Keyboard & Touchpad: 5
Keyboard is usable, but seems much less sturdy than most I've used including the Dell Vostro 1000. They keys themselves seem like they could come off easily and seem to tilt a little when pressed in either direction which I think is probably due to cheap plastic underneath. The touchpad felt rather cheap along with the buttons, but the on/off switch is a nice addition.
The screen I got was very bright and could be seen fairly easily with good horizontal angles. Vertical angles are not so good. Not much if any light bleeding which is good. Overall, I'd say a very good screen for the price.
This rating is more of an opinion than anything else since there are so many factors which affect speed. Also, I have found most computers made within the last 3-4 years perform really well for most users after a fresh reload and some OS optimizations. With that said, I'd give this computer a very good grade. Intel has done a great job with it's value line of processors and this is no exception. After loading XP and doing my usual optimizations, it runs very fast. It's fairly comparable to my Vostro 1500 with a Core 2 Duo 1.6 Ghz. For most users, this speed with suffice for pretty much anything they will do and will be able to multitask very well. I am very happy Intel included Speedstep with their Dual Core Pentium lineup, as opposed to the old Celeron-M design which left them out.
Heat & Noise: 7
Although this computer is not silent, the whiring sound of the fan is fairly faint. The computer does not get hot under most normal use, and while installing all my apps, it was just a little warm.
Build Quality: 7
Not the best quality, but I think better than average. The laptop has a lot of plastic, but the plastic feels fairly sturdy. The hinges feel rather sturdy and hold the screen up very well. I do not like the design of having no latch, but that might just be my preference. Also, it feels fairly light and sturdy when carrying it around and does not feel very thick at all.
Ports and Expansion Slots: 3
This is the worst thing about the laptop in my opinion. It has 3 USB 2.0 ports which is average. The positioning of the ports is not the best though. The two on the right get in the way of the DVDRW and can be fairly annoying if you wish to attach a USB mouse to it. The one on the left side is better, but still too far to the front of the laptop IMHO. The other thing that is really bad is that there is no ExpressCard slot or PCMCIA slot. Granted, most people will not need these since most devices can be found in USB form, but most other laptops, even budget ones, have them. This leaves those which wish to use IEEE firewire devices hanging IMHO.
This is really subjective and I'm not an audio expert, but this laptop has very loud speakers which actually sound decent IMHO. I was very surprised how loud they actually get. Perhaps the Altec Lansing brand has something to do with it. There is still very little bass, but that's pretty much expected on any laptop speakers.
Battery Life: 6
It's about average for the 6-cell battery. I seem to get between 2-3 hours depending on my usage. I'm not sure if it'll last a whole DVD, but I'm pretty certain with normal web surfing you would get close to 3 hours. This is probably due to the Speedstep on the Intel chips.
Overall Value: 8
Even with the poor expandability and crappy keyboard, this is an exceptional value for the average user. It is a very fast computer with a big hard drive and DVD burner for under $450. I would recommend everyone to load XP on it if they can.