Small but Tough
Posted: 03.03.05 - By Rita Kushnir

The Averatec C3500 Convertible Notebook gets its power from an AMD Athlon XP-M 2200 Processor and has 512 MB of RAM. The hard drive is a respectable 60GB and it comes preloaded with Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. I felt that the speed while using the Internet and Office applications was comparable to that of my Intel Pentium 4 desktop—very good for a notebook computer. It has 4 USB 2.0 ports so you can plug in all those printers, PDAs, mp3 players and zip drives at the same time. It also has a combined DVD/CD-RW drive, which for most Tablet PCs is typically an add-on.

Esthetically, it’s very nicely designed. I wanted to use it at first sight. Though slightly on the heavier side (5.5 lbs), it is very portable at 11.6 x 9.8 x 1.57 inches. The brightness and clarity of its display more than make up for the relatively small 12.1-inch screen size. In fact, I have yet to see a portable computer with a crisper display. The keyboard is very functional for a computer of this size and I was able to type without my fingers running into each other. The screen rotates and folds down easily, which is great for presentations. In addition, you can turn your Tablet PC into a TV when watching a DVD.

One of the most distinguishing features of any Tablet PC is that you can write on it as you would on a paper pad. The Averatec C3500 makes good use of this function. It was actually much better at reading my handwriting than most people are. It interpreted my sloppiest lettering with almost 100 percent accuracy. I found it easy and comfortable to create typed text by using the pen to write on the screen. Personally, I’m not sure I would use it to take notes because I write slower than I type, but for people who prefer writing, this is a great tool. I found it slightly difficult to write things like URLs into the screen. It’s probably better to use a conventional keyboard to navigate the Internet. The Input Panel that is used to read handwriting is very easy to invoke and to use.

Overall, this is a great product and if I were buying a notebook of some sort, I would give this one some serious consideration. Here’s what would produce a little hesitation: battery life. It barely lasted 2 to 2.5 hours after being fully charged. This can be a problem on the road, though buying a spare battery is an option. Also, sometimes the system doesn’t return from the hibernate mode, so work must be saved before leaving the computer for an extended period of time. The sound quality of the speakers isn’t that great if you’re into listening to music while working, though decent headphones should solve this problem. The major plus for this model is the price. While most Tablet PCs, which offer only slightly more functionality, cost over $2,000, you can buy Averatec’s C3500 Notebook for only $1,349.


Edgell Communications