Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Averatec is offering a shining gem of a mobile computer at an unprecedented price. The Averatec C3500 Convertible Tablet PC carries the promise of outstanding portability at a palatable suggested retail price of $1349. With its solid construction, stylish protective magnesium alloy case and a tolerable 5.5 lbs. of weight, all designed to fit inside a compact 11.6" x 9.8" x 1.57" package, the C3500 exemplifies roadworthiness to the max.
At First Glance
In first powering up the C3500, one is struck by its exceptionally bright and clear display. Despite the limited space available in the design, the keyboard is substantially functional and the thoughtfully rounded edge on the lower half of this model offers extreme comfort for typing even over extended periods of time. Style is integrated inside and out. The C3500 is sure to grab the attention of technophiles who happen upon it. In taking this unit out into the world, I have drawn much attention from onlookers in Starbucks, at the bookstore and have experienced envy from coworkers and clients. Even more fascinating for most folks is to watch me pop out the pen, rotate the display and proceed to write directly on the screen. If you get a C3500, be prepared because everyone will want to "just try it"!
Mobile AMD Athlon XP-M 2200+
Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
LCD Size High Contrast 12.1'' XGA
Optical Drive DVD+CD-RW
Hard Drive 60GB
Memory 512MB DDR
Wireless LAN 802.11g
Wired LAN 10/100 LAN
USB (4x) 2.0
DimensionsWxDxH) 11.6" x 9.8" x 1.6"
Weight (lbs.) 5.5 lbs.
So let's just dive right in and get down to the features, usability and overall impressions that the many features incorporated into the C3500 offer for the $1349 price tag.
Like most of the Averatec computer products, the C3500 is powered by the AMD Athlon XP Mobile chip. Specifically, the XP-M 2200+ which operates at a respectable 1.8 GHz. Tests using SiSoft Sandra on the C3500 showed that this CPU can hold its own against Intel processors. The Athlon meets or beats the Intel Pentium M at 1.6GHz and Pentium 4 at 2.0GHz in both arithmetic and multimedia benchmarks.
The C3500 includes an integrated DVD+CD-RW drive. One hard drive with a 60GB capacity provides plenty of storage. Hard drive performance is speedy and quiet.
Overall, I have found the C3500 to be a pleasure to use. The Screen swivels on a sturdy hinge keeping the display firm at any angle. The fan is noticeably quieter than those found on the Averatec 3200 series notebooks. I should mention however, that this machine definitely gets hot! The vent that releases heat is located on the top left underside of the unit, and can quickly become uncomfortable to your left leg when using it on your lap. I suggest a cooling pad accessory for anybody wishing to use the C3500 on there laps for extended periods of time. The unique flipping latch on the lid is sturdy and well-designed. There are nice additional hardware controls built right into the edge of the display to rotate the screen, scroll and to invoke menus, saving time and frustration while the unit is folded over into "slate" mode. One minor gripe is that the Power Switch becomes inaccessible once the unit is folded over. You can shut down Windows via software while the display is folded down, but oddly enough, you are stuck opening up the unit to power on while in this mode. It would be a plus to see the Power Switch relocated in subsequent models.
The bottom line: If you are looking for excellent quality in a Convertible Tablet PC without emptying your savings account, the Averatec C3500 should be at the top of your list. As I send our review unit back to Averatec, I will surely miss it and might just add it to my Christmas Wish List!
PROS & CONS
-Sturdy magnesium alloy case
-Excellent features and value
-Weak battery life