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Acer Aspire 6530 review: Acer Aspire 6530

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The Good Stylish design.

The Bad Low vertical screen resolution; awkward trackpad; bulky.

The Bottom Line An ATI Radeon HD 3200 GPU makes the Acer Aspire 6530 configuration that we tested, the 6530-623G25Mn, a better all-rounder than the similar Toshiba Satellite L350-17P. On the other hand, it costs more, has a smaller, lower-resolution screen and a slower CPU. It's worth considering if you want a good-looking laptop, though

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6.5 Overall

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The 17-inch Toshiba Satellite L350-17P shows one manufacturer's approach to building a big laptop on a budget, but the Acer Aspire 6530 couldn't be more different. The smaller, 16-inch screen doesn't make much difference to the overall size and the laptop's actually a few hundred grams heavier than the L350-17P, but it's a much better-looking machine.

The 6530 is available is three different configurations. Here, we review the 6530-623G25Mn, which is available for around £480 from Laptops Direct and other vendors.

Little touches count
Small touches like the glossy dark blue lid, and contrasting glossy black and textured, matte grey interior help make the 6530-623G25Mn look less like the enormous slab of plastic that it is, as do the gentle curves on the front of the case. The illuminated Acer logo on the lid may not appeal to everyone, but it's subtly done, and you can't see it when the laptop's in use.

Although the 6530-623G25Mn sports a full-size keyboard with a separate numeric keypad, the keys are more closely packed than on the L350-17P. There's little else to distinguish the two keyboards, though. There's a surprising amount of flex towards the right-hand side of the 6530-623G25Mn's keyboard, but it feels solid enough when typing.

We have a quibble with the trackpad, attractive though it is. It's simply a sculpted area in the middle of the seamless, textured, grey wrist rest, with two large, flush-fitting buttons. The problem is that, with no lip or other tactile division for the touch-sensitive part, it's easy for a button-pressing finger to stray onto it, leading to the mouse cursor jumping around. There's a narrow ridge to distinguish the right side of the trackpad, which is used for scrolling, so it's a pity that Acer didn't use the same idea along the bottom edge.

'Movie-friendly' screen
Most widescreen laptops have displays with a 16:10 aspect ratio, but Acer makes much of the fact that its laptops have 16:9 displays. The supposed benefit is that this eliminates the black borders when watching widescreen movies. It's important to note, however, that this only applies to movies presented in a 16:9 aspect ratio. Many movies are presented in the even wider 2.20:1 aspect ratio, and these will still have black borders at both the top and bottom.

The downside of the 6530-623G25Mn's 'movie-friendly' screen size is its native resolution. For a display with a 16-inch diagonal measurement, 1,366x768 pixels is disappointingly low, at least vertically. Given that the lighter L350-17P has a 17-inch screen with a 1,440x900 resolution, the 6530-623G25Mn loses points.

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