Acer Aspire 8920G 18.4in laptop
Does a video-friendly 16:9 screen make any real difference?
Review Acer is just one manufacturer vying for our attention amid the furore over the new netbooks, and it's hoping the Aspire 8920G will re-interest us in full-size laptops.
Those of you lamenting the industry’s switch to a widescreen 16:10 aspect ratio from the old, squarer 4:3 should look away now, as the 8920G’s USP is the use of an even wider 16:9 display. Unfortunately for those not fond of widescreen panels, it’s a feature that’s about to be rolled out across the industry. Unlike the change from 4:3 to 16:10, where screens simply became larger, the new panels lose vertical pixels, with a maximum of 1080 pixels currently available.
Acer's Aspire 8920G: 18.4in, 16:9 aspect ratio display
The 8920G’s screen has grown to a massive 18.4 inches, the better to highlight HD content played back on its 1920 x 1080 resolution - spot on for 1080p content. Even upscaled DVD material plays back without the letterbox black bars on the top and bottom of the display thanks to the 16:9 ratio.
There’s no arguing with the quality of HD content on the Acer, and pin-sharp details make it a good laptop for watching your DVDs too. That said, many 17in 1920 x 1200 (WUXGA) panels offer an equally impressive viewing experience.
As with nearly every consumer laptop, the Aspire has a glossy coating, suffering from the usual reflections in direct sunlight, but bright and vivid in other conditions. Most colours, along with blacks, are recreated faithfully, although greens appeared slightly over-saturated, we felt. The screen can show 16.7m colours - many laptop panels only do 260,000-odd - using them to display 90 per cent of the colours within the RGB gamut.
I've got one and...
...to be honest I have grown to love it. I got it from PC World (ugh!) as it was for an insurance claim and didn't have much option and the HP that I had was no longer available..admittedly though whilst drooling over the spec I didn't pay attention to the screen size otherwise I probably would have changed my mind.
Yes it is big but for my purposes (it stays on a small table next to me in my living room or my bedroom) it turned out not to be a problem.
The screen is incredible if you can stand the size, the colours are more vivid and clear than most displays I have seen and the Blu-Ray playback is superb, no complaints at all (though for those who are interested the model of blu-ray player is not compatible with anydvd!). Plenty of memory, processing power and HDD space for more that just the average user, NVIDIA 9500GS 512 has enough horsepower for decent gaming (though Crysis struggles as to be expected so don't hold that against it!). Two issues though, the built in sound quality however I find is lacking, there are plenty of adjustments that can be made to the "5.1" internal setup but no matter what I try it just feels flat and tinny...the sub woofer is there and it does work but just not to any great effect...admittedly this could be just me not getting the settings good enough? Secondly the battery life as you would expect is short, about 2:20 with "medium" use, disappointingly there is not the hardware controls to preserve battery life such as HP use that controls the charge to a full battery when not required to prolong life, the Acer does it the dumb way by just charging regardless of the batter status so I am guessing that my battery life will be much shorter than usual (if I left it connected that is).
These things aside though I am very pleased with the purchase and I think most people would be...as long as like me they didn't find a need to carry it with them often!
Now you can go on to debate the word "laptop" and "portable" all you want and the philosophy behind the meaning when talking in context of the micro computing epoch etc etc, however there seems to be a market for it and for the price (I paid just under £1000) it fits into it's niche well.
BTW the Acer website has up to date drivers for this model and a good range of tools to leverage the hardware as effectively as possible.
Mage • Friday 22nd August 2008 10:57 GMT wrote:
"Anyone no if any good 1600x1200 or larger resolution Laptops still made?"
I know the IBM Thinkpad T60p had a configuration with a -very- nice wide viewing angle 1600x1200 15" 4:3 display, but if they are still being actively manufactured.. no idea there. Try the Lenovo site, particularly, try emailing them and inquire about it specifically, they are very helpful.. at least to me they were when I needed them.
You dare call these cramped for space, odd-ratio widescreen drivelings of the 'industry' a feature? begone!