The Avita Liber V is another portable Windows computer aiming to be one of the best laptops around – and like many of its competitors, it tries to hit the sweet spot between price and performance, a balance that can be notoriously difficult to get right.
It's definitely more concerned with affordability rather than power, so adjust your expectations accordingly: this is an everyday laptop suitable for everyday tasks, and it's going to appeal to students and anyone whose computing demands aren't too great.
While it doesn't hit the lowest price points of the best cheap laptops out there, you can pick the Liber V up for less than £500 in the UK at the time of writing (consult the widgets embedded on this page for the latest deals). Read on for our full Avita Liber V review.
Avita Liber V review: screen and design
Once you've seen the price tag attached to the Avita Liber V, it's unlikely that you're going to be expecting too much in terms of style and polish, but we're very impressed with what the laptop has to offer in terms of its design. Our review model came with a special patterned, gold effect lid which helps the aesthetics – unfortunately this isn't available in the UK right now – but overall it's a well-built, solid-feeling computer. As well as the very handy fingerprint sensor, you get HDMI out, two USB-A ports, a USB-C port, a microSD card slot, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
The keyboard and trackpad don't feel premium, exactly, but they do feel responsive and robust in use – we found ourselves quite happily typing away for hours on the Liber V, and the backlighting is nicely done. The trackpad is huge too, which we always like to see. The look and feel of the laptop is all very (dare we say it) Chromebook-esque, and that seems to be the sort of market that Avita is aiming at here.
Weighing in at 1.3 kg the laptop is ideal for carrying around the home or office, or slinging into a bag when you're on the go. The aluminium finish of the keyboard and lid adds to the appeal, and so does the wide range of colours that you can get the laptop in – no fewer than seven different shades are listed on the Avita website, though we suspect that retailers will actually stock less than that. The four rubber feet under the laptop keep it nice and stable, and while the design of the Avita Liber V might not dazzle you, we don't think it'll disappoint you either.
The 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel display is rather disappointing though, unfortunately. It's fine, but it's not particularly vivid or sharp, and this is one of the areas where you can spot some cost-cutting. What's more, for us, 16:10 is a better aspect ratio for a laptop screen than 16:9, but your preferences may differ. The side bezels are pleasantly thin at least, though there is a rather ungainly bump at the top to house the webcam – we don't particularly mind it, though you might.
- All the best student laptops are right here
Avita Liber V review: performance and features
Our review laptop (the V3) came with an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U CPU, 4GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage, though you can also get this with a Ryzen 5 3500U processor and 8GB of RAM if you're willing to spend a bit more (the V5). The basic spec we had was good enough for getting around Windows and doing some light work on the web, but you wouldn't really want to push the laptop too far in terms of demanding use – any kind of heavy duty gaming or video editing is out of the question with these sorts of specs.
For users only interested in emailing, office apps, music and movies, plus some occasional lightweight gaming and image editing – which we're guessing is a lot of people – the Avita Liber V will suit them perfectly well. We didn't notice any real lag or slowdown in working with multiple browser tabs open, or switching between most desktop applications. The fans do tend to whir into action quite a lot, but they're not loud, and we didn't notice any major problems with the underside of the laptop getting hot either.
When kicking back and watching movies on the Liber V you get a perfectly acceptable experience – sure, there are better screens and stereo speakers out there, but you'll hardly feel like you want your money back (and it's with movies and TV shows that the 16:9 aspect ratio really helps). This is a laptop that can switch between business and leisure pretty well, and don't forget that HDMI port if you need to connect it up to a bigger screen – it's hardly a given on modern laptops.
Battery life isn't the best we've ever come across, with the laptop battery level dropping from 100 percent to 65 percent during our two-hour video streaming test. That suggests you'll get 5-6 hours of video streaming overall, though we did have the screen at maximum brightness, so you can probably eke a bit more life out of it. In general use (web browsing, email checking), we were seeing drops of around 25 percent an hour in the battery level, so you're going to struggle to manage a whole day away from a power source. For a lengthy train journey or a lunch break though, it's fine.
- The best 2-in-1 laptops, ranked
Avita Liber V review: price and verdict
When it comes to choosing a laptop, we suspect that most people start with how much they can spend and then work from there. If your budget is in the region of £500, and you want a laptop that runs a full operating system like Windows 10 (as opposed to, say, Chrome OS), then we think the Avita Liber V is one of the best options out there. Yes it has its weaknesses, but then again so does every laptop at this price point.
The screen, the specs and the battery life are nothing special, but the laptop feels well built and gives you a comfortable typing and trackpad experience – if you need a no-nonsense portable computer for day-to-day computing tasks then this might well be the one for you. We quite happily used it as our main computer for a few days, switching seamlessly between word processing and movie watching as needed.
Extras like the fingerprint sensor, the keyboard backlighting and the generous collection of ports add to the appeal of the laptop, and with so many colour options available there's a model for everyone (assuming you don't mind that chunky webcam housing). It's a nice and compact size as well, with the emphasis on portability rather than trying to fit a huge amount on screen at once.
In the end it all comes down to that very affordable price. You'll struggle to find a cheaper WIndows laptop than the Avita Liber V at the moment, and yet it doesn't look or feel like an ultra-budget laptop. You can't ask for much more from any laptop to give you value for money, and this one certainly delivers in that respect. As long as you don't need top-end performance or a dazzling screen, it's worth getting on your list of potential buys.
- Check out the best laptops on the market