Using the touchscreen takes some practice and there are many occasions when using the visual precision of a trackpad or a mouse is far preferable (selecting text is one prime example), but it is a liberating experience too.
The shiny finish adores collecting fingerprints
Often you just want to press a button, move something aside or zoom in to see more, and you no longer have to locate the cursor with a mouse or break your fingers with multiple contortions on a trackpad: instead, you just touch the screen with your hand and do whatever you wanted to do directly.
Imagine tasks such as scrolling through a long PDF with your thumb of one hand while occasionally zooming in or out with the fingers of another. Our only disappointment is that you cannot fold or twist the display back onto the unit and use the Aspire 5738PG like a Tablet PC.
Acer also provides a TouchPortal interface, reminiscent of those 'Kid Desk' type alternative home-user Windows desktops from the 1990s. It is fine if all you want to do is play media files and run a few pre-determined Windows games and Virtual Earth, but it seems to have little long-lasting charm if you are older than 12.
Acer's animated TouchPortal interface is cute but limited
In use generally, the notebook performs very well, as reflected in our PCMark Vantage 64bit results. It boots Windows 7 faster than our Windows XP desktop PC and feels immediately responsive to keypresses, manual touches and clicks. Unfortunately, it earns a Windows Experience Index of just 4.1 for graphics but all other areas (processor, memory, gaming, hard disk) are rated at between 5.8 and 6.1.
The Aspire 5738PG makes a damn good attempt at offering the best of both worlds to those who need well-connected portability while retaining the bells and whistles of desktop computing. The display and keyboard quality are excellent and the multi-touch functions are actually very practical indeed. It would not be our choice for 3D gaming or working with business spreadsheets, but it is just about perfect for everything else. ®
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Acer Aspire 5738PG Touch
Ah the old "small widescreen" trick
I just don't understand why anyone thinks 768 pixels is enough vertical space to us a computer for the internet. The whole "widescreen" proportion that seems to be all anyone is interested in using for laptops currently is absolutely useless for anything other than watching movies and maybe the occasional video game.
For reading web pages, using wordprocessors or any of the other regular computer tasks it is absolutely useless.
So is it a gimmick?
So is this touch screen technology here more of a gimmick?
Having played around with a couple of older tablet PCs, I can certainly see their advantage for some tasks, but it seems that a normal laptop with a touch screen is probably a bit pointless for day to day tasks. I mean, if you can't turn the screen round and use it as a tablet PC then you're going to look like a bit of a plonker prodding the screen.
Maybe there might be some uses for this afterall, the only one I can think of though is maybe for a night club DJ to select and play songs quickly without having to faff around with a mouse or touchpad.
Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if the price was a tad lower, say around the £500 mark.