Advent Modena £350
22nd Jun 2010 | 09:30
Great usability, storage and screen, but performance and battery life disappoint
Advent is PC World's in-house brand and comprises a range of affordable entry-level machines. Its Advent Modena is a usable option for the first-time buyer and includes a bright and vibrant screen, but performance is poor.
The slim chassis carries the same basic design scheme we've come to expect from the Advent range, but its patterned glossy lid and matt-plastic interior create a nice contrast.
The plain black design is a little uninspiring, but doesn't detract too much from the sleek consumer styling.
At 2.5kg, this is a machine that is easy to use around the home or on shorter journeys. With a depth of just 33mm, it slips easily into a carry case, so it's disappointing that the battery runs for just over two hours – a truly awful result.
Usability is more pleasing, with the isolated-style keyboard proving very comfortable to use. A numeric keypad is fitted on the board's right-hand side, for fast data input and making quick calculations, and the glossy textured touchpad is tactile and works well.
The most notable feature of this machine is its vibrant 15.6-inch screen. While not as sharp as we would have liked, colour and contrast are fantastic and really bring photos and movies to life. Even the glossy Super-TFT coating is less reflective than some we've seen.
At this low price, limited performance is commonplace. While the Intel Celeron processor is backed by 2048MB of high-speed DDR3 memory, the Modena only suits the most basic home use, such as word processing, browsing the internet and watching the occasional DVD.
Graphics don't fare any better, with the integrated Intel graphics card providing bare bones power. Basic photo and video editing is possible, but high-definition video and high-resolution image editing quickly brings the GPU to its knees.
Thankfully, ample storage compensates somewhat. The 320GB hard drive provides more than enough space for a family to store music, photos and videos. You can also easily create your own CDs and DVDs using the built-in DVD rewriter.
Surprisingly at such a low-price, high-speed wireless connectivity is provided by 802.11n Wi-Fi. An integrated camera is also in place, fitted above the screen, and lets you capture snapshots and even record video for easy online video messaging use.
Offering good usability, a great screen and ample storage at such a low price, the Advent Modena is sure to please first time buyers looking for an affordable and portable bargain.
Its limited performance and awful battery life cannot be ignored, however, so we would recommend you shop around before buying.
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