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Being the first AMD quad-core laptop we've seen, we were interested to see how it performed compared to Intel's offerings. In truth, though, we were a little disappointed by the results. While subjectively performance is adequate, in PCMark Vantage the Acer only matches machines like the Sony VAIO E Series and Samsung R580, both which use the cheapest Intel Core i3 processor available and cost around £100 less overall.
This isn't to say the 5553G performs poorly; its quad-core processor will still give it an advantage in heavily threaded applications. But for most people you're better off with a faster dual-core processor, such as any of Intel's Core i3s or i5s, as the Sony and Samsung demonstrate.
If you fancy doing some gaming on your laptop, then the 5553G will only get you so far. In our casual gaming test, TrackMania Nations, it offered up a smooth and playable 44.5fps. This leaves enough headroom to turn the settings up a little bit, and means the likes of The Sims or World of Warcraft should be playable.
STALKER: Call of Pripyat, however, showed the limitations of the ATI graphics chip, returning a mediocre 17.4fps. As such, unless you're prepared to compromise heavily on image quality, modern and more demanding titles are beyond it.
Thanks to the graphics switching ability, the 5553G manages decent battery life despite its relatively small 4,400mAh capacity battery. In our productivity test it lasted just a shade over three and a half hours, which should be more than enough for most users.
DVD playback at maximum brightness lasted for slightly more than two hours, so you can watch most films without recourse to mains power. At 2.6kg, though, its weight and size means the 5553G is unlikely to venture far from the home unless absolutely necessary.
It might be cheap for a quad-core laptop, but the Acer Aspire 5553G doesn't deliver outstanding performance or value. It's a solid laptop, but the price needs to come down further before it's worth looking into.