Averatec 2370 Notebook Review

by Reads (55,677)

Overview and Introduction:

Averatec — this one word is often synonymous with the three circles of Hell. In the past, Averatec has gained notoriety for their poor technical support and abysmal build quality. Yet, they are the only brand that provides inexpensive and portable notebooks.


Averatec 2370 size compared to a Texas Instruments graphing calculator (view large image)

The Averatec 2370 is the latest revision to Averatec’s line of 12” notebooks. Designed for work and light multimedia, this notebook comes in only the following configuration:

Averatec 2370 HM1E-1 specs as reviewed:

  • AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-50 – 1.6 GHz
  • 100 GB SATA HD
  • 1024mb DDR2 RAM
  • nVidia 6100 Integrated Graphics
  • Dual Layer DVD+RW
  • 12.1” WXGA LCD with Averabrite technology
  • Windows XP Media Center Edition (Upgrade to Vista Premium coupon included)
  • 802.11b/g wireless
  • 4-in-1 media card reader (MS/MS Pro/MMC/SD)
  • Firewire (1) and USB 2.0 (3)

Reasons for Buying:

If anything, this purchase experience taught me one valuable lesson – buy only when you need. The definition of need varies from person to person (i.e. the need for the fastest and best versus the immediate, functional, and practical). In my case, I should have waited to buy a notebook until school started to know exactly what I need.

In the summer, I purchased the Asus z96j (reviewed here), an excellent gaming laptop, with the intent of using it for college. But when fall quarter started, I realized I needed a smaller and lighter notebook. My needs also changed as I ceased to play computer games, ending my addiction to World of Warcraft. As a result, a new notebook would need to be cheap since I already bought the Asus z96j. The Averatec 2370 fulfilled my size and cost requirements.

Where and How Purchased:

The Averatec 2370 is available at many brick and mortar stores such as Staples, Circuit City, and Sam’s Club. In addition, they can be purchased online from the respective websites of the stores listed above and www.walmart.com.

Prices vary from $900 (retail) to $600 (Black Friday sale). I purchased my notebook from a local Staples store for $700 + tax after $200 instant rebates.

Build & Design:

Unlike earlier Averatec notebooks, the 2370 is not a re-branded MSI notebook. Instead, this particular model was built by Twinhead, the same company that manufactures the Durabook. As a result, the build quality of the 2370 defied my prejudice against the Averatec brand.


Averatec 2370 resting on top of an Asus Z96j 15" screen notebook (view large image)


Averatec 2370 on top of Asus Z96j notebook (view large image)

This notebook is tiny relative to my Asus. It almost has the same depth as the length of a typical graphing calculator. The 2370 is fairly thick for an ultra-portable notebook with a thickness of 1.4” to accommodate a built-in DVD burner.

The lid and bottom of the notebook is made of metal while the interior is composed of hard plastic. Pushing against the lid does not produce any ripples in the LCD. The lid features a sturdy, latch-less design, which requires both hands to open. So far, the notebook has survived several trips in my backpack without any scratches or cracks.

The internal components of the notebook such as CPU, RAM, HD, and wireless card can be easily accessed through a single panel on the bottom. Opening this panel would void the warranty, as evident through the tamper-proof sticker covering the screw.

Screen:

The 12.1” screen features a 1280×800 resolution. Similar to many other multimedia notebooks, the 2370 has a glossy screen. The LCD for the 2370 is manufactured by AUO or SEC. I have an AUO screen, which appears to have washed-out colors but is still usable. Some may find adjusting the color settings necessary. The SEC screen would be most desirable since it’s reported to not have these problems.

Speakers:

The speakers are located directly under the notebook. The sound quality is fairly decent as far as notebook speakers go. There is no distortion at high volume. In fact, they are far louder than the speakers on my Asus z96j. But the built-in speakers are still no substitute for external speakers or headphones.

Processor and Performance:

This particular Turion X2 processor, Taylor, is based off of the 90nm manufacturing process. Although they may not be as fast as Intel’s Core processors, they still offer exceptional performance and value.

The lowest VID is not locked by hardware, which allows for aggressive undervolting into the 0.700V range from 0.800V stock. Results vary among processors. My processor experienced the BSOD at any voltage below stock for the lowest multiplier. However, I was able to decrease the voltage for the highest multiplier from 1.075V to 0.950V.

Also note that Averatec ships the notebook with a single PC2-4300 RAM module, leaving another slot open for expansion.

Benchmarks:

With the integrated nVidia 6100 graphics, the 2370 is no gaming machine as evident through the 3DMark05 score of 597. However, Counter-Strike: Source is playable at the absolutely lowest settings.

Matlab rates the performance of the Turion X2 TL-50 in between the 2.0GHz and 3.0GHz Pentium 4. I also ran SuperPi, HDTune, and PCMark05 to get a general idea of the performance of this machine.

3DMark05 Results

 

Notebook 3DMark05 Score
Averatec 2370 (AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-50 – 1.6 GHz, Nvidia 6100) 597 3DMarks
Samsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, ATI X1700 256MB) 4,150 3DMarks
Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 256MB) 4,236 3DMarks
Asus V6J (2.16GHz Core 2 Duo, nVidia GeForce Go 7400) 2,918 3DMarks
Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400) 2,264 3DMarks
ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400) 2,092 3DMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, nVidia GeForce Go 7400) 2,013 3DMarks

 


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Super Pi Results

The table below compares the X60plus SuperPi score with some other notebooks

Notebook Time
Averatec 2370 (AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-50 – 1.6GHz) 2m 07s
Dell Inspiron e1505 (2.00 GHz Core 2 Duo) 1m 02s
Dell Inspiron e1505 (2.0GHz Core Duo) 1m 16s
Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo) 1m 18s
Fujitsu LifeBook A6010 (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo T5500) 1m 22s
Asus F3Jc (1.73GHz Intel T2250) 1m 28s
IBM ThinkPad T41 (1.6GHz Banias Pentium M) 2m 23s
Dell Latitude X1 (1.1 GHz ULV Pentium M) 2m 40s

 


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PCMark05 Detailed Results

 


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Matlab Benchmark results


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HDTune benchmark results


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Heat and Noise:


Heat and CPU graphs (view large image)

There is some slight warmth on the right palm rest due to the presence of the hard drive underneath. Otherwise, there is no observable heat in any other location of the laptop. I have used it on my lap without any problems. The processor idles in between 45 and 56 degrees Celsius. The fan turns on and off at the high and low temperatures as listed above. At load, the processor peaks at 60 degrees Celsius with the fan blowing at full speed. The hard drive typically stays at 42 degrees Celsius. While the fan is not necessarily quiet, the DVD drive is definitely louder.

Keyboard and Touchpad:


Keyboard view of 2370 (view large image)

The keyboard has solid feedback and no flex. The Ctrl and Fn buttons are switched. There are no dedicated media buttons on this notebook since they have been folded into the Fn keys. Although the keyboard is mostly full-sized, the certain keys such as Pg Up, Pg Down, Home, End, and Right Shift are reduced in size or missing due to the 12” frame of the notebook. Nonetheless, I find this keyboard to be very comfortable for prolonged typing.

The touchpad is made from a similar material as the case of the notebook. Sensitivity is not an issue due to the Synaptic drivers. The left and right clickers have a satisfying feedback and produce a barely audible click.

Input and Output Ports:

The left side of the notebook features a lock hole, firewire port, AC jack, and DVD drive. The right side has an exhaust vent, a VGA output, Express Card slot, and 3 USB ports. It is interesting to note that the USB ports are upside down. The back contains the battery, Ethernet, and modem jack. Finally, the front has a headphone, microphone jack, Wi-Fi switch, and a media card slot.


Right side view of Averatec 2370 ports (view large image)


Left side view of Averatec 2370 ports (view large image)


Back view of Averatec 2370 ports (view large image)

Wireless:

The internal wireless works fine for connecting to the router at home and Wi-Fi at college. There is no option to add internal Bluetooth.

Battery:

After calibrating the battery through the bios, I achieved a battery life of 2:45 hours at full brightness and Wi-Fi on. Battery life will improve with undervolting. This laptop should be able to last 3 hours with Wi-Fi off and lowest brightness. The battery life is fairly decent since Averatec claims that only 2:30 is possible with this notebook. An extended battery should be available in the near future.

Operating System and Software:

The notebook comes with Windows XP Media Center Edition. First boot had 45 processes with bloatware consisting of the Zone Alarm Antivirus, Cyberlink DVD and Phoenix Recovery software. Fortunately, they were easily disabled or removed with Add/Remove Programs and msconfig. Similar to the promotions that other brands offer, a free upgrade to Windows Vista is available depending on the current copy of Windows XP that came with the notebook. In the case of the 2370, Averatec has the option of upgrading to Vista Premium for the cost of shipping.

Like all other mainstream PC brands, no physical recovery disks are provided. The factory recovery data is stored on a hidden partition on the hard drive. However, the included Phoenix Recovery software does not work. Fortunately, the fine people at www.averatecforums.com have a guide to create your own recovery DVD. (See http://averatecforums.com/showthread.php?t=2057)

Customer Support:

Unfortunately, the Averatec horror stories are true. The box claims to offer tech support 24/7. Tech support has zero knowledge for this notebook. For instance, they don’t even know there is a built-in microphone or an available slot for a RAM upgrade. The product manual comes in the form of a .pdf file on the HD.

There is a 1 year warranty on the notebook and a 6 month warranty on the battery — best of luck to anyone who ever needs to use it.

Conclusion:

For the price and features, the Averatec 2370 is an ideal budget portable notebook to supplement a desktop or larger laptop. The 2370 has an excellent build quality, which dispels my previous perception of Averatec as a “cheap” brand. But once again, the build quality will be critical in avoiding the need for the warranty.

Pros:

  • Small size
  • Price
  • Easy access to upgrade components
  • Decent battery life (~3 hours)
  • Sturdy construction. Lid and bottom are made of metal.

Cons:

  • Poor warranty and customer service
  • Opening panel to upgrade voids warranty
  • Need to go out of your way to create factory recovery disks


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