PC Nextday Zoostorm 55-8701 review

Price when reviewed

If you’re looking for a notebook to take with you on your travels, PC Nextday’s Zoostorm 55-8701 isn’t going to make your shortlist. This beast of a machine boasts a 17in 1,440 x 900 widescreen TFT and a shoulder-straining 3.9kg weight.

PC Nextday Zoostorm 55-8701 review

However, it will certainly be a candidate if you intend to use it mainly as a replacement for your current PC. Its size accommodates a good-quality, full-sized keyboard complete with number pad. And it boasts a complement of features to match its desktop presence.

Under the bonnet is Intel’s fastest mobile processor, the 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo T7600, which is backed by 2GB of fast 667MHZ DDR2 memory and a 160GB hard disk. It’s a specification that blows the competition away in terms of its 2D performance, with a score of 1.34.

It’s fully equipped on the home entertainment front as well. Not only does this notebook have DVI-I and S-Video outputs, but you also get a DVB-T digital TV tuner built in, plus analog video capture hardware. There’s also Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a comprehensive card reader and a dual-layer DVD writer.

But there are disappointments. Although the PC Nextday uses up all the allowed budget, the 55-8701 sports only an ATi X1600 GPU, which delivered frame rates of just 23fps in Far Cry and 27fps in Call of Duty 2 at 1,024 x 768. Even the Core 2 Duo can’t rescue the Zoostorm’s 3D performance score.

The 55-8701 isn’t the best-looking machine we’ve ever seen either: its grey and silver OEM chassis feels cheap. And it’s just as well this is a desktop replacement, since the build quality suggests it wouldn’t survive much punishment on the road. Disappointing battery life confirms the machine’s lack of portability; despite a 6,750mAh battery, it lasted only 1hr 51mins while idling and just 1hr 2mins under intensive use.

If these shortfalls and the dull design don’t phase you, this notebook is certainly worth considering. But in the context of this Labs, the sacrifices made to squeeze in the best core components ultimately push the Zoostorm 55-8701 out of contention for an award.

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