Acer Aspire 6920G-603G25Bn notebook
The Aspire range of notebooks from Acer are aimed at home users who want a portable machine for multimedia purposes, whether that's simply watching movies or TV, listening to music, or increasingly, actually editing content for themselves, as well as every day tasks.
This machine is the first we've seen that uses the new Gemstone Blue design, which pushes multimedia to the forefront of the design. On the left-hand side you'll find a rather large and ostentatious array of media buttons that glow blue when in use.
Acer has christened these buttons CineDash and are touch-sensitive. However, there is a Hold button that will stop you from accidentally changing your settings. The buttons are linked to Acer's Arcade media software, which works in much the same way as Microsoft's Media Centre tools, so you can load and run movies, music and all your media files from one central interface.
We found this worked well but unlike other companies who have used a Linux kernel for these services, which take up less resources and allow you to drop in to this mode straight from boot-up, Arcade loads from within Windows, which sort of defeats the need for it.
However, it is the design and extras that come with this machine that really make it stand out. The screen is a 16-inch Super-TFT panel and is the first notebook to sport this size. The reason is that it supports HD Ready natively, so can be connected with your HD television without having to rescale images.
This means the screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:9, the same as a widescreen television, as opposed to 16:10 found on a normal notebook panel.
Movies fit on the screen better and as a result look better. Acer has added a Blu-ray drive, so you can watch the latest HD content with ease. The larger screen also means there is plenty of space for the keyboard, which is of a good size. The keys sit comfortably in the middle of the main body and while they aren't the most secure – they tended to rattle as we typed – it felt comfortable to use.
With an overall weight of 3.4kg, this machine is intended for use about the home rather than being taken on the move. In terms of battery life, we managed to get a little less than 2 hours from a full charge, which is fine for home use.
Acer may have concentrated a good deal on the look of the machine but it hasn't neglected the components inside. Powered by an Intel 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo T8100 and backed by 4GB of memory, this is a powerful machine to use. The 320GB hard drive is more than acceptable at this price.