To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Advent Altro review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 600
inc VAT

Advent's Altro is impressively slender, but its small hard disk and incredibly slow processor mean it's impossible to recommend.

Specifications

13.3 in 1,366×768 display, 1.7kg, 1.2GHz Intel Celeron M ULV 723, 3.00GB RAM, 120GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium

http://www.pcworld.co.uk

Advent’s Altro bears an uncanny resemblance to Apple’s MacBook Air (see What’s New, Shopper 244).

It’s very slender, although this is at least partly due to its lack of a built-in optical drive. Unlike the Air, it has a user-replaceable battery. However, we were deeply unimpressed with the cheap, plastic build and wobbly hinge. The underside can become very warm when running demanding programs, too.

The lone USB port, headphone socket and HDMI connector are on the back, instead of on the sides where they would be easier to reach. If you need to attach more peripherals, a port replicator with two USB ports, an Ethernet connector and VGA monitor socket is included.

The keyboard’s large keys feel responsive, but could do with a little more travel. The large touchpad has a smooth texture and the buttons give just the right amount of feedback. There’s an integrated orientation sensor, which Advent plans to use pending a software update.

Even for a screen with a glossy finish, the 13.3in widescreen 1,366×768 display is very reflective, and it also gives images a grainy sheen. Viewing angles are tight, so colour accuracy suffers unless you’re sitting directly in front of it. It is at least very bright though.

The Altro is the first laptop we’ve seen with Intel’s new single-core Celeron M ULV 723 processor. It fared reasonably well in our image-editing benchmark, but was slow in our other tests, especially multitasking, where it got a score of one due to its low clock speed of 1.2GHz, measly 1MB of L2 cache and lack of Hyper-Threading. It also has only 3GB of RAM.

This poor performance would be forgivable if the Altro had good battery life, but at just over three hours it’s disappointingly short for an ultra-portable laptop. The small 120GB hard disk will fill up quickly if you plan to store anything other than office documents or a very modest media library.

We wanted to like Advent’s Altro, but it has too many faults for us to recommend it. We prefer Packard Bell’s Butterfly or Acer’s slightly more expensive TravelMate Timeline.

Basic Specifications

Rating **
Processor Intel Celeron M ULV 723
Processor clock speed 1.2GHz
Memory 3.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 8GB
Size 25x337x231
Weight 1.7kg
Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Pointing device touchpad
Power consumption standby 3W
Power consumption idle 17W
Power consumption active 26W

Display

Viewable size 13.3 in
Native resolution 1,366×768
Graphics Processor Intel GMA 4500M HD
Graphics/video ports VGA
Graphics Memory 64MB

Storage

Total storage capacity 120GB
Optical drive model none
Optical drive type N/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots none
Modem No
Supported memory cards none
Other ports port replicator connector

Miscellaneous

Carrying case No
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included Microsoft Works 9
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB or customer carry in
Price £600
Details www.advent.co.uk
Supplier http://www.pcworld.co.uk