While nothing out of the ordinary, the Aspire 5536’s connectivity is certainly adequate. Along the left hand side we have the power jack, a Gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI and VGA video outputs, two USB ports and three 3.5mm audio jacks, allowing for both digital and analogue surround sound.
There’s a memory card reader at the front that will take MMC, SD/HC, xD and MS/Pro/Duo, while on the right reside a further two USB ports and the tray-loading DVD-Rewriter, as well as a modem port for those unfortunates who still can’t get broadband.
Aurally this Aspire is quite good, with one caveat. While it impresses with volume levels that match its bigger cousins, its smaller chassis lets it down by producing noticeable distortion at anything higher than half the maximum volume. However, even at 50 per cent its speakers are still louder than those of many similarly-sized laptops, and they manage to produce a relatively deep soundstage. Meanwhile, thanks to Dolby Home Theater processing, the 5536 will make the most of external speakers or headphones.
Unfortunately the 15.6in screen, with its 1,366 x 768 resolution, isn’t as satisfying. Vertical viewing angles are particularly poor, meaning you have to tilt it at just the right angle to get the best out of it. Greyscale performance is also slightly below-par, so you’ll lose detail in particularly bright or dark scenes depending on angle. Banding across gradients is noticeable, though there’s no sign of backlight bleed, colours are deep without being oversaturated and even small text is sharp.
Getting onto internals, we have a dual-core AMD Turion X2 RM-74 running at 2.2GHz leading the show. It’s important to note that this is the non-Ultra version of the Turion range and is consistently outperformed by Acer’s own Aspire 7535G-824G50Mn, which uses the AMD Turion X2 Ultra ZM-82 running at the same 2.2GHz. Already not the strongest-performing mobile parts, this Turion even falls behind the Toshiba Satellite L300-29T‘s 1.8GHz Intel Celeron processor. Even so, it should still perform well enough for the average consumer’s needs, though you will experience slower boot times and will quickly notice its limitations in very CPU intensive tasks.
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