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 9500M 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.
A huge 18.4in widescreen, Blu-ray drive and a big hard disk make this a great entertainment laptop
• Acer: www.penta.com.au
• Price: 2595 • CPU model/brand: Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 • CPU speed: 2.5Ghz • Memory capacity: 4GB • Hard drive capacity: 640GB • Graphics type: Nvidia Geforce 9500M GS • Graphics: 512MB • Screen size: 18.4" • Screen resolution: 1920 x 1080 • Weight: 4.4kg • Dimensions WDH: 440 x 302 x 46mm • Battery type (cells): 4800mAh • Ethernet: Yes • Wi-Fi: Yes • Bluetooth ports: Yes • USB ports: Yes • Speakers: Yes • Operating system: Windows Vista Home Premium • Manufacturer: Acer • Supplier: Acer • Warranty: 1yr RTB