Acer delivers HD-DVD laptop no.2

Team HD-DVD has just extended its lead over Blu-Ray Utd thanks to a piledriver from Acer; it’s just made the second HD-DVD-playing laptop, following T

Team HD-DVD has just extended its lead over Blu-Ray Utd thanks to a piledriver from Acer; it’s just made the second HD-DVD-playing laptop, following Toshiba’s G30 last month.

If anything, the Aspire 9800 is even more accomplished than Tosh’s world first. We may be guilty of over-using the word ‘cinematic’ to describe screens, but not here – it has a 20in, 1680x1050, which is good enough for 1080p high-def.

It’s naturally got Intel’s Dual Core processing – which is officially cleverer than Stephen Fry – and backs it up with a 240GB hard-drive, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0.

Then there’s that HD-DVD drive. Such an advanced disc-eater is, of course, useless in these days of zero next-gen releases, but the first films are due this summer. Like the G30, it can’t write to HD-DVD discs, but archivists will be able to burn to dual-layer DVDs instead.

The 9800’s not just a glorified portable video player either – there’s an integrated analogue and digital TV tuner, 1.3MP camera and 5-in-1 card reader to take care of your multimedia antics.

Rounding off its tome of a spec list is a particularly neat Voice over IP touch – in the bundle is a Bluetooth phone which connects to the laptop wirelessly and can be used as a speakerphone or normal mobile for Skype calls on-the-move.

So, when can you get your mitts on the HD-DVD monolith? The Aspire 9800 is due to hit the UK in May and, although official pricing hasn’t been confirmed, prices are expected to start at £1500.

Sony may be preparing Blu-Ray Vaios for June but, with the Acer and Tosh double team, HD-DVD is well on its way to the title already.