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I bought this laptop back in 2006 from Comet.
I had never heard of Advent laptops so I was taking a risk.
The laptop is big and bulky. It's very chunky compared to the HP laptop that I have now and it looks very dated. I started using this online via dial-up until I had Virgin Media broadband installed. Unfortunately you can't connect to Wi-Fi with this (old) laptop so you have to plug in the ethernet cable and use the laptop that way, with the USB cable plugged in. This was the laptop I owned when I lived at home so that meant being confined to my bedroom most of the time as that's where my modem was. This was a little frustrating. Also, the laptop becomes very hot underneath when you use it for long periods of time. It got too hot at one point that I was unable to sit it on my lap as it was burning my legs!
The laptop became very slow after two years so I traded it in in March 2008 after having it for just under two years and using it daily. Pages were loading at a slow pace and I was coming down with virus after virus even with having AVG installed on it. Battery life was also poor and the laptop was very unreliable at times. It used to cut off even with 75% battery power left.
This is a very dated laptop now. It ran on Windows XP so it was a bit behind the times...
However it got me by and I was able to complete my college coursework on it so it wasn't all bad!
The Advent 7086 laptop will certainly last a long time. Whether you drop it or a muddy wet dog sits on the bottom of you can turn it on and it will power up. Yes, my dog was nice enough to test this out. He loves anything hot and lying on wires so my laptop was a great place in his opinion. Still, the laptop did still work afterwards.
Sounds great, right? Well, no. It can survive through, it seems, anything, but I've had no end of problems with mine.
Its main problem is the hard drive, I believe. It causes the computer to crash fairly often. The hard drive was replaced when I first got it due to this, but I still have the same problem and I think it was a common problem with these laptops.
On the plus side, it still works after 6 years. On the downside, no matter how frustrated you get with it you can't smash it to pieces.
If you are wondering why I've titled this review The Haunted Laptop, don't worry, I will explain later on.
Processor: Intel Celeron M 360 1.4GHz
Screen: 14.1" TFT
Operating System: Windows XP
RAM (Memory): 256MB
Hard Drive: 40GB
USB Slots: 4
Wi-Fi Built in: No
Disk Drive: DVD-RW
Weight: 2.8 KG
The laptop looks great, with an easy to use keyboard and mouse. It comes in a stylish black colour. If you are used to a computer or widescreen laptop this seems rather small, but the 14.1" screen is certainly big enough no matter what you plan on using it for.
The keyboard is a decent size and has keys that should suit everyone. It doesn't have a number pad at the side, which may bother some people, but has never bothered me (you get used to it) and this allows for the laptop to be smaller. Under the keyboard is the mousepad which looks great and is easy to use, with two buttons underneath. I never had any problems with the mousepad. It is very responsive. There is also space at either side of the mouse, making it more comfortable to type.
While it may not be the lightest laptop or as small as a netbook it is light enough to carry around or have on your lap (if you don't mind the heat).
The laptop only comes with the basic software - Windows XP with Microsoft Works. Windows XP runs perfectly well on it and it's easy enough to install other programs. Microsoft Works is much like Microsoft Office and you get the basic programs like a word processor and spreadsheet. These are simple to use and if you've used any other office programs you'll know how these work so I won't go into details.
It didn't come with any kind of anti-virus software, but you can download free ones online or buy one. It has a DVD rewriter so using a disk to install programs is no problem. There is no built in Wi-Fi so it means using a dongle and installing that. Mine had a free dongle with it, but as this laptop is quite old now you'd probably have to buy it used/refurbished in which case it may not have the same software or hardware with it.
The outside case is good and it takes a lot to damage it. It's very robust, although there are some weaker points (like around the screen). In general you will probably get some scratches on it and wear on the edge, but it takes a lot to do serious damage.
The internal hardware is not good. My hard drive was faulty despite being replaced, although it has never lost any files. I haven't had a fan for years; it fell off and began rattling around inside my laptop. The laptop overheated even before the fan fell off. In fact it got so hot that computer experts tell me that all the hardware should have melted and stopped working. I bought a laptop cooling fan and to a point this works. It feels cold, but it overheats still once it has been on a while. Cooling pads are a good idea though and it works fine on another laptop I have.
It has no Wi-Fi but it came with a free dongle. I think this was also by Advent. This overheated, as does everything you plug into the USB (not a good idea to leave things like memory sticks in too long just in case). I also caught it one day and broke it in two, which is an easy thing to do if you always have the laptop on your knee. Oddly enough it did still work for a while after that.
The DVD rewriter is good, but if you put a DVD on with a lot of data on the laptop can sometimes struggle to process it. It is possible to upgrade the laptop though which should solve this problem. It does also depend what else you have on the laptop and if you have anything else open at the time, but this is the same with any computer.
The battery lasted a few hours at most to start with. I generally used to have it plugged in so I don't know the exact length of time, but for the battery to last longer it is best not to keep it plugged in. Now I have to have it plugged in because it never lasts more than 20 minutes from being fully charged.
I want to start by saying the first problem was that I got the blue screen of death and I took it back to PC World where I'd bought it from. They replaced the hard drive, but it did not solve the problem. At the time I went there they had other people bringing back the same laptop so it wasn't just mine that was not working right.
So why have I called this review The Haunted Laptop? Well, that is down to the problems it has had. So far no one can explain them and even if they think they have the answer it either hasn't done anything or there's still been something slightly wrong with it.
One problem was the power. It refused to charge and I ended up buying another power cable, but it still refused to work. Not wanting to spend more money on it I left it a while and tried it again about a week later. Suddenly it was charging fine.
Another problem is the fact it overheats. Considering how hot it gets and considering that I used it all day everyday it's amazing the internal hardware hasn't melted.
I always used to leave it in the same room. One night I left it in another room. There is no difference between the rooms, they're right next to each other. The next day the laptop screen was all strange (coloured lines, not displaying anything properly and so on). It was so bad I thought I'd need a new screen because it had totally gone and the laptop was unusable. The next night I left it in the normal room and the next day it was fine. It's not the first time its gone weird by being kept elsewhere, it is like it only likes one room.
One day it kept coming up with the blue screen of death and I just couldn't do anything with it. If I remember right, the power was also going strange too. It seemed it had finally died. I left it a few days and came back to it and it was fine.
There have been other things, but it is a long list of strange problems which have all fixed themselves. For this reason the laptop has become known as being haunted. I'd guess a mixture of heat, bad hard drive and bad connections would explain a lot, but that doesn't explain how it fixed them all because I've never done anything.
Course not all laptops will fix their problems and not all will have these kind of problems, but with these hard drives and fans problems are highly likely so I figured it was best to point them out.
To be fair, this has lasted 6 years and still works. It started off as quite a fast laptop, but that soon changed and over the years it's gotten much slow. Now it's so slow it is almost unusable and it overheats and often crashes due to the hard drive, but perhaps if you replaced certain parts (with something not made by Advent) it would be a decent working laptop. If nothing else it is a great case that will take a lot of damage. Would I ever buy from Advent again? Never.
Advent laptops are often the cheapest, but there's a good reason for it it seems. Best avoided in my opinion.