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Laptops

Acer Aspire 9800: Giant laptop squashes competition

Yet another 20-inch laptop arrives in the space of a week. But is it all our Christmases and Hanukkahs come true?

    Twenty-inch laptops are like buses -- you wait ages for one and then two come along at once. We'd just finished admiring the awesome Dell XPS M2010 (watch out for the review soon), when its arch nemesis, the Acer Aspire 9800, landed on our laps.

    The 9800, which we initially blogged a few months ago, is more conventional-looking than the M2010. It's slightly lighter (7.8Kg vs the Dell's 8.5Kg), but, unlike the M2010, there's no carry handle, no detachable keyboard and no gyroscopic remote control -- it's just a good, honest freak of laptop nature.

    It's what you'd get if you pumped one of the standard Acer Aspire laptops full of steroids and sent it cross-training in the Russian mountain ranges with Ivan Drago. If this laptop were a Thai boxer, it would probably be kicking a tree with its bare shins until it collapsed in a crumpled heap.

    As big and scary as they are, the 9800 series of laptops aren't quite as fast as their Dell counterparts. Whereas the monster Dell uses the 2.1GHz Intel T2600 processor and 2GB of RAM, the basic 9800 (the 9802WKMi) uses a 1.6GHz chip and 1GB of RAM. More adventurous users can opt for an advanced 9800 (the 9804WKMi), which has double the memory and a 2GHz CPU.

    The 9802WKMi costs a pretty reasonable £1,420 while the 9804WKMi costs £1,761. If your pockets can't manage the £2,000 asking price of the Dell XPS M2010, then these are great alternatives.

    Acer says it plans to release HD DVD and Blu-ray versions of both the 9802WKMi and 9804WKMi  at some point in the future, but hasn't told us exactly when this will be. We'll review the 9802WKMi with a standard DVD drive soon, but in the meantime you can check out more details on both sets of specs by visiting the Acer UK Web site. -RR

    Update: a full review of the Acer Aspire 9802WKMi is now live.