Acer Aspire 5562WXMi Review (pics, specs)

by charlesb80 Reads (31,557)

Acer Aspire 5562WXMi Review

by Charles Brantner, United Kingdom

The notebook under review is a European model of the Acer Aspire 5562WXMi.  This can be classified as a thin and light notebook with a 14.1” wide screen display and a weight of 2.4kg (5.3lbs).  It packs into a small and robust chassis a Core Duo 1.66Ghz processor and an ATI X1400 graphics card with 128MB of dedicated RAM (512MB Hypermemory).  The full system Specs are:

  • Intel Core Duo processor T2300 (1.66Ghz, 667Mhz FSB, 2MB L2 cache)
  • 14.1” WXGA CystalBrite Glossy LCD (1280×800)*
  • ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 512B Hypermemory (128MB Dedicated)
  • 80GB 5400rpm SATA HDD
  • Slot Load DVD-Super Multi double layer (Supports DVD+R Double Layer, DVD+-RW and DVD-RAM)
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM (supports dual channel)**
  • 802.11a/b/g Wireless LAN (Intel 39??) chipset
  • Acer Orbicam 1.3MP webcam.
  • Ports and Slots:1 x PCMCIA Type II slot, 1 x ExpressCard 34 slot, IRDA, Gigabit Ethernet, 3x USB 2.0, Firewire (IEEE 1394), 56K Modem, S-Video Output, 5-in-1 card reader (MultiMedia Card, xD Card, SD Card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro)***

* In all the promotional material I have seen for this notebook, including Acer’s website and the company I purchased the unit from the screen resolution is quoted as 1280×768.  I was pleasantly surprised to find it is actually 1280×800.  I do not know why Acer quotes a lower resolution when it isn’t the case.

** After 2 days of owning this machine one of the memory sticks died on me.  Due to a multitude of problems I still do not have a replacement.  Therefore, the benchmarks and comments in this review is based on a machine with only 512MB RAM.

*** Do not attempt to put a Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo card into this card reader!  It will go in but you will be lucky to get it out again!  I am not the only one who has made this mistake (see the Acer forums!)


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Reasons for Buying:

My previous laptop was a Toshiba Satellite Pro 2100 with a dedicated graphics card (Geforce 4 Go).  While this was an excellent machine it was rather heavy at 3.4kg (7.5lbs).  I was looking for a laptop that weighed less and not as large as the 15.4” models that seem to be common today.  I find the 14.1” to be an ideal compromise between weight and power as well as being the smallest affordable size where you can obtain a dedicated graphics card.  Other options were the Acer 5502WXMi, BenQ Joybook S53 and the ASUS A8Jm.  The Acer and Joybook were cheaper, but with the Pentium M platform and only 64MB of dedicated Graphics RAM (ATI X600 and X700).  The ASUS had the better GPU (ATI X1600) but was too expensive.  The Acer 5562WXMi was an ideal compromise.

Where and How Purchased:

The unit was purchased from CET UK (www.acernotebook.co.uk).   The transaction was a little strange in that once I had ordered online there were supposed to be two phone calls to my house before delivery.  I thought this rather defeated the objective of ordering online as the whole process was delayed by 2 days due to these calls!  The unit arrived in the time they claimed (free 48hr delivery), and it worked from the box.  The price was 834.50 ($1,551 USD) and the three year extended warranty was an extra 69.33 inc. VAT.

Build & Design:


Top view (view large image)

The build and design of the machine is generally very good.  The Magnesium Alloy around the screen is certainly strong and feels sturdy.  Pushing the lid does not produce ripples on the screen and there is little wobble.  There is also a little twist, but not more than my old Toshiba.  The rest of the machine appears to be plastic but quite solid.  The webcam is positioned nicely out of the way and the ability to rotate it by 225o is quite useful.  The touchpad responds well, but the four way scroller is not really accessible.  I find myself using the sides of the touchpad to scroll!  However, one design flaw is the air vent being on the right hand side.  As the machine can get quite hot, you cannot use a mouse next to it if you are right handed.  The slot-load DVD drive is also a nice touch, which is quite practical, however, the inability to use mini-disks is a limitation and I have no idea how you would remove a disk if it got stuck.  The ports are all quite accessible.


Under side view (view large image)

The weight is a really nice 2.4kg (5.3lbs), this I find to be ideal as it is not too small and it is not too large.  You remember it is there when you carry it, but it is not really an effort.  Unfortunately the 90W power adaptor is not the lightest, so the weight is a little more most times.

Screen:

The screen is an Acer CrystalBite 1280×800 WXGA display.  It was advertised as 1280×768 and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was the slightly better resolution of 1280×800.  The backlight appears to be even and there are no light leaks.  I find that the display at 100% brightness is simply too bright and that the optimal brightness is 40%.  On battery this can be reduced to 0% although this might be difficult to see in certain circumstances.  I have not found any dead pixels so far.

Speakers:

The speakers appear to be slightly weak, with insufficient strength to carry through a room (e.g. for watching a DVD at a distance).  They are, however, perfectly fine for the user.  At higher volumes they are a little tinny, but I prefer my laptop to be silent anyhow!  The audio output to headphones is crisp and clear.

Processor and Performance:

The CPU is an Intel Core Duo T2300 (1.66Ghz) and it is really snappy.  I find it to be truly faster than my desktop (Athlon XP 2800+). At the moment most of the slow down is due to running out of RAM with only 512MB in the system.  Hopefully this will be resolved when I receive the replacement module.  The hard drive is 5,400 rpm and is noticeably slower than my desktop (7,200 rpm).  The hard disk is SATA, which does not mean it is that fast, but it does mean you can connect it directly to a desktop computer, which could be useful.  Game wise I do not have any benchmarks but I have tried Half-Life 2 and it is quite smooth.

Benchmarks

3DMark05 Results and comparison:

3DMark05 tests the graphics processing capabilities of a system:

Notebook  3DMark 05 Results
Acer Aspire 5562 WXMi (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB) 1,744 3D Marks
Apple MacBook Pro (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB)  2,866 3D Marks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60 Nvidia GeForce Go7800 GTX)  7,078 3DMarks
ThinkPad T43 (1.86GHz, ATI X300 64MB graphics)  727 3DMarks
 Asus V6Va (2.13 GHz Pentium M, ATI Radeon Mobility x700 128 MB)  2,530 3D Marks
 Fujitsu n6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)  2,273 3DMarks
 HP dv4000 (1.86GHz Pentium M, ATI X700 128MB)  2,536 3D Marks
 Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 256MB)  4,157 3DMarks


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3DMark06 Comparison Results:

3DMark06 tests the graphics capabilities of a system, it is more demanding than 3DMark05.

Notebook  3DMark 06 Results
Acer Aspire 5562 WXMi (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB) 782 3DMarks
Apple MacBook Pro (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB) 1,528 3DMarks
Dell Precison M90 (2.16GHz Core Duo, nVidia Quadro FX 1500M) 3,926 3DMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60 Nvidia GeForce Go7800GTX) 4,085 3DMarks
Compal HEL80 (2.0GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7600 256MB) 1,654 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1710 (2.16 GHz Core Duo, nVidia 7900 GTX 512MB) 4,744 3DMarks


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SuperPi

SuperPi measures CPU performance by calculating Pi to a specific number of digits.

Notebook Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits
Acer Aspire 5562 WXMi (1.66GHz Core Duo) 1m 22s
HP dv6000z (1.8GHz Turion64 X2 TL-56) 1m 54s
Compaq V3000T(1.6GHz Core Duo) 1m 26s
Dell Inspiron e1505 (2.00 GHz Core 2 Duo) 1m 02s
Toshiba A100(2.0GHz Core Duo) 1m 18s
Acer Aspire 5102WLMi(1.6GHz Turion64 X2 TL-50 2m 22s
Gateway E-100M(1.2GHz Core Solo ULV) 2m 02s
Dell Inspiron 600m (1.6 GHz Dothan Pentium M) 2m 10s
HP dv5000z(2.0GHz Sempron 3300+) 2m 02s

 

HDTune Hard Drive results


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Heat and Noise:

On AC power the laptop runs really hot, so much so that it is uncomfortable to touch the touchpad after about an hour.  At full CPU usage the CPU core temperature can reach 75 degrees centigrade!  Although this is quite high, the system is completely stable at this temperature (I have tested for 2 hours with 2 simultaneous instances of Prime95).  However, to avoid it you can undervolt the processor with RMClock.  This can bring the temperature down by 10 degrees under maximum load.  Also, to reduce the GPU clock with Powerstrip really helps the heat situation.  Hopefully the next version of Notebook Hardware control will mean both of these functions can be performed in the same program.  As for the fans, they are not too loud.  The first level is almost inaudible (but is only present under battery power), the second is audible but not too bad and the third is clearly audible, but only kicks in under heavy load.  The DVD drive is much louder when it is in use than the fan.  Overall, the machine is not silent and someone who is looking for silence will be disappointed but it is also not at all loud.

Another issue though is the Hard Disk temperature which can reach 55 degrees centigrade.  As this is still within the operating temperature I assume it safe, but does not make me feel too comfortable with it.

Keyboard and Touchpad:


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The keyboard has a little bit of give (flex) in the middle but this is not noticeable after a while of use.  Two annoying key placements are the € and $ keys which are on either side of the arrow keys.  These can easily be hit by accident.  The touchpad is excellent however the directional pad underneath is not too useful.  Accessing it is difficult and I find myself scrolling with the side areas of the touchpad rather than this feature.

Input and Output Ports:


Front view (view large image)


Rear view (view large image)


Right side view (view large image)


Left side view (view large image)

The three USB 2.0 ports are on the right hand side and easily accessible.  Firewire is also on this side, but so far untested.  There is a 5-in-1 card reader on the front that supports SD, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro and xD.  I have tried it with xD and Memory Stick Pro and both work well.  However, I did try putting a Memory Stick Pro Duo into the reader and was lucky to get it out with tweezers!  There is also an S-Video out on the right hand side but I have not yet tried it.

The laptop has both a PCMCIA slot on the left and a 34mm Express Card slot.  This gives the best of both worlds.

Wireless:

Wireless in this Acer is provided by an Intel 3945a

Battery:

At all settings on minimal and wireless off you will get about 3hrs 15mins from the battery.  With wireless on it is about 2hrs 45mins.  I am very happy with this performance as the machine is quite usable at lowest CPU clock (1Ghz) and the lowest level of brightness.

Operating System and Software:

The OS provided is Windows XP Home.  There are no recovery discs provided and you have to burn a recovery DVD / 4x CDs along with an Applications DVD / 2 x CDs.  There is also about a 4GB recovery partition, which can be booted at startup to recover the system.  The Acer Empowering Technology is quite useful, although if you install the system fresh without the recovery CD you will lose the eRecovery manager and therefore the ability to backup to the hidden partition.  Acer Arcade is not really that great but is functional.

Customer Support:

I cannot really comment on the customer support as I have had a few problems that are both my fault and the fault of Acer.  All I can say is that they are not very communicative when things go wrong and the Acer Advantage is only activated once you have sent the application and they have taken over a month to process it.  If you have trouble with the machine early on then the Advantage is useless (if you have purchased it!).

Conclusion:

I purchased the Acer Aspire 5562WXMi as a small and light machine that will last a while due to its Core Duo CPU and dedicated graphics for a reasonable price.  In this area it excels having only a few problems (mainly heat!) that are possible to work around.  Therefore, I would recommend it to people who think 15.4” is too large but do not want to lose too much performance by going down in size.

Pros:

  • Thin and Light (14.1” screen, 2.4kg/5.3lbs)
  • Dedicated graphics with 128MB RAM (ATI X1400)
  • Very good display though it is glossy, even lowest brightness is comfortable for viewing
  • Fully featured expandability (including PCMCIA and ExpressCard!)

Cons:

  • Can get very hot (although undervolting can reduce this)
  • No Bluetooth
  • No DVI out
  • Weak Speakers (and no analog volume control)

        Slot-load DVD-RW can be a little picky




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