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Acer Aspire 4520
The laptop market in India has exploded of late, with manufacturers trying to outdo each other in the price wars. This has translated into keen competition and, as a consequence, the price-performance ratio has improved drastically.
Yes, powerful laptops are now available at prices unimaginable even months ago. And one of the main players who's been leading the charge is Acer. The company has introduced a whole slew of budget laptops in various price ranges that offer great specifications on paper when compared to products from other companies.
One of the biggest worries people have when they consider an Acer product is its design and usability. This is an issue that had become so worrisome that a lot of people have often overlooked Acer’s products due to the needlessly bad reputation they acquired from such hearsay.
This was at the back of our minds when we started this review and thankfully we were proven wrong. The Acer 4520 is an amazingly well-designed laptop in all respects. To start with, its body is nicely constructed with nice thick plastic. The hinges are solid and even with a fair bit of rough use didn’t creak or become loose.
Another great aspect of this laptop is its size and shape. A normal 14 inch laptop is quite thick and there is often a lot of wasted space. This is not so on the 4520. It’s quite compact, sports a surprisingly slim top panel, and soft rounded corners that give it a classy appearance.
The color scheme is, to put it simply, very sober. The lid and underside of the laptop have a basic black matte finish, while the area around the keyboard sports a pale porcelain look.
Moving on to the LCD panel, the 4520 sports a 14.1 inch screen with a native resolution of 1280x800, offering a decent amount of screen space. The LCD panel is quite exceptional as it offers excellent sharpness and has great brightness, color, and contrast levels, thanks to Acer’s Crystalbite display optimization.
In a similar vein, the keyboard offers great tactile feedback, well-spaced keys, and an ergonomic layout. The only thing that seemed to be a little substandard was the trackpad, which was a bit too smooth and a little too large, leading to a lot of mis-clicks. However, this is a strict case of YMMV (your mileage may vary). We had Sharon, our news editor, use the laptop for a few hours and she had absolutely no problem with it.
In terms of peripheral connectivity, the laptop is certainly not lacking. It offers a full range of options, ranging from four USB slots to a card reader and more. For further details please see the specifications table at the end of the review.
For a budget laptop, the 4520 sports an impressive specification sheet. It’s powered by AMD’s latest dual core effort – the TK-53, clocked at 1.7 GHz, which is based on a 65nm process. It also has 1 GB of DDR2 667 MB RAM, and a 160 GB HDD. Its graphics runs on Nvidia’s 7000M chipset, which is very basic. Another impressive feature is a pair of speakers that are DOLBY DIGITAL LIVE certified.
To test the performance of the laptop we put it through our normal series of battery life tests, PCMark and 3DMark tests. In the PCMark test the laptop achieved an average score of 2975. This is an overall healthy score and shows the robustness of AMD’s processors.
The score was of course impacted by the basic graphical subsystem as despite our repeated efforts 3DMark 06 was not able to complete a single run. After a clean format and rebuild of the system, we were able to run 3DMark 06 and got a score of 652. This is not a very good score from a gamer's point of view. However one thing in favor of the 7000M chipset is that it is DX9-compatible. This means it supports the Aero features of Windows Vista – and does it quite nicely.
In our battery life tests, with a heavy workload we were able to achieve a battery life of 2 hrs 15 mins. This is again a decent score and with some judicious use can easily be extended to nearly 3 hours.
|Model||Acer Aspire 4520 |
|Processor||Athlon 64 X2 Processor - TK-53 (1.7GHz, 512kB L2 Cache combined)|
Nvidia nForce 610M chipset
|Memory||1GB DDR2 (667 MHz) |
| Optical Drive||DVD Super Multi Double Layer: RAM R/W 2X, CD/DVD Read 8X/24X, CD-R 24X, CD-RW 10X, DVD-R 4X, DVD-RW 2X, DVD+R 4X, DVD+ RW 2.4X|
| Video Graphics||Nvidia GeForce 7000M onboard graphics capable of up to 256MB VRAM (shared)|
|Monitor||14.1-inch WideScreen Acer CrystalBrite LCD (glossy display) capable of 1280×800 resolution|
| In-Built Speakers||Built-in High Definition Audio compliant audio chip, |
Built-in speaker and microphone
|Connectivity||10/100/1000 Network Card, 56k Modem, 802.11 b/g Wireless LAN, Bluetooth 2.0+ EDR|
|Battery||6 cell Lithium Ion|
|Interface||1 x VGA port/Mini D-sub 15-pin for external monitor |
1 x Headphone-out jack (SPDIF)
1 x Microphone-in jack
1 x RJ11 Modem jack for phone line
1 x RJ45 LAN Jack for LAN insert
4 x USB 2.0 ports, 1x IEEE 1394 port
1 x Infrared Port (FIR supported)
|OS||Linux ( Drivers for Windows Vista Provided)|
|Additional Features||Carrying bag|
|Dimensions||342 (W) x 247 (D) x 35/38 (H) mm|
|Weight|| 2.60 Kgs|
|Warranty||1 year International Warranty|
|Price||Rs. 32,500 taxes (4-7% extra) + 1 GB Upgrade available for Rs. 4,500|
The Acer Aspire 4520 can be cleanly summed up in three letters: VFM. At its almost throwaway price of Rs. 32,500 you get some very healthy specifications, outstanding built quality and very good performance.
Keeping everything in mind, we can recommend this laptop thoroughly. This is easily the best value-for-money deal available right now, and Acer is to be commended for its effort in bringing sterling machines like this to the masses.