Acer Aspire 4920G

Acer's new Aspire series seems to be reasonably well positioned in price and performance, but its designers need to go back to the drawing board.

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Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

The Acer Aspire 4920G is a fascinating beast -- a 14.1-inch notebook with surprisingly powerful guts (complete with ATI Mobility Radeon X2500 and 2GB RAM), a polished up exterior and overhauled sound, with a questionable design ethic and a few interesting omissions.

The exterior is detailed in the currently all-too-popular piano black, that seemingly coaxes fingerprints out of the ether which are intensely difficult to remove. In the middle of the lid is an inlaid section of a slightly sparkly material reminiscent of graphite. It's a nice touch that makes the notebook feel a little more sophisticated.

This is spoiled when you open it up and are greeted with the single most boring grey possibly conceived of by the human mind, kindly called "ceramic" by Acer. The design is not entirely unattractive, but the choice in colour screams "beige is back!" in capital, neon, flashing letters. It's so utilitarian in its function that it wouldn't look out of place in a navy sub.

Fortunately then the bit you actually have to look at, the 1,280x800 resolution screen, is quite nice indeed, even if the high reflectivity makes it difficult to use in high light situations. No option exists for a matte screen.

The top right hosts a set of quick access media buttons, lit by blue LEDs. These don't seem to be customisable, so while the play button will launch your default music player, the other buttons are quite useless in anything except Windows Media Player. Fortunately the buttons on the left are a different kitchen appliance filled with aquatic vertebrates, the quick e-mail/Web browser buttons and even the vaunted "gemstone", a clear plastic button that brings up widget style access to Acer's software suite all able to launch pre-selected programs or Web addresses.

The touchpad follows the increasingly common practice of not marking where the scroll pad is, although this is perfectly acceptable considering the width of the zone is customisable. Not so common is the inclusion of a middle mouse button. This sadly doesn't function as a middle button, but a four way directional pad that can help with scrolling. Given that this can already be achieved with great precision through the touchpad, the inclusion is puzzling at best.

A decent whack of real estate is taken up by the Dolby Virtual Surround Sound speaker. While the words sound exciting, and Acer's advertisements seem to promise complete immersion, the reality is that they're slightly louder than speakers from other notebooks, afford a little more detail in the midrange, and comes with a bunch of presets that barely skim the surface of satisfactory. Volume also seems to be hard limited at a set level -- if you try to push the gain higher in something like Winamp and play back a song, crescendos are artificially limited, creating a sort of sucking noise as the dynamics are forced back onto a flat line. No doubt this is to physically protect the speakers, and we were pushing them beyond their limits, however the effect is, simply put, awful. In short, while better than most, the speakers aren't worth the price hike compared to competing notebooks.

Acer's "Empowering" software suite is, like many brands, window dressing for common functions already included in Windows, accessible via the "gemstone" button at the top left. Unlike other software suites it's presented in a widget fashion, and is actually well designed, non-obtrusive and easy to use. Full marks to Acer on this one. There's also a program called "GridVista", allowing you to restrict maximised windows to certain zones. This lets you use, say, half the screen instead of full for an application, allowing you to easily use and view two applications at once. Crapware was thankfully left to a minimum, the only vexing entry being the annoying Yahoo toolbar.

"Acer Arcade Deluxe", Acer's media program is also included, but it's hard to fight the case for this in the face of the fully functional and included Windows Media Center in Windows Vista Home Premium.

A volume wheel is featured on the front side, something that we find a lot easier to use than the usual function key + button combination. Headphones, speaker and microphone jacks are also featured on the front.

As far as wireless is concerned, there's almost a full deck here -- infrared, gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a, b and g -- yet there's no 802.11n, nor is there any option to add the capability. Bizarrely a button is supplied to turn Bluetooth on or off, but no Bluetooth device is included in the laptop.

The Express Card slot is directly above the MMC/SD/XD/Memory Stick, but the placeholder that stays in the slot until you plug in an Express card is highly difficult to remove, and even harder with anything in the memory card slot. The notebook also makes an annoying beeping noise every time you connect or disconnect mains power, with seemingly no way to turn it off.

It might sound as if we have a bunch of negative things to say, but in reality the Acer was a pleasure to use. It was snappy and responsive thanks to its ATI Mobility Radeon X2500, Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 and 2GB of RAM. The sound wasn't anywhere near as stellar or immersive as Acer makes it out to be, but it still is better than most notebooks. In fact despite our gripes over the dull design we've almost gotten used to it; in a way it's less distracting to use than if you had, say, one of the current Apple MacBooks in front of you. The battery life was a bit short -- setting all the power saving features off and the screen to maximum brightness while playing a DVD it managed 80 minutes before shutting down, yet considering the powerful internals this isn't too bad and is in line with what was expected. Weight could be an issue for those who are consistently on the move.

If you can snaffle a good bargain on the 4920G and don't mind the blandness of its design, it's an excellent mid-sized performance system that we'd be more than happy to use on a day to day basis.

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Gambit posted a review   

The Good:Touch Buttons on the Left(Wireless, Bluetooth etc.);Graphics;

The Bad:Battery Life;Interior color9causing it to blacken very quickly; Crap Acer EMPOWERING TECHNOLOGY..

exceeded my expectations, knew that it was a must buy..


chriss posted a comment   

yes MO you should they r really good, and they r worth 1800$ brand new


MO posted a comment   

The Good:-

The Bad:-

plz suggest guys,brand new peice of ACER 4920g.going for usd 770.00.....its at one of the stores in south africa...should i buy


afifi posted a comment   

The Good:everything

The Bad:sound quite slow

one question,does this model support 4 GB of RAM?


chris posted a comment   

The Good:i think this is a very good laptop, its also very fast

The Bad:comes with to much rubbish installed, gets alot of finger prints

everything about this laptop is good. mayby some people here have faulty acer aspire laptops but my acer aspire 4920g has great speakers... mine came with bluetooth inbuilt so you can easily ask for it when you buy the laptop. also the beep when you plug it in is 2 tell you its working properly and actualy getting charged but if you think the speakers arnt good enough how could the beep enoy you so much???


CD posted a comment   

The Good:-

The Bad:-

Looking forward to buying one here in Malaysia. Retailer offering model with Vista and 4GB RAM, 320GB Hard Drive. Going for RM2249 when purchased with additional hardware (thinking of 20 in LCD monitor plus all-in-one Canon printer).


zilchie posted a review   

The Good:fast, looks good, nice screen, nice specs

The Bad:comes with vista and those rubbish acer extra add-ons, personally i wipe the hard drive clean and put xp and nothing else at start-up, after this it takes only 5 seconds to get into xp!

great so far, got it with t7500 2.2 ghz processor, 4gb ram and 320 gb hard drive, a MONSTER MACHINE INDEED! great for music production (ableton, cubase etc) but if only it comes with xp, i hate vista vista is slow and has compatibility issues, if u got this and using vista, do urself a favour and reformat it to XP - PERFORMANCE is about three times faster than vista!!! serious!!
Rating posted a review   

The Good:very powerful laptop with 64 bit technology, the laptop is super when u upgrade to 4gb of ram, cool looking acer software, nice marble cover, interesting colour and touch buttons

The Bad:extra acer software slows down the start up time.

it seems to have infrared but can't use it.


pwoit posted a review   

The Good:Has everything I wanted and more

The Bad:battery life and speakers are the only negatives but you cant have everthting

I bought mine in Pattaya at TukCom
Got a great price and has all the bells and whistles. As for not having in it what was previously mentioned I have bluetooth included when i got mine. 2gig ram 250gig hdd .


Glen posted a review   

The Good:-Good graphics quality
-Great sound quality with the headphones
-Intergrated bluetooth is actually available

The Bad:-Low Battery Life, Heavy
-Design is kind of dull
-Not enough RAM
-Speakers are too soft
-Acer Widget is not really neccessary
-Less responsive after some time of usage

The Laptop is very responsive at first, but after a month of usage, you will be able to notice that the laptop is slowing down, especially at the startup even though there is not much things to start up. Furthermore, the specs are almost ideal for gaming, but it starts to get crashes or the lappy just simply freezes while in game and you have to end up unplugging the laptop and taking out the battery. Some of my friends are having the same problem and some of their laptops could not even start up windows.

I don't really know for most of the other buyers, but when my laptop was bought it actually has a intergrated bluetooth which is quite swift in sending or recieving files, same goes for my friends who owns the same laptop.

Overall, it was quite a good buy.
It will be even better if there is a solution to prevent the system from slowing down.

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User Reviews / Comments  Acer Aspire 4920G

  • Gambit



    "exceeded my expectations, knew that it was a must buy.."

  • chriss


    "yes MO you should they r really good, and they r worth 1800$ brand new"

  • MO


    "plz suggest guys,brand new peice of ACER 4920g.going for usd 770.00.....its at one of the stores in south africa...should i buy"

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