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I have had nothing but trouble with my Advent laptop, i've never owned such a fault piece of equipment! I've had this laptop for 3 years now and the only reason i've still got it is due to lack of funds to purchase a new one! The first 6 months i had the laptop it seemed to be ok, a little slow but nothing major. But then after 6 months or so all the problems started to kick in and i think a laptop should last longer than 6 months!
First of all the Hard Drive encountered several problems and on many occasions i would switch the laptop on and it would bring up a screen telling me that Hard Disk failure was imminent. It would then have no choice but to do a total system wipe and reboot (in other words delete everything off my laptop) just for the laptop to start back up again. This is a nightmare for when my files weren't backed up, i lost important files so many times it caused me a lot of stress. I think to date i have had to do this 7 or 8 times, i now have to save everything on a USB memory stick just in case.
The charged on my advent laptop has broken in excess of 20 times, yes 20 times! It costs £50 to replace the charger so it hasn't been cheap! The battery life of this laptop when it is not plugged into the mains is terrible too, your lucky if you get 10 minutes out of it before it dies. I don't even think it's really worth listing all of the specifications and features that this laptop has because i wouldn't reccomend anyone buy this laptop full stop. It cost me £400 when i first bought it and it is probably my worst purchase ever. Please don't waste your money on this laptop you can get much more reliable laptops from different manufacturers!
I was sitting on my laptop one fine, sunny day writing a review on Dooyoo. All of a sudden, in what can only be described as a flash of brilliance, I thought 'I know! I will review my laptop'. When I searched for the model, it wasn't even on Dooyoo and so with haste I suggested it. Lo and behold, it was approved and I am now, unsurprisingly (!), writing about it! I apologise in advance if this review is tinged with pink, but I'm a girl with no prior technical knowledge - that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
I'd never been one for laptops, I'd stuck to my old trusty desktop until my (very generous) Mam's boyfriend had given me his old Beamish which crawled in speed, took an eternity to retrieve email, crashed if I opened a photograph and needed the lid/screen propping up with an external implement. I really only used it so I didn't need to go upstairs and sit in the spare room on my own on the desktop!
My Advent 9515 was given to me as a gift by my Mam's boyfriend, it was my sister's 21st and he bought her one - you know the old saying 'you can't give one without the other'? Well it served me well, thankfully, gratefully, luckily landing me a new shiny laptop when mine was exhaling its final breath!
So, the grand tour. The Advent 9515 is black and silver in colour, it is light and a solid build which is neat and very portable. On the bottom of the laptop there is a L51-3S4400-G1L3 (10.8v 4400mAh) Battery, Battery Release Catch, Housing / Compartment for the CPU, WLAN and Memory (the cooling fan is also located here), four rubber feet and of course all of the stickers with the model, specs, etc. If you have this laptop or plan to get it, I seriously recommend writing all these bits and pieces down; they wear off with lots of use and mine are practically indecipherable. Round to the sides and the laptop has built in Wi-Fi, actived/deactived by a switch on the front left hand edge of the machine next to which is the headphone / speaker socket. The lid is then secured here too, move the catches to the side to open it. To the right of the machine are a couple of USB ports, a LAN port, a 4-in-1 SD card slot, the power cable socket, round to the back and nothing (!), then the left hand side for CD-Rom drive, ExpressCard Slot and another USB port. I particularly like the fact the power cable is plugged in to the side; I hate sitting at a desk with my laptop and having to twist the cable from the back around to the front.
On to the keyboard. It's large - the laptop is 15" across, which means that the keypad is almost full sized, which I find specifically great - with large fingers and an incapacity for delicate mini technology - it's perfect. The touch pad mouse measures around 3.5-4" across is really responsive and large enough even for the least delicate of fingers! It doesn't have an inbuilt scroller though which you may see as a potential draw back, everyone I know who uses it comments and says they need an inbuilt scroller - how do I manage? Well, I see it as a way for me to avoid scrolling when I don't actually want to and how difficult is it really to move your able limbs to the arrow keys, situated around 6cm away from the touch pad?! Moving up to the top of the keyboard is the power button, a quick launch web browser button and an express fan cooling button. The screen is large, crystal clear and just above the screen is the built-in webcam.
The laptop has the Windows Vista Operating System - though this review is not on that operating system, I would like to comment that I don't like Vista or Windows 7 I prefer XP; this might be some frowned upon, neanderthal viewpoint, but I just do not like all the fuss which comes attached to Vista and Windows 7. Anyway, I've managed to get to know Windows Vista and am now pretty comfortable when using it. I still miss XP though! It has a AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60 (2.0 GHz) processor; which means nothing to me... I do know that this isn't the standard bit of kit you usually get with laptops, they usually use Intel Core processors, but according to the experts the Turion chipset is sufficient to handle the Vista system at a good speed and I will vouch for that later. The 9515 has an average 160GB hard drive, readily partitioned in to Vista and System memory for system back up purposes. For gaming fans it's probably important to note here that according to expert reviews (unlike my own!) this laptop doesn't have a great graphics card. Though I will talk more about this later.
Upon switching the laptop on, you can expect it to start within a few seconds, no lengthy wait and connectivity to wireless is rapid too. The laptop seems to handle multiple programs simultaneously with ease - no delay in switching between apps / programs and I rarely see the CPU rocket. I download a lot of music from Amazon, iTunes, TuneTribe, etc and download time is excellent, despite the fact that I am currently clogging up the majority of the memory with thousands of albums! The DVD RW drive is not the quickest I've used, but sufficient and because it writes to DVD, it's very good for backing up the machine should you require.
As for gaming, I don't particularly 'game' but I have used the laptop for a couple of games like Call of Duty and my all time favourite, Theme Park (don't judge me). I don't really know what to expect from a top of the range 'graphics card', but what I can tell you is that I found the games to run as well and appear comparably to playing them on a PS2. So I don't really see how it's substandard - just my opinion though! According to some sites, this laptop got a 3DMark of less than 300 - which is insufficient to play facebook built-in games, however, on other sites there is praise for the ATI Mobility Radeon x1250 Video Card. I think the reference to the facebook games is a little sarcastic and extreme; I've found the laptop to be able to support a couple of normal PC games sufficiently. DVD playback is also crystal clear and uninhibited; as I am away a lot I tend to take a few movies and watch them on my laptop, it has a 15.4" Widescreen TFT (1280x800) with a 'matte' finish (which is terrible if you want high glossy images, but absolutely essential if you would like to see your screen in sunlight!) and film clips, movies, etc play perfectly. The integrated Realtek HD Audio is perfect too; but the integrated speakers are quite quiet - I have a portable set of mini, but powerful, speakers which I carry in my laptop bag; it doesn't inconvenience me, but I would like it if it was a little louder - especially when I am playing music on it!
The Battery life is ok, there are different settings which I assume are common amongst laptops; e.g. power saver (slower performance and dim screen back lighting, but lasts around 40% longer), high performance (rapid performance, best used when plugged in to the charger) and then you can create 'custom' plans. My custom plan provides a good balance between performance and battery life, I get a respectible 1 hour and 45 minutes (approx), without compromising on performance too much. Until recently, this was perhaps the maximum amount of time I could have my laptop on for, without it overheating - the cooling system on these laptops is notoriously terrible, if I'd made the choice to buy this laptop I would be kicking myself for not reading up on the fan - however, I purchased a simple cheap Belkin CoolStrip which resolves the problem almost in it's entirety so I really do not see this as too much of a negative.
As I've mentioned, there is an integrated Webcam which is only available for use through MSN, Facebook, etc; you can't just use it to take a picture of yourself if that's your thing. It's only 1.3 Mega Pixels, I don't use it except for Skype Video Calling, aside from that it's defunct to me, it always works satisfactorily though in Skype with a few crashes / freeze ups if I am running a lot of applications.
The Advent 9515 is made by PC World and supported by their infamous 'Tech Guys'. Again, I don't want to do a review on Tech Guys, but I would like to comment that Tech Guys have really helped me with many problems I've had including my full system restore which I did recently - their directions / instruction were second to none and I managed to do a system restore all by myself! No computer shop required... Originally upon launch this model cost £400 and at the time there were many more supposed superior models for around the same pricemark. Now you can get this laptop for around £65 second hand from Ebay, or £180 brand new online. Peripherals are widely available cheap on the net.
Whilst I don't think I would have specifically been drawn to this model for any reason, particularly given some of the online reviews; I have it now and I count myself lucky - I am really, expressly, overly grateful for it; it's a great, reasonably priced, all-rounder laptop, for someone who uses it as a main PC for downloading music, streaming video, Uni assignments, blogging, occasional gaming, working on the move and web-browsing. It is unfortunate that you may find using add-ons like the CoolStrip and external speakers enhances the performance of the laptop - it's a work around and I am not one for favouring work arounds - however, two and a half years later, mine continues to perform well, I am over the moon with the performance and reliability of this little superstar laptop, highly recommended!
Technical Specs (for those who this means anything to!):
Dimensions: 36mm H x 258mm W x 358mm D
Hard Drive: 160GB
CD Drive: DVD±RW
Screen: 15.4" Widescreen TFT (1280x800)
Video Card: ATI Mobility Radeon x1250 (256MB shared)
Webcam: 1.3 Megapixel
Sound Card: Realtek High Definition Audio
Modem: Not installed
Network Card: Realtek 8169/8168/8101 PCI/PCIe
Realtek: RTL8187 Wireless LAN
Ports: USB 2.0, 4-in-1 Card Reader, Microphone / Headphone, Expresscard Slot, LAN, S-Video, VGA
Battery: L51-3S4400-G1L3 (10.8v 4400mAh)
CPU: AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60 (2.0 GHz)
BIOS: Phoenix BIOS. Press F2 to enter
Chipset: AMD RS690 + SB600
Memory: 2GB DDR2 PC2-5300 667MHz SODIMM