Advent is PC World's in-house PC brand, offering competitive prices on machines you can see in-store and try before you buy. The Advent 5511 (£530 inc. VAT) is a semi-portable laptop aimed at the regular consumer.

Multimedia use is enhanced by a bright and colourful 15.4-inch Super-TFT screen, and it's a good choice for those wanting to watch movies. As with all such glossy panels, reflections are highlighted in sunny conditions, but we didn't find it any worse than it was on rival machines.

You won't be able to carry out taxing 3D tasks, however, as performance is limited by the use of an integrated graphics card. Despite the GPU consuming less power than a dedicated graphics card, battery life was quite poor, lasting under three hours between charges during our tests.

Stylish design

The 5511 is a stylish machine, finished in a mix of gloss-black, silver and matt-black plastics. The palm rest features a textured effect, which is mirrored by the pattern on the glossy lid. We found the result distinctive and more pleasing than the sombre design sported by the HP.

The Advent's keyboard stands out, as the keys are completely flat and lacking the tapered edges found on rival keyboards. The result is comfortable, with springy and responsive keys, but it's far too easy to strike the wrong one as you type. We also found some of the peripheral keys poorly attached.

Build quality is largely good. The keyboard lets it down slightly, but the chassis itself is more than capable of withstanding daily use. The thick screen surround also provides plenty of protection for the display.

Woeful performance

Despite the use of a cutting-edge Intel Centrino 2 GM45 chipset and a midrange 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor, the Advent proved woeful when it came to performance.

We found it couldn't cope with multi-tasking, and simple tasks such as copying files took far longer than they did on the other laptops.

Features include an integrated webcam, and an HDMI port lets you connect a high-definition TV and watch downloaded HD content. As with the Asus and FSC, an eSATA port is in place for transferring large amounts of data to external disks. A dual-format DVD optical drive also lets you back up files to blank disks.

The Advent may be a stylish and affordable machine, and build quality also impressed, but the low performance on offer from our review machine makes it impossible to recommend.