Advent Roma review
Advent’s Roma is strikingly affordable. Despite its 15.6in screen and notebook credentials, it’s cheaper than some netbooks. Inevitably, though, that’s been achieved by choosing price over quality in several areas.
Take the processor, for example: the Roma’s 2.2GHz Celeron 900 is a particularly weak CPUs. Although it’s partnered with an unexpected 3GB of 667MHz DDR2 RAM, it still left the system scoring just 0.78 in our benchmarks.
3D performance is worse, thanks to a bargain-basement Intel 4500M integrated GPU. It does support DirectX 10, but with a score of just 5fps in Crysis at low detail it’s effectively useless for anything but older classics.
A tiny 2,200mAh battery completes the deal: in our tests, it supplied just 58 minutes of heavy use and could muster only 1hr 51mins when idle.
Yet despite this unapologetic penny-pinching, the Roma has its attractions. The casing is sturdy, and while it won’t win any style awards it won’t embarrass you either.
Although the TFT isn’t as richly colourful as those you’ll find on premium laptops, it’s bright and sharp enough for office and internet apps. There’s even an HDMI port, so you can hook up a better screen if you choose. The speakers are louder than many, although they sound flat and will distort if you push them too far.
When you start to type on the Roma the keys feel spongy, and the keytops are set close together, so it’s easy to hit the wrong letter. But once you get used to that, it’s solid and usable, with decent-sized keys laid out sensibly. The touchpad is nothing special, but nor is it too small or fiddly.
And considering the price, the reasonably sized 250GB hard disk and full Home Premium edition of Vista are pleasant surprises.
To be sure, this is still a budget laptop: performance-wise, it won’t set the pulse racing, and with its underwhelming screen and poor battery life it certainly can’t claim to be a general-purpose contender. But with a full-sized keyboard, big screen and DVD writer, for some roles it could be an appealing alternative to a netbook.
|Warranty||1 yr return to base N/A|
|Dimensions||370 x 261 x 42mm (WDH)|
|Weight with extended battery||N/A|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Celeron 900|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||Intel GMA 4500M|
|Graphics card RAM||32MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||233GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA 300|
|Hard disk||Toshiba MK2555GSX|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Optical drive||TSST TS-L633A|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||no|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||yes|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||3|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||no|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Below screen|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||1hr 51min|
|Battery life, heavy use||58min|
|Overall application benchmark score||0.78|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||5fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit|
|OS family||Windows Vista|
|Recovery method||Burn own recovery discs|
|Software supplied||Microsoft Works 9 SE|