Acer Aspire 5024WLMi review

Acer possibly releases more notebooks than any other company. Some weeks it seems that you can’t turn around for another model falling onto your desk. To give their models a little differentiation, Acer is part of the growing trend of splitting business models away from consumer ones.

One look at the size and styling of the Aspire 5024WLMi and you know you’re dealing with a consumer model. It’s not only the Windows XP Home that gives it away; it’s the weight and size of the machine. No mobile worker would be willing to put up with 3.3kg in this day and age. Well, possibly, considering you get a 15.4-inch TFT panel for your trouble. Being a home unit, you’ll find Acer’s CrystalBrite Super TFT screen coating in place for increased contrast and vibrant colours. So, not only does the notebook look cooler, images also look sharper.

Cost is kept down by the use of the AMD Turion 64 ML-34 processor, which runs at 1.8GHz for capable mobile performance. This is a strong point of the Aspire, although such forward-thinking compatibility is flawed by the use of a 32-bit Windows XP operating system. To support such a chip, you’ll need plenty of memory muscle and with 1GB coming as standard with the 5024WLMi, you won’t be left wanting. We also liked the addition of the 100GB hard drive. When it came to using the machine, we had no problems. If you want to use this notebook for simple tasks, such as word processing or just surfing the web, then fine but you’ll also find it capable of so much more. With this much power under the hood, video and music editing can easily put it through its paces.

No less impressive are the connectivity, optical drive and screen of the Acer. Both 802.11g Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet compatibility are available for high-speed networking. A Pioneer dual-format DVD slot-loading optical drive is in place, providing support for dual-layer DVD recording.

However, what makes this a winning home machine is the use of the ATI Mobility Radeon X700 graphics card. ATI refer to this card as their “mainstream offering”, which means you’ll only find 128MB of memory on it but we found it more than capable of handling most games with reasonable output. We were happily playing Vietcong 2 on this notebook with no sign of lag or delay.

However, while putting the Aspire through its gaming paces, one flaw did arise - the keyboard isn’t the sturdiest on the market. As you can well imagine, game playing puts some stress on the keys and we found the Aspire to be a less than ideal, with a sluggish response at times.

Verdict

The Aspire 5024WLMi offers great performance for its asking price. In fact, you'll be hard pushed to find as powerful a notebook for this price. While you won't want to carry this notebook around with you, it'll make a great desktop replacement.