The Acer Aspire 5920G-6A4G25Bi (£499 inc. VAT) is by far the most affordable Blu-ray laptop on the market, and ideal for home high-definition (HD) use on a budget.

The 3.2kg chassis has a unique retro design that looks great in the home or office. The glossy lid adds style, but attracts fingerprints and scratches. The 146-minute battery life limits travel use, but you can work around the home or in the garden.

The keyboard is near full-size and a pleasure to work on. All keys are firmly attached, with a comfortable typing action. A range of hotkeys along each side of the keyboard can also be used to launch your favourite software and for playback of music and video files.

Movie magic

The bright 15.4-inch screen is stunning, and provides excellent colour and contrast, so movies and photos look great. Its 16:10 aspect ratio means you get black borders at the top and bottom of the screen when watching widescreen movies, but this is unlikely to bother most users.

The low 1280 x 800-pixel screen resolution means HD content cannot be viewed in its native resolution. This reduces image quality slightly but is expected at this low price. An HDMI-out port is fitted, however, so you can connect to an HDTV for the full HD experience.

The ATi graphics chip used here is an HD variant. This means that HD video is processed directly without needing to rely on the laptop's main processor. As a result, video playback is smooth and lets you easily work on other tasks while video is playing.

Read-only Blu-ray drive

The Blu-ray drive is read-only. This means you can play HD discs, but can't write data to them.

The optical drive supports all current recordable CD and DVD formats, however, so you can easily back up files to disc. Hard drive storage is also strong. The 250GB disk can easily hold large quantities of music, photos and videos.

The 5-in-1 card reader also lets you easily transfer files from digital cameras, phones and camcorders.
Where the Acer is slightly limited is its low performance, but this is to be expected at this price.

The Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 4096MB of memory are more than capable for basic home use and photo and video editing, however, so most buyers will be well-catered for.

Hi-def bargain

If you're in the market for an affordable Blu-ray player, the Acer Aspire 5920G is a fantastic bargain.

It excels as an entry-level laptop and also shines when connected to a larger HDTV, so unless you require top-of-the-range power or mobility, there's plenty to recommend.