After having the Averatec 3200 series dropped in my lap without a user manual or any other material, I couldn't help but cringe at the thought of spending hours trying to grasp the ins and outs of this device without even a cheat sheet.

My attitude toward the notebook, however, quickly changed.

When I opened the notebook, I found a sticker to the right of the touchpad telling me what features I could expect from this model (the AV325OHX-01) and a toll-free 24/7 number to call for customer support. Without a manual, I expected to make use of that number -- I'm the kind of gal who needs a little help navigating any new gadget. But in the end, I never had to make a call. Most of the info I needed was on the notebook itself.

The Averatec 3200 is so intuitive and user-friendly I never missed the manual. I didn't need to look anything up to figure out which keys would put the computer into standby and bring it back, which would adjust the monitor, and which had double functions. The keys were all well marked, as were the ports and peripherals.

The device supplied me with all the peripherals I needed and not much more to weigh it down. The notebook came equipped with a DVD +/- burner, three USB ports, LAN and telephone connections, a Type II PC Card/CardBus slot and a VGA 15-pin port. (Though I admit, I had to look up the Type II PC Card/CardBus slot.)

Adding to the device's ease of use is the keyboard's straightforward layout and sensitivity, requiring minimal adjustment when switching from regular desktop keyboard. And at less than 4.5 pounds and 1 inch thick, the 3200 is lightweight and slender. I could work in the most comfortable corners of my house, and wander over to the printer with the machine whenever I needed to print something. When traveling with the notebook, I stuffed it in with all my other papers -- it was comparable in size and shape to a regular notebook. (You know, one of those gross, old-fashioned spiral-bound things that leave little shreds of paper everywhere you go?).

My only complaint about this model -- which sells for around $1,149.99 -- was that it came equipped with Windows XP Home Edition, which proved unfriendly with our corporate LAN. The model only one step up from the model I reviewed, which was equipped with the same 80 GB hard drive, came with Windows XP Professional for only $100 more -- $1249.99.

Specifications

  • CPU Mobile AMD Athlon XP-M 2200+

  • Processor Speed 1.26 GHz, 480 MB RAM

  • Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

  • LCD 12.1" XGA

  • Optical Drive Dual DVD +/- Burner

  • Hard Drive 80

  • Memory 512 MB DDR

  • Wireless LAN 802.11g

  • USB (3x) 2.0

  • Dimensions 10.9" x 9.6" x 1"

  • Weight 4.5 lbs.

    Rating: 5 out of 5

    Emily Montandon  |  Staff Writer/Copy Editor