Reviewers Choice

GCN LAB REVIEW

Acer Aspire 1810T: A laptop for practically all occasions

Good performance, great battery life and lots of connections for a good price

Sometimes you just want a good general-purpose laptop PC with good performance, battery life and portability for a good price. That’s probably the goal of most people when shopping for new gear. Fortunately, there are laptops like the Acer Aspire 1810T-7679.

The Aspire packs a lot of power and features into its frame, which is 11.25 inches wide by 8.25 inches deep by 1.375 inches thick. It weighs in at only 3 pounds, 4 ounces, which is good for a laptop with a six-cell lithium-ion battery. It’s not as light as a netbook, but with one of those, you won’t get this level of performance.

We were impressed by the Aspire’s 11.6-inch widescreen LED-backlit display, a feature that could easily have crept into a full-size laptop. The colors were true and crisp. The Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD chip allows the Aspire to display almost anything quickly and accurately.

Acer Aspire

The Aspire has more ports than we’re used to seeing in similar products. We found three USB 2.0 ports, one more than average. In addition to the typical VGA port, we were delighted to find an HDMI port, which we saw as a sign of the times. We imagine it won’t be long until every computer has one, and we applaud Acer for helping start the trend.

Its multi-in-one digital card reader was able to read all of the most common data cards. For other cards, you can get an optional attachment, sold separately, that can read newer and less common types of memory cards.

Of course, the Aspire lacks an optical drive, but because that now appears to be typical for non-desktop-PC-replacement laptops, we didn’t ding its Features grade for not having one.

The keyboard felt roomy, and the keys had a good configuration, which made typing an almost desktop PC-like experience. The touchpad is less quirky than most of its kind, and didn’t cause us any significant problems with its use. We were even able to use the pinch-action zoom after only a few tries.

Overall, the Aspire felt roomier than we would have expected from a laptop of its size. And some of us in the lab have pretty big hands, so it’s nice to get a full-size experience in a compact design.

In addition to its gigabit local-area network port, the Aspire had both 802.11b/g/Draft-N wireless and Bluetooth adapters, making it ready to connect with networks and devices quickly and easily. Its Crystal Eye webcam can be useful for Web conferencing or using facial-recognition software.

The speakers were a weak point in its array of features. We found them to be quiet in testing, achieving sound levels at maximum volumes that similar laptops could get when set somewhere in the middle. Of course, that is not an issue when you plug in headphones, which we imagine will be the most common way users listen to sound. But it’s difficult to think of it as a true multimedia laptop without a set of quality speakers.

The other area in which the Aspire fell short was its lack of biometric security devices. Although this isn’t crucial in many office environments, it will keep it from being chosen by any organization that absolutely requires biometric authentication. A lot of federal agencies require two-stage authentication on all devices, and having a fingerprint reader along with asking users to enter a password is the easiest and least painful way to achieve this.

The Aspire did well in our performance tests. Its Intel Core Duo Processor SU7300 and 4G of RAM achieved a score of 492.5 in our PassMark Performance Test 7 benchmarks, which puts it in the upper echelon of laptops of its size. That is enough power to run almost any office-related application and even a few of them at once.

Acer’s choice of a high-performance, ultra-low voltage processor again turned out to be a good one when it came time to test the battery life. We made sure the battery had a full charge, set the laptop to continuously display a video file in an endless loop at about 80 percent brightness, and pulled the plug as we started the timer. Under those grueling conditions, the Aspire lasted an average of 5 hours, 22 minutes. That wasn’t the absolutely longest time we’ve seen in this test, but it certainly came pretty close. It is definitely more than enough time to work without AC power on the average business flight and have some time to spare.

Acer has set the retail price of the Aspire 1810T-8679 at $500, a good price for such a top performing laptop with incredibly long battery life. The extra ports and other features turn this into a bargain.

The Aspire 1810T-8679 is a great choice for a user who does a lot of work on the road and needs to multitask along the way.

Acer America, www.acer.com/us

Acer Aspire 1810T-8679

Pros: Excellent battery life, good performance.
Cons: Quiet speakers, no biometrics.
Performance: A-
Battery Life: A
Ergonomics: A
Features: B+
Value: A
Price: $500

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