Able to convert from laptop to tablet PC on the fly, the $1,349 Averatec C3500 is affordable and versatile, but it's not a very fast performer. That said, it offers plenty of accoutrements that are unusual for a tablet. If you've been considering picking up a tablet PC for a while but haven't yet made a move, the C3500 is worth a look.
The modestly powered C3500 features a 1.67GHz Athlon XP-M 2200+ processor, 512MB of RAM, and a 60GB hard drive. Though many convertible tablets lack an optical drive, the C3500 has a fixed DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive; however, it cannot be swapped out for other drives or additional batteries. Lowly integrated graphics run the notebook's sharp 12.1-inch, 1,024x768-pixel display. It may not be the brightest screen we've seen--many tablet screens suffer from dimness--but it's serviceable. While in laptop mode, converting the C3500 to a tablet is simply a matter of swiveling the display clockwise on its hinge, flipping it down, and locking it in place.
The silver, sophisticated C3500 weighs a hefty 5.5 pounds--on the heavy side for a tablet PC that is meant to rest in the crook of your arm. Still, compared with the average notebook PC, the Averatec C3500's dimensions are quite portable. The keyboard is on the small side, and the keys are thin and may be caught on long nails. Below the keyboard sits a smallish touch pad and two mouse buttons. All of the standard connections are present, including four USB 2.0 ports and integrated 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi.
The C3500 turned in a slow score of 116 on our BAPCo MobileMark 2002 benchmark. It has enough muscle to tackle mundane business tasks, but not enough power to handle more advanced applications simultaneously. In addition, the system turned in a short battery life of just 2 hours, 1 minute.
Averatec covers the laptop with an industry-standard one-year warranty on parts and labor; you also get toll free 24/7 tech support.
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating|
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes|
Windows XP Home; Athlon XP-M 2200+ 1.67GHz; 512MB DDR SDRAM; ATI Radeon IGP 320M 64MB; Fujitsu MHT2060AT 60GB 4,200rpm
Windows XP Tablet 2005; 1.8GHz Intel Pentium M 745; 512MB DDR SDRAM; Intel 915GM 128MB; Toshiba MK6026GAX 60GB 5,400rpm
Windows XP Tablet 2002; 1.1GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 855GM Extreme Graphics (up to 64MB); Hitachi Travelstar 20GN 20GB 4,200rpm