The Liber is colorful and compact, but otherwise it is largely retreaded into a smaller screen on the first Avita laptop we reviewed last year, the 14-inch Clarita Avita. At first glance, the aluminum style similar to Liber's MacBook impresses. But it loses its shine in everyday use, reveals itself to have low power and has a screen that is noticeably bright and a super wide touchpad that is frustrating to use. Those were our main complaints with the Clarus last year and, unfortunately, they are repeated in the Liber of 12.5 inches. However, the poky performance is not a surprise, since the Liber employs the same line of components as the Clarus: a low-power Core i5 Y series chip, 8 GB of memory, integrated graphics and a 128 GB SSD . Perhaps the third time is the charm of Avita, but his second effort is equivalent to a regular laptop.
Our tester: Pretty in Purple
The Avita Liber comes in a rainbow of colors: angel blue, flower rose, fragrant lilac, Himalayan blue, peacock green and silver. The review unit I received is the lilac variety, which I thought was a fresh and elegant appearance when I took it out of the box for the first time. My wife and teenage daughter, however, felt the opposite. My daughter said it looked like something a grandmother would use; My wife thought that this particular shade of purple was reserved for the packaging of feminine hygiene products. Well then!
Regardless of what you think of this shadow, there is no denying that the Liber is well organized. It has an aluminum chassis and a lid that make the laptop elegant and rigid. Along with the single-screen hinge, it looks and feels like a mini-MacBook. The Liber of 12.5 inches weighs 2.5 pounds and has a thickness of only 0.6 inches.
For such a small laptop, the Liber offers a wide and welcoming keyboard. The keys are widely separated and the keys are not shortened. Immediately I felt comfortable writing in the Liber. The keys are silent when pressed and offer a feeling of elasticity. And with the aluminum keyboard platform, there is no flexibility when writing. I loved the firm and agile feel of the keyboard.
However, I grew up to be upset by the huge touchpad. When I first saw the extra wide pad (5.8 by 2.6 inches), I thought it looked good, stretched over the palm rest. And I thought that its luxurious dimensions would help make it easier to navigate Windows.
I was wrong. I quickly realized that I never moved sideways to the point of needing such a large touchpad. And no single gesture that employs requires such a high width, either. However, the gigantic size manages to turn it into an exercise in frustration to make a right click; that functionality moves to the right, nowhere near where I'm used to. The touchpad also reacted frequently to the palm of my hand resting on it, which created an erratic and undesirable behavior on the mouse. Since it is so large, it is difficult to avoid it.
Under the keyboard, along the right edge of the laptop, there is a fingerprint reader, a valued bonus that is not normally found in a consumer-focused, economical laptop. It saves you the need to enter your password all the time. Avita deserves support for that.
Ports, as an adapter
The 12.5-inch screen has a native resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels and proved to be sharp and bright. It is a plane switching panel (IPS), which offers wide viewing angles. I have no complaints about the screen itself, but unfortunately it is topped by a glossy screen coating that is a complete electromagnet for reflections and reflections. I had trouble seeing the screen with a sunlit window behind me or a bright light above me.
The audio output of the system is sufficient for a laptop of this size. The two stereo speakers are fired down from the bottom panel. On a table or desk, the laptop produces a passable sound for videos, which is reflected on the hard surface, but the sound is muted when the laptop is placed in your lap. The reproduction of music is marred by the predictable lack of bass response, but I do not expect much better from the budget ultraportable.
The selection of ports is limited, but Avita includes a multi-use dongle to take you where you need to go. On the right side of the Liber is the power connector and a USB port type C …
On the left side there is a headphone jack. And that's all for the ports.
Your connection options expand slightly with the included USB-C-HDMI adapter. Sometimes it's annoying to have to rely on an adapter to connect to your devices, but it's a little more forgivable on a laptop as compact as the Liber. Still, an extra USB would have been appreciated. Connect the Liber to an external monitor through the dongle, and all USB ports will be taken.
Performance tests: Series Y, Oh Y
The Avita Liber is a fixed configuration based on Intel Core i5-7Y54, a seventh generation Core CPU that debuted more than two years ago. It is a dual-core chip with a base frequency of 1.2GHz and a maximum turbo frequency of 3.2GHz. Other main components include 8 GB of memory, the integrated Intel HD Graphics 615 CPU and a 128 GB SSD.
I compared the Liber with other low-budget laptops, two of which have the 8th-generation Core i5-8250U, a quad-core (a "Kaby Lake-R" mobile CPU very common in the latest model ultraportables), another that presents the 8th generation, Quad-Core Core i7-8565U (from the new line "Whiskey Lake"), and a fourth version with a Core i5 Whiskey Lake reducer. The Core i5-7Y54 can not match the processing power of the eighth generation chips, but it is more efficient. It has a thermal design power (TDP) of 4.5 watts, compared to 15 watts for the others.
In general, the Liber felt annoyed when he performed multiple tasks and performed media editing. I was able to run Chrome effectively and even do it with another application or two that run next to it, but once I opened a dozen or more tabs in Chrome and ran several applications at once, the performance started to differ. I found myself waiting for the windows to open and for the tasks to be completed. If the laptop had an above-average battery life, that could help compensate for its lack of power, but the Liber also failed to meet that aspect. Let's take a look at their performance in laboratories.
Productivity, storage and media testing
PCMark 10 (Productivity Test) and PCMark 8 (Storage Test)
PCMark 10 and 8 are holistic performance suites developed by the PC reference specialists at UL (formerly Futuremark). The PCMark 10 test that we run simulates different workflows of content creation and productivity in the real world. We use it to evaluate the overall performance of the system for office-centric tasks, such as word processing, spreadsheets, web browsing and video conferencing. The test generates a proprietary numerical score; the higher numbers are better
PCMark 8, meanwhile, has a storage subtest that we use to evaluate the speed of the storage subsystem. This score is also a proprietary numerical score; again, the higher numbers are better.
Thanks to its small but fast SSD, the Liber remained out of the last place in our PCMark 8 storage test. It was in the same stadium as the other SSD-based systems and well ahead of the Lenovo V330 and its traditional hard drive. . In PCMark 10, however, it ended last, and that by a significant margin.
Next is Maxon's Cinebench R15 test, which crushes the CPU, which is fully threaded to make use of all available processor cores and threads. Cinebench emphasizes the CPU instead of the GPU to generate a complex image. The result is a patented score that indicates the suitability of a PC for processor-intensive workloads.
Things got worse for the Liber with our Cinebench test. His score was not competitive with the other budget systems.
We also run a custom Adobe Photoshop image editing test suite. When using an earlier version of 2018 from the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop, we applied a series of 10 filters and complex effects to a standard JPEG test image. We program each operation and, in the end, we add the total execution time. As with the hand brake, the lower times are better here. The Photoshop test emphasizes CPU, storage subsystem, and RAM, but you can also take advantage of most GPUs to speed up the filter application process, so systems with cards or powerful graphics chips can see increase.
Another test, another final without exit for the Liber. Its dual-voltage, low-voltage CPU simply will not allow it to compete with the other systems with more recent and more powerful quad-core processors, some of which support thread-duplicating Hyper-Threading. The Liber is not a good bet for any editing or media creation task.
3DMark Sky Diver and Fire Strike
3DMark measures the muscle of the relative graphics by representing sequences of highly detailed 3D graphics, game style, which emphasize the particles and lighting. We execute two different 3DMark subtests, Sky Diver and Fire Strike, which adapt to different types of systems. Both are DirectX 11 benchmarks, but Sky Diver is more suitable for laptops and mid-range PCs, while Fire Strike is more demanding and is made for high-end PCs to be displayed. The results are property scores.
The fact that the Liber dragged the Huawei MateBook 13 and its GeForce MX150 graphics in our 3DMark tests was no surprise, but we were surprised to see that it tracked the other systems with integrated Intel graphics as much as it did, even given the fact. that your Intel graphics are a generation behind.
The following is another synthetic graphics test, this time from Unigine Corp. Like 3DMark, the Superposition test processes and explores a detailed 3D scene and measures how the system is faced. In this case, it is represented in the same Unigine engine of the company, which offers a 3D workload scenario different from 3DMark, for a second opinion on the graphic dexterity of the machine.
The Huawei MateBook 13 based on GeForce was able to surpass the minimum acceptable 30 fps in the low-end 720p test, but that's about it. The Liber, along with the other systems with integrated graphics, did not reach that mark. In addition to the media edition, you can cross out the demanding games as something you will pursue with the Liber.
Test of reduction of the battery of video reproduction
After fully recharging the laptop, we set up the machine in power saving mode (instead of in balanced or high performance mode) and made some other battery saving settings in preparation for our unplugged video summary test. (We also disable the Wi-Fi connection, putting the laptop in Airplane mode). In this test, we loop a video, a 720p file stored locally from the open source Blender demo movie Tears of steel: With the brightness of the screen set at 50 percent and the volume at 100 percent until the system turns off.
You may be able to tolerate the low performance of the Liber if the compensation for your low-voltage CPU was battery life. Unfortunately, the Liber delivered the average execution time at best. It lasted only 7 hours and 14 minutes in our battery depletion test, the shortest time between the competing budget systems here.
Wanted: more oomph
It is disappointing to see Avita Liber show up with the same specifications and a touchpad similar to the previous Clarus model. If Avita had equipped the Liber with a more capable CPU and limited the dimensions of the touchpad, it could have had a budget winner here. In its current form, however, the Liber offers mediocre performance and a lifetime of the best part of the battery. And its extra-wide touch panel is an impediment where it should be a convenience. The Liber has its charms in places, but in general, Avita sways and fails with the second blow with this model.