Acer Aspire 7551G review
17.3 in 1,600x900 display, 3.2kg, 2.0GHz AMD Phenom II X4 N930, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
The Aspire 7551G is a desktop replacement laptop in every sense of the word; a huge 17.3in display dominates the machine, as does the full-size keyboard. Though it might not be particularly portable, there's plenty to like.
The dedicated graphics card should please anyone looking for a laptop that can play games. The AMD Radeon HD 5650 has 1GB of dedicated memory, so it doesn’t rely on the main system memory when running graphics-intensive programs. It managed an impressive 41fps in our Call of Duty 4 test.
There's an option to switch the graphics card to low-power mode to extend battery life, but the 7551G managed only around three hours in our light-use battery test. The power-hungry Phenom processor and 17in screen are mostly to blame, so you’ll need to stay fairly close to a power socket. Considering it weighs a hefty 3.2kg, you're unlikely to want to carry it far anyway.
The AMD Phenom II X4 N930 processor has four cores, each of which run at 2GHz. Multi-threaded applications will benefit greatly from the extra cores, as well as the 4GB of system memory. Despite this, the Aspire scores in our multimedia benchmarks were average. There's enough power for almost every task, but the equivalent Intel processor will be faster overall.
Although the display is large, the 1,600x900 resolution is lower than we would expect, and isn’t enough for displaying every pixel in Full HD content. Image quality was good, although individual pixels were slightly more visible than on other screens with a higher pixel density. The LED backlight produced even images, although brightness wasn’t its strong suit. Light colours were vibrant, but shadows and darker images were less pronounced. Viewing angles weren’t particularly impressive, but the screen has a lot of tilt to counter this somewhat.
Sound quality from the small speakers was adequate, with clear mid-range and crisp treble. Like most laptops, bass notes had no power, and volume was only average. For watching movies on the built-in DVD drive, we’d recommend a set of external speakers.
The full-size keyboard includes a number pad for easy data entry, and the majority of keys are where you would expect them to be. The key tops are very flat, which can make typing a little difficult, but each key is large and spaced far enough apart that you should get used to it in no time. The touchpad is large enough to span the screen in one movement, and there’s very little resistance from the smooth plastic. It was responsive, but the multi-touch gestures produced a slight delay when rotating or magnifying images. The rocker bar beneath the touchpad was also very responsive, but there’s a large dead zone in the centre that we found irritating.
The 7551G has the same design as most of Acer’s other Aspire laptops, including the textured black lid, gunmetal grey keyboard surround and black body. The plastic construction was reasonably sturdy and the screen hinges also felt firm. Aside from the dedicated graphics card, there are very few stand-out features on the Aspire 7551G, which makes it difficult to recommend over more well-rounded (and cheaper) laptops such as the Dell XPS 17.