Acer Aspire 8920G review
A huge 18.4in widescreen, Blu-ray drive and a big hard disk make this a great entertainment laptop.
Acer's Aspire 8920G is one of only two machines here capable of displaying pixel-perfect Full HD on its screen - and, at 18.4in, it's 1.4in larger than its rival, namely the Rock Xtreme 770. Acer puts this extra space to good use, with a stunning resolution of 1,920 x 1,080. There's also a Blu-ray drive and a few other features that lend themselves to home entertainment.
To the left of the full-sized keyboard is Acer's media control system, featuring a set of touch-sensitive media manipulation buttons - Play, Pause, Next track, and a large volume control. It's a snazzy-looking bit of gadgetry.
Most of the controls work with Acer's proprietary software alone, though: disappointingly, only the track control options work in Windows Media Player, with the volume slider and other buttons refusing to respond.
The huge screen and portly dimensions suggest solid build quality, and the Acer doesn't disappoint: the screen and large, metallic wristrest hardly flex under pressure. It's a quality panel, too - our only doubt, albeit minor, is that bright colours appear a little flat.
The keyboard and mouse are reasonably comfortable, although we'd have liked to see a little more travel in the keys and buttons. The trackpad is a little small, too - it feels cramped thanks to a large scrollbar at the side.
But there is a decent specification underpinning the flashy exterior. The 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 is paired with 4GB of RAM for an impressive 2D benchmark result of 1.32, while a GeForce 9650M GS graphics chip saw the Aspire return 19fps in our medium-settings Crysis benchmark. There's acres of storage, too: 640GB, provided by a pair of 320GB hard disks.
The speakers aren't the best we've heard - the bass is weak and the treble indistinct - but they're enough for watching the occasional movie.
But this is the only black mark on a superb machine that offers everything you'd want in a luxury laptop. The screen lets you watch Blu-ray discs in Full HD, the battery lasts for more than three hours (under light use), and there's a fantastic range of multimedia features. The HP Pavilion beats it by offering even more, but this Acer is a worthy alternative.
|Price ex VAT||£1,148|
|Price inc VAT||£1,320|
|Features & Design||6|
|Value for Money||6|
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||440 x 302 x 46mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo T9300|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel PM965|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,920|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,080|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Graphics chipset||Nvidia GeForce 9650M GS|
|Graphics card RAM||512MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||582GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Western Digital WD3200BEVT|
|Optical disc technology||Blu-ray reader|
|Optical drive||Optiarc BC-5500A|
|Replacement battery price ex VAT||£70|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£81|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||3|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Above keyboard|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||3hr 14min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 22min|
|Overall application benchmark score||1.32|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||65fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows Vista Ultimate|
|OS family||Windows Vista|
|Recovery method||Recovery disc|
|Software supplied||NIT Media Maker 8|