At first sight, Acer’s Aspire 5738DZG looks like an attractive yet fairly standard laptop. It is, however, capable of producing 3D effects. And at just £599, Acer is hoping to bring 3D computing to the mainstream market.
The laptop is powered by an Intel Pentium Dual Core T4300, which is backed by 4GB of RAM. Graphics, meanwhile, are taken care of by an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570.
The screen is a 15.6-inch model with a resolution of 1366 x 768. What makes this different from other laptop displays is that it has a polarising filter. When viewed using the appropriate glasses (Acer supplies a standard set as well as clip-ons that fit over prescription glasses), each eye sees a different image, which in turn creates a 3D effect.
Of course, in order to work it needs software to make use of the polarised display, and this is supplied in the form of DDD’s TriDef utility. A selection of specially-created 3D photos and videos are included with the software, but it can also apply 3D effects to your existing media files. Perhaps more interestingly, it can also turn a wide selection of games into 3D.
This all sounds very impressive, but how well does it work? Well, results are mixed. The best 3D effects were seen in the TriDef software’s promotional videos. A mixture of animations and real-life clips, these have been carefully crafted to ensure they make the most of the laptop’s 3D capabilities.
When playing Call of Duty 4, which is one of the games supported by TriDef, we were impressed with the 3D effects. However, after a few extended sessions we started to notice some ghosting effects caused by the polarised display. Keep your head still and this problem is minimised, but it’s hard to stay still when you’re involved in a frantic gun battle.
We also found frame rates took a tumble when the 3D software was enabled, and you’ll need to stick to low resolution and detail settings if you want smooth gameplay.
The TriDef software also promises to convert standard DVDs and videos into 3D, but we struggled to see any improvement. It was a similar story when it tried to convert some of our photos into 3D.
As far as other specs go, the Aspire 5738DZG is well catered for. Thanks to the 500GB hard drive, storage is no problem, while a DVD writer sits on the right side of the chassis. Four USB ports are also provided (two on either side), along with HDMI and VGA outputs.
The low-profile keyboard looks good, however it can be tricky to type on at speed, not least because the keys feel a bit spongy. If you’re too lazy to type in a password at the Windows log-on screen, the fingerprint reader sat between the trackpad buttons will come in handy. Networking is taken care of by Gigabit LAN and 802.11n wireless, but there’s no built-in Bluetooth.
As far as mobility goes, the laptop’s weight of 2.8kg means it’s unlikely to be carted around on a daily commute. And when charged with a variety of tasks, the six-cell battery managed to provide just under two hours’ usage, which isn’t great.
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