Advent 7113 review
It’s been a long while since we saw an Advent machine arrive in the Labs, but it’s clear that PC World is making the most of Vista’s launch. While we’d usually expect poor value from a high-street notebook, the bargain-priced 7113 caught our eye.
The reason it’s a bargain is because it comes with Vista Home Premium. Home Basic doesn’t have Premium’s Media Center Edition, Aero interface, scheduled backups, Live Preview or Mobility Center. While the latter two are minor features, the others are real advantages.
Advent also includes a generous 1GB of memory – the accepted minimum requirement for Vista – plus a dual-layer DVD writer and an 80GB hard disk. There has only been slight skimping on TFT quality: the 15.4in 1,280 x 800 glossy widescreen is bright and offers good contrast. Only a minor amount of backlight leakage is visible.
Build quality is also surprisingly solid, with good protection for the TFT, plus a rigid chassis. The keyboard layout isn’t perfect, but apart from the odd misplaced key and slight rattle, it’s comfortable to use for long periods.
The Wi-Fi radio can be turned on or off with a handy switch and there’s even an optical S/PDIF output, which shares the headphone socket. A forward-looking ExpressCard/54 slot is welcome, although it’s a shame there are only three USB ports and no media card reader.
Despite the small 2,000mAh battery, the Advent still lasted almost two hours with light use. However, this reduced to only 53 minutes when we ran our intensive tests. Our benchmarks also showed that the Celeron M 430 isn’t the world’s fastest CPU and managed an Overall 2D score of only 0.56. Needless to say, the integrated Intel GPU isn’t up to the task of gaming – only the PC Nextday borders on running modern games here.
But if you’re simply looking for a budget notebook for DVDs, music, photos plus web browsing and emailing, the 7113 is the best choice here. It has only a one-year warranty compared to MSI’s two, but if you’re happy to take the risk that nothing will go wrong, Home Premium’s extra features mean the £384 Advent should be top of your shortlist.