Advent 5612 review

£350
Price when reviewed

Take a look at the Advent 5612’s price and you’d be forgiven for doing a double-take. But it isn’t a misprint – this really is a 15.4in laptop for little more than your average netbook.

Advent 5612 review

Start by perusing the Advent’s specifications and it’s clear where the cash has been saved. The Intel Celeron T1600 processor is the slowest of all the processors here, and with a lonely 2GB stick of DDR2 RAM occupying the only memory slot, the Advent lagged behind with 0.76 in our benchmarks. Then again, that’s twice the speed of a netbook.

Gaming performance was next to non-existent thanks to the basic Intel GMA 4500M graphics, a chipset that left the 5612 staggering through our Crysis benchmark at a slideshow-esque four frames per second.

Keep the lid closed and the 5612 looks almost stylish, thanks to the glossy black lid highlighted with a single grey pinstripe. There’s even a practical touch in the shape of twin lid clasps to keep the screen firmly shut in a bag.

But, once you’ve tilted that lid back, the Advent is less than pretty. The two-tone gloss and matte-black finish jar unpleasantly against a silver surround and trackpad. Such ugliness would be forgivable if the 5612 were just a tad more usable. Alas, ergonomics aren’t where the 5612’s strengths lay. The keyboard has a positive action, but the keys’ square shape and rattly feel don’t instill confidence. The trackpad is also far from perfect, waylaid by stiff buttons.

Elsewhere, the Advent puts in an unremarkable performance. The 15.4in display is bright enough, but has narrow viewing angles, a bluish tone and poor contrast. It’s a similar story with the speakers which, while not entirely awful, produce a tinny, lightweight tone.

The final nail in the Advent’s coffin is battery life. Light use saw the 5612 manage a mere two hours, and 1hr 20mins under heavy usage.

While there’s no doubt that building a 15.4in laptop for just £304 is impressive, Advent has had to cut a few too many corners to get there.

Warranty

Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions358 x 256 x 41mm (WDH)
Weight2.670kg
Travelling weight3.0kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Celeron T1600
Motherboard chipsetIntel GL40
RAM capacity2.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total1

Screen and video

Screen size15.4in
Resolution screen horizontal1,280
Resolution screen vertical800
Resolution1280 x 800
Graphics chipsetIntel GMA 4500
Graphics card RAM96MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity160GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskToshiba MK1652GSX
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveTSST TS-L633A
Battery capacity3,700mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed100Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportno
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
Modemno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetIntel HD Audio
Speaker locationAbove keyboard
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
TPMno
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use2hr 0min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 20min
Overall application benchmark score0.76
3D performance (crysis) low settings4fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
OS familyWindows Vista
Recovery methodBurn own recovery discs
Software suppliedMicrosoft Works SE 9

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