Thanks to the versatile nature of modern technology, consumers now have the luxury of tailor-fitting a notebook to meet their specific needs. Whether you want the bare-bones edition of a particular model or a powerfully decked-out alternative, the range of choices on offer is usually there for the taking.
Naturally, this has made life hard for the reviewer. Over the past few months, we've already looked at the (302G20N) and (102G16H) iterations of this notebook, along with the similar Aspire 4920G. As you can probably imagine, by now we're beginning to feel a bit 'Gemstoned' out.
Thankfully, this latest version of Acer's Aspire Gemstone 5920G is arguably the best of the bunch, sporting a HD-DVD optical drive and array of superior specifications. It will suit almost any type of user, from business types to media enthusiasts and casual gamers.
Like its identically named siblings, the Acer Aspire Gemstone 5920G runs on Intel's latest Centrino Duo platform. It is equipped with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo T7500 processor, which is a step up from the (302G20N)'s T7100 CPU. The inclusion of 2.2GB of DDR2 RAM is also a slight improvement over the other versions we've tested, although the NVIDIA GeForce 8600m GT graphics card remains unchanged. All up, the unit should have no problems getting by in taxing situations, which our (mostly) impressive benchmark scores ably reflect.
In Worldbench 6, the 5920G (602G25Hn) received a total score of 88. This is a truly outstanding result for an all-purpose notebook; especially within this price range. For comparison's sake, the 5920G (302G20N) managed a still respectable 78, whereas the 5920G (102G16H) came in at 72. Unfortunately, the machine fared less admirably in 3DMark06, scoring a fairly unremarkable 2215. This is especially disappointing when you consider that the less powerful 5920G (102G16H) and 5920G (302G20N) both achieved better results. Nevertheless, it should get by for occasional bouts of gaming; provided you steer clear of graphically intensive titles.
In past reviews, we've looked unfavourably upon the 5920G's design, and unfortunately for Acer our opinion hasn't changed. While the glossy black lid is inoffensive enough, we're not huge fans of the beige plastic interior, nor the assortment of flashing blue lights. 'Garish' doesn't begin to cover it.
As mentioned above, this version of the 5920G comes installed with an HD-DVD ROM drive, along with an HDMI output. As the notebook's display only offers a maximum resolution of 1280x800, this port is essential for watching HD-DVDs at their highest quality. Nevertheless, the 15.4in screen offers decent visuals with good colour and contrast, along with decent viewing angles. It will prove more than adequate for watching movies, whether they be in SD or HD.
With that being said, we did encounter some problems while attempting to view HD-DVDs on this notebook. Some discs refused to load altogether, while others crashed or reset at random periods. We're not sure whether these issues were caused by a technical fault in the optical drive or Acer's Arcade playback software. Whatever the reason, we feel it's safe to assume that this was an isolated glitch in our test unit.
When it came to audio capabilities, the 5920G (602G25Hn) did not disappoint. Its in-built pair of subwoofer-assisted speakers produced impressively rich sound, which it churned out loud and clear.
As you would expect from an all-purpose notebook, the 5920G (602G25Hn) comes equipped with plenty of connectivity options. Apart from the HDMI port mentioned above, it includes an S-Video and VGA port, four USB 2.0 ports, a media card reader supporting SD, MMC, MS, MS-Pro and xD cards and one mini FireWire port. The unit also has Bluetooth as well as Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g and a 56Kbps modem, not to mention gigabit Ethernet.