure applied.
The 14in screen didn't have the best image quality either, The 1366x768 pixel resolution could and should be higher and it wasn't especially bright either. The touchpad was fine, although the keyboard was a little spongy to the touch so typing wasn't as comfortable or as accurate as other laptop keyboards. Also, somewhat sloppily considering this is a laptop from a British company, the keyboard is American, so the pound symbol is missing and there are some other minor layout oddities.
Laptops of this size and price will have diminished connectivity. The Nfinity only has an SD card reader, a HDMI port and three USB 2 ports – the lack of any USB 3 ports is a drawback.
Although the Nfinity 2367 Plus is cheap, you get what you pay for. It is light and turns on quickly, but it felt cheap and there were some disappointing oversights.
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A cheap Ultrabook that has good battery life, but also some shortcomings including uninspiring build quality.
Good battery life; lightweight; cheap
Cheap build quality; poor screen and keyboard
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