Screen and Speakers
The 11.6-inch LED-backlit screen on the Aspire 1830T is like many of the other glossy screens we've seen on 11-inch notebooks. The 1366x768 resolution is great for browsing the web, editing photos, or even watching 720p HD movies. Color and contrast are average thanks to the glossy surface and LED backlighting. We recorded a real-world contrast ratio of 206:1 in our lab and a maximum screen brightness of 168 nits (bright enough for indoor use and bright enough for outdoor use as long as the unfiltered sun isn't shining directly on your screen. If you tilt the screen forward or back the colors start to look dim or very washed out. Horizontal viewing angles were better; staying visible until roughly 60 degrees where the reflections on the screen start to overpower what is being displayed.
The onboard speakers were lap-firing and sounded very tinny. The speakers had no low frequency response to speak of and just a small hint of midrange. This is fine for listening to Windows alert sounds or watching a YouTube clip, but not for sharing music or a movie in a small room. The speaker orientation causes problems if you have the laptop laying on a bed or pressed against thick clothing on your lap. I was able to easily obstruct the speakers with my legs; making them sound muffled. In short, audiophiles would be better off using a nice pair of headphones or connecting the notebook to a stereo through its HDMI-out port.
The nearly full-size keyboard on the Aspire 1830T is comfortable for typing but received mixed feedback from our editors. Acer decided to used a raised Chiclet-style (also called island-style) keyboard with slightly larger keys than what we've seen on many netbooks with island-style keyboards. The result is less space between each key which may ultimately lead to more typos. Another potential problem with this style of keyboard is that people with long fingernails might get their nails caught under the edge of the keys. In any case, the keyboard looks quite nice and only suffered from a little flex or "bounce" under heavy typing pressure. The keys themselves have a rough matte finish on top which helps increase fingertip traction. Individual key action was smooth, giving off a muffled click when pressed.
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