Averatec 3250 Laptop Computer

My family recently bought a new laptop for our 4-H groups tech team, okay it’s not ours but we were responsible for seeing the groups money well spent. And my wife was the one who got the grants to get it so it was our job to get a good laptop and get the things they need for one. They want one for things like web site design, presentations and a Lego Robotics program.

We shopped around and one newer laptop company called Averatec caught our eye. They have been making laptops for a couple of years now and are doing pretty well at it. The company has no big complaints against them and no law suits pending that I could find. That is one thing I want to look at when I think about spending this kind of money on a new companies computer. Will the company be around in a year when I need to get support from them.

We needed a very basic laptop for the Lego program but wanted a pretty good processor and a decent size drive for the other things like Powerpoint or presentations and Frontpage or web design. We were looking at something that was less than a thousand and preferably less than eight hundred, my wife had raised eight hundred dollars so far and we would have liked to get a laptop for that. All the new laptops we could find were around a thousand but we kept going back to one store we have dealt with before and we got them to offer us a deal on this one. We had not heard about Averatec but the sales girl said it was a good company and asked the store owner about a deal as it would be going to a good organization, 4-H. They offered us $750 for the laptop and we took it and ran. Okay we didn’t run out of the store but we did need to get the money from the account and I wanted to check on the company some.

The only negative thing I could find on the 3250 series of laptops was a problem with the screen, it appears that some people are having the keys touching the screen and causing pixel problems and scratches on it. I looked at ours and it is not touching the keys, maybe this is something on only certain models, but I don’t see a problem with the one we got. I looked the computer over and at all the things like the little keys and such and could not find anything wrong or anything to worry about. The model we bought is a used one and it’s a refurbished model. It had been used for a year and the previous owner had bought it for school and then quite school. They no longer needed it so the store bought it back from them, and we got it at a good price. The store reinstalled windows and did a full format on the drive so we got a fresh install with the Windows Service pack 2 and no extra junk on the drive.

I have bought another computer at the same store and would highly recommend you look for a similar type of local store for purchasing computers from. I had bought my first laptop from a Best Buy but the support from them is terrible, you have to have your computer sent out and then get sent back and that takes time that you wouldn’t have to deal with if they had someone on site to work on your computer. They are also very strict on what they will cover even when you buy the extended warranty, it has to be a hardware problem before they will touch it.

The Computer Renaissance I bought this laptop and my desktop from has certified computer technicians in the store for troubleshooting and repair so they don’t need to send it out anywhere and can get it fixed quicker for you. I like the way they deal with me as a customer and have the people at the store to fix the things that could go wrong with my computer. They are always happy to answer questions I have and it’s easier to get in touch with them and their technicians when I have a question about the software or a problem I’m having.

The Averatec 3250 we bought is a smaller laptop with a 9 Ã?¾ by 7 Ã?¼ inch screen. The specs on it say it is a 12.1 inch screen but that’s measuring from corner to corner. It’s a small and light laptop that has a lot packed into it, the case is 9 Ã?½ inches by 11 Ã?¼ inches and 1 Ã?¼ inches tall. It weighs about four and a half pounds which is pretty light.
The specs are pretty impressive for the model I bought, and the things that come with it are nice.

The specs for this series are here:

Mobile AMD Athlon XP-M 2200
Microsoft Windows XP Home edition
Dual DVD-CD burner
512 MB RAM
60 or 80 GB Hard Drive
Built in Wireless 802.11 G Network
3 USB 2.0 Ports

The computer case is a smooth Magnesium or some such, but it’s not plastic and should wear pretty well, especially as this one will be seeing a lot of traveling and passing from one person to the next. I like the feature of the built in wireless network and it was a surprise till after we had bought it. They didn’t tell me it was there and I missed that when I was looking it up before we bought it, so we got a really good deal. The laptop runs well and does not get too warm, this is a major concern with laptops. My HP 4600 gets real hot and we had to install some feet on it so the thing does not sit directly on the surface we set it on, otherwise it tends to heat up and not function properly. This one doesn’t get as warm, the vents work better and it has a better heat sink I guess, I installed a temperature monitor program and it does not get near as hot as my other one.

The laptop comes with 512 MB RAM memory but it is easy enough to install more, the card is in a small door that removes with two screws and then the card is right inside, just un-clip the things on the side and it pops out, a new one would not be hard to install but 512 MB memory is pretty good. The drive is a 60 Gigabyte but it starts at 55 with the stuff that is already on for the system. It has the usual modem and sound card and all the other things you expect in a laptop.

The laptop is set up to be used in a desktop storage device or dock of that sort as the battery is in the back and pulls out. But I could not find a device or dock for sale, this maybe something that they were planning on or are planning on adding in the future. The USB ports are on one side toward the front and the LAN and phone connection on the other while the sound jacks are on the front. There is no jack for the mouse but you use the USB port for one.

The audio has a thumb wheel on the front to control the volume as well as the internal controls on the windows audio. The two jacks up front are for head phones or speakers and a microphone. The wireless Internet is a nice feature, a switch on the top near the hinge by the power button turns on and off the wireless card or whatever is inside, it then automatically tries to connect to a wireless connection. On mine it tried to connect to our towns new wireless system they have installed throughout the town. It said because I don’t have the settings for an account that I had to set up one before I could use it. But I like that it just starts to find one and did get the thing, just that I didn’t have an account and could not hook up until I did.

The laptop came with Windows XP Home Edition and the usual programs that go along with a new laptop. Some I used like the Cyberlink for playing CDs and DVDs but some like Norton Anti Virus I got rid of. I don’t like Norton or many of the other anti virus companies like McAfee that many stores use for their computers and that come as an introductory offer. I use Trend Micro’s PcCillin Internet Security, but for this one laptop I just loaded a free anti virus from Grisoft, AVG anti virus and Firewall available here: http://www.grisoft.com/doc/1

I also go through the programs and get rid of ones that I know they will not use to save space on the laptop. I also add some programs like spyware protection and registry cleaners to maintain the computer. I also use a good tutorial guide for tweaking the different things on the computer like settings of the system. You can see what I mean by visiting Tweak Town here: http://www.tweaktown.com/
They have some very good guides for help with settings and such to make your computer run faster and more efficiently.

Another thing I like about the design of this laptop is the access to the fan and heat sink. It is nice to have the little panel you can take off and clean out the fan to make sure you are getting the best heat dissipation from the heat sink without the chance of fluff and dust in the laptop catching fire or burning something. This may not sound like too much of a concern but it has happened and is something I do think about, I do clean out my computers regularly as they do collect a lot of dust and get clogged up with it. You should open yours up and vacuum out the dust bunnies to keep your computer working in top condition. Believe it or not dust can conduct electricity and cause errors on your computer.

A new battery for the laptop will run about $70 for a 4 Amp Hour one and $100 for a 6 Amp Hour. I have found out that we get almost two hours of battery time when using the laptop with just playing around and searching the Internet, if you use processor intensive things or the drives much it would probably shorten that time. We almost always use our laptops plugged in though, it saves wear and tear on the battery for when we can’t use the power cord. There is an external battery you can get for the laptop, many of the Averatec models use the same one, it is about the same size but half as tall as the laptop. It has a six to ten hour run time and costs about $370 or so, it would be great for anyone who needed the extra time without the power cord to an outlet such as on the road.

The Averatec is an up and coming laptop company that has only been on the market for a short time. They are concentrating on laptops and are working toward a good design and limiting themselves to this corner of the computer market for now. They have several laptops available and with a wide variety of specifications, in several different sizes and with different cases for the fashion conscious computer buyer. You can see more on the models available here: http://www.averatec.com/

The Averatec has some nice computers and the smaller models like the one we bought, the 3250 is a nice and simple laptop. It has a good set of specifications and is nice and light for portability. The case is nice and seems like it will be durable and resist scratches and dents. The things that are missing like a mouse connection and battery time are no major problems. What can you expect for a reasonable price and a smaller laptop.

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