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Acer Aspire 5738DG-6165 All-Purpose Laptop

Acer Aspire 5738DG-6165 All-Purpose Laptop

The Aspire 5738DG-6165 is a good all-purpose laptop that also slips in a very cool--but very niche--feature.

As for the rest of the laptop, in our tests it had just enough gumption (courtesy of a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 320GB 5400-rpm hard drive, and an ATI Radeon Mobility HD 4750 GPU) to notch a score of 88 in WorldBench 6. The 5738DG-6165 was good enough to run through just about any basic task we tried on it.

In modern games, however, it was bound to bog down a little. What do you expect for $780? At 1024 by 768 resolution with high settings, the Acer laptop generated only 28 frames per second in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and 37 frames per second in Unreal Tournament III. (By the way, the 3D effects seemed to work decently well in the latter game.) This machine is not really a gaming rig, but if you keep the settings--and your expectations--fairly low, it will do fine.

While the 5738DG-6165 isn't a powerhouse on the performance front, it is a power-hungry battery drainer. Posting a meager battery-life score of 2 hours, 28 minutes in our tests, it ran well short of the 4-hour, 14-minute average that we usually see from all-purpose portables. If you buy this laptop, keep your AC adapter handy!

The keyboard is great. It has wide, flat keys, and Acer fit in a full number pad for good measure. My hat's off to the company for taking full advantage of the space and making a keyboard this big, as well as adding a few shortcut buttons along the top. The multitouch touchpad is equally roomy. Unfortunately, the single-bar mouse button is not as appealing; though it certainly is big and wide enough, it feels a little on the cheap, plasticky side.

In other respects, the 5738DG-6165 sports what I expect these days out of a basic, all-purpose laptop: four USB 2.0 ports, HDMI and VGA video outputs, a five-in-one flash-card reader, a Webcam, two headphone jacks--even decent audio. (Don't get me wrong, you'll still want to plug in headphones, but at least the on-board speakers don't produce completely shrill results.) Connectivity-wise, the laptop gives you Bluetooth, 802.11n, ethernet, and even an old-tyme modem port.

The Acer Aspire 5738DG-6165, geared toward the everyman, has just enough features to attract people who need a capable portable computer for daily use. And the price is within the realm of reason. As you may have gathered, though, the big selling point is the 3D panel. It's a gutsy attempt on Acer's part, for sure, and the company deserves some credit for that. But if Acer--or someone else--tries to step up with more graphics horsepower, 3D could be a cool gimmick that actually catches on.

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