TODO alt text

Advent Discovery MT1804 review

Low-cost and low-powered - a great price touch PC

Jump to Section:

We've seen a few touchscreens, and this is not the worst. The Asus EeeTop, for example, uses a fairly heinous virtual touchscreen design that actually reads your finger position from a strip at the top rather than a matrix on the screen, leading to some awful calibration issues.

We presume that the Advent Discovery MT1804 boasts a different design, because once you've run through the multi-point calibration process it's actually rather accurate. It supports limited two-finger multi-touch - so you're not going to be whipping out complex gestures - but its accuracy is pretty remarkable.

The real problem, of course, is Windows: it's not a touchscreen operating system, however much Microsoft might want it to be. The interface isn't consistent; the buttons are too small; and as usual, the Discovery MT1804's default installation is filled with stuff you won't want or need. You'll have to clean it before you use it, and you will find yourself, like we did, reaching for the mouse more often than for the screen.

In terms of muscle, Intel's Celeron 900 is meaty enough to allow the Discovery MT1804 to play 720p video, which can be squirted out of the HDMI port, although the built-in speakers don't really keep up with the video performance. They're rubbish, actually.

3GB RAM is more than enough to keep a few web tabs open and a 320GB, if you're frugal, should be a big enough hard drive for anyone.

But here's the thing: reviews are really about cost/benefit analysis. Performance only really matters if it goes with value for money, and the Advent Discovery MT1804 passes this crucial test with flying colours.

At £330, it feels like an absolute steal - particularly as it's about half the price at which the machine originally launched. You can even buy an additional laptop battery to improve the Discovery MT1804's portability if you want.

A laptop would surely offer more flexibility, but that's not entirely relevant, because the Discovery MT1804 isn't trying to be a laptop: it's trying desperately not to be. Whether it has succeeded is really up to you. We like it more than we thought we would, because it's just strong enough that it would fit just about any low-power stand-alone computing position.