The AS5633 gives a straightforward glimpse into the current world of the Acer laptop. Discounting the fact that it arrives in a traditional style, rather than the new Gemstone chassis, this is very much a mass-market portable, powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 processor (running at 1.66GHz).
It comes loaded with a useful 2GB of RAM, 120GB of hard disk space, a 15.4-inch screen and a shared graphics solution. There’s a DVD writer in there too, as is pretty much de facto in the modern day budget laptop.
As with the majority of Acer’s portables, it also comes loaded with a selection of software that we spent the first hour trying to uninstall. A trial version of Norton, for instance, we swiftly got rid of, alongside a 60-day trial of Microsoft Office 2007.
Some of the supplied software is useful, such as the disc burning tools, but we’d have preferred something other than Acer’s own media playback software. That said, for someone looking for a loaded off-the-shelf solution, then some of these tools will be of real use. We would have at least chosen an alternative anti-virus solution, however.
The machine ships with Windows Vista Home Premium edition, and for the sake of experimentation we went around a few High Street stores in search of a portable machine that didn’t have some version of Vista on it. Our search proved fruitless, and given the lack of choice in front of the consumer here, expect that Vista migration to gather pace. The inclusion of Vista is what makes the 2GB of RAM in the AS5633 so important, and it means that working performance is really quite nippy. We’d be cautious about a portable solution with less than that.
We were quite impressed with the performance of the laptop for the asking price. Obviously, given its shared integrated graphics solution, any kind of modern gaming is out of the question, but that aside, for a good quality day-to-day machine there’s a real case for the AS5633.
Battery life ran to about two and a half hours in medium use, and it was a fast recharger. Plus we have a preference for Acer’s more comfortable, more practical, old-style chassis that the AS5633 retains. A keyboard that didn’t have a row of keys to the right of the enter button would be a bonus, but otherwise it’s a comfortable machine to work with.
There are features that higher end laptops possess that you won’t find here. There’s no Bluetooth support, no Firewire and no web-cam. You will find a selection of USB 2.0 ports, but beyond the bare necessities there’s not too much to shout about.
Yet that’s not the point. The idea with the AS5633 is to offer up a good quality, workable machine at a good price, and that’s what Acer has done. Performance is good and, while there’s nothing hugely exciting about the machine, it ticks the necessary boxes for a routine laptop.
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