Acer Aspire 5652WLMi laptop review

4 out of 5
£1149

For

Powerful, good-spec, good battery life

Against

Not really portable

The notebook market has become sort of stale lately, as manufacturers fight over price points rather than exciting new concepts, so it’s nice to see a new idea once in awhile.

Acer isn’t scared of bringing new ideas to market ahead of the rest of the pack, which means they’ve become something of an innovator in recent times. Take integrated 3G, for instance. While the likes of Dell an Toshiba have announced they’ll be supporting it at some point, Acer simply sign a deal with Vodafone and ship the stuff.

So what we have in the Acer Aspire 5652WLMi is the first notebook we’ve seen with integrated 3G. You’ll need a SIM card and the slot is tucked away inside the battery compartment but once you’ve fitted it, the supplied Dashboard software is easy to use. When you’re in a 3G zone you’ll get decent connection and when you’re out of range, it’ll drop down into GPRS, so you’ll stay connected but things tend to get sluggish and slow.

For £25 a month you can get the basic package, which as long as you limit it to emails you won’t be charged extra. The only curious thing about its inclusion is the fact the Aspire is a consumer notebook, intended for home use rather than the office. This means small businesses and one-man outfits, can stay connected without too much fuss.

That said, designed in the silver and black colour scheme, the 5652WLMi provides an equally smart business appearance. Powered by an Intel Core Duo T2300 processor running at 1.66GHz and supported by 1024MB of DDR2, this is a powerful machine that really flies. Being dual-core you won’t find anything more powerful out there at the moment and means you can run twice as many applications as before without any serious slow down. You’ll even find a 100GB hard drive fitted, which is great for storing all your files.

Considering it’s designed with the mobile user in mind, the Aspire weighs in at 3kg, which may not be too heavy but it’s not exactly the most mobile friendly of weights and soon becomes a burden after carrying it around for a short time.

So, the only question we have to ask is why Acer decided that such a machine needed a 15.4-inch screen, as we’d have preferred a smaller 14-inch panel, so weight and portability would have been increased further.

On a more positive note, you’ll find the Nvidia GeForce Go 7600 powers the panel, which offers great all-round 3D performance, so you can play games at a decent speed. A word of warning, you wouldn't want to play online games over the 3G card, as you’ll find it too slow and end up costing you a fortune, so be warned.

Verdict

Sometimes, being the first to market with an idea can be daunting, users will like the notion but not the implementation. In the case of the Aspire 5652WLMi, Acer hasn’t made a great leap forward in technology, simply in execution.

If it had been a little lighter we’d have made it a Hot Product but as it stands: it’s a great machine that runs well and the addition of 3G is a clincher, especially at the asking price.