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Acer Aspire 5920
After tasting success with its earlier models, Acer has kept the basic shape and color scheme of the 5920 more or less unchanged. The 5920 sports a dark lid and follows the same beige-cream white finish seen in the 4520. The softly rounded contours of the 5920 are also similar to the 4520, along with the pleasant matte finish for the keyboard area and a glossy finish for the lid. The construction is sturdy, with no audible squeaks or whistles resulting from daily use.
However, that’s where the similarities end. Since the 5920 is a 15-inch model, some allowances have been made with regard to its larger size and the segment it’s aimed at. The keyboard area of the 5920 is surprisingly large and has well-designed keys that are much smoother and easier to type on than those from other manufacturers.
The sides of the keyboard area on either side sport a series of one-touch buttons for functions such as enabling Bluetooth radio and FF/Rewind for the media player. The touchpad is also well designed – though I found it a little too big, it was well-contoured and allowed for easy mouse tracking.
The LCD panel of the 5920 is as robust as in the 4520. It offers good brightness, color and contrast levels, and can be adjusted for comfortable viewing/working. However, there is a big downside: the native resolution of the 5920 is just 1280 x 800 and when you throw in the fact that at higher levels this machine is available with a HD-DVD drive, the resolution begins to look sadly inadequate. A larger native resolution of 1440 x 900 would have been far more appropriate.
Since this is a multimedia laptop, we decided to examine what else the 5920 offers apart from its 15.4 inch screen. Well the answer is a Virtual Surround system that is pumped through a large speaker grill present above the keyboard and a small sub-woofer on the underside of the laptop. A Realtek chipset outputs surprisingly deep sound and offers a decent multimedia experience. This is a plus point.
Peripherals and connectivity-wise, the device does fine. It offers 4 USB slots, a dual-layer DVD-RW (with the option of upgrading to an HD-DVD drive), dual headphone jacks, an old-fashioned volume, Firewire slot, and express card slot. Standard connectivity options are there, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 802.11g.
The Acer 5920 model we tested came with an Intel T5450 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 160 GB HDD, and a very disappointing Intel X3100 chipset. The OS was Windows Vista Home Premium. These are very base-level specifications, and was reflected in the performance tests.
The 3Dmark score for the 5920 was a rather sorry 498 while the PCmark score was not too hot either at 2914. However we must point out that the model we had was a base-level affair. At the higher end, Acer offers a much better variety of processors such as the T7300-T7700 and Nvidia graphic cards. These would result in far better scores and hence the test scores should not be used as an absolute reference point for this laptop.
On the battery life front, the 5920 proved very strong. Watching a movie at ¾ brightness kept the device going for 2 hrs 43 minutes. If you use it only for document work and standard surfing, you can easily add an hour more to this figure. As for the multimedia aspects, the 5920 did okay. Due to the lack of an Nvidia chipset, video playback suffered in places. However the Dolby Home Theater sound effects were spot on, and made the whole experience enjoyable.
I'd like to mention one irritant. While customizing the laptop, Acer seems to have gone overboard with software – a fair bit of crapware comes installed with the laptop and had to be removed to allow better customization. Acer should offer the option of a light install that does not come with so many unnecessary programs.
For any project to succeed, it needs a strong foundation. This is true of the Acer 5920 as well. It’s a robust base-level laptop that offers some good features, excellent battery life, and good multimedia features. The price starts at Rs 37,999. It's highly recommended, but at the same time we'd suggest that you consider enhancing its specifications.