Advent is PC World's own in-store brand and offers a great range of machines at aggressive prices.
The policy with the Advent range has always been to offer the most powerful specification for the price.
It comes as no surprise to find the Advent 5302 (£399 inc. VAT) is a powerful laptop. You'll find an Intel Core 2 Duo processor installed. With a clock speed of 1.83GHz, supported by 2048MB of memory, this is as quick a machine as you're likely to find for the price. We found it fast and reliable and a great laptop to opt for if power is a priority.
Short battery life
However, there was one downside of this specification, which was its effect on battery life.
We only managed to get 93 minutes under test conditions from the system, which isn't long enough to gather a MobileMark 2007 score. In daily use, we found it reliable, but this isn't a machine you'll want to rely on when away from mains power.
The design is simple but effective. Made from plastic, the casing feels robust and there is plenty of protection behind the screen. The hinges holding the panel in place aren't as robust as we'd like, so the screen tends to gently rock as you type.
Robust but bulky laptop
The keyboard sits squarely in the centre of the main body and is of a good size. There is plenty of space around the keys and while they have a smooth typing action, there is a fair degree of rattle to them.
The touchpad is moulded from the same plastic as the main body and is highlighted by small dots. It also incorporates a scroll bar, which we found worked well. The mouse buttons are small but were solid to the touch and worked well. Weighing 2.7kg, there is a degree of portability to be had, but the lack of battery life will limit this.
The 15.4-inch Super-TFT screen makes it awkward to carry around for long periods.
Basic feature set
Graphics are poor, largely due to the use of the SiS672 integrated chip, which offers minimal performance, but is adequate for daily tasks, the internet and watching DVDs.
In order to keep the price to a minimum, you won't find too much in the way of extras. For instance, there is no webcam, which you'll find available on several rival machines, and there is no ExpressCard or PC Card slot. Expansion can be added using the four USB ports - three of which are located on the back of the unit.
Standard Wi-Fi and Ethernet are also present. The basic connections will serve you for the present, but you may find them a little restrictive over time.
The Advent 5302 is a powerful and effective laptop for the price.