Advent 9415 review

£343
Price when reviewed

Visually, the Advent is the archetypal budget notebook. There are no bright primary colours or eye-catching designs here: it’s clad top to toe in matte black.

Advent 9415 review

Sadly, the 9415 also feels like a budget laptop. The construction is sturdy – twin catches hold the lid closed, and the base is impressively flex-free – but it’s still plasticky. Indeed, prodding the lid with any force resulted in disturbing amounts of distortion.

Apart from the generous four USB ports, the Advent’s chassis is a frill-free affair. There’s no webcam, no dial-up modem, no ExpressCard slot; just a VGA socket and a memory card reader.

The battery is similarly frugal. It’s a low-capacity 2,200mAh cell, and with the Advent sitting totally idle it lasted just 1hr 24 mins; intensive use saw that drop to 68 minutes. Were it not for its lack of stamina, the Advent would have made a reasonable travelling companion – it’s the lightest laptop on test, weighing in at 2.6kg.

There are some welcome payoffs for all that cost-cutting, however. The keyboard, usually a low point with budget laptops, is actually rather fine. There’s no hint of flex and each of the full-sized keys has a nice, positive action. Only the trackpad blots the Advent’s copybook, with stiff and, at times, unresponsive buttons.

Considering the cost, the Advent’s specification is surprisingly good. Intel’s 1.6GHz T2330 dual-core processor is allied to 2GB of memory, helping the 9415 to a decent 0.70 in our benchmarks. It’s more than fast enough for everyday tasks, and the 120GB hard disk offers plenty of storage, too.

The SiS Mirage 3+ graphics staggered through our Crysis benchmark with an average frame rate of less than 2fps – you won’t be gaming on this laptop. The glossy display is no great shakes, either. It’s bright and usable for everyday tasks, but lacks contrast and suffers from the same bluish tinge as on the Belinea.

It might be one of the cheaper laptops here, but the Advent 9415’s plasticky build and bare-essentials approach leave it floundering against the competition.

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