Avita is far from a household name, but that hasn’t stopped it from producing one of the best budget laptops on the market right now: the Avita Liber. Seriously — this stylish 14-inch Full HD, sub-£600 machine is perfect for anyone looking for a capable bit of kit that can handle just about any non-intensive task you can throw its way with ease, like editing a document in one window while watching a video on Netflix in another, making it a must-have for students and first-time owners alike.
In a nutshell, if you’re looking for an affordable laptop to hurl to school with a screen that’s large and clear enough to double as an entertainment setup when it’s not being used to create paper after paper, then consider the Avita Liber. But if you’re taking a more intensive course, as part of which higher-end hardware is required to edit images, videos and other media in succession, the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro would be a better fit. Just keep in mind it's roughly double the price for the base model.
Want to find out more about the Liber? Read on.
Avita Liber Review: Design and Build
We’ll cut straight to the chase: The Avita Liber isn’t the most luxurious laptop on the market, both in terms of form and function. Unlike most low-end machines, it’s made from aluminium, which Avita has decorated with a floral pattern on the rear of the lid on select models. Truth be told, it’s quite attractive, but it’s not something most men are going to want to parade around town. This is definitely a laptop aimed at female students. Even if you opt for a basic coloured model, it's still rather feminine.
Unsurprisingly, the machine is rather durable. I’m used to lugging around hefty 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, which also has a aluminium frame that’s seemingly indestructible, and the Avita Liber feels just as tough. The lid is sturdy (there isn’t any movement when it’s open, even when used on an uneven surface, like an airplane table), and the body — which isn’t as thick as one would expect from a budget device — is hard-wearing, capable of surviving a drop or two.
The keyboard isn’t half bad, either. Each button has a considerable amount of travel to avoid accidental touches. There’s also ample space between the side of the machine and the first column of keys, and a considerable amount of unused real estate surrounding the large — and responsive — trackpad, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally clicking while resting your palms beneath or beside it, and that makes it an ideal companion for editing documents in tight space, on the move.
Avita Liber Review: Specs and Performance
There’s also an HD webcam for video conferencing, all the connections you could ever need (two USB 3.0, one USB-C and a mini-HDMI ports, a headphone jack and a microSD slot for doubling the storage to 256GB), and Windows 10 Home running the show. Not sure what that means? Well, you can hook up a monitor to showcase content on the big screen, connect a memory stick to retrieve files and plug in a pair of headphones to listen to music through Spotify — all at the same time.
If you’re looking for a budget laptop, chances are you aren’t going to have the foggiest when it comes to what to look out for. In short, the Liber has everything you could possibly need from a lower-end machine, including a 14-inch Full HD screen, an Intel Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. As we said earlier, that’s more than enough punch to edit a document and stream a video from Netflix. In fact, pour another Chrome window into the mix and it should cope just fine.
However, try to throw something a little more demanding its way, such as rendering a video in 4K Ultra HD in Premiere Pro, and the Liber will come unstuck, sending its fans into overdrive as they scramble to stop the processor from overheating and shutting down altogether. Similarly, attempting to work in several creative applications at once (Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, for example) led to the same result. Then again, that’s not something the average consumer should need to do.
Avita Liber Review: Verdict
If you're looking for a capable laptop for editing documents on the move, you'll feel right at home with the Avita Liber. Sure, there are cheaper Chromebooks out there that let you do the exact same thing, but having Windows 10 Home on board has its advantages: There's no shortage of Windows Apps to install, you'll have full access to the Microsoft Office suite of tools, not to mention the user experience feels a lot more polished as a whole when compared to one of Google's Chrome OS devices.
There's one thing letting the Avita Liber down and that's the price — we can't help but feel £530 is a tad steep for what it brings to the table. Sure, it's a fantastic budget machine, but there are cheaper alternatives out there that do the job just as well, if not better, like the larger (and more powerful) Dell Inspiron 15 3000, which retails at £350. Having said that, the Avita Liber has an awful lot of character, appealing to those wanting a laptop with a bit more to it than a standard black shell in their life.