Now, that's not something you see every day: a genuine dual-core ultraportable with a 11.6" form factor and AMD components. That's what Acer's new $550 Aspire AS1551 looks to be all about. The system is already available at both Amazon and Newegg for $549.99. Amazon offers free shipping, too.
Externally, this little laptop looks a whole lot like Acer's Intel-based AS1810TZ, a long-time TR favorite. However, Acer has switched out the Intel guts and put in a 1.5GHz Turion II Neo K625 processor and an M880G chipset with Radeon HD 4225 integrated graphics. That K625 CPU is part of AMD's new Nile platform; it's manufactured using 45-nm process technology and has a fairly spartan 15W thermal envelope. That sounds a little nicer than some of AMD's previous dual-core ultrathin CPUs, which were still 65 nm.
The Aspire AS1551 ships with four gigs of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, Windows 7 Home Premium x64, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and all that good stuff. No Bluetooth, though.
The Newegg product description claims a five-hour battery life, which doesn't sound fantastic compared to the 1810TZ's eight hours—and that's not just a best-case scenario, since we've managed to get that much out of the 1810TZ in daily web browsing. Both systems actually weigh about the same, although the AS1551 is a tad thinner, with a maximum thickness of 1.1".