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Averatec 5110P review: Averatec 5110P

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MSRP: $1,329.00
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The Good Durable construction; built-in DVD-RW; integrated Wi-Fi wireless networking.

The Bad Washed-out onscreen colors; comparatively short battery life; balky touchpad; limited documentation.

The Bottom Line Averatec's 5110P is average in just about every way. Bargain hunters can find more for less, and power seekers can get more elsewhere.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.2 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7
  • Battery 5
  • Support 6

Review Sections

Review summary

Averatec's 5110P has some admirable qualities, but ultimately it's barely the equal of comparably equipped mainstream notebooks. It includes Intel's Centrino technology, with built-in Wi-Fi networking and a Pentium M processor designed to conserve a battery charge. Its 1.3GHz processor performs about as fast as the pack of comparably equipped notebooks, and its DVD-RW drive is a bonus. But for about $1,300, you shouldn't have to put up with the shortcomings you'll find with the 5110P: a screen that looks pale and washed-out, an integrated graphics controller that won't do much for video enthusiasts, and a battery that conks out after less than three hours. Most similar Pentium M systems hold out for at least four hours and are, in the long run, a better deal. The Averatec 5110P's case is a slice of sleek modernism: it's all silver and made from a tough, resilient plastic, with a triple hinge holding the sturdy, half-inch-thick lid and one-inch-thick base together. An easy-to-hook latch secures the lid and offers enough grip to let you slide it with one thumb and open the notebook in a single motion. The relatively thick lid and thin base have one minor design repercussion, however: Though the notebook's left edge provides two PC Card slots, the base is too shallow to stack them, so there is no room for the fatter Type III cards (although those cards are extremely rare these days). On the other hand, the DVD tray is thicker and less delicate than those of most notebooks, and it feels less prone to snap. You can change the battery without laying the notebook on its back, which helps keep the lid clean. (Extra batteries weigh 0.94 pounds and cost $100.)

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The keyboard sags but feels responsive. The touchpad takes some getting used to: we found it tricky to apply just the right pressure to keep the cursor moving.

Carrying the 5110P is no problem--the 13-by-10.75-inch shell fits comfortably in the hand, and the notebook weighs a tolerable 6.4 pounds (7.2 with the AC power supply). Two big stickers enumerating the notebook's features cover the wrist rests, which happens with many new notebooks. However, these stickers don't peel off easily; you'll need alcohol and cotton balls to clean away the goopy glue.

Under the lid, the 5110P's keyboard sags a great deal and jangles loudly, but otherwise, it feels responsive; unfortunately, the spacebar is a hard-to-hit four keys wide. A scroll button pokes partway between the left- and right-click buttons, where it's easy to reach when you want and easy to avoid when you don't. The touchpad takes some getting used to: we found it tricky to apply just the right pressure to keep the cursor moving. A button above the keyboard turns the notebook's Wi-Fi on and off.

The Averatec 5110P has an ample selection of ports and slots, even though it doesn't have legacy ports for a parallel printer or a PS/2 mouse. Instead, it sports three USB 2.0 jacks and a four-pin FireWire port, along with an ordinary monitor port, a modem, Ethernet, and a headphone jack with an external volume dial. At maximum volume, the tiny, flat-sounding stereo speakers embedded in the left and right edges don't pump out much sound.

Inside the 5110P, in addition to the 1.3GHz Pentium M, there's a 40GB hard drive, 512MB of memory, and Intel's integrated 855GM graphics controller, which relies on system memory, thereby hurting performance. The screen displays 1,024x768 resolution, which seems wasteful on a 15-inch (diagonal) LCD. Worse, the screen is one of the least colorful we've seen on a notebook, with a grayish background; pale, watery primary colors; and slightly blurry-looking text. Averatec sells two slight variations of the 5110: the 5110H, which saves you $100, has a CD-RW drive, and runs Windows XP Home; and the 5110HX, which saves $50 and also runs XP Home but retains the DVD-RW. No other configurations are available. The notebook can run 1GB of memory, but it comes with both memory slots full, so you'd have to remove the 512MB that's installed to bump it up. Averatec loads Microsoft Works 7.0 and several utilities for using the DVD-RW capabilities.

The Averatec 5110P tied for first place in mobile application performance in this small test group. The notebook ran neck and neck with the IBM ThinkPad R40 in performance--not surprising given their very similar specs (aside from their respective video cards). The Sony VAIO PCG-Z1A came in a not-too-distant third place, just 6 points below its peers. Compared to all 1.3GHz Pentium M-based systems we've tested, the Averatec 5110P came in 4 points below average. So, while its performance could have been better, a score of 154 will still be enough to run most office and content-creation apps at good speeds.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating  
IBM ThinkPad R40
154 
Averatec 5110P
154 
Sony VAIO PCG-Z1A
148 

To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark 2002. MobileMark measures both application performance and battery life concurrently using a number of popular applications (Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).

Mobile application performance analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.

Find out more about how we test notebooks.

System configurations:

Averatec 5110P
Windows XP Professional; 1.3GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 855GM Extreme Graphics (up to 64MB); IBM Travelstar 40GN 40GB 4,200rpm

IBM ThinkPad R40
Windows XP Professional; 1.3GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 16MB; Fujitsu MHS2040ATD 40GB 4,200rpm

Sony VAIO PCG-Z1A
Windows XP Home; 1.3GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 16MB; Hitachi DK23EA-60 60GB 4,200rpm

The Averatec 5110P came in last in battery life in this small test group. The system houses a 14.8V, 4,400mAh (65WHr) battery, which, looking purely at the specs, should have catapulted the system to long life. But that's not the case, as the Averatec 5110P lasted only less than three hours. The IBM ThinkPad R40, with its 14.4V, 4,000mAh (58WHr) battery, which, technically, is a less powerful battery, lasted nearly twice as long as the Averatec 5110P. The Sony VAIO PCG-Z1A, with an even less powerful 11.1V, 4,400mAh (49WHr) battery, lasted longer than three and a half hours. If you're thinking about getting lots of work done while on the go, you may want to think twice about the Averatec 5110P. While its battery life is decent, it's nowhere near the upper echelon of long-lasting notebooks.

Battery life  (Longer bars indicate longer battery life)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes  
IBM ThinkPad R40
332 
Sony VAIO PCG-Z1A
223 
Averatec 5110P
173 

To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark 2002. MobileMark measures both application performance and battery life concurrently using a number of popular applications (Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).

Battery life analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.

System configurations:

Averatec 5110P
Windows XP Professional; 1.3GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 855GM Extreme Graphics (up to 64MB); IBM Travelstar 40GN 40GB 4,200rpm

IBM ThinkPad R40
Windows XP Professional; 1.3GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 16MB; Fujitsu MHS2040ATD 40GB 4,200rpm

Sony VAIO PCG-Z1A
Windows XP Home; 1.3GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 16MB; Hitachi DK23EA-60 60GB 4,200rpm

Averatec covers the 5110P with a short, though common, one-year warranty; the company says that it plans to sell optional warranty-extension plans but has not launched the program yet. You get one year of toll-free, 24/7 tech support, and post-warranty tech-support calls cost $20 per incident.

Alas, the notebook comes with inadequate documentation. A one-page quick-start guide is the only printed material, and the onscreen manual is essentially an empty shell, with information on how to contact Averatec tech support, a FAQ page with no FAQs, and a how-to page with only one how-to (on setting up wireless networks). The company's Web site has e-mail access to technicians; a full, downloadable manual (22MB--ouch!); manuals for the utilities; and downloadable drivers.

To find out more about how this product's warranty really stacks up and what you should look for in terms of service and support, take a look at CNET's hardware warranty explainer.

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