Of course, being a 17in chassis means the 7720G also has all the ingredients of a desktop replacement. It features a full size keyboard with a 10-digit number pad to the right of the main keys. It’s a pretty decent layout too, not succumbing to some of the more annoying problems you find on some notebooks that add a number pad to the equation. As such, there’s a proper size Return key and Right Shift key, while the cursor keys are offset just below these to keep them out of the way.
However, despite a generally decent layout, the keyboard as a whole is distinctly mediocre. Keys have a shallow, unresponsive and slightly heavy feeling to them and there is some level of flex as well. As ever, these are issues one could get used to but as a whole you’ll certainly find better typing experiences on a laptop from any Dell, HP or any other notable manufacturer for that matter.
Happily, other elements of the design produce fewer complaints. The glossy black ‘Gemstone’ lid is still a pleasing look that belies the relative value of the product, while the smooth ceramic internal finish, though an acquired taste, still adds something definably unique. Naturally, it’s fairly big and bulky, measuring 404 x 298 x 38~43mm (WxDxH), but with the 6-cell battery the 3.62kg weight isn’t too bad given the size.
Again, though, there are multitude of annoying niggles that etch away and just make you wonder, why? Take connectivity, which is by and large excellent apart from the fact that instead of an HDMI port you get a Dual-Link DVI port. Great if you want to connect to a monitor but not so great for a TV, which would be the more likely usage given the inclusion of an HD DVD drive. One would presume this is a cost saving measure since it would cost less to install a DVI port than an HDMI, but this is one area where cost cutting would have been best avoided.
It is in these sorts of areas that the Acer’s value orientated focus is revealed. It’s a fact underlined by the display because, though the resolution is very favourable, the panel doesn’t do HD content justice, lacking a decent black level or any real colour vibrancy. As a result, pictures look dull and uninteresting and though everything looks sharp enough, a screen this size will never bring out the detail of a high definition source.
Slightly more successful, however, are the speakers, with the normal stereo speakers and a mid-range “subwoofer” underneath the notebook combining to good effect. In this respect the inclusion of Dolby Home Theatre, a feature of all Acer’s consumer notebooks, also helps, widening the soundstage during films and creating a far more immersive sound.
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