Getting to the machine’s internals we see the first real sign of cost-cutting, since the Intel T4200 processor is of the Pentium rather than Core 2 variety. However, with two cores running at 2.0GHz off an 800MHz front-side bus, it’s more than sufficient for most people’s needs.
Aside from this and the lack of Bluetooth there’s very little sign of the 7735Z’s budget price, though. You get 4GB of RAM, which is more than the installed 32-bit version of Windows Vista Premium can utilize. A 320GB hard drive isn’t massive for a desktop replacement like this, but it’s more than sufficient for most homes and the inclusion of Draft-N Wi-Fi is welcome.
It’s just the graphics that suffer, restricted as they are to Intel’s integrated GMA 4500M chipset. In TrackMania Nations Forever, a very undemanding older title, it limped along at a pitiable 13 frames per second at the screen’s native resolution with detail set to Medium.
However, while it won’t handle 3D gaming, Full HD films are not a problem and the advantage of the weak Intel graphics is that it provides excellent battery life. In fact, the 7735Z managed a very impressive three hours and six minutes in the semi-intensive Productivity test, which is more than enough for tooling round the house with.
As you might have figured out yourself by now, at £490 Acer’s 17.3in multimedia machine is excellent value for money. A comparably-sized laptop from Dell, for example, would run you £530 for a system that – though it has a better graphics card, which incidentally still won’t let you play most 3D games and will result in less battery life – only offers half the system memory, a smaller hard drive, lower screen resolution and slower Wi-Fi.
Acer’s Aspire 7735Z is a reasonably attractive, well-built and (aside from the horrible touchpad buttons) well-designed machine. If you want a large-screen desktop replacement for films and productivity it’s a bit of a bargain.