While we quite liked last month's Core 2 Duo-equipped Hi-Grade UltiNote, we were slightly disappointed by its speed. But we've now managed to get our hands on a model that will demonstrate the power of Intel's new processor family.

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The Matrix 1500 from ACI uses the Core 2 Duo T7200. It's been teamed up with 2GB of DDR RAM – twice the amount you'd generally expect to get in a laptop at this price – and a 100GB hard drive.

A WorldBench 5 score of 120 might be some distance off the record score we've seen for desktop PCs, but in terms of laptops, it's a good eight points clear of anything else. This is impressive work considering the price – normally you'd pay through the nose for the latest chips and fastest performance.

The 15.4in screen stretches to a resolution of only 1,280x800, but the image is clear and crisp, and the colours are deep and true. A 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card processes the visuals, and though it does a solid job, it is by no means outstanding.

The Matrix 1500 features Wi-Fi capabilities galore: it can connect to 802.11a, b and g wireless networks. A dual-layer DVD writer handles backup duties and will do a job for you if you wish to burn home movies to disc.

The battery life of 139 minutes isn't exactly superb, but it's about what you'd expect for a laptop of this size. There's not much in the way of software, but there is a two-year collect-and-return warranty.

ACI Matrix 1500: Specs

  • 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 processor
  • Windows XP Professional
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 100GB hard drive
  • 15.4in 1,280x800 TFT display
  • 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card
  • 8x/8x/8x/4x/4x/4x/4x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW) 24x/24x/24x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • 802.11a/b/g
  • 2-year return-to-base warranty
  • 360x270x35mm
  • 3kg
  • 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 processor
  • Windows XP Professional
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 100GB hard drive
  • 15.4in 1,280x800 TFT display
  • 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card
  • 8x/8x/8x/4x/4x/4x/4x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW) 24x/24x/24x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • 802.11a/b/g
  • 2-year return-to-base warranty
  • 360x270x35mm
  • 3kg

OUR VERDICT

The one question we’re left asking ourselves is this: how can you sell a laptop with a Core 2 Duo processor and 2GB of DDR RAM for £1,200? ACI has done a great job of wringing every last bit of speed from this combination, and at this price, the Matrix 1500 is a bargain.

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