Advent Discovery MT1804 review
2.2GHz Intel Celeron 900, 3GB RAM, 18.5in 1,366x768 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Advent's Discovery MT1804 all-in-one PC looks remarkably small when you put it next to almost any other all-in-one - or any modern monitor, for that matter. Its modest 18.5in display and easily-marked high-gloss finish make it look more like toy than a real PC. However, the single-core Intel Celeron 900 processor performs no worse than any of the latest Intel Atom processors, scoring 37 Overall in our tests and it doesn't feel too sluggish when carrying out everyday tasks. 3D gaming isn't an option, though.
The Discovery isn't without its irritations, including a relatively small 320GB hard disk. When you eject the vertical DVD drive from the side of the PC, it faces away from you, so we had to stand up and reach around to securely position our discs. The setup screens prompt you to install a mass of trial software that no-one needs and there's also a lot of junk software that you don't get a choice about, including a hideous alternative toolbar that initially occupies the top part of the screen.
You'll want as little on-screen clutter as possible, as the 18.5in touchscreen display has a resolution of just 1,366x768. It supports multitouch gestures using two fingers, but there's no software installed to take advantage of this ability beyond Windows 7's standard touch features. The screen is glossy, but didn't reflect much of the room around us. An HDMI output means you can play HD video files on a larger, higher-resolution projector, TV or monitor. There's only a single 3.5mm analogue audio output, but the built-in speaker is clear, although almost entirely lacking in bass.
The Discovery doesn't have much else to offer. It has just three USB ports, two of which are taken up by the supplied mouse and keyboard. These are both small and feel a little cheap, but are surprisingly comfortable to use. We were particularly pleased how quickly it took us up get used to the keyboard's flat, widely-spaced keys. If you replace the keyboard and mouse with a wireless set that uses a shared adaptor, you'll still have only two empty USB ports, though. We were also surprised to find that the PC has only a 10/100 Ethernet port, rather than Gigabit Ethernet. However, most people will likely use the built-in 802.11n WiFi adaptor, particularly as the Discovery is easily moved from one room to another as needed. This is particularly convenient if you fit an optional laptop battery, which costs £50 and should last around two hours.
The Discovery originally cost £600, but has now dropped to £429, a much more appropriate price for its specification. Unless all you do is surf the web and write the odd letter, it's underpowered as a primary PC, but at this price it's fine if you need a second machine that can be used for homework, watching photo slideshows or catching up on missed programmes on iPlayer. It's also great in the kitchen, as the touchscreen is convenient and has better viewing angles than similarly priced laptops.