Avita packs in a decent-looking specification, but the low price is matched with the mediocre build and a dim display
- Slender and lightweight
- Decent CPU performance
- Slow SSD
- Flimsy build
- Dim, lifeless display
Unless you’ve read our Avita Liber 14 review from 2019, this may well be the first time you’ve heard of Avita. Like Chuwi or Xidu, it’s a relatively unknown laptop manufacturer specialising in low-cost notebooks that undercut the more established brands.
Avita’s latest offering, the Avita Pura 14, is its cheapest model yet. Despite this, it manages to pack in some pretty impressive internals. Could it be the best-value budget laptop of 2020?
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Avita Pura 14 review: What you need to know
Marketed as an all-day work machine for students and professionals, the Avita Pura 14 is a run-of-the-mill budget Full HD laptop from lifestyle brand Avita, a subsidiary of Hong Kong tech giant Nexstgo. Powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor, it has 8GB RAM, 256GB of storage and runs Windows 10 Home.
Avita has released additional configurations of the Pura 14 in some international markets, with up to 8GB RAM and the choice of Ryzen 3 or Intel processors, but so far there’s no sign that these will land in the UK.
The Bmax X14 is one of the Avita Pura 14’s closest rivals – in price at least. At the time of our review, its £399 price tag represented great value for money. However, the performance of its Intel Celeron N4100 CPU is pitiful compared to the cheaper, Ryzen 5-powered Pura 14.
At £549, the Honor MagicBook 14 remains our favourite budget 14in laptop. It too runs on an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor but it has 8GB RAM, double that of the Pura 14. It’s a better machine in every way, from its CPU performance and battery life to its display quality and overall build quality. It’s well worth the extra outlay.
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Avita Pura 14 review: Design, keyboard and touchpad
Unpacking the Avita Pura 14, the cheapness of its build is immediately obvious. The grey plastic chassis has a tacky-feeling, scratchy surface and the entire machine creaks whenever it’s picked up, opened or closed. The wrist rest area is particularly weak and can be depressed down until it clicks.
It is compact, though, measuring 322 x 221 x 15mm and weighing around 1.3kg, and the sides are barely thick enough to accommodate the laptop’s various ports. On the left edge, there’s a microSD slot (up to 256GB), a 3.5mm audio jack and a USB-A 3.0 port. On the right-hand side, it has an HDMI output, a USB-C 3.0 port, a charging port and another USB-A 3.0 port.
The borders surrounding the 14in FHD IPS display are quite thick, especially the lower bezel that features the Avita logo. A 720p webcam is housed in the upper bezel above the display.
For a budget laptop, the Pura 14’s keyboard isn’t bad at all. The chiclet-style layout is fairly compact, and the keys have minimal travel depth, but the overall typing experience is fine. There’s no keyboard backlighting, however, which is a shame.
I’m not fond of the touchpad though. It’s overly sensitive and frequently executes unwanted three-finger Windows touchpad gestures when there are only two fingers on the pad. This seriously tried my patience and it didn’t stop even after I lowered the touchpad’s settings to the lowest sensitivity.
Avita Pura 14 review: Display and audio
Avita’s pricier Liber 14 had a decent IPS display, so I had high expectations for the Pura’s 1,920 x 1,080 14in IPS panel. Sadly, though, the screen is the dimmest and dullest of any laptop I’ve ever tested, with a maximum brightness of only 194cd/m².
Colour performance is equally poor; the panel covers 59.4% of the sRGB colour gamut, and accuracy is shocking across the whole palette – greens and reds are skewed, while dark blues are totally off.
The Pura 14’s audio quality is poor as well. Located on the underside of the chassis, the laptop’s stereo speakers sound muted and tinny even at maximum volume, and bass is completely non-existent. You can get by for Zoom or Skype calls but, if you’re listening to music or watching YouTube, you’ll want a nice pair of headphones.
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Avita Pura 14 review: Performance and battery life
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t expect much from a £330 laptop when it comes to CPU performance. However, thanks to its AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor, the Avita Pura 14 left me pleasantly surprised. In our 4K media benchmark, the Pura 14 reached an overall score of 80.
That’s respectable, and not far off the speeds recorded by the pricier Huawei MateBook D 15 and Honor MagicBook 14 laptops. In standard daily use, the Pura 14 feels reasonably snappy, but pushing it harder reveals its limits: once my Chrome browser exceeded 20 tabs the machine started to feel sluggish.
And when it comes to gaming, the Pura 14 isn’t too shabby. It only has integrated AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics, so the latest AAA titles are off-limits, but it can run a mean game of Minecraft. While it didn’t fare so well with the Metro: Last Light 1080p benchmark, hitting an average frame rate of only 13.5fps with high-quality settings, in the less demanding Dirt 720p benchmark it cranked out a playable average of 45.42fps with all the settings set to high.
Those results make its 256GB SSD performance all the more disappointing. In the AS SSD benchmark, the SSD produced read and write speeds of 437MB/sec and 458 MB/sec respectively. Compared to rivals like the Honor MagicBook 14 (results shown above) that’s well off the pace. Because of this, applications can be painfully slow to open, and saving files takes an equally long time.
The Pura 14’s battery life is nothing to write home about, lasting only 4hrs 51mins in our standardised video playback test. Admittedly, it’s only a touch behind ultra-budget options like the Xidu Tour Pro and Bmax X14, but it’s a long way off the 8hrs 15mins of continuous playback achieved by the Honor MagicBook 14.
Avita Pura 14 review: Verdict
The Avita Pura 14 is far more powerful than any £330 laptop has a right to be. But make no mistake: the Ryzen 5 CPU doesn’t leave much room in the budget for anything else. The build quality is flimsy, the display is dismal, battery life is mediocre and the SSD speeds are anything but cutting edge. If you can lay your hands on an extra £200, then Honor’s MagicBook 14 is a class apart.
Not everyone has the luxury of hundreds of pounds sitting around spare, however, so let me be clear: the Avita is not unusably bad. If you can’t stretch your budget and all you want is a basic, portable machine with a bit of CPU grunt, then you may be willing to live with the Avita Pura 14’s compromises – just don’t expect too much.
|Avita Pura 14 specifications|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 5 3500U|
|Additional memory slots||No|
|Graphics adapter||AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics|
|Screen size (in)||14|
|Screen resolution||1,920 x 1,080|
|Pixel density (PPI)||157|
|Memory card slot||microSD|
|3.5mm audio jack||Yes|
|Graphics outputs||HDMI, USB-C 3.0|
|Other ports||2 x USB-A 3.0|
|Web Cam||1MP, 720p|
|Dimensions, mm (WDH)||322 x 221 x 15mm|
|Battery size (Wh)||48|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home|