The Acer Aspire 1692 WLMi is a story of compromises; a +/-/RAM dual layer burner and gigabit Ethernet are offset by Windows XP Home, only 512MB of RAM and the slowest processor and hard disk of the bunch. An ATI Mobility RADEON X700 sees it punch above its weight in the gaming benchmarks, combining with a low price tag to earn the perhaps undeserved title of best 15.4-inch notebook in this roundup.
It has a poor display for gaming and, while the high gloss display offers good colour contrast and is well suited to watching movies, Acer’s multimedia suite offers disappointing DVD playback. The speakers are also quite poor compared to the competition. All this would suggest the Mobility RADEON X700, even with only 128MB of video memory, is overkill for this notebook.
Dropping the graphics card down a model and knocking a few dollars off the already competitive price would make this unit better value for money for those not too concerned about gaming performance. When it comes to usability, infrared and the external Wi-Fi and Bluetooth buttons are very useful for those constantly on the go, along with front and side USB ports and a slot optical drive – eliminating the chance of accidentally snapping off the ‘coffee cup holder’ CD tray.
We are particularly taken by the extremely useful four-way scroll button located under the touch pad. While it scores one of the lowest business application benchmarks, this is against some stiff competition and the Acer is no slouch. If you’re looking for a value work notebook that will entertain you once in a while, the Acer is certainly worth considering.