Although billed as a business laptop, Acer's Aspire 5830T also suits as a family laptop, or simply an entertainment machine.
One of Intel's latest Sandy Bridge processors runs the show, and is comfortably powerful enough to handle various applications at the same time. We played with complex editing software, surfed the web and enjoyed some 1980s pop music, all at once, with no slowdown.
The lack of a dedicated GPU means you won't be able to play the latest games but you can play around with photos and even our home movies using software such as Adobe Photoshop Elements and Corel VideoStudio Pro, while high-definition movies play smoothly and look fantastic. The built-in speakers do a surprisingly decent job, too.
The 15.6-inch widescreen display is great for both work and play. It's reasonably bright and pleasingly vibrant, which brings your photos and videos to life. The only downside is the glossy Super-TFT finish, which is highly reflective.
Still, if you plan on taking this laptop out and about, you won't have too much trouble packing its slender chassis into a bag. At 2.5kg, it's also light enough to carry around without cracking your spine.
We did notice some flex around the edges, but the lid is solid enough to protect the laptop on the move. You can work on battery power for four to five hours if you limit yourself to basic office tasks, but battery life drops to just under three hours when watching a movie.
Battery Eater '05: 165 minutes
3DMark 2006: 4176
Typists are well served by the isolation-style keyboard, with keys poking out through individual holes to separate them out. This is great news for touch-typists, as you're less likely to hit the wrong key by mistake. With the exception of the dinky arrow keys, the board is well sized and even finds room for a separate numeric keypad.
The touchpad is a little too compact, but is smooth, responsive and the touch-sensitive scrollbar is useful for jumping through documents and web pages.
A generous 640GB hard drive gives you plenty of space for carrying your files and software, as well as a huge media collection. You can store hundreds of thousands of songs and photos, or hundreds of full-length movies.
For a business laptop there are surprisingly few other features. Four USB ports can be used to connect peripherals, including a speedy USB 3.0 port that can charge portable devices even when the laptop is hibernating. You also have VGA and HDMI ports for attaching a monitor or projector, for presentations or showing off your pics and movies.
While the Aspire 5830T offers nothing remarkable compared to other mid-price professional laptops, it also has very few flaws to speak of. If you need a machine to keep you productive and entertained on the go, there are much worse options.
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