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Advent Altro: Like a MacBook Air, but cheaper -- much cheaper

Want a diamond-encrusted Porsche 911 and a rapping unicorn? Well, you can't, but you can have the Advent Altro -- a budget alternative to the MacBook Air

Rory Reid
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Psst! Want a half-price MacBook Air? Sure you do. Just like you want a diamond-encrusted Porsche 911 and a rapping unicorn -- but you're living in dreamland if you think you can have one.

Actually, the cheap MacBook Air bit isn't so far-fetched. We've just got our paws on an Advent Altro, a budget laptop that looks suspiciously like Apple's gaunt gizmo. It's silver, it's skinny, it's lightweight, has isolated keys, a glass-like mouse trackpad, and a dongle that expands the laptop's connectivity over and above its single USB port.

The specs make for good reading. It packs a 120GB hard drive, a 13.3-inch, 1,366x768-pixel display, 802.11n Wi-Fi -- all of which is identical to what you'd find on an Air. Core specs are a little different, though. While the Altro uses 3GB of RAM (1GB more than an Air) it relies on a relatively mediocre 1.2GHz Intel Celeron 723 processor, which plays second fiddle to the Air's Core 2 Duo chips.

So is it worth the £600? That depends on your expectations, really. The Altro has a distinctly plastic 'made in China' feel that doesn't come close to matching the Air's sexy aluminium framework. Still, at £600, you ought not to complain.

We'll have a full review of the Altro in the coming days. In the meantime, head over to the Dixons Web site for more info, and don't forget to check out our pictures for a closer look and more deets.

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The isolated keys allow fast, accurate typing, while the glass-effect mouse trackpad has a fingerprint reader for easy, secure logins.
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Thanks for the HDMI output, Advent...
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...but the single on-board USB port is a little stingy.
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If you want additional USB ports you'll have to connect this odd dongle. Once connected, the dongle also acts as a pass-through cable for the power supply.
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The dongle provides Ethernet and D-Sub video outputs...
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...as well as two additional USB ports.

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