Acer – Aspire 1692WLMi review

cheap but well specified laptop
Photo of Acer – Aspire 1692WLMi
£670

The laptop computing boom has, we suspect, come as rather good news for Acer. Few manufacturers have come up with quite as comprehensive a line, and few have managed, at the affordable end of the range, to pack quite so much into such a lightweight portable computer.

The Aspire 1692WLMi isn’t one of the company’s lightest – it weighs in at workable 3kg – but it is a good indicator of where Acer is doing much of its business. For a price that comes in just shy of £670 (which we found easily by shopping around), VAT and Windows XP included, you get a Pentium M 740 running at 1.73GHz, backed up by an 80GB hard disk drive, 1GB of DDR2 memory and a super-crisp, 15.4-inch, WXGA, widescreen, TFT display.

On top of that, there’s a better than average graphics solution too. The Mobility Radeon X800 with 128MB of memory isn’t enough to get desktop PC owners sweating, but it’ll do for some not-quite-up-to-date 3D gaming on the move.

And that latter point does sum up what this machine does well. It makes no real effort to be cutting edge. Instead, it happily sits a level or two below the top-end technology. And because of those one or two compromises, its price tag jumps south but it still presents itself as a tool very much up to numerous jobs.

Thanks to Acer’s flexible power management software, the battery life can touch the four hour mark if you’re willing to reduce the processor speed and screen brightness (which is hardly going to be a problem if you’re word processing). And the performance is great across a range of tools and applications. Even video conversion work was handled with ease and speed.

It’s not a perfect package, though. As this is a Centrino machine, it comes with 802.11g wireless support built-in, yet the Aspire 1692WLMi continually struggled to get a good signal off our wireless network, although the Bluetooth worked fine. We sat it next to an early Acer Centrino laptop, which had no trouble isolating an excellent quality linkup and getting down to business. We also found the display suffered a little from screen glare, although we accept that’s the price you may have to pay for such a high quality display.

And yet, for the money, how can we really quibble with what you get here? One wireless oddity aside, this is a quiet, capable and flexible laptop that happily settles for ‘Very Good’ rather than ‘Excellent’ when it comes to ticking off the various boxes. Yet it plays its trump card with its price, and that elevates the Aspire 1692WLMi to a machine very worthy of your interest.

Company: Acer

Contact: 0870 853 1005


Verdict
A mighty fine portable computer that's comfortable to use, quiet in operation and powerful enough for the overwhelming majority of tasks you're likely to throw in its direction.