At Home with the Averatec

So earlier this week the doorbell rings, and the FedEx guy hands me a box from Averatec. He wishes me a good day, to which i respond, “It will be now!” It was my Averatec, fresh from the factory repair.

I was dismayed to find on the RMA report that while they replaced the RAM, they left the same hard drive in my computer and just re-imaged it (reset the software back to factory settings)! Oh man! After all that, they didn’t even replace the broken part! At that point I was willing to buy myself a hard drive instead of sending it back for another 2 months, but it booted just fine, so I gave it a chance. It wasn’t until later that week that it struck me: Maybe they started working on it and realized it was actually the RAM, thus vaildating my claim that it was FedEx, and not I, who dropped the computer to begin with. Hm… maybe it was bad RAM after all? Later test-installs of Linux failed to warn me of any impending hard drive doom, so it just may be the case.

Saturday rolls around and I wanted to do my taxes somewhere quiet, so I pack up the Averatec and head out to a cafe. (See the next posting for my Vista experience.)

Looking for a new laptop? Here are my observations after a weekend of fairly intensive use:

  • The size is perfect: I wanted a Netbook, but none of them had DVD drives, so the Averatec delivered.
  • The keyboard is fantastic (not as stellar as my once-in-a-lifetime Dell Inspiron 1300 keyboard, but better than most and well laid-out.
  • The piano-black plastic finish is gorgeous, but takes on fingerprints quicker than a CSI.
  • The hard drive seems to work just fine (so far). Here’s hoping it continues to do so, because this thing isn’t that easy to take apart.
  • The battery life is about an hour. Horrendous for everyday use and renders DVD watching on airplanes difficult. I hope the Chinese eBay sellers have a nice hi-capacity one for me.
  • The L-shaped AC adapter jack on the side is exactly perfect for getting hit by my knee. I have to be really careful with it or I may snap the jack off inside the computer!
  • The price-to-performance on this thing is really unmatched. This wasn’t used; it wasn’t even refurbished. It was brand new, and for $400, I got a gorgeous bright, glossy screen, a DVD burner, a ridiculous amount of RAM, and a hard drive twice the size of my main computer.
  • The company seems to come and go (they never got back to me about becoming a reseller); their computers were very popular around the beginning of the decade, but virtually disappeared after some quality issues, then recently resurfaced as a division of Trigem. If you’re looking for some five-star customer support (and Linux compatibility for that matter), get a Dell or an Apple.
  • I’m travelling to Ohio and Tennessee next week, so I’ll really see how it behaves and takes abuse on long trips.
  • Ubuntu Linux 8.04 runs fairly well on it and was easy to set up! All I needed to do was install a wireless card driver (using ndiswrapper) and enable Restricted support for the slick ATI video card and I was good to go. Everything else was recognized automatically (even the webcam!). Every few bootups the sound card tweaks out (repeats the startup noise incessantly) but I think I got that solved.

All in all, though, The Averatec 2755 just may be the closest thing to the perfect laptop!

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