Acer Aspire 1802WSMi review
Unlike the Samsung M40 (see issue 122, p122), the Aspire makes full use of the extra width of the 17in screen by including a number pad as well as a decent keyboard. Though handy, we’d prefer the keyboard to feature standard-sized keys – unlike the half-width question mark, Enter and full-stop keys – before adding more. Once used to the slightly odd placing of keys, though, even touch-typists should have no trouble. The keys have a firm action, with a comfortable amount of travel and solidity.
The chassis is equally solid, being built from thick and sturdy plastic. Should something go wrong, it’s worth noting this notebook’s one-year international traveller’s warranty. This provides a repair service in any country where Acer has an office (see http://global.acer.com/support for details). You’ll have to supply your recovery discs, so take these with you, but it’s a collect-and-return service. Acer will pick up the notebook and aim to return it in two days.
There are some faults with this notebook – most notably the screen’s poor viewing angles and disappointing battery life, but given the low price they’re more than forgivable. The Samsung M40 is over £500 more expensive and doesn’t offer gigabit Ethernet or such a powerful processor. Bear in mind that the M40 is almost 1kg lighter and provides much better battery life, but the size of any 17in widescreen notebook excludes ultra-portability anyway. All-in-all, the Acer Aspire 1802WSMi is a bargain.