Acer Aspire 5600U review: Acer Aspire 5600U

You'll also spy a DVD drive on the side. Sadly, there's no Blu-ray, meaning you won't be able to watch your high definition videos on the Full HD screen unless you use an external player.

You also get a wireless keyboard and mouse, both of which feature the clear perspex accents from the computer itself. They're comfortable and attractive enough, but I much prefer swiping around the Windows 8 homescreen with my fingers than with a mouse.

Screen

The 23-inch screen boasts a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution. It's perfectly poised to tackle any high-definition content -- another reason it's annoying that there's no Blu-ray drive on board. Still, any HD content streamed from YouTube or the like will play fine.

Acer Aspire 5600U
Shame that's not a Blu-ray drive, as your high-definition video would look gorgeous on this display.

Icons and small text are pretty sharp, making Web browsing and working on long Word documents perfectly comfortable. It's bright and bold too. I found colours were particularly vivid and rich, which helped display the multi-coloured Windows 8 homescreen at its best, and the good contrast made HD video look great.

The touchscreen is responsive too, which helps in swiping through the touch-optimised Windows 8 interface and tapping accurately on those small links in Web pages. If you're fine tuning some settings in the regular desktop mode then you'll still find the precision of the mouse and cursor essential though.

Power and performance

Inside the 5600U is an Intel Core i3 processor clocked at 2.4GHz along with 4GB of RAM. Those are fairly low-end specs, which is a bit of a shame considering the relatively steep price tag. Thankfully though, it managed to give a pretty good performance.

Navigating around the colourful Windows 8 tiles was swift, and switching between open apps using the handy swipe bar on the left hand side was free of annoying lag. It scored 6,735 on the Geekbench test, which isn't appalling, but I've certainly seen better scores from cheaper products. Packard Bell's OneTwo M, for example, achieved over 8,000 and costs significantly less.

Acer Aspire 5600U
Don't expect this slender machine to huff and puff its way through anything too complex.

The essential tasks are handled adeptly though, so if you only really want a computer in your house to tackle email, social networking, Web browsing and playing some videos then it'll suit you perfectly well.

If, however, you want to use it as a professional tool to munch through high-definition photo and video editing, or if you want to dive into the latest 3D games, then you should definitely look elsewhere.

Conclusion

The Acer Aspire 5600U packs a bright and vivid Full HD display into a sleek and attractive body, making it a good option for family computing in the living room. It's sadly let down by only average performance that doesn't justify the relatively high price.

If it's a more powerful machine you're after, you might want to take a look at the Packard Bell OneTwo M instead, which not only offers a better performance, but is cheaper too.

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