On January 30 2007, the floodgates were opened, and out poured the Vista notebooks ... Acer's latest multimedia monster is the Aspire 9425WSMi which is a 17 inch laptop with a full size keyboard and Windows Vista Home Premium on board.

For the benefit of students and number crunchers everywhere, Acer has included a numerical keypad with this laptop. This, and the CrystalBrite screen establish the Aspire as a notable desktop replacement.

Like many laptops of this size, it boasts a multimedia bent, with a 1.3 megapixel Webcam, 5-in-1 card reader, DVD Super Multi Dual Layer optical drive, and an impressive 2GB of RAM. With a serviceable GeForce Go 7300 and a roomy 160GB hard drive, the Aspire should run Vista with ease. Also of note is the integrated Bluetooth module which means easier synching with your mobile phone.

Despite the lack of a TV tuner, the Acer features a remote control, which, with the included digital SPDIF-out and S-Video output means you can hook the unit up to a home theatre system and run the included version of Media Centre.

Most manufacturers have figured out that flash-looking notebooks sell. And a lot of effort has gone into both the appearance and aesthetics of most major brands. Most, it seems, except for Acer. They've been doing this silver colour scheme for years now, and it's starting to creak.

Also, at the better part of three grand, the price may dissuade users who have come to expect "cheap and cheerful" from Acer. But in its defence, this is one of the most powerful 17-inch models available for the price.

Though it's not designed specifically with Windows Vista in mind, the Acer Aspire 9425WSMi certainly packs the specs which should carry it off. We can only hope that Acer updates their laptops' look soon, which will bring them up to speed with their competitors.