capsule review

Sharp Actius AV18P

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Sharp Actius AV18P Notebook

Sharp Actius AV18P
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

The Sharp Actius AV18P is the antidote to lightweight Wi-Fi notebooks that cost a mint. The black-and-silver 1.1-inch-thick unit weighs just 5.1 pounds, including a DVD/CD-ROM combination drive and a power adapter, and its price ($1499) covers built-in Wi-Fi networking.

The AV18P's other features are somewhat limited, however. Its 40GB hard drive isn't user-upgradable; the optical drive bay, though modular, does not accommodate other types of devices, such as secondary hard drives or batteries; and adding productivity applications costs extra. The notebook does includes FireWire and TV-out ports, but there's only one built-in speaker, which produces low, tinny sound when playing music and DVD sound tracks.

The AV18P turned in disappointing performance for a 1.4-GHz Mobile Athlon XP-M 1800+ notebook with 256MB of RAM, earning a PC WorldBench 4 score of just 95. Still, it's plenty fast for mainstream applications. Its RAM capacity tops out at 768MB--far below the 2GB maximum of some notebooks, but enough for most uses. In our battery tests, the AV18P lasted a respectable 2.9 hours. An optional secondary $199 power pack mounts on the bottom and can stretch total battery life to almost 6 hours, according to the vendor.

The AV18P's keyboard lacks standard extras such as a scrolling rocker and quick-launch buttons, and its travel feels a tad shallow. The layout is sensible, however, and the keys are large enough to support touch typing after a short adjustment time.

The PC-AV18P comes with only one print manual, but it tells you everything you need to know about the notebook.

If you can live with its small keyboard and weak audio, the Actius AV18P is a good thin-and-light notebook for the price.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Sharp Actius AV18P Notebook

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