I've had a whole raft of ultrabooks land on my desk, but so far none have been able to handle much in the way of gaming. Acer's new Aspire M3 ultrabook, however, packs Nvidia's latest GeForce GT 640M graphics card -- and it delivered incredible performance, comfortably running online war sim Battlefield 3 with the settings ramped to 'ultra'.
Typically, if you want a laptop for gaming, you need to be looking at machines like the MSI GT680 or the Toshiba Qosmio X770, which are absolutely enormous, so I was extremely excited by the promise of such good performance from a machine that can slide easily into a messenger bag.
I booted up the spanking-new shooter Battlefield 3 and immediately whacked the settings to the top level, 'ultra'. At this point, I'd be expecting most laptops to burst into tears and beg me for mercy and naturally, I would ignore such pleas -- I have to be cruel to be thorough. Far from bleeding from its ports though, the M3 was able to run the game at an average of around 22 frames per second, which is at the very least playable and was amazing to see coming from such a slim machine.
It's not going to keep the hardcore gamers happy -- especially as the screen's max resolution is a modest 1,366x768 pixels -- but if you knock the graphics down to the next settings level, the frame rate jumped to around 29fps, which makes for very smooth gameplay.
I found similar results when I loaded Crysis 2, which is notoriously demanding of a graphics processor, but again, even on ultra it was able to achieve around 23 frames per second, even during more intense moments. This shot up to around 32fps when I knocked the settings down just a tad.
By itself, this level of power on a laptop isn't mind-blowing, but considering its extremely slim and portable size -- and the price, which Acer reckons should be around the £600 mark -- it becomes much more impressive. Sadly, it's let down a bit by its low-resolution screen, but you can't have everything, can you?
Check out my full review of the laptop now and make sure to let me know in the comments below, or over on the super-amazing CNET UK Facebook page whether or not you'd shell out your cash for some Battlefield 3 on the go.