Mounted in the lid above the screen is a 1.3- megapixel camera, allowing you to make video calls without the need for a separate webcam. A small dial to the right of the camera can tilt it up or down 15 degrees, to make sure you get your head in the frame.
With such a massive screen to accommodate, Acer had a lot of space to play with where the keyboard is concerned. The result is that there’s a full size keyboard thrown in, complete with dedicated numeric pad. Surprisingly, despite having such a large chassis to accommodate the keyboard, it’s not the best example I’ve seen in a notebook. There’s a significant amount of flex when typing and the break is a little spongey too. To be fair, I doubt that Acer is doing anything different than it usually does with its keyboards, but because this one is so large, a degree of flex has crept in unnoticed.
Another issue with the keyboard is that there is such a huge expanse of chassis in front of it – for someone like me who has small hands, I end up with my forearms resting on what would otherwise be a wrist rest (that’s not me in the picture by the way). I found this somewhat uncomfortable at first, although things did get better the longer I typed on the Aspire 9800. This definitely isn’t the most ergonomically designed machine, but clearly if you persevere you can get used to its layout.
To the left of the keyboard is a set of mirror black, multimedia controls, with blue illumination. While above the keyboard is a set of shortcut keys and the power button. There’s a large, widescreen aspect ratio touchpad located directly below the Spacebar – this proved to be one of the best touchpads I’ve ever used, although I still prefer trackpoints. There are the obligatory two selector buttons below the touchpad, and between them is a four-way rocker for scrolling through documents and web pages.
The specification of my review sample is a bit of a mixed bag, and doesn’t really match what Acer will be bringing to the UK when this machine goes on sale. There’s an Intel Core Duo T2300 driving things along at 1.66GHz, supported by 1GB of DDR2 memory. Graphics are well taken care of with an nVidia GeForce GO 7600 complete with 256MB of memory. With this setup you should be able to play 3D games without any problems, although if you want to play at native resolution you may have to dial down the image quality settings.
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