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Sharp Actius PC-AV18P review: Sharp Actius PC-AV18P

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MSRP: $1,449.00

The Good Affordable; small and light; screen is good-looking; comes with integrated Wi-Fi.

The Bad Slow performance; short battery life; flimsy keyboard; short warranty.

The Bottom Line The Sharp Actius PC-AV18P is fine for thrifty business travelers, but its ho-hum performance and shallow keyboard will leave power users craving more.

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6.9 Overall

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Review summary

Undeniably compact and portable, the Sharp Actius PC-AV18P fits a ton of functionality into a lightweight frame. At less than $1,450, this svelte system is also relatively inexpensive, but its performance numbers prove that you get what you pay for.

To keep the price low, Sharp outfitted the Actius PC-AV18P with a sluggish though affordable 1.53GHz Athlon XP-M 1800+ processor and a modest 256MB of DDR system memory. A decent-size 40GB hard drive and a DVD/CD-RW combo drive handle storage duties. The 12.1-inch, 1,024x768-pixel display employs the company's Sharp-fx DVD-enhancing technology, which makes viewing DVDs a real joy. On the downside, the screen is driven by an anemic S3 ProSavage 8 graphics subsystem that borrows 32MB of RAM from system memory, further slowing performance.

The trim 1-by-11.1-by-9.4-inch notebook is handsomely designed in gunmetal gray and weighs only 4.3 pounds (5.8 pounds with its AC adapter). It's small enough to slide into bags easily, fit on airplane tray tables, and tote around without much effort. Touch typists may frown on the notebook's small keyboard, however, which feels shallow and has a tendency to flex when the keys are pressed firmly. Below the keyboard sit a smooth touchpad and its two mouse buttons.

The Actius PC-AV18P notched unimpressive results on our benchmark tests: its BAPCo MobileMark 2002 score of 101 was disappointing, proving it adequate for only mundane business tasks such as Web surfing, sending e-mail, and editing text documents and spreadsheets. The weak graphics subsystem makes advanced 3D gaming out of the question. Battery life was also uninspiring: the Actius PC-AV18P conked out after a mediocre 2 hours, 44 minutes.

The notebook's connectivity features are more impressive than its performance. The Actius PC-AV18P comes with many modern connections for such a small system, including a FireWire port, two USB 2.0 ports, and a Type II PC Card slot. Also, 802.11b Wi-Fi wireless networking is built in.

Sharp backs the Actius with a relatively short one-year standard warranty covering parts and labor. A three-year warranty costs an extra $199.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating  
Sharp PC-AV18P
101 
eMachines M5310
97 
Fujitsu LifeBook S series
94 

Battery life  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes  
eMachines M5310
177 
Fujitsu LifeBook S series
170 
Sharp PC-AV18P
164 

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