Acer's Aspire laptops represent the company's consumer range, and the Aspire 1410-74G25n is a CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) laptop that offers fantastic value for money.

Performance isn't this laptop's strong point, but it isn't meant to be – the laptop offers superb portability instead. At only 1.4kg, it's a pleasure to carry around. The small form factor makes it very easy to fit into almost any bag, but if you're after the slimmest machine possible, go for the Elonex Sliver instead.

Where this laptop really impresses is battery life, offering a phenomenal 428 minutes between charges. This almost doubles that of the Lenovo G550, the nearest competition. Acer has achieved this by employing various components which are resource-light on the laptop's battery.

Most importantly, a CULV Intel processor is in place, giving over seven hours of juice. However, CULV processors seriously limit power, and you'll be limited to running everyday office applications, with more demanding programs causing the laptop to show serious signs of lag.

Surprisingly, graphical power isn't too bad – considerably better than the Elonex at any rate – and you'll be able to carry out basic photo editing without any problems.

The 11.6-inch screen is bright, crisp and clear, although not as colourful as the Elonex's. Also the screen is LED-backlit, which is again resource-light on the battery.

Durable chassis

The laptop is put together well, and will provide good durability on the road. The shiny screen lid does quickly attract fingerprints and grime, but the mock brushed-aluminium palmrest inside doesn't, and looks and feels great.

ACER aspire 1410-74g25n

The keyboard is very firm, but is also flat and therefore easy to get lost on when typing at speed. Unfortunately, the proximity of the touchpad to the keyboard makes it all too easy to brush against it while typing, causing irritating and erratic cursor behaviour.

This is the only laptop in this group test to boast the latest 802.11n high-speed wireless networking technology – making it well suited to connecting to a router or hotspot at home or in a cafe – and it's also the only laptop here to boast both VGA and HDMI out ports, offering good flexibility when connecting to external analogue and digital monitors.

The Acer Aspire 1410-74G25n sets a very high bar for the other laptops on test, and the excellent battery life will be a clincher for many buyers. If you're after power, however, we suggest you check out the Lenovo G550.

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