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Advent Sienna 500 review

Kat Orphanides
13 Jul 2010
Advent Sienna 500
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
500
inc VAT

Advent's Sienna 500 is a powerful laptop for the price, but a small hard disk and poor battery life layout prevent it winning an award.

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Specifications

15.6 in 1,360x768 display, 2.5kg, 2.27GHz Intel Core i5-430M, 3.00GB RAM, 250GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

The 2.27GHz Core i5-430M processor in Advent's new Sienna 500 provides more power than we expected to see right now in laptops at this price. Other aspects of its specification are a little less surprising, like 3GB of memory, a relatively small 250GB hard disk and the Core i5's built-in graphics chip.

However, there's nothing to seriously disappoint here. We were impressed by the Sienna's performance in our benchmark tests, which produced a fantastic overall score of 86. This is considerably quicker than Samsung's R530 which won our Best Buy award two months ago.

The Core i5 processor also handles the graphics, thanks to a motherboard that can use its built-in graphics processor. Its score of 10.7fps in Call of Duty 4 indicates that no amount of tweaking will make the latest 3D shooters run smoothly, but it can easily handle both HD video and more basic 3D games.

The laptop looks great, with a glossy lid and matt black keyboard and wrist rest. The inner edges of the case are surprisingly sharp and uncomfortable, so we had to avoid resting our hands at an angle. The keyboard has flat, widely spaced keys. It feels a little looser and lighter than most similarly designed keyboards. This made typing unusually loud but didn't have an adverse effect on our ability to type accurately. The case becomes warm to the touch after it's been on for a while, but not enough to make it uncomfortable to type on.

The number pad and cursor keys are close together at the right-hand edge of the laptop, making them slightly more difficult to use accurately. We were particularly prone to hitting the Insert key instead of the cursor keys next to it, so found ourselves overwriting text by accident. We also found that while typing we occasionally brushed the touchpad, which sits flush with the wrist rest, and this moved the cursor around the screen.

The glossy 15.6in display is vivid and bright. It retains its even tone at lower brightness settings. Colour saturation is particularly even and it doesn't have the slightly warm tint that many laptop screens do. The 1,366x768 resolution is sufficient to provide plenty of desktop space without inducing eyestrain. HDMI and VGA outputs allow you to connect an external display if you need higher resolutions or a larger screen. The built-in speakers provide more bass than many; they're pretty loud, too, but sounded a little harsh when turned up full.

Our main gripe with the Sienna 500 is its poor battery life: it managed just over two hours before needing a recharge. Otherwise, this is an excellent laptop with a decent specification and display. However, the battery life, in combination with more minor niggles, such as the layout of the keyboard and small 250GB hard disk, means that the Sienna 500 can't quite match Acer's Aspire 5741. The Aspire costs only a little more but is more comfortable to use and has a 320GB hard disk. Bear in mind that the Sienna 500 costs £500 only if you buy it online - it's £600 in store.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core i5-430M
Processor clock speed2.27GHz
Memory3.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory8GB
Size34x382x255mm
Weight2.5kg
SoundIDT HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size15.6 in
Native resolution1,360x768
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA HD (Core i5)
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory32MB

Storage

Total storage capacity250GB
Optical drive modelTSST TS-L633C
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothno
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11b/g/n
PC Card slotsnone
ModemNo
Other portsnone

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedMicrosoft Works 9
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£500
Detailswww.advent.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.dixons.co.uk

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