14th March 2003 at 00:00
So you want a laptop PC. You know they come at a premium price but don't want to pay a penny too much. Then the Student Desktops Notebook might be your best bet. It is loaded with not-to-be-without features such as modem for internet, and networking for school. Like many made-for-school machines, it has a floppy drive and can output to a modern TV. And like most machines today, you can beef the spec up or down when you come to buy.

This one came with the wireless networking that many schools are toying with. Only Office software is missing - so if you're thrifty you'd want to try Sun's free StarOffice (or try the 50Mb download from

One could rejoice that this laptop is plainly named "Notebook", but the out-of-the-box experience depends on how good you are with PCs, drivers and software updates. Instructions tell you to install a driver disc but nothing about installing the DVD or CD-writing software. Nor that you ought to then download a version that works properly with Windows XP.

For sure, several hours later we were flying and from here there was little to fault. This 2GHz machine flew over day-to-day surfing and working. Video capture and editing through its FireWire port, which are always a challenge, were entirely feasible. The speakers, battery and screen were very capable, so if you're keen on movies and music, you're well served.

This well-featured Notebook will suit those who do make the most of computers. All the better if they could remove the start-up hold-ups. Call me old fashioned, but I expect a machine more ready to go.

Student Desktops Notebook

Intel Pentium 4 2GHz; 256Mb memory; 30Gb hard disk; DVDCDRW; modem; LAN; D-Link Wireless LAN; Microsoft Windows XP Home; 12-month collect and return warranty pound;869 ex VAT.

From sdIT

Tel: 08707 442 456 (also

Fitness for purpose ***

Ease of use **

Features *****

Quality ***

Value for money ****

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today