The Averatec C3500 – What Do Our Readers Think?
So you heard my take in our full review of the C3500. But what do our readers think? I noticed that we got 3 fairly distinct reactions from readers in our forums who purchased the Averatec C3500 Tablet PC. So how does this popular Tablet PC weigh in with 3 random users on our site? Please read futher to find out! (I have chosen to leave out user names for each post), if you really want to know who said what, you’ll have to check out our forums. Oh, and by the way – I want to thank all 3 of our members who took the time to post all this info!
FYI, I bought this 3500, and i was slightly disapointed.
The quality of the product seems good, it’s just that I never used a tablet PC before and once I used it, I think for me personally it is not worth the extra $500 it costs.
As for the quirks of this model:
the screen is a bit on the small side (12 inches) but has 1024×768 resolution, which is the norm for 14″ displays so it doesnt “act” that much smaller.
the driver for the pen stylus doesnt work properly with XP-Tablet edition 2005. Check other posts for the info on this, but basically the ‘hovering pen input’ button is rendered unusable (cant click on it before it disapears). I read that averatec is aware of this and is getting the new driver certified.
The battery life is pretty bad.. 2hours. I was really disapointed in the power-saving features of this laptop. It’s advertised as having automatic power saving features, but I sure cant see many savings. I would have really prefered an option in BIOS to throdel down the CPU to maybe 500mhz and turn off other things (network, cd, etc) but unfortuantly there is nothing to do to save power except dim the screen. 🙁
Long ship time: it took about 3 weeks from the time i placed my order until I recieved my laptop. Though I should mention that when i paid for my order they sent a message saying it could take 2 weeks to ship.. but at purchase time (prior to paying) there is no such notice.
Bad RMA policy. Dont get me wrong, if you want to RMA your entire thing for a refund, you can. It’s just that my purchase came with a pen-stylus that had a crack in it. Upon calling the reseller (avaratech outsources the purchase from their website to another company) I found to my dismay that the only way to get a new pen is to return the ENTIRE laptop, get a refund, and they will ship out another. No way to get just the pen replaced (unless I just buy a new one). That sucked.
But maybe that crappy RMA policy is a blessing, as I dont really find the tablet PC that useful, especially since for $250 less i just bought a fully loaded Dell Inspiron 8600. So I’m just going to get my money back.
A good thing about their RMA policy. They pay shipping, and the customer support guy was very clear and direct and didnt give me a run-around. (took less than 5 minutes on the phone to get my RMA number)
I now have the 3500 and am pleased with it so far. Not sure what taumeson means when he says that he just bought a “fully loaded” Dell… aside from saving 250–and i’m not sure he ‘saved’ anything considering the differences I’ve listed below between the Averatec 3500 and the Dell Inspiron 8600:
** Dell–only two USB ports
** Averatec–four USB ports
** Dell–30GB hard drive standard
** Averatec–60GB hard drive standard
** Dell–6.9 pounds
** Dell–256MB DDR SDRAM
** Averatec–512MB DDR SDRAM
** Dell–8x DVD-ROM STANDARD (notice, RW is optional and will cost you more unless you catch Dell with a limited-time free upgrade to a RW)
** Averatec–DVD/CD-RW combo STANDARD
The 3500 is comparable to most “fully loaded” notebooks… with the exception of the screen width. Dell says that the Inspiron goes “up to 4.5” depending on usage. The 3500 so far has gone farther for me than just two hours… it’s actually about 3, depending on how you’re using it… about the same on all notebooks that I’m aware of with the exception of the Fujitsu 8-9 hour hi-capacity battery for the ST4121 unit.
I ordered mine from Computers4Sure.com and they shipped it the same day I bought it… I received it the next day (of course I paid for overnight fedex)… but the wait time jason experienced is probably due to where he purchased it.
One turn-off to me with the 3500 is that users are required to use the Averatec stylus; that is frustrating since the stylus they supply is small, uncomfortable, and cheaply made (much like Fujitsu’s). So if any users out there have the fabulous Cross Executive Stylus, don’t think you’ll be using it on the 3500… you won’t be.
The speakers are, to me, the worst part of this machine (again, much like Fujitsu)… I don’t know why manufacturers don’t put quality speakers in their systems (except for the Dell Latitude that I also have)… come on Averatec, two tiny little speakers that sound “good” can’t be that much more expensive… I’m not asking for surround sound or Bose quality… but you can do better than this.
On the upside, Averatec included a cute and rugged blue carrying case (although I still haven’t figured out why they didn’t put a handle on it so that users could carry it like a briefcase… and no inside pockets for anything).
The 3500 did come with OneNote preinstalled, so that saves around $100 or so for Tablet PC users. However, when writing on the screen at certain instances (when writing a letter or word) there’s a “shhrreeeak” like someone is putting their nails on the blackboard… so far screen scratches haven’t accompanied this “feature”… but the sound gets irritating when I’m writing. And I’m sure that it will irritate my colleagues as I take notes in class and at residencies.
I bought my C3500 about a week ago now, while laid up in bed with a bad back and worrying about getting back to work and school.
So far I have to say that I really enjoy the unit. It performs to my expectations. Though, like some of the reviewers I’m baffled at why I can put it into sleep mode from the tablet mode, but I have to open the screen to get it back out. (Perhaps you can remap one of the screen buttons to be an ‘on’ button? I’ll try that later)
The pen does seem a bit small, and I hit the ‘button’ on it by accident often, but that seems to have minimal impact on what I’m doing. The battery life seems ‘ok’ I got a program called SpeedSwitchXP (free!) that does dynamic switching of the CPU speed (as well as other types of battery usage modes).
Service Pack 2 does interfere with some of the usage, but at the same time gave some new features, so it’s a bit of a mixed blessing.
If you are a student, the GoBinder software is really nice and you should check out www.xthink.com (if you are a math major).
All in all I have to say I am impressed and will be enjoying the use of this product.
PS I was disappointed when I went to upgrade the ram, a PC2700 512MB notebook ram module at Staples was $180, and it turned out that the C3500 came with 2 256MB modules in it, so I only really upgraded to 768MB not 1024MB like I had hoped.