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Every company has a niche. Dell has customisation, HP has style and funky imprint designs, Apple has hot-Air and Acer, our target today, has cheap prices. When we visited Acer's Aspire range last it was for the launch of its Gemstone inspired design in the shape of Aspire 5920. It was a very capable machine too and was predictably competitively priced for what was a very well featured machine. It walked away with a well deserved Recommended Award, but can Acer repeat the trick with this 17in machine targeted at gamers?
Dubbed the Aspire 7720G (model: 703G25Hn), it ought to be noted from the off that to call this a genuine gaming notebook is something of a misnomer. Housing a 512MB nVidia 8600M GT it does have some gaming credentials, but only in so much as it's more capable than your bog standard portable machine. Ultimately, with the 8600M GT, you'll get some decent performance at medium detail settings in older and less demanding games but you'll struggle to play more recent titles and you can forget straightaway about playing Crysis. Moreover, playing games at the 1,920 x 1,200 native resolution could prove a challenge, so in this respect the high resolution screen is something of a hindrance.
So, as a gaming notebook it's more Sunday league pretender than full time pro, but does it have anything else going for it? As it happens, it does, because in typical Acer fashion it's packed to the rafters with features at a price that's more than slightly reasonable. Most notable in this respect is the combination of both the 1,920 x 1,200, Full HD capable display and an HD DVD-ROM drive, which still has some great titles on it despite its current status of HD format most likely not to win.
Now, you'd be reasonable to question the sanity of buying a notebook with an HD DVD drive now that the format appears to be losing the format war. However, there is a caveat because, even without said drive, this would be and is a very competitively priced machine. Indeed, given the specification, the HD DVD can practically qualify as value adding freebie.
Powering everything is a very quick Intel Core 2 Duo T7700, running at 2.4GHz with 4MB L2 Cache on-board and an 800MHz FSB (front side bus). There's also 3GBs worth of DDR2 667MHz RAM, which is as much as Windows can handle before moving up to 64-bit, and a 250GB 5,400rpm SATA HDD. Throw in Dolby Home Theatre certified Realtek HD Audio, Draft N Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0+ EDR and Gigabit Ethernet as well and you have a recipe for a very well featured and multi-talented machine.