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(Pocket-lint) - We have to admit that we like Acer notebooks. They have a no-frills approach to their design but what they lack in overall looks they make up for in value for money and general quality.

Take the Aspire 9423WSMi, the build quality is robust and solid and you get the feeling that the 3.5kg will certainly stand up to the occasional knock. Pre-loaded with Windows Media Centre, this machine could quite easily be used in the home by all members of the family. It has a 17-inch Super-TFT screen that is great for sitting down in front of and watching DVDs or simply getting homework done. You’ll find a DVD rewriter built-in as standard, so you can back up your files or create movie discs with ease.

When it comes to carrying this machine around, it’s a little too large for everyday use but we managed to get close to 3 hours from the battery, so if you want to use it when sat on the sofa or out in the garden, linked to the internet via Wi-Fi, then it’ll easily meet your needs.

What makes this a great machine for the money is the specification. Powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 and supported by 1024MB of DDR2 memory, we found this notebook flew through tasks and being dual-core you don’t need to worry about programs running in the background, like anti-virus software, slowing down the system. The system is rounded out by a 120GB hard drive.

If you or your children want to play games, you can courtesy of the Nvidia GeForce Go 7300 graphics card, which is a mainstream GPU, so don’t expect to play anything in full resolution but with a few details switched off we even managed to get some reasonable frame rates from a pre-release copy of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

One of the advantages of opting for a large notebook is that the keyboard is often closer to full-size than you’ll find on other machines. Such is the case here, with room to fit a numeric numberpad on the right-hand side. Quick launch keys around the keyboard make it easy to access email, internet and wireless features at the touch of a button.

One feature is a 1.3-megapixel camera sitting above the screen. You can easily stay in video contact with friends and family using instant messaging software and take photos to be sent via email. With 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet compatibility, the Acer allows networks to be configured and accessed at the highest speeds possible. A 6-in-1-card reader is also provided for sharing data using external media cards.

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If you’re looking to replace your desktop PC with something just as robust that your family can share, the Acer Aspire 9423WSMi is a great option. We found it powerful for the price and its feature list makes it more than suitable for both parents and children.

Writing by Mike Browne. Originally published on 18 March 2007.