Averatec may fall into the category of 'who the hell are they?' but unlike many of the no-brand notebook makers out there, this start-up company is starting to make waves that should be noticed.



Controlled by a huge Taiwanese manufacturer but fronted by a US management, the company have been offering no-frills notebooks into European market for around 18 months.

While their machines lacked a little on the design front, if the Averatec 1050 is anything to go by, the company has seriously raised its game. Not only does it come with a cool white plastic casing but you can choose from an array of coloured lids.

The 1.6kg casing is lightweight and portable enough to slip into a bag with ease. Add to this a battery life of well over 4 hours and you can easily get work done on the move. Given its weight and size, we were impressed with the inclusion of an optical drive, which may only be a DVD/CD-RW drive but most machines of this size and weight usually opt for the external drive route.

Considering this notebook costs £999 (inc. VAT) we were seriously impressed with the build quality, which is strong without coming across as industrial. The screen measures 10.6 inches, the smallest in the group but as it comes in a widescreen format, which is great if you want to watch a DVD but also means when you do have to work you can see more than with a standard 4:3 aspect ratio screen.

So far, so good but when you start to look at the base spec of the 1050, things aren't as rosy. For instance, it's running on the older 855 chipset, which means you won't get cutting-edge performance and the integrated graphics are as basic as you can expect. You'll be able to work on it and watching films is fine but don't go anywhere near this notebook with a game or a demanding art package. That said, editing photos, albeit at a basic level, is fine.

To keep things running cool, the 1050 is powered by the Pentium M 733 CPU, which is an ultra-low voltage chip. So, while you won't find plenty of performance, you will get plenty of staying power as this chip is designed for battery life. The other main advantage of such a chip is the lack of heat it generates, which in turn means little or no fan activity. So, if you're looking for a quiet notebook, you know where to look. You'll find 512MB of memory and 80GB hard drive rounding out the spec, which isn't to be moaned at.

Verdict

We may have been a little harsh on the performance of the 1050 as it proved a usable and likeable notebook. If you need a machine for basic functions with plenty of battery life and a light weight, then you'll love it, just don't be too disappointed if you find yourself out growing it a year down the line.