Summary

Our Score

9/10

Review Price free/subscription

Internally the 1810TZ doesn't pull any punches, either. Its spec is broadly similar to that of the X120, opting for the same dual-core Intel Pentium SU4100 (1.3GHz, 2MB L2 Cache) processor, 3GB of RAM and 250GB hard drive. It also sticks with the standard integrated Intel graphics which, though not much cop for gaming, does a fine job with HD video now that GPU acceleration is natively supported in Windows 7. HD Flash video playback is fine, too, though as yet not accelerated by the GPU.

Ultimately, unlike netbooks, you don't have to work around the limitations of the hardware. All the tasks you'd normally perform on a laptop (e.g. word processing, web browsing and general multimedia) are all handled admirably, as is high-res image editing. Only HD video editing is asking too much, but that's no surprise.

Our PCMark Vantage benchmarks show that the Acer performs more or less identically to the X120, though the Samsung does appear to have a faster hard drive. We've also thrown in the Acer Ferrari One as a comparison; strictly speaking it's a netbook, but it retails for just £30 less and thus lives in a similar price bracket.

Returning to the spec sheet for a moment, the 1810TZ does diverge from the X120 a little. It adds Gigabit Ethernet to the now obligatory Wireless-N Wi-Fi, but omits Bluetooth. This may disappoint some, but given the outstanding battery life some kind of sacrifice is inevitable. Acer sweetens the deal by adding Dolby Sound Room processing, which includes Dolby Headphone, Sound Expander and Natural Bass technologies.

This triumvirate does a decent job of enhancing this machine's audio production, too. Despite the small speakers being positioned just below the front-edge of machine, the combination of Dolby tech adds a little warmth and earthiness to the otherwise limited dynamic range. Don't live under false pretences here; these speakers are still limited in their ability, but we've heard a lot worse from similarly-sized machines.

In our experience the screens on small, cheap laptops (or netbooks for that matter) are much of a muchness. This is mostly true of the 1810TZ. Its 1,366 x 768 resolution is fantastically sharp on such a small display, but that's the case for its contemporaries as well. Like all these machines the display is LED backlit so it's bright and clear in normal light, but in more severe outdoor light the reflective finish remains problematic. At a push, however, we'd say the black levels and colour production on this machine are respectively a little deeper and richer than some, adding a little verve to videos in particular. Viewing angles are still pretty poor, but they're a low priority on a small device like this.

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