PC World's in-house Advent brand comprises a range of laptops ideal for first-time buyers on a budget. Its Roma 2000 is an entry-level solution, but while it suits basic family use, its rivals easily better it.
The chassis is built from both glossy and matt-black plastics, leading to mixed durability. The laptop feels resilient and well made, but the shiny lid is prone to scratches. The patterned finish may not suit all tastes, but adds a unique style missing from many laptops at this price.
This mixed level of quality extends to the user interface. The keyboard is firmly attached with large, responsive keys. The board's flat profile makes it sometimes awkward to differentiate between keys when speed typing, but all keys respond accurately if a little loudly at times.
Mobility is hugely flawed. Not only is the 2.9kg chassis quite hefty – albeit by a small margin over some – the 87-minute battery life is truly appalling. This could pose a problem even if you only plan to work at home on the sofa.
Performance fares slightly better, with the Intel Celeron processor running basic tasks smoothly. It is a single-core chip, so complex multi-tasking is not possible, but it suffices for browsing the internet, writing documents and viewing photos.
The Roma's key strength is its 15.6-inch screen. It is bright and sharp with excellent colour and contrast, helping photos and videos look fantastic. The glossy Super- TFT screen coating inevitably increases reflections, but we found it easy to achieve a comfortable viewing angle.
The inclusion of an HDMI port is rare at this price, with only the Toshiba Satellite L450-136 proving similarly equipped. It lets you connect to an HDTV for a bigger picture when viewing movies or photos. An analogue VGA port is also in place.
Storage is equally impressive. The 320GB hard drive matches the Lenovo G550 and will easily hold large collections of music and photos.
Digital camera users will be able to transfer photos using the 4-in-1 media card reader located on the front of the chassis.
As with all but the HP Compaq 6735s, an integrated camera is fitted above the screen for keeping in touch with family and friends via instant messaging software. Buyers are also sure to appreciate the accessible in-store repair service offered by PC World with this laptop.
Overall, the strong usability, capacious storage and stunning screen of the Roma 2000 make it a decent choice for basic tasks.
Its awful battery life is likely to deter many buyers, however, so you may prefer to take a look at one of the other machines at this price point.
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