capsule review

Averatec AV1150-EW1

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Averatec AV1150-EW1 Notebook

    PCWorld Rating

    A difficult-to-navigate Acrobat manual, poor keyboard, and lack of upgradeability hold this model back.

Averatec AV1150-EW1
Photograph: Chris Manners

The $1399 (as of 6/26/2006) AV1150-EW1 in Averatec's 1100 Series is the company's newest and lightest notebook. It weighs just 3.5 pounds, including an integrated dual-layer DVD burner, and it offers long battery life--4.4 hours in our tests. Unfortunately, the unit has some keyboard shortcomings and limited upgradability.

The AV1150-EW1 boasts the same sleek black and silver styling as other Averatec notebooks. Owing to its small but crisp 10.4-inch WXGA screen, it's very compact, measuring 1.4 inches thick by 10.5 inches wide by 8 inches deep. Connections are generous and varied--they include a PC Card slot, two USB ports, and a four-in-one memory card reader. Other nice touches: a Wi-Fi switch on the front of the case, and a sturdy protective cover for the FireWire port and modem and network jacks, all grouped together on the left side.

Equipped with a 1.1-GHz Pentium M ULV 733 CPU and 1GB of RAM, the AV1150-EW1 earned a modest WorldBench 5 score of 60, on a par with similarly outfitted competitors. Like many ultraportables, this model is best suited for undemanding on-the-go work, like checking e-mail and doing word processing.

As much as I liked some aspects of the 1150-EW1's design, I had trouble acclimating to its keyboard, which felt flimsy and cramped. The punctuation keys are half size, and paging up and down requires inconvenient combination keystrokes. Moreover, the all-black lettering on the silver keyboard made some keys hard to read.

Expansion potential is limited. Instead of having memory chips and a hard drive located behind easy-to-remove bottom panels held in place by a couple of screws, the laptop's components are inaccessible to users. That rules out do-it-yourself memory upgrades or swapping out a failed hard drive (the unit includes an 80GB drive).

The Acrobat manual could use help as well. The manual is neither indexed nor linked, and it requires paging through the entire document or searching in a separate pane to find information.

All told, you're better off spending your hard-earned cash elsewhere.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    A difficult-to-navigate Acrobat manual, poor keyboard, and lack of upgradeability hold this model back.

    Pros

    • Integrated optical drive
    • Small, attractive size

    Cons

    • Keyboard feels cheap
    • Not user upgradeable
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