• Price: from £1,199 plus VAT

  • Company: ACi

  • Our Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

Sitting next to Toshiba’s grand Satellite P20 (reviewed here) and Dell’s über-powerful Precision M60 (reviewed here), you’d expect the less earth-shattering Centurion from ACi to pale into insignificance. However, considering its more modest intentions, it delivers most of the goods for users with lower power requirements and tighter budgets. The Centurion – ACi’s first laptop based around Intel’s Centrino architecture – is designed to be a powerful laptop that creatives can use on the move. It isn’t as small as some competing models, but it’s still light enough to travel around with without requiring a Charles Atlas physique or doing yourself a injury. The case is cleanly designed and feels robust, with a responsive keyboard and trackpad. All of the ports you’d expect sit around the outside of the case – FireWire, USB 2.0, 10/100 ethernet, and even legacy ports such as Parallel – plus a useful switch to turn wireless connectivity on and off. This laptop has a 15-inch screen, though it has a native resolution of only 1,400-x-1,050 pixels. Creatives normally require 1,600-x-1,200, but some will be comfortable at a slightly lower resolution. The screen is driven by an ATI Radeon Mobility 9000 graphics chip, which has 64MB of DDR RAM. The chip performed admirably, rushing through our Cinebench test at 21.4fps – though it did have the extra boost of not having to throw graphics around at 1,600-x-1,200 like most of its competitors. We looked at the highest-specced Centurion, with a 1.6GHz Pentium-M processor and 1GB of DDR RAM – the 1.7GHz Pentium-M and the 1GB memory modules necessary to raise the RAM level to the theoretical maximum of 2GB aren’t available from ACi – plus a 60GB hard drive. This didn’t raise the price too far, peaking at an approachable £1,439 plus VAT. At this price, the Centurion’s shortcomings are quite forgivable, as this laptop is well worth checking out if you’re short on funds.