Acer 3D laptop review: first look

14 Oct 2009
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Acer wasn’t satisfied with just unveiling the dual-booting Android and Windows 7 netbook at today’s global press conference: it also revealed the world’s first mainstream 3D laptop, the Acer Aspire 5738PG (at this point, I should point out to Acer that if Apple launched a 3D laptop it probably wouldn’t give it a terrible name like 5738PG).

(And before any pedants jump in to point out to me that, actually, all laptops are 3D – yes, I know.)

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The background you see above is, actually, really in 3D. That is, it uses a combination of software, hardware and specially coated glass (if you’d like more detail than this hazy description, we wrote a whole feature dedicated to the future of 3D a few months ago), and you then have to watch the image using the polarised glasses supplied.

And it works well. I watched a number of nice-looking demos where futuristic planes flew through futuristic landscapes, monsters emerged threateningly from the screen at random moments, and, um, I looked at a 3D photo.

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There are drawbacks. You need to have your head positioned carefully to see the 3D effects without ghosting – where every object seems to have the slightest of shadows – and you do look a bit of a fool. Just to prove it, that’s me looking a fool above.

And, naturally, demos only tell you so much. We want to test it properly, with 3D games designed for the purpose and see just how immersive the technology really is.

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As a piece of hardware in itself, the Aspire impresses. Though the screen has some very slight horizontal lines – a side effect of the 3D technology, no doubt – it’s bright, sharp and vivid. And it’s pretty large, too, at 15.6in.

The keyboard is a joy to type on, with large keys and a solid feel to it. Thanks to the extra-wide chassis, there’s also room for a separate numeric keypad.

It’s set for release in tandem with Windows 7 on October 22, and as with the Acer Aspire One D250 with Android we’re already chasing Acer for a review sample so we can provide a full, in-depth review.

*Incidentally, I say "first mainstream 3D laptop" because, as a colleague of mine has kindly reminded me, we actually reviewed the Sharp Actius RD3D way back in 2004. It didn't catch on.