Advent, PC World's in-house brand, offers a range of affordable entry-level laptops. The Advent 5712 is low-powered and designed for basic use, but compensates with its vibrant screen and comprehensive storage.

The chassis has the same 2.6kg weight as all but the HP Compaq Presario CQ60-214EM, and is suitable for basic travel use. Its 90-minute battery life is very poor, however, making laptops like the the eMachines E520-571G16Mi and Toshiba Satellite Pro L300-1FO better for regular travellers looking in this price range.

The glossy lid and textured palm rest add style, but hinder resilience and cleanliness. The glossy coating is easily scratched and attracts fingerprints, while dirt and dust easily settles into the ribbed plastic of the palm rest, making it frustratingly difficult to keep clean.

Usability is more pleasing, and the large keyboard is responsive and comfortable to work on. The keys have quite a sharp typing action, but rattle somewhat during use; however, their flat profile makes them very tactile, so we found long-term use comfortable, if a little noisy.

The most noticeable strength is the stunning 15.4-inch screen. The glossy Super-TFT coating increases reflections, but colour and contrast are both excellent, making it a solid choice for watching movies and editing photos on a budget.

Single-core processor

Where the Advent falls short is in performance. The dual-core Intel Celeron processor suits basic use, such as word processing and browsing the internet, but the increased power and performance of its rivals is far more capable for multi-tasking.

Graphics performance is slightly better, but is still only suited to basic use. Using the same integrated Intel GPU as most other laptops in this price range, you can perform basic photo editing tasks, but there's not enough power for games or regular video editing.

BENCHMARK MACHINE: Samsung Q45

Where the Advent excels is storage. The 250GB hard drive provides comprehensive space for data, and files can be backed up and shared via CD and DVD using the DVD rewriter. The SD card reader also lets you import photos from most digital cameras.

Extra features are also impressive. The HDMI-out port lets you connect to a larger HDTV and is rare at this price. The integrated camera also lets you stay in touch with friends and family via live internet video feeds. There is no Bluetooth support for wireless peripherals, however.

The Advent 5712 is something of a mixed bag. Its excellent screen and storage make it ideal for basic home use, but its poor battery life and low performance are bettered by almost all rivals. You may be able to find a better option.

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