- Review Price: £999.00
If you’ve been a reader of TrustedReviews since the early days, about three months ago, then you might have come across our review of the Hi-Grade Xperian. This Iridium AVPC is not a million miles away from the Xperian as it’s based on the same chassis. There are however some major differences between the AVPC and the Xperian.
The most obvious difference is the integrated keyboard on the AVPC which is an extended laptop keyboard with a numerical keypad to the right as well as some quick launch buttons to the left. The keyboard can be folded up towards the screen at the front of the AVPC for tidy storage, but it’s not removable which in turn means that to move the keyboard you have to move the whole AVPC. Not exactly what I would call ideal. The other problem with the keyboard, apart from it being much like a laptop keyboard to type on, is that it rattles quite a lot, which can be very annoying if you plan on using this device for word processing or email.
The other and more important difference is that the AVPC only comes with a 15in TFT display capable of a resolution of 1,024 x 768 as opposed to the Xperian which sports a 17in display running 1,280 x 1,024. The display itself doesn’t seem to be of the same quality as that of the Xperian and the lower resolution makes it less appealing as a TV replacement. The AVPC doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card to drive the display, but is instead relying on the integrated VIA/S3 motherboard graphics. This means that you can forget about playing games on the AVPC as it’s just not powerful enough to do this. The integrated graphics chipset shares 32MB of system memory and as with all SMA (shared memory architecture) graphics solutions this slows down the overall memory performance of the PC.
The remaining specifications are however very similar to the Xperian with a 2.66GHz processor fitted (the review sample only featured a 2.4GHz CPU but this has been replaced with the aforementioned faster model), 512MB of DDR memory, but a somewhat smaller hard drive at 80GB. The AVPC also features a 4-in-1 memory card reader, a PC Card slot and integrated 56k modem as well as 10/100Mbit Ethernet. A DVD ROM/CD-RW combo drive is also fitted, but again this can’t measure up to the Xperian that was supplied with a DVD writer. There are also two FireWire ports and four USB 2.0 ports for adding external devices. There is of course a built in TV and Radio tuner card which makes it an ‘AVPC’ and there’s the same style of remote control as the one supplied with the Xperian. The mouse however is a standard USB corded Microsoft two button unit with a scroll wheel. It’s a shame that a wireless mouse wasn’t supplied, but then since the keyboard is attached to the system it’s usefulness would be limited anyway.
Sadly there are very few positive points about the AVPC and the benchmarks don’t improve things either. It’s far behind the Xperian in all of the benchmarks bar the hard drive performance in PCMark 2002. The integrated graphics resulted in a 3DMark 2001 score of 638 which means that even quite old games will be unplayable on the AVPC. The Sysmark 2002 scores are acceptable, but again so much behind those of the Xperian that there seems to be more too it than just a slower CPU. It seems like the VIA chipset hasn’t done the AVPC any favours and the integrated graphics have made it even worse.
There is however one redeeming feature and that is the relatively low asking price of £999 inc VAT, which is a lot less than the Xperian, even though it has come down in price since our review. But overall it is very hard to recommend the AVPC on its merits unless you know that you will never play any games on it and you’re not too bothered about the size of the screen.
Close, but not close enough. The AVPC is the poor man’s version of the Xperian and I find it very hard to recommend unless you’re looking for a very basic media PC and don’t mind the relatively small screen
Score in detail
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