Looking at the PCMark Vantage performance results, while the Samsung Q320 and the Acer are well matched overall, there’s a noticeable uptick for the 3935 where CPU speed is the main metric. This includes the Music and Productivity tests, where there’s a greater emphasis on multi-tasking, encoding and encryption of data – all major number crunchers. Compared to the dual-core, ultra-low voltage equipped Acer Aspire Timeline 4810T, the 3935 is a comfortable 20 per cent faster overall.
Gaming, of course, is out of the question due the Intel integrated graphics. All the same (just for laughs) we did run our usual casual gaming benchmark, Trackmania Nations Forever. At native resolution and media detail the Acer managed a juddery 15.1fps, only improving to 23.7fps on low settings – hardly rapid.
Given the system comes with a measly sounding 2,800mAh, four-cell battery as standard we feared battery life could be an Achilles heal. Not so, though – underlining how battery and processor technology has progressed of late. In the Productivity segment the Acer managed a creditable three hours, 51 minutes; increasing to four hours, 53 minutes in the low-intensity Reader test. Both results marginally surpassed the Q320, but were comfortably beaten by the slower, lower power Timeline 4810T.
This seals a decent display overall, even if the difference between the Samsung’s gaming performance is still far greater than Acer’s advantage in 2D tasks. However, one benefit – aside from the smaller, lighter chassis – or the lack of discrete graphics or an optical drive is that the 3935 is a very cool and (generally) quiet machine. Only under real stress does the fan become a potential distraction, but heat remains negligible.
Plus, due to the lack of an optical drive, the hard drive has been moved to where it would have been. Not only does this improve heat dissipation, since it isolates one of the hotter components, it also leaves open space for another 2.5in hard drive.
There’s plenty to like about the Acer Aspire 3935, which makes its deficiencies all the more disappointing. For the money it delivers solid performance (in applications) and good battery life, too, but the lack of HDMI and an optical drive make it an awkward proposition to recommend. Still, while it misses out on a recommendation, if it fits your needs it’s worth considering.