When Acer first introduced its Gemstone Blue range of notebooks early in 2008, most people were immediately taken by the dark-blue-fading-to-black glossy lid, and it was only when the lid was opened that there were groans of disappointment as someone, somewhere in Acer thought that having light grey wrist pads would set everything off nicely.
Thankfully the latest refresh of the range to include Intel’s Centrino 2 technology has also replaced the light grey with a much more stylish dark metallic grey.
Currently there are six models in the Aspire 6935G line-up. Our review model, the 844G32Bn, sits just below the flagship 944G32Bn model in the range and is a well equipped, stylish, desktop replacement notebook with a 16-inch screen.
At the heart of the 844G32Bn is an Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor running at 2.26GHz and backed by 4GB of 800MHz DDR2 memory, the most memory the motherboard can support. As you would expect for a desktop replacement notebook, the performance is good (5,870 marks in PCMark05 and 3,830 in the more demanding, latest, PCMark Vantage benchmark) and will cope with the whims of the pre-installed Windows Vista Home Premium OS and any everyday application without fuss.
Any desktop replacement notebook worth its salt with multimedia pretensions should have a screen that’s up to the task. Thankfully Acer hasn’t dropped the ball here as the 16-inch screen is very good. The WUXGA screen with its 16:9 aspect ratio has a resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels, so it’s not Full HD (1080p) but it’s just the job to watch DVD or Blu-ray movies using the built-in Blu-ray drive, or TV via the built-in TV tuner.
To help you enjoy the whole experience from your favourite chair or sofa there is a full sized remote control, something of a pleasure after dealing with all those tiny ExpressCard style notebook remotes. Thankfully the audio sub-system helps with the movie watching experience, due mainly to Dolby Home Theatre virtual surround sound technology.
Powering the graphics is one of Nvidia’s GeForce 9600M GT cards with 512MB of dedicated GDDR memory, so you do get a modicum of games performance, but you’ll have to lower your game-playing resolutions and some in-game detailing to get playable frame rates in the latest titles.
The other way to control the multimedia functions is via something Acer calls CineDash, and its position has caused more than the odd eyebrow to be raised. While the touch sensitive controls work well, they are built into the left-hand side of the chassis, forcing the keyboard off centre.
If it wasn’t there Acer would have had enough space to build in a full numeric keypad, but as the saying goes, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. In any case the keyboard itself is good, with responsive keys, and feels positive when typing quickly. Similar praise can be laid on the touchpad, which has vertical scrolling, and the two mouse buttons sitting under it, which have a fingerprint reader nestling between them.
Connecting the Aspire 6935G to the outside world shouldn’t pose too many problems as it comes with 802.11a/b/g/Draft-N wireless networking, Gigabit Ethernet and, if all else fails, a good old modem. There’s also Bluetooth 2.0+ EDR thrown in.
Storage is provided by a 320GB, 7,200rpm hard drive, which may sound like more than enough but start downloading TV programmes, films, etc. and it’ll soon fill up. Thankfully the Blu-ray drive is a Super Multi drive so you can burn your media onto DVDs. There’s also a 7-in-1 flash card reader hidden away in the front of the chassis.
In fact the only really disappointing thing about the Aspire 6935G is the battery life, and that’s not such an issue with something that weighs in at 3.8kg (including power brick). When tested with MobileMark 2007, the 4,400mAh, six-cell battery gave a life of 106 minutes for the DVD Playback test, and 124 minutes and 162 minutes for the Productivity and Reader tests respectively.
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