Rather than any increase in usability or quality, the most noticeable aspect of the 18.4in screen is its sheer size. Where some 17in laptops,– such as the bigger of Apple’s two MacBook Pros, retain an element of portability, the ultra-wide Acer is definitely going to be deskbound. You’ll do well to find a laptop bag it’ll actually fit in.
So you know, the whole thing weighs 4.1kg (9.05lbs) and measures 414 x 300 x 40-44mm. Compact it ain't.
Although the display restricts mobility, it does result in one of the most spacious chassis’ available, with enough room to fit a full-sized keyboard and numeric pad alongside. The keys feature a tactile rubber-like finish, and a quiet typing action creates a sense of quality. With so much width on offer, it’s a shame the number pad is right next to the main board, rather than slightly apart from it, making it easier to clip by accident when typing at speed.
Make way for CineDash
Part of the reason for its close proximity is because the left-hand side of the chassis is taken up by Acer’s oversized CineDash control – a “capacitive human interface device”, according to the company’s bumf. It’s actually a set of back-lit touch-sensitive buttons for controlling media playback – providing you use Acer’s own player app to do so. It doesn’t support other programs, such as Windows Media Player. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder, but we found it garish and fussy, and it ruins what is otherwise a cohesive and tidy design.
A cylinder at the rear of the laptop incorporates the screen hinges and a sub-woofer. It’s part of Dolby’s 5.1 Home Theatre sound setup, which includes a couple of speakers in the panel above the keyboard and two more on the front of the chassis. We found sound quality to be reasonable – it’s certainly an improvement on most laptops' tinny, two-speaker sound - but we’d still be tempted to hook a set of external speakers when watching films.
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!