Advent 9112 review

£580
Price when reviewed

It may seem a little unfair to compare a sub-£500 notebook with some that cost three times that, but it isn’t with its core components that the Advent slips up. The 1.46GHz Pentium Dual Core processor is an admittedly low-budget solution, but, assisted by 2GB of RAM, it scored a respectable 0.72 in our benchmarks – not bad for just £494.

As well as that you get a large 160GB hard disk to take care of storage needs, backed up by an integrated DVD writer and a card reader for SD/MMC and MS formats. The usual 802.11abg wireless is present, as is an ExpressCard/54 slot for future expansion, and a 1.3-megapixel webcam for making video calls online. There’s no gigabit ethernet and you’re limited to integrated graphics, as with most this month, but as features go the 9112 generally holds its own.

It’s in an arguably more important area that the 9112 lets itself down. With a puny 2,200mAh battery plugged in the back – and not very securely at that – the Advent lasted just 1hr 45mins under light use, and that’s with the screen dimmed and the CPU idle. Less than two hours would be disappointing in a normal-sized notebook, but to achieve such a short battery life in a 12.1in portable is simply unforgiveable.

It certainly looks every bit the budget laptop, too, and the cost-cutting is evident in the awful speakers and slightly shaky build quality. We’re not too keen on the lack of a latch for the lid, and there’s a bit too much bend in it for our liking. The TFT is also a little muted and dim, although the keyboard is pretty comfortable and well laid out, with the exception of a half-sized right Shift key.

If this all sounds a little harsh it won’t once you take a look at the Samsung Q45 Red. It costs only £17 more, yet is a stylish, solidly built and well-specified laptop. With Advent’s poor performance in last month’s Reliability & Service Awards 2007 factored in, we just can’t recommend the 9112, despite its appealing price.

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