Advent is PC World's in-house brand and provides high-quality yet affordable laptops. The original Roma won our Gold award in issue 128 and the Roma 1000 (£349 inc. VAT) now manages to continue most of the strengths of its predecessor.
The 2.9kg chassis is quite heavy, making it better suited to home use than travel. Portability is further restricted by the truly awful 97-minute battery life – one of the worst mobility scores of any laptop we've seen at this size.
The black design uses a combination of matt and glossy plastics to stylish effect. The glossy lid attracts scratches and fingerprints, but the matt interior is more resilient. Overall build quality feels more luxurious than the low price tag suggests.
Usability is mixed. The keyboard uses large, well-spaced keys with an almost entirely flat profile. All the keys have a slightly spongy feel, however, which can hinder comfort. The board also flexes, but responds accurately, if a little noisily.
The 15.6-inch screen uses a widescreen aspect ratio, making it well suited to viewing movies and working with several windows open simultaneously.
Image quality is excellent with stunning colour and contrast, deep black levels and impressive brightness.
Particularly notable is the inclusion of an HDMI port. A rarity at this price, it lets you connect to an external HDTV for the full home cinema experience.
A webcam is integrated into the screen panel, but its distracting blue activity light annoys and cannot be easily disabled.
Windows 7 software
This is one of the only laptops to feature Microsoft's latest operating system (OS). Windows 7 was released in October to rave reviews and provides a faster and more intuitive user experience than Vista – which is still more common on laptops at this price point.
While performance fails to match the dual-core eMachines G725-422G25Mi, the Intel Celeron processor used here allows for smooth basic use. Word processing, browsing the internet and even basic photo editing is possible, but don't expect to be able to play games or edit videos.
The 250GB hard drive of the previous Roma has now been replaced by a less capacious 160GB drive. It still provides ample storage for most needs, however. A DVD rewriter and 4-in-1 flash storage card reader are also in place.
In its latest iteration, the Roma 1000 is an impressive, if slightly flawed, machine for the first-time buyer.
While its poor battery life makes it mainly suited to home use, its decent usability, stunning screen and high-definition compatibility make it easy to recommend.
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