It's been a while since we looked at a laptop from ACI, a company that used to fare well in our charts a few years ago. Unfortunately, while the notebook PC market has come a long way in a short space of time, ACI doesn't seem to have kept up – not if the M24 is anything to go by, anyway.

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With a price tag not far off a grand and a half, the M24 theoretically falls into PC Advisor's Power laptop category. Look at the ACI's specifications, though, and the word that springs to mind is 'budget'.

Okay, so it has 2GB of DDR RAM, which is more than you'd expect in your average laptop. But the processor is a single-core Pentium M 760, running at 2GHz. This CPU looks rather elderly, to say the least, considering the abundance of Core Duo and Core Solo mobile processors currently available. This results in a WorldBench 5 processing-speedscore of 87, a total well behind the incumbents of the Power chart.

The 100GB hard drive is plenty big enough, and we won't knock that. But the 128MB ATI Mobility Radeon X600 graphics card would hardly be the choice of a gamer, giving unplayable frame rates in our Doom3 and Halo tests. The 15.4in widescreen display does a good job, though, and the resolution of 1,680x1,050 ensures image quality is high.

A DVD writer is included, but its burning speeds pale in comparison with those offered with laptops costing half as much. Even the built-in TV tuner card and remote control can't ignite our enthusiasm, although connectivity options stretch to both gigabit ethernet and 802.11b/g networking. Any real software of note is conspicuous by its absence. The warranty is brief.

ACI M24: Specs

  • 2GHz Intel Pentium M 760 processor
  • Windows XP Professional
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 100GB hard drive
  • 15.4in 1,680x1,050 TFT display
  • 128MB ATI Mobility Radeon X600 graphics card
  • 8x/2x/2x/1x/1x/1x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/+R DL/-RW/ +RW) 24x/16x/8x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • 802.11b/g facilities
  • 1-year parts-and-labour warranty
  • 361x264x32mm
  • 3kg
  • 2GHz Intel Pentium M 760 processor
  • Windows XP Professional
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 100GB hard drive
  • 15.4in 1,680x1,050 TFT display
  • 128MB ATI Mobility Radeon X600 graphics card
  • 8x/2x/2x/1x/1x/1x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/+R DL/-RW/ +RW) 24x/16x/8x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • 802.11b/g facilities
  • 1-year parts-and-labour warranty
  • 361x264x32mm
  • 3kg

OUR VERDICT

An anonymous design coupled with an indifferent set of components – excepting the 2GB of DDR RAM – make this laptop staggeringly forgettable. Or they would, if it wasn't for the eye-watering price tag.

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