Acer Aspire 6920 First Look

by Reads (24,855)

by Jerry Jackson

Acer unveiled their all new "Gemstone Blue" series of multimedia notebooks earlier this year as part of a new design philosophy focused on giving customers "a true cinematic experience." With a new 16" LCD that provides a 16:9 screen ratio, impressive speakers with a massive subwoofer, and an innovative touch-sensitive media control panel, does the new Acer Aspire 6920 deliver? Our first look gives you a sample of what you can expect.

 

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T5750 (2.0GHz, 667MHz FSB, 2MB Level 2 cache)
  • Operating system: Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Memory: 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300)
  • Hard drive: 250GB (5400rpm)
  • Screen:16" HD Acer CineCrystal (glossy) display (1366 x 768)
  • Graphics: Intel X3100 integrated graphics
  • Optical drive: DVD SuperMulti DL
  • Ethernet, modem, VGA, microphone in, two audio out jacks, four USB ports, 5-in-1 card reader, ExpressCard slot
  • Wireless: 802.11a/g/n, Bluetooth 2.0
  • Dimensions 10.8" x 15.1" 1.7" (HxWxD)
  • Weight 7.3 lbs.

The pricing on the Acer Aspire 6920 starts at $899 with some retail stores offering sale prices as low as $699 at the time of this writing. This desktop replacement is clearly targeted at back-to-school buyers who want a unique multimedia experience without a hefty price tag.


Build and Design


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The Acer Aspire 6920 is quite solid in terms of build quality and the plastics used in the chassis construction don’t suffer from case flex when squeezed. The only spot on the chassis that does flex is the back of the display which does sag when you apply pressure to the lid where the Acer logo is located. Speaking of which, the designers over at Acer are obviously fond of blue LED backlighting because the Acer logo, media control panel, power button, and the ends of the hinges on both sides feature blue LED lighting.


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The glossy black and blue plastic display cover is one of the most interesting design elements on the Acer Gemstone Blue series. When viewed from straight on it looks like the lid is a deep, rich blue with fine metal flakes. As you move  away at an angle the color of the lid appears more black or dark charcoal in color. This might not be attractive to all consumers, but it does a reasonably good job of giving you the "gemstone" appearance you might expect from a series of notebooks called "Gemstone Blue."


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Input and Output Ports

The number of portson the Aspire 6920 is fairly good for budget notebook, though there are a few interesting omissions. Here’s a run down of the ports:

  • 4 USB 2.0 ports
  • ExpressCard slot
  • Gigabit Ethernet and modem
  • 5-in-1 multi-card reader
  • 2 audio out
  • microphone in
  • VGA monitor out
  • Kensington lock slot

Acer does offer the Gemstone Blue series with HDMI out and an optional integrated TV tuner, but it’s interesting that Firewire or eSATA are not available.

There’s also no option for a docking station, you have to go with a USB-based port replicator (or ExpressCard/34) to get the additional ports you would want at a desk.


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Performance and Benchmarks

The Intel Core 2 Duo T5750 processor in our review unit provided ample processing power and never presented any problems when running applications or encoding video and audio files. The synthetic benchmarks below highlight the fact that the T5750 processor isn’t particularly powerful compared with other processors from Intel or AMD, but it isn’t exactly underpowered either.

Likewise, integrated Intel X3100 graphics provides enough video horsepower for average computing needs but won’t impress gamers or people who enjoy 1080p videos. The integrated Intel X3100 help provide better battery life and produce lessheat than dedicated graphics solutions, but you simply can’t expect to play most modern video games or high definition video unless to invest in a configuration with dedicated graphics.

Let’s take a look at a few basic benchmarks so you can get an idea of how the Aspire 6920 stacks up.

wPrime is a program that forces the processor to do recursive mathematical calculations, this processor benchmark program is multi-threaded and can use both processor cores at once, it measures the amount of time to run a set amount of calculations.

wPrime comparison results (lower scores means better performance):

Notebook / CPU wPrime 32M time
Acer Aspire 6920 (Core 2 Duo T5750 @ 2.0GHz)
44.457s 
Lenovo ThinkPad SL400 (Core 2 Duo P8400 @ 2.26GHz) 34.628s
HP Pavilion dv5z (Turion X2 Ultra ZM-80 @ 2.1GHz) 39.745s
Dell Inspiron 1525 (Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2.0GHz) 43.569s
Dell XPS M1530 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz)
37.485s
HP Pavilion dv6500z (Turion 64 X2 TL-60 @ 2.0GHz) 40.759s
Sony VAIO NR (Core 2 Duo T5250 @ 1.5GHz) 58.233s
Toshiba Tecra A9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 38.343s
Toshiba Tecra M9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.299s
HP Compaq 6910p (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz) 40.965s
Sony VAIO TZ (Core 2 Duo U7600 @ 1.20GHz) 76.240s
Lenovo T61 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.705s
HP Pavilion dv6000z (Turion X2 TL-60 @ 2.0GHz) 38.720s

 

PCMark05 is a benchmark that measures the overall system performance, so it considers the processor, hard drive, memory and OS as part of the mix. The Acer Aspire 6920 produced reasonable performance numbers.

PCMark05 measures overall notebook performance (higher scores are better):

Notebook PCMark05 Score
Acer Aspire 6920 (2.0GHz Intel T5750, Intel X3100)
4,179 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad SL400 (2.26GHz Intel P8400, NVIDIA 9300M GS 256MB) 5,173 PCMarks
HP Pavilion dv5z (2.1GHz Turion X2 Ultra ZM-80, ATI Radeon HD 3200) 3,994 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1525 (2.0GHz Intel T7250, Intel X3100) 4,149 PCMarks
Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB) 5,412 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT) 4,616 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 4,153 PCMarks
Lenovo T60 Widescreen (2.0GHz Intel T7200, ATI X1400 128MB) 4,189 PCMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 4,234 PCMarks

 

Screen

The 16" glossy "HD Acer CineCrystal" LCD is nice and bright with rich colors and deep contrast. The new 16:9 screen dimension gives you a rather unique resolution (1366 x 768) compared to the standard 1280 x 800 resolution on most 15" notebooks. You get more horizontal resolution but lose a little of the vertical resolution. This is nice for widescreen movies since it allows more of the film to fit on the screen with less of the black bars on the top and bottom. Unfortunately, some users might find it annoying that less text fits on the page when they visit their favorite websites.


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Keyboard and Touchpad


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The keyboard on the Aspire 6920 has some flex above the optical drive and the keyboard "bounces" most obviously when pressure is applied to the "P" or ";" keys. There’s little to complain about here from a functional standpoint. That said, it is rather odd that Acer uses a slanted space bar button and has dedicated keys for the dollar sign and Euro sign located next to the arrow keys.


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The palm rest and touchpad areas feature a textured "brick" pattern that gives this notebook a distinct feel. The touchpad surface is extremely responsive and the indicated scroll region works as it should. The touchpad buttons are nice and wide, but they have shallow feedback that makes it somewhat uncomfortable to press the buttons since the button press stops earlier than you might expect.

 

More to Come

As of this writing we’ve only had the Acer Aspire 6920 in our office for a short while now. We wanted to make sure our readers had a chance to take a look at this notebook as an alternative to other 16-inch notebooks such as the new Sony VAIO FW series.

Our full review of this notebook is coming soon. Stay tuned.

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