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Having only just awarded the Packard Bell EasyNote Butterfly Touch our coveted Recommended Award, we're now looking at the Acer Aspire 1825PTZ, an 11.6in convertible tablet laptop in the same mould. And when we say "in the same mould" we mean that literally - as Packard Bell (PB) is essentially an Acer subsidiary, the Butterfly Touch and 1825PTZ could have been separated at birth.
However, while they share the same genes these two machines are not quite identical twins. Aside from a variety of relatively minor cosmetic differences, Acer has gone for a different mixture of components, comprising a more powerful processor but a smaller hard drive and less memory, and adding £100 onto the starting price in the process.
Thus, rather than the Butterfly Touch's 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Celeron processor, the 1825PTZ has a 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Pentium SU4100 at its heart, which is up to 20 percent faster in our testing. In real world use, however, the only thing we can think of that this CPU can handle that the SU2300 cannot (for the average consumer) would be demanding 1080p video, which is offloaded to the video card anyway when using compatible playback software under Windows 7. Still, far be it from us to complain about a faster CPU!
Acer has compromised by only providing 3GB of RAM, which seems a bit stingy when 4GB is pretty much the minimum standard these days – at least at a £600 price point. It's even odder considering that the company has elected to go with the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium for the 1825PTZ, while the Butterfly Touch sported 4GB yet came with a 32-bit OS. This should be other way around, surely?
A 250GB hard drive is also on the small side, though other specs remain the same as on the Butterfly Touch, including the Intel integrated GMA 4500 graphics, Wireless-N Wi-Fi, and the absence of Bluetooth. Connectivity is likewise identical, comprising three USB ports, VGA and HDMI video outputs, microphone and headphone jacks, Gigabit Ethernet and a multi-format card reader.
Visually the piano-black lid of the 1825PTZ is fairly nondescript, and we prefer the chromed inset on the Butterfly Touch. Both are equally susceptible to fingerprints and dust, though - a common complaint among laptops these days.
It's the interior where we begin seeing some real design differentiation. Specifically, the screen's bezel is largely matt and textured rather than glossy, with only a narrow shiny strip right around the screen's edge. We definitely favour this more rugged finish, as it means you'll get far fewer fingerprints than on the Butterfly Touch when using the laptop in tablet mode.
On the other hand, we definitely prefer the Packard Bell's softer, textured palm-rests to the hard, smooth plastic ones found here. On balance, however, we would say Acer wins out slightly in the looks department, though there's very little in it really.