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Acer Aspire 4920 review

Verdict

A small, powerful and well-specified laptop that struggles away from the mains.

Review Date: 15 Jul 2008

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: (£500 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

With many of the laptops here sporting 15.4in screens, Acer's Aspire 4920 dares to be different. Just a bit, mind, as it plumps for a slightly smaller 14.1in panel.

But if you were hoping that a smaller screen meant lighter weight, you're going to be disappointed, as the Acer's 2.63kg body is heavier than two of the 15.4in models here. The extra weight has been put to good use, though, and the 4920 feels sturdy in most regards. We say most, as while the base is impressively flex-free, and the lid does a good job of protecting the display, twisting it left and right sent ripples and shimmers across the displayed image.

Despite the smaller chassis, the Acer is really quite usable. The screen boasts the usual 1,280 x 800 resolution, but image quality is good. Colours are pretty accurate, and merely a minor lack of contrast counts against it.

The keyboard is sensibly laid out, and only the slightly squidgy feel of the keys gives cause for aggravation. Handy shortcut buttons along the keyboard's left-hand edge toggle the 802.11abg wireless and Bluetooth on and off, as well as launching a mail program or internet browser, and a row of touch-sensitive media playback buttons nestle at the top right.

Performance is impressive, largely due to the Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 processor. Thanks to its 2GHz clock speed and 2GB of memory, the Acer scored 1.04 in our 2D benchmarks. Gaming isn't completely out of the question either, as the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2400 XT managed 17 frames per second in our least demanding Crysis benchmark.

There are plenty of features elsewhere, too. Gigabit Ethernet rubs shoulders with a generous selection of ports and connectors, while a large 250GB hard disk provides ample storage.

Unfortunately, the Acer's heft is matched with average battery life. Just over three hours of light usage is less than impressive, and 56mins under heavy use was mediocre too.

This contributes to an average overall showing in the context of this month's Labs. And though the Aspire is well equipped for the money, set against the best on test, it just falls short.

Author: Sasha Muller

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