When buying a laptop with a 17in screen you usually expect to pay considerably more than £600, but Hi-Grade has managed to achieve such a price tag with its Hi-Grade Ultinote A9900R.

Although the Hi-Grade Ultinote A9900R is quite bulky, it isn’t one of the heaviest 17in laptops we have seen and, at a stretch, its 3.6kg could be carried around. We also find the Hi-Grade Ultinote A9900R's battery life to be reasonable at 1hr 42mins, so you could happily run it without a power socket for a decent period.

The powerful ATi Radeon X1600 graphics card makes for an acceptable gaming framerate score of 25fps (frames per second). The Hi-Grade Ultinote A9900R's 1GB of memory is also ample and the 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T2450 provides enough oomph to run multiple applications without any problems. It also enabled a respectable WorldBench speed benchmark of 69.

Although not an example of exquisite design, the Hi-Grade Ultinote A9900R is not ugly either, being predominantly silver with black interior. It feels well built and is convenient to use, with a large keyboard, responsive touch pad and buttons that would be comfortable to use for long work and gaming sessions.

At this price the 160GB hard drive capacity is ample and with you can hook up the Hi-Grade Ultinote A9900R to wireless a, b and g networks. With four USB ports and a 4-in-1 card reader you are sorted on the connectivity front.

One of the downfalls of the Hi-Grade Ultinote A9900R is how hot it gets, but as it is intended as a desktop replacement this may not be a huge problem. We also find that, besides the fact that the resolution of 1,440 x 900 is a little less than expected, the screen display does not provide enough contrast, and visibility is difficult at certain angles.

The included software selection is not the most extensive, but if you want a desktop replacement on a budget then the Ultinote Hi-Grade Ultinote A9900R is both comfortable to use and has a large enough screen for home entertainment use.


Although suffering from slightly poor visibility at certain angles, this 17in laptop offers enough power, storage space, memory and connectivity options to perform as a decent desktop-replacement machine. If you don't mind the slightly lower screen resolution and rather uninspiring look of the Hi-Grade Ultinote A9900R, it’s a convenient machine to use and a bargain at just under £600.