The integrated network controller is a standard 10/100Mbit solution and the modem is 56k V.90 compatible. Not so apparent is the integrated 802.11b/g wireless network adaptor. The antenna can be enabled or disabled by pressing one of the quick access buttons just above the keyboard. The integrated WiFi support is another excellent inclusion at this price point.
Two of the remaining quick access buttons will launch your email client and web browser, while a third one allows for easy screen resolution changes. The fourth and final button switches between the D-SUB and the S-Video outputs.
The keyboard rattles and bounces too much for my liking, but the keys have good spacing and the layout is generally intuitive. The touchpad works well, although it is quite small. There’s also a four-way scroll pad between the two selector buttons below the touchpad. If you don’t like using a touchpad you’ll be glad to know that the 7056 ships with a cordless mouse – this is a great little inclusion, and although the mouse is small, it’s still far preferable to using a touchpad for extended periods.
At 3.5kg the 7056 is not light, but as a desktop replacement model, I didn’t expect it to be a featherweight. The benchmark numbers are not overly impressive, but the 3.2GHz processor does provide some raw power which shows up in both the SYSMark 2002 and PCMark 2004 scores. Battery life isn’t out of this world, but two hours and 34 minutes will at least let you use it on the road for part of your day.
The 3D benchmarks highlighted the average performance of the graphics chipset. This is definitely not a laptop for gamers, but at least it does have a dedicated graphics chipset which is always an advantage over integrated graphics.
As far as software is concerned the 7056 comes with a copy of Microsoft Works 7.0 which is a pretty basic office package, but still better than what you get with a lot of other notebooks.
But where the Advent 7056 really scores high is price – at only £599.97 this machine is an absolute bargain. You would be hard pushed to find a similarly priced laptop with the same specification elsewhere. Advent has never been an expensive brand but this is breaking new ground. I’ve never considered Dixons to be the place to find a PC bargain, but I guess there’s an exception to every rule.
The Advent 7056 isn’t the most powerful or feature packed notebook around, but it does represent impressive value for money. If you’re making the change from a desktop PC to a notebook and have a tight budget, Advent has made the transition a little easier