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Advent Sienna 500 review

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.


15.6 in 1,360×768 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 1,366×768 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 ****
Processor Intel Core i5-430M
Processor clock speed 2.27GHz
Memory 3.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 8GB
Size 34x382x255mm
Weight 2.5kg
Sound IDT HD Audio
Pointing device touchpad


Viewable size 15.6 in
Native resolution 1,360×768
Graphics Processor Intel GMA HD (Core i5)
Graphics/video ports VGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory 32MB


Total storage capacity 250GB
Optical drive model TSST TS-L633C
Optical drive type DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Bluetooth no
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11b/g/n
PC Card slots none
Modem No
Other ports none


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included Microsoft Works 9
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £500

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