Nice big, bright 17" screen. First time i3 user and pleasantly surprised. 4GB RAM. Decent appearance -- after all the stickers were removed :)
Battery life is not all that great: around 2-2.5 hours (with wireless on). Would have preferred 1920x1080 instead of 1600x900 but cannot really complain given the price (480USD). Left hand-side gets "toasty" (just below keyboard)
Cannot comment on the original hard drive. I only booted into Windows 7 once to see if the computer worked out of the box. It appeared reasonably fast for a 5400RPM drive. Replaced the drive with a SSD drive and installed Fedora (Linux).