Review posted August 16, 2005 by Lisa
Gade, Editor in Chief
Subnotebooks have never looked so good.
A few years back, they were few and far between with prices that
were as heavy on the wallet as the units were light on the back.
Now Averatec, known for their affordable yet stylish and technically
competent notebooks, brings us the 1000 series which have looks
to die for at a modest 3.6 pounds and $1,150 to $1379 list price.
The 1000 brings to mind the venerable but now
Vaio TR2A and TR3a which received our Editor's Choice award
in November 2003. It's similar in size, also features an internal
optical drive, bright and glossy display, Intel Centrino technology
and good looks. The TR2A and TR3A sold for approximately
$2,200 in the US, $1000 more than the Averatec. Of course,
you were paying the early adopter price for the Vaio which was
available nearly two years before the Averatec, but Sony's current
subnotebook, the T350, still costs nearly $1,000 more.
Features at a Glance
There are two 1000 series models, the AV1050,
which we received for review, and the AV1020.The AV1050 is more
commonly available and is the better choice in terms of CPU: it
has a 1.1 GHz Intel Centrino Pentium M 733 processor, while the
1020 has a 1 GHz Celeron. The 1050 has an 80 gig hard drive and
the 1020 has a 60 gig hard drive. In all other respects, features
are the same: 10.6" WXGA AveraBrite display (similar to Sony's
XBrite), 512 megs of DDR RAM, WiFi 802.11b/g and an internal DVD/CR-RW
In the Box
The notebook and its compact charger: that's
all! Inside the small box you'll find a sheet of paper explaining
that the manual can be found in PDF format pre-installed on the
notebook and that you'll need to make your own recovery CDs. We're
fans of included recovery media, but alas, they're becoming increasingly
rare. Even Sony, a tier one pricey manufacturer, doesn't include
the disks. Should you need to wipe your notebook clean and re-install
the OS and included applications you can do so from the recovery
partition, though we suggest making those recovery CDs just in
case your notebook won't boot from the hard disk.
Design and Ergonomics
This is a great looking notebook! The top lid is red
and the interior surfaces are matte white. The bottom is bright silver.
Bringing to mind the Apple iBook, Averatec has taken style a step further
with their colorful lids. You can order several different lid colors
direct, and we've seen a selection that looked just lovely. You'll find
the "standard" Averatec 1000 in stores with a Burgundy Brandy
top rather than our zingy red model.
This is one of the smallest notebooks on the market,
easily fitting into the subnotebook category, which means it's quite
small and light but still usable with good ergonomics. It weighs only
3.6 pounds and measures 10.47" x 7.97" x - 1.36" (at its thickest point
toward the rear). Despite the small size, the keyboard is surprisingly
roomy and usable, though like the Averatec
4200, key travel is a bit
short and dead. The keyboard has oversized backspace, del and right control
keys, and nested arrow keys on the bottom right corner. The also roomy
trackpad has two buttons and both horizontal and vertical scroll features
activated by running your finger along the right or bottom edge (arrows
mark the spots). Again, like the Averatec 4200, the trackpad isn't the
most sensitive and is best suited to hearty tappers.
The speaker grill, which runs lengthwise along the
back edge of the Averatec houses stereo speakers. The power button is
beside the speaker grill on the right and the quick launch media player
button is on the left. On the right side you'll find (front to back)
standard 3.5mm audio in and out jacks, two USB 2.0 ports, a fan outlet
and a VGA port. The 4-in-1 card reader slot is located just above the
audio jacks. The DVD drive lives on the left side with the PCMCIA slot
just above it. Behind those under a door you'll find the IEEE 1394 FireWire
port along with a modem and 10/100 Ethernet jack. The power connector
and removable battery live on the back side of the unit and the WiFi
on/off slider switch is located on the front edge. The Averatec 1000
has a strip of LED indicators along the front right edge which indicate
power, WiFi status, hard disk access, num lock, caps lock and charging
Horsepower and Performance
The Averatec AV1050 has Intel
Centrino technology (Intel 855GM Chipset with Intel 855GME graphics),
utilizing the 1.1 GHz ULV (ultra-low voltage) Pentium M 733 processor
with 2 megs of level 2 cache and a 400 MHz front side bus. It comes with
512 megs of 333 MHz PC2700 DDR RAM, and we've found no way to add more
RAM. It's rare to find a non-upgradable machine these days, though the
1.1 GHz ULV hits the sweet spot with 512 megs of RAM as a consolation.
The 1000 is a good performer for business and Internet tasks, but you
likely won't be running memory intensive apps which demand more RAM.
The unit comes
with a 1.8" fixed
ultra-ATA 80 gig hard drive. We benchmarked the Averatec 1000 using PCMark04
and it got an overall score of 2011; a respectable score, though it was
dragged down by its integrated graphics. PCMark05 couldn't complete it's
tests since it requires a fully DirectX 9.0c compliant video card. The
bencmarks are as follows:
Want to watch DVDs or burn CDs on the go? The Averatec's
DVD/CD-RW drive can burn to any CD writable or re-writable media (+
and -), as well as play CDs and DVDs. The drive speeds are: 8X
DVD Read, 24X CD read, write and re-write. Averatec includes CyberLink
PowerDVD, PowerProducer, Power 2Go and CyberLink's integrated launcher
for media playback and burning.
Integrated card readers are becoming ever so popular
on notebooks these days, and the Averatec 1000 has an SD/MMC/Memory Stick/Memory
Stick Pro card reader built in just like its big brother the Averatec
4200. Quite handy if you own a digital camera or PDA that uses these
Sound and Multimedia
The Averatec 1000's 10.6" display is gorgeous.
The AveraBrite display isn't quite as luminous as Sony's XBrite displays,
but the Averatec is half the price and stunning enough to garner only
praise. Bright, glassy displays are all the rage on wide screen mid
to high end notebooks and it's wonderful to see it on a budget machine.
The 1280 x 760 resolution is perfect for watching DVD movies, working
with Excel spreadsheets and playing games that support wide screen
modes. It's bright, color saturated, clear and sharp and videos look
great. Though the display is quite small relative to the machine's
resolution, we had no problems reading text thanks to the contrasty,
bright display. In fact the contrast is a little too high- making text
easy to read but graphics can look a little harsh. Like all B5 subnotebooks,
if you have poor eyesight, the high resolution packed into a small
LCD might cause a problem, but otherwise, you'll be able to work a
few hours without suffering eye fatigue.
The display is driven by an Intel 855GME integrated
graphics chipset (a part of the Centrino package) with 64 megs of RAM
that's shared with system RAM. That's the same graphics processor used
on most other 1st generation and current B5 subnotebook Centrino machines,
and it's a surprisingly good performer, that's capable of image editing
with Photoshop and gaming with current non 3D titles. Like other Centrinos
with the Intel 855 graphics chipset, it comes with Intel Extreme Graphics
2 display drivers.Though not suited
to running the latest intensive 3D games (integrated graphics cards,
even Intel's newer 900 graphics chipset aren't powerful enough), it's
fine for less graphically demanding games such as Max Payne and Rise
The machine runs Realtek AC97 audio and has two small stereo speakers
which provide decent sound and volume for a notebook this size. Audio
out through the stereo headphone jack is excellent and the Averatec 1000
has a standard 3.5mm mic port should you need to record audio.
Ports, WiFi and Expandability
The Averatec 1000 has the standard set of subnotebook
ports, suitable for road warriors and students. There are two
USB 2.0 ports, an IEEE1394 four pin (unpowered) Firewire port
, a VGA port and standard audio out and in
jacks. The PCMCIA slot supports type I and II cards and CardBus
cards. The unit has an internal card reader that accepts SD, MMC,
Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro media. It comes with Intel PRO Wireless 2200BG 802.11b/g
WiFi, which had very good range and reliability in our tests. You
can use Intel's networking utility or Windows to manage WiFi connections.
Like most notebooks, it also has integrated10/100 wired Ethernet
and a 56k v.92 modem.
The Averatec has a good capacity 4,800 mAh Lithium
Ion battery. The included charger is both compact and light— about
half the size of Sony's huge charger. No need to weigh down an
otherwise light package with a big, heavy charger: Sony could take
a few lessons here! The machine offers very good battery life,
lasting nearly 5 hours in our tests with WiFi on and the display
set to half brightness.
An excellent notebook for the price! It fares
well against much more expensive competitors such as the Sony T250
and T350. While not ultra-thin it's a gorgeous looking B5 sized
notebook in the TR3A tradition and is similar in size to the Fujitsu
LifeBook P7000. The color schemes are attractive and stylish, and
fit and finish are good. Performance is on par with other B5 subnotebooks
and the machine won't keep you waiting when using business and
Internet apps. In fact, Photoshop, Rise of Nations and Dreamweaver
ran fine as well. If you're a student and you don't want to make
regular visits to the chiropractor by the time you're 35, consider
this very affordable 3.6 pounder. If you travel frequently with
your notebook and want something that will fit anywhere, run quite
a while on a charge and won't break the bank, get this little guy!
Pro: Good performer
by B5 size subnotebook standards. Intel Centrino technology provides
both strong performance and good battery runtimes. The Averatec
1000 looks great, really great! Good set of ports, excellent display,
relatively roomy keyboard and trackpad. Integrated card reader
is handy. Runs cool enough to keep on your lap. Good for light
gaming (stay away from Doom 3 and other killer 3D apps however).
1 year warranty despite the low price.
Con: Can't upgrade
memory. Keyboard is a little dead, as is the trackpad.