Review Price free/subscription
Every new product needs an angle and the more superfluous, the greater the alarm bells. Happily, for Acer at least, its range of "Gemstone Blue" laptops has a very simple selling point, they're the only 16:9 screen ratio laptops currently available. Why is this important? Because DVD and Blu-ray movies are mastered to anamophically fit a 16:9 aspect ratio screen, rather than the 16:10 ratio that most notebooks and PC desktop monitors favour.
Available in both 16in and 18.4in varieties, we're taking a look at the 18.4 version, the 8920G, today and it's no shrinking violet. Measuring 441mm across, 300mm deep and 44.2mm thick it weighs 4.1 kilos and strikes an imposing figure on any desktop. Portable it certainly isn't and it's unlikely to move from one spot in the house, making it a genuine desktop replacement.
It has all the features for this role, too. We've got the top of range model for review and it's available for between £1,300 and £1,400 depending on where you shop. Not a small amount no doubt, but you do get a lot for that money and there are other no less capable options coming in at the £1,000 mark and some even less.
At the heart of things is an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300. It has two cores running at a brisk 2.5GHz with an 800MHz Front Side Bus and 6MB L2 Cache, the latter of which is particularly advantageous when processing a large number of images. You'll also benefit from an ample 4GB of RAM, though with 32-bit Windows Vista Ultimate OS installed, not all of this will be used.
Headline features don't end there. For storage you get two 320GB hard drives, 640GB total, graphics are powered by a 512MB nVidia 9650M GS, there's Wireless-N Wi-Fi for seamless high definition content streaming, an HDMI output and let us not forget about the Blu-ray reader and DVD writer drive nestled in there.
This works in tandem with the 18.4in screen which, as previously noted, has a film friendly 16:9 aspect ratio and an even more film friendly 1,920 x 1,080 Full HD resolution. To round off the full multimedia experience the latest Dolby Home Theatre technology is included, adding a new and very pleasant Natural Bass mode and new sound expander. In addition there's support for a multitude of surround sound modes, including perennial favourite Dolby Headphone - its superb virtual surround headphone technology.