Acer is one of the most aggressive laptop manufacturers at the moment, and is constantly offering competitive specifications at good prices.
The Acer Aspire 7520-6A1G08Mi (£399 inc VAT) is a great example, as this machine not only packs in a dual-core processor, but is also a very feature-rich laptop.
Large screen on a bargain laptop
Perhaps the most telling aspect of the Aspire is its screen. The 17-inch Super-TFT display is considerably large, and it's a testament to Acer's pricing policy that it's one of very few such panels available at this price point.
What particularly impressed us was the brightness and quality of the display. The large screen allows for a near full-sized keyboard as well as a numeric keypad to be fitted. The keyboard is clip-mounted, which means it's held in place by clips around its side.
This makes it easier to replace if there is a problem, but it also means the keys on the outside tend to be lower and have less bounce than the keys in the middle.
We found a fair degree of rattle as we typed but, while not the most robust of keyboards, you won't be disappointed when using it.
A good portable solution from Acer?
The screen is held in place by a single bar running the length of the case and affixed with two rather small hinges. This led to a fair degree of screen bounce as we typed, which isn't a problem, but can be annoying.
The large display does tend to limit the mobility of the Aspire, as the overall weight is a hefty 3.3kg. That said, if you need to take it on the road with you, it's not unwieldy.
With a battery life in excess of two hours, it also lasted longer than many of its peers.
A competent performer
When it comes to performance, Acer has opted for the budget AMD Athlon 64 x2 TK-55 processor, which clocks in at 1.8GHz and backed with 1024MB of memory.
We found it handled tasks with a reasonable, if not outstanding, level of competency.
In every day use, this laptop ran smoothly, although you won't want to use it for anything too taxing, it offers sufficient power for the average user.
Connectivity is kept to a basic level, as only 802.11g is on offer. Ethernet is, however, more impressive with Gigabit support.
The four USB 2.0 ports, split between the sides of the laptop, mean you'll also be able to add a whole host of peripherals.
The Acer Aspire 7520-6A1G08Mi is a good all-round machine that makes a great budget desktop alternative.
While it's not intended for multimedia use, we found it a pleasure to use for every day office tasks and even managed to deliver good battery life on test.