Usually, when hearing the words ‘ultra-portable notebook’, one might think of something small and grey being carried around by someone wearing a suit. Not so with the Averatec 1050; this is one ultra-portable that’s aimed at the home user, although why a home user would want an ultra-portable is an interesting point. However, weighing just 1.6kg, with a big hard drive and built-in DVD combo drive, it could still be the business traveller’s ideal weapon.
The 1050 certainly stands out amongst its brethren. The chassis comes in a smart white and silver finish which is countered by the dark burgundy lid. But while it looks good, the finish scratches easy, which isn’t helped by the lack of a carrying case. It’s as well made as it looks, with the exception of the flap covering the modem and LAN ports which feels like it would be the first casualty of any rough handling.
Powered by an Intel Pentium M 733 (1.1GHz) ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) processor you might expect the 1050 to have a decent battery life from its 4,000mAh battery. But ‘decent’ doesn’t do the 1050 justice. When tested with MobileMark05 the Reader and Performance tests yielded 3 hours 12 minutes and an excellent 4 hours 10 minutes respectively, while with the DVD playback test the battery lasted for just under three hours, which is more than enough to watch a DVD film while on the move.
Unfortunately, while the battery life is outstanding, the overall performance suffers from the combination of older DDR333 memory (512MB of it) and Intel’s Extreme Graphics 2, which makes the 1050 good for standard office work and Web surfing but leaves insufficient grunt to perform video editing or other intensive applications.
As for the screen, the 1050 comes with a 10.6-inch AverBrite widescreen display which has been specially treated to increase its contrast; again, great for watching DVD movies.
As with all ultra-portables, compromises have been made to the keyboard. On this laptop it’s small (approximately 92 percent of full size) and although it doesn’t really lend itself to touch typing, the keys themselves are comfortable to use. As is the trackpad, although once again its small size takes some getting used to.
Despite its dimensions, Averatec has fitted the 1050 with an 80GB Toshiba hard drive and a DVD/CD-R/RW combo drive. There’s also a 4-in-1 card reader and a PC Card slot. To connect to the outside world the 1050 has plenty of options; integrated 802.11g Wireless LAN, 10/100Mbps Ethernet and a 56Kbps modem.
While it’s aimed at the home user, the 1050 could be a good laptop for the mobile business traveller who places long battery life and portability above speed and performance.
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