Netbooks have a lot to offer. They are extremely light and portable, usually affordable. Newer models have full-size keyboards, larger displays, and long battery life. Despite all of their advantages and developments over the past few years, they still lack one key category: computing power.
I know several people who have stayed away from netbooks for this and good reason alone. Anything but basic tasks like word processing, web browsing, email, music, or standard definition video playback, and these systems will quickly feel inadequate.
Fortunately, there is a middle ground for users who want something smaller than a standard 15-inch notebook but need more processing power than a netbook can offer. These types of notebooks are commonly referred to as ultraportables. And while they have been around for a while, their ridiculously high price premiums have kept them from making a splash in the market.
Both Intel and AMD recognized this loophole at the beginning of the year and consequently introduced their respective CULV (Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage) and Yukon platforms – the latter should be replaced by the Congo in a few days.
Averatec is one of numerous manufacturers who have chosen Intel. Today we're taking a look at the affordable ultraportable N3400 series notebook, a 13.3-inch model with an Intel dual-core processor and a thin aluminum shell that has some of the style elements of the Apple MacBook Air.
The N3400 weighs only 3.8 pounds and is powered by an Intel Pentium Dual Core T3400 CPU running at 2.16 GHz, 3 GB DDR2 (expandable to 8 GB) and a 250 GB hard drive running at 5400 rpm and a 13.3 "WXGA LCD display (1280 x 800), Intel GMA4500 graphics, 802.11n WLAN and a 5000 mAh battery with 2 cells.
Along with the MSI X-340 (which we'll be reviewing soon), Averatec undoubtedly objects to comparing the N3400 to the more expensive MacBook Air ($ 800 versus $ 1500). While the N3400 is a bit thicker and heavier, it offers just as much processing power, a similar screen state, more memory, more storage capacity and better connectivity. There are other tradeoffs here and there, as we'll find out, but the price offer for a powerful lightweight machine is definitely there.