Acer has been using the Gemstone brand for a while to cover its more design-orientated systems, such as the Aspire 5920 and now it's extending that brand with the Gemstone Blue range. As the name hints, this new line-up marks Acer's entry into offering Blu-ray systems. We recently looked at Acer's Aspire 7720G HD DVD-fitted system, and decided that for the money the system offered a pretty decent spec for a very decent price, so Acer will doubtless be hoping to repeat the trick.
The Aspire 6920 and 8920G both have unusual screen sizes at first look, 16in and 18.4in respectively. Looking at the resolutions however, we see that rather than standard 16:10 panels the Blu-ray systems have 16:9 ratio screens - the 8920G boasting a 1,920 x 1,080 panel with the 6920G sporting a lesser 1,366 x 768 resolution.
Both systems have the usual array of Core 2 Duo processors on offer (including Penryn options), 5.1-channel sound output and a 512MB nVidia 9500m GS graphics chip - as yet unannounced by nVidia itself. Higher specced 8920G models will offer an upgrade option to nVidia 9650M GS graphics. Both of these chips, of course, offer nVidia's PureVideo engine, which will offload Blu-ray decoding from the CPU to the graphics card. And of course both systems have HDCP-compliant HDMI outputs so they can be hooked up to an HDTV if wanted.
Battery life is claimed at two and a half hours for the 6920G and three hours for the 8920G, though what these might be when playing a Blu-ray disc is unknown. Release dates and pricing for Europe are currently unspecified, but our US counterparts will be shelling out $900 (£450-ish) and $1,700 (£850-ish) for the Aspire 6820G and Aspire 8920G respectively when available in a couple of weeks. It should go without saying that we won't see a direct translation of those prices, but if Acer's reputation is anything to go by we'll still see some good value on these new machines.