The Advent Quantum Q100 is a no-frills machine that offers a decent specification, but is held back by flawed usability and limited mobility.

Built around a generic chassis, the matt-black design is functional, but lacks the style of the Toshiba Satellite T110-121 and ViewSonic ViewBook 130. The chassis is suitably well made, however. All the panels are firm and pleasingly resilient to scuffs and scratches, providing ample protection.

At just 2.1kg, this is a laptop you can easily carry around the house or use on short journeys. The surprisingly slim 35mm design lets it slip smoothly in and out of a carry case.

Mobility is hindered by the 117-minute battery life, however – a truly awful result for such a small laptop.

Usability is similarly flawed. While the keyboard is comfortably wide, with large keys and a spacious design, the board flexes slightly when typing. The keys also have quite a long degree of travel, meaning touch-typing isn't as smooth or intuitive as on some rival machines.

Advent quantum q100

The 13.3-inch Super-TFT screen is far more pleasing. Despite lacking the true widescreen aspect ratio of some of its rivals, image quality is excellent, with vibrant colours and striking brightness. Contrast is a little too strong at times, but not enough to pose a serious problem.

Limited performance

Performance is basic, but this is common at this price. The single-core Intel Celeron processor only suits internet browsing and running office applications, slowing to a crawl when you attempt to multi-task.

Graphics are equally limited. Using the same integrated Intel GPU as many other laptops at this price, only the most simple tasks are possible. High-definition (HD) video runs smoothly enough and you can also edit your photos with ease, but don't expect to edit videos or play games.

The 250GB hard drive provides ample space for storing your files. Unlike the Toshiba and ViewSonic there is also an integrated optical drive for full read-and-write access to CDs and DVDs.

Aside from the operating system, there is no pre-installed software, so if you want to get started straight out of the box, the Toshiba is a better bet.

Network connectivity is strong, however. 802.11n Wi-Fi provides the fastest wireless connections, while 10/100 Ethernet lets you get connected to fixed networks.

On its own merits, the Quantum Q100 is a likeable, if unexceptional, laptop that is a good choice for first-time buyers. Against such strong rivals, its limited mobility and lack of software means it falls short, however, making it hard to recommend.

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