Acer Aspire 5552 £380
16th Apr 2011 | 09:30
A bright, vibrant screen and strong usability can't mask the weak performance
Acer's consumer Aspire range includes a comprehensive collection of entry-level laptops. The Aspire 5552-N834G50Mnks is one of the most affordable laptops, but consequently it suffers from a few unfortunate weaknesses.
Performance is provided by a triple-core AMD Phenom II X3 processor but we were a little disappointed by the results of our benchmark tests, as the Acer was comprehensively beaten by the other laptops around this price point.
Your office applications will run fine, but anything more than light multitasking will bring the system to a halt. However, the Acer proves far more pleasing when it comes to graphical ability.
Most laptops around this price have basic integrated graphics, but the Aspire is actually quite capable when it comes to streaming high-definition (HD) video and running other light multimedia tasks. You won't be able to frequently edit your media or play the latest games though.
Battery life: 180 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 144
3DMark 2003: 4028
When it comes to build quality, the Acer really shows its budget roots. The cheap plastic chassis looks terrible compared to the sleek form of the Dell Adamo 13, and there's clear flex around the palm rest.
While the 2.4kg weight and 34mm depth boosts portability, you'll have to pack your charger when out of the office, as the three-hour battery life is limited.
The shaky build quality thankfully doesn't extend to the 15.6-inch screen, which is excellent. Not only is it bright and vibrant with solid contrast, but it also bends back to almost horizontal, making it easy to find a comfortable viewing angle.
However, it's worth pointing out there's a glossy coating that makes the screen very reflective, which is a hindrance when working on bright conditions.
We found the touchpad to be smooth and responsive, and the support for scrolling and multi-touch gesturing made it easier to browse websites and documents. The keyboard is comfortable for touchtyping and includes a dedicated numeric keypad for data entry.
This laptop also features an HDMI port for connecting to external displays, for viewing your media on a larger screen at home or hooking up a projector for presentations.
The capacious 500GB hard drive offers a generous amount of storage, with plenty of space for all your files and software.
Network connectivity is also strong, with the Acer featuring both 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet.
While the Aspire 5552-N834G50Mnks has limited performance, a weak battery and an ugly plastic chassis, it isn't all bad news. The display is fantastic considering the low price, while usability and features provide good value for money.
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