Acer Aspire 1524WLMi review

4.5 out of 5
£962

For

Cheap but powerful

Against

Poor battery life

In the last eighteen months, Acer has emerged as one of the most aggressive notebook vendors in Europe. So much so that the company is now the leading notebook vendor across Europe. The secret behind this success has been the ability to offer a wide range of machines at incredibly affordable prices. This doesn't mean that Acer scrimps on specifications, as one look at the Acer Aspire 1524WLMi is almost a wish list in itself.

While not the best looking of notebooks, the Aspire proved well built. Fitted with an AMD Athlon 64 3400+ processor, which is supported by 512MB of memory, there is enough processing power in the Aspire to deal with anything you're likely to use or think of using for the next few years. The use of 64-bit processing is still in its infancy. In fact, look out for Microsoft's 64-bit operating system later this year, as then you'll see a real power boost using 64-bit processors. In the meantime, we weren't disappointed by how the Aspire performed. A 60GB Hitachi hard drive, with a rotational speed of 4200rpm, is in place for file storage. This is enough speed and more than enough space for regular consumer use.

Weighing in at 3.6kg, you won't want to carry this notebook around with you for any length of time. However, as the 64-bit processor is designed for desktop performance, it's likely that you'll be using this notebook to replace your drab old desktop PC.

What would a desktop replacement be without graphics to match? In this instance, the Aspire comes fitted with the Nvidia GeForce FX Go5700 graphics solution. With 64MB of dedicated video memory it isn't the most robust card on the market but we managed to get close to 12000 in 3DMark 2001, which is more than impressive in a machine that is not designed with gamers in mind.

The graphics power the 15.4-inch widescreen panel, which is good but as it doesn't have the high-definition quality that we're used to on Sony notebooks, you may feel a little cheated.

If you're still not convinced by what the Aspire has to offer, then adding its feature set are its networking capabilities. 802.11g Wi-Fi is in place and Gigabit Ethernet networking is supported. If that means little to you, all you need to know is that when it comes to hooking up to a network, either wired or unwired, the Aspire offers top-notch performance.

All this performance in one box usually means that battery life is next to nothing. Not so with the Aspire. We managed to run the system for well over two hours before needing to recharge. While this isn't anywhere all-day computing, it's more than we expected.

Verdict

Don't think of it as a heavy notebook, think of it more as a portable desktop PC. The Acer Aspire 1524WLMi manages to combine great all-round performance that is matched by great 3D performance. Considering that you get this for all less than a grand and you'd be stupid to look anywhere else.