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By Thomas McKinnon 6 July 2009

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The concept of a tablet PC was defined by Microsoft in 2001 as a “pen-enabled computer” that operated on a licensed copy of \"Windows XP Tablet PC Edition\". A bit of a narrow definition, but taking stock of tablet PCs currently available on the market they haven’t exactly come very far since 2001.

The point, however, is that tablets don’t really need to develop much further to meet their ultimate objective:­ ­offering a mobile alternative to bulkier notebooks and meeting certain environmental requirements and restrictions, namely space. Performance isn’t really high on the agenda then, as ­resource intensive applications are generally avoided on these
machines. The Advent ADV3500 also follows suit.

It utilises Windows XP Home, and has a cute Advent ­interface that sits on top of XP, offering shortcuts to Windows, Navigation, the Internet, computer settings and various media players and an on-screen keyboard. All this makes it ­extremely easy to use while offering the familiarity and ­resource efficiency of XP.

Onboard

The device also offers a 7\" touch-screen, optimally navigated via a stylus, a 1 GHz CPU, 256MB of RAM, a 30GB hard drive and Wi-Fi connectivity. While we would have preferred 512MB of RAM to make running multiple applications a little smoother, the machine ran well with few hiccups.

In the car


Where the device really shines is in the car. More than just a tablet PC, the ADV3500 has a built-in SiRF III GPS receiver. Consequently you get a fantastic convergence device if you take the optional SATNAV software on offer when purchasing the tablet. The fact that it is also packaged with a windscreen mount, an AC/DC adapter for the car and a remote control, make it even more appealing.

Its multimedia offering further enhances it appeal as a ­mobile device. Watching videos or listening to music while travelling is very easy as it offers a 3.5 mm audio jack, 2 x USB ports, a mini SD Card slot and AV output. Although the battery life of only about 2 hours in full use, is a bit ­frustrating.

This good mix of hardware, software, and connectivity ­features make the ADV3500 a great convergence device for a reasonable R5899. Available from Computer Corporation on 08616-08616.

PROS
XP brings familiarity to the IU and the built-in SiRF III GPS receiver makes it an exceptional GPS system.
CONS
It lacks a bit of RAM and its battery life is a little on the short side.
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