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Advent Zuni review

A cheap netbook killed by its terrible battery life

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Our Verdict

Well put together and nice to use for a netbook, but with terrible battery life

For

  • Tough chassis
  • Decent storage capacity
  • Impressive screen
  • Good keyboard layout and responsive touchpad
  • Very cheap

Against

  • Poor battery life
  • Low processing power
  • Some overheating
  • Not very attractive

With tablets taking over the world, the humble netbook has been kicked aside like an unpopular Christmas present. This isn't to say that they're obsolete, as they're still a cheap and portable means of accessing the internet and your Office applications, but the Advent Zuni stumbles at a vital hurdle.

The main problem is battery life. We've tested a lot of netbooks in our time, and models such as the Dell Inspiron Mini make us expect them to run for at least five hours between charges – preferably longer. However, the Advent Zuni gave up after just 103 minutes of use. That's worse than most high-powered gaming laptops.

It's a real shame, as the slim and light build is easily transportable. The red chassis won't win any design awards, but it's tough enough to take a few knocks. However, we did notice the left edge and rear got surprisingly hot during use.

This is particularly unusual as netbooks are lacking in power. The Advent Zuni is no exception, powered by the budget Intel Atom processor.

If you want a portable for browsing the web and consuming your music and photos, this will certainly do the job. However, if you want to edit your holiday photos or home videos, watch high-definition movies or play anything more complex than Solitaire, then you'll need to look elsewhere.

With 200GB of storage on board, you can carry a large collection of photos and music around with you. An SD card reader allows you to expand this space.

Ports are typically limited, with a VGA port for hooking up external monitors and three USB ports for peripherals. You also get a basic 0.3MP camera for webchats.

While the 10-inch display is compact, with a wide border around the screen, it's also bright and reasonably crisp. Websites are well presented and photos look sharp and vibrant. At this budget price, we were quite impressed.

Netbooks have to make a special effort when it comes to usability, as a cramped keyboard will be uncomfortable to type on for even short periods. Thankfully the Advent Zuni's board is well spaced and fills the whole chassis. Keys are isolated from each other, and we found we never hit the wrong one by accident.

The touchpad is understandably crushed on the narrow palmrests, but sensitive enough for it not to matter.

Benchmarks

Battery life: 103 minutes
Mobile Mark 2007: 68
3DMark 2003: 720

Verdict

The Advent Zuni is well put together – despite possible thermal issues – and has a strong screen and a great keyboard. However, you'll need to drag your charger wherever you go, and if you find yourself stuck somewhere without a plug socket, you'll be counting down the minutes until it dies.

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