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Acer Aspire 8930G-6448


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When the Acer Aspire 8920G debuted earlier this year, it made a big splash for more than just its sexy Gemstone Blue design. The multimedia dynamo packed an 18.4-inch display (in glorious 1080p resolution and 16:9 ratio), True 5.1 Dolby sound, and a dedicated CineDash control panel for multimedia playback. Its follow-up, the Acer Aspire 8930G, ups the ante by including a speedy Centrino 2 processor and a more powerful Nvidia GPU, making an already great machine even better.

Attractive Gemstone Blue Design

As proven with the 8920G, Acer knows how to build a sexy notebook. The 8.8-pound 8930G isn’t very portable, but it delivers a mix of textures and finishes to keep your senses stimulated. The bluish black lid of our 17.4 x 11.8 x 1.5-inch review unit featuring Acer’s Gemstone Blue holographic-like paint looks sharp, and we like the silver Acer logo and its white backlight. The shiny lid is a fingerprint magnet, though that’s not much of of an issue since users likely won’t carry the Aspire 8930G that often.

Upon opening the lid you’ll find a black keyboard above a silver, textured palm rest. The full-size keyboard had a good feel and plenty of travel, and a separate number pad sits to the right. The recessed touchpad, with its separate scroll area discernible by feel, is comfortable to use but a bit on the small side.

Nestled between the mouse buttons is a biometric fingerprint reader. A 6-in-1 card reader is housed in the Aspire 8930G’s front edge, and on the sides you’ll find four USB ports plus ports for VGA, HDMI, Ethernet, eSATA, modem, and a 54mm ExpressCard.

Multimedia Marvel

As with the 8920G, the 8930G features Acer’s CineDash control system, which is built right into the deck. Positioned left of the keyboard (and pictured below), it allowed us to skip chapters and raise and lower the volume while watching a DVD. Despite resembling the extraterrestrial markings from a prop off the set of The X-Files, the LED-backlit, touch-sensitive console is simple to use.

The glossy 18.4-inch (1920 x 1080-pixel) display is bright and colorful, which made watching DVDs quite pleasurable. Watching an HD episode of Fringe streaming on Fox on Demand, we could see sharp details in characters’ faces.

Multimedia mavens will love the system’s True 5.1 Dolby surround, which utilizes six speakers—three in the keyboard deck above the Function keys, two in the palm rest, and a tube-shaped, 10-watt Acer Tuba CineBass subwoofer running along the length of the machine—to deliver powerful audio. Combined with Dolby Home Theater Audio Enhancement technologies, including Dolby Pro Logic II and Dolby Sound Space Expander, movies sounded rich and clear. While watching Iron Man, we were impressed with the robust explosions that frequently punctuated the soundtrack. When we fired up some of our own MP3s, we were pleased that the robust bass didn’t drown out other elements of the soundscape.

Blu-ray Will Cost You

Our configuration came with an 8X DVD drive, but users who want Blu-ray playback should check out the higher-end $2,599 model (available in December), which will include dual 320GB hard drives for a massive 640GB total capacity.

Great Webcam

Acer’s 1-megapixel Crystal Eye webcam is simply one of the best integrated notebook cameras that we’ve ever had the pleasure to use. Unlike the vast majority of webcams on the market, it serves up sharp images with excellent, lifelike color balance. Friends and colleagues said we looked remarkably clear and sounded quite crisp. Users have the option of taking photos or video in three different resolutions (320 x 240, 640 x 480, and 720p), all of which look good, even in low-light situations. The included webcam utility is very basic, however, and lacks the extra features (face recognition for security, fun effects, and so on) that we’ve seeing on other notebooks.

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