Acer Aspire 1810TZ
Small laptop, enormous battery life
In use, the 1810TZ performed reasonably well. It's no powerhouse, but it feels nippier than a netbook. It had no trouble giving us a full-screen run through the blast-fest that is Quake Live, so while the GMA 4500MHD wouldn't be the hardcore gamer's choice, it's fine for more casual play and certainly a big improvement on netbooks' GMA 950.
Compact gaming machine? Kind of...
But its 3DMark06 score of 529 puts it well behind the 1303 that the Nvidia Ion-equipped Samsung N510 netbook - the two machines have the same screen resolution and size, don't forget. The Acer had no trouble running our sample 1080p MP4 video full-screen.
Our PCMark Vantage numbers - taken using the 64-bit version of the app since the 1810TZ comes with 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium - show it to almost match the performance of the Samsung X450. It's slightly behind the X450, largely thanks to the smaller on-chip cache. But then the X450 is around £200 more expensive.
However, the N510 netbook is about £70 cheaper and you get faster graphics. But you get a much weaker CPU. We ran PCMark05's CPU, Memory and HDD tests to give us numbers with which to compare the 1810TZ's performance with netbooks. It scored 3205 on the CPU test - double any 1.6GHz or 1.66GHz Atom-based netbook we've tested. Its lead on the Memory and HDD tests wasn't so pronounced, but still clear: 3107 to a netbook average of 2328 and 4868 to 4421, respectively.
Complaints? The 1810TZ's speakers are rather tinny and the oft-used fan can get a tad distracting. The fan works, though - the laptop's base got warm but certainly not hot.
The Aspire 1810TZ mini notebook delivers Atom-smashing performance in a package that's no less portable than a typical 10in netbook. And with a significant battery life boost into the bargain. But while it's cheap for an ultra-portable, you do pay a wee bit extra for netbook-plus technology. ®