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Dixons Offering Windows MacBook Air Clone

Michelle Maisto covers mobile devices, Android and Apple for eWEEK and is also a food writer.

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Dixons now offers an Elite version of its Advent Altro running a version of Microsoft’s Windows Vista

UK retailer Dixons now offers two versions of its Advent laptop line, clearly inspired by the Apple MacBook Air. In addition to the 13.3-inch Altro, Advent now sells the Altro Elite, according to a 1 Sept website update.

The Altro Elite laptop runs Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system. The laptop weighs 3.5 pounds and measures 13.2 by 8.9 by 0.86 inches. The MacBook Air, by comparison, weighs 3 pounds and measures 12.8 by 8.9 by 0.76 inches at its thickest point; when it was introduced in January 2008, it was described as the world’s thinnest notebook, an accolade now earned by the Dell Adamo, the thickest point of which is 0.65 inches.

The silver Altro Elite features an Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 processor, running at 1.4GHz. The laptop also features a 120GB hard drive, 3GB of main memory, a Webcam, Bluetooth, a fingerprint reader integrated into the touch-pad, integrated Wi-Fi, an ambient lighting sensor and 4 hours of battery life.

Its 13.3-inch WXGA widescreen is edge-to-edge, with what Dixons describes as a “premium flush glass finish,” which many MacBook and iPhone users have become accustomed to. There is one USB port and no optical drive, but an HDMI connector attaches to a Multi-Function Connector—a kind of dongle with extra ports for attaching high-definition displays.

Dixons’ listed price for the Elite is £800. The Altro features a 1.20GHz Intel Celeron 723 processor, and aside from this difference is pretty comparable to the Elite. A user gets the 120GB hard drive, 3GB of memory, Webcam, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, touch-pad with fingerprint reader, ambient lighting sensor, 4 hours of battery life and Multi-Function Connector. The Altro sells for £599.

Dixons makes no mention of the MacBook Air, but one can hardly ignore it.

The Advent laptops even feature keyboards similar to the Air’s, with keys very separated to avoid typos. For reference, the MacBook Air offers a 1.86GHz or 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB on-chip shared Level 2 cache running 1:1 with the processor speed. There’s 2GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM (double data rate 3 synchronous dynamic RAM) on board. The graphics processor is a Nvidia GeForce 9400M. Battery life is 5 hours, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are integrated, there’s one USB port and a Webcam, and the LED-backlit glossy widescreen display is 13.13 inches on the diagonal.

The review site Cnet got hold of an Altro and describes the exterior as having a “distinctly ‘made in China’ feel,” but nonetheless writes: “Still, at £600, you ought not to complain.”